As I write this column, Ash Barty is the only remaining Aussie in the Aussie Open’s singles. What a little ripper Ash is, a quintessentially Australian, a salt-of-the-earth person and goes about life in a “quiet achiever” kind of way. We have certain wine styles that are uniquely Aussie too.
While we make a decent drop of bubbly in this country to compare to those of Champagne, one sparkling style beyond compare is Sparkling Red wine. Nowhere else in the world has the “méthode traditionnelle” been applied with such success to the production of bubbly red. Tracing back over 100 years ago and originally known as “Sparkling Burgundy”, this style has developed into a unique slice of the Aussie wine pie. While many red grape varieties can be used to make Sparkling Red, most are made with Shiraz.
These wines are an excellent combination of rich, full-flavoured Shiraz and the tongue-tingling refreshment of the fine bead of bubbles. Sparkling Shiraz is best served chilled and is well-paired with roast turkey or duck, or you can double down on the Aussie-ness and serve with BBQ’d lamb chops.
There are a few great examples made right here in the Yass Valley region – keep an eye out for them.
Another Aussie style is the blend of two classic red wine varieties, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Aussie winemakers are not bound by strict regulations in place in regions like Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley in France which prevent the blending of these varieties and so winemaker’s innovation and intuition has led to a very tasty Aussie tradition.
When combined with the elegant firmness of the Cabernet, the plush richness of Shiraz produces a taste experience that is greater than the sum of its parts. While there are many fantastic examples from the warmer wine climes of the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, we have some excellent cooler climate Cabernet Shiraz blends made in the Yass Valley region.
There are many fortified wine styles made all around the globe, but an integral part of our unique Aussie wine culture are the fortified Muscat wines from Rutherglen in North East Victoria.
Suitable soils and stable sunny conditions surrounding Rutherglen mean the Muscat grapes can be left to ripen on the vine longer, producing grapes rich in flavour and high in sugar, resulting in incredible base wines that are fortified, blended with older versions and aged for years or even decades.
The resulting wines are deliciously syrupy and provide a richly rewarding wine experience.
If Ash goes all the way, grab one of these wine styles and celebrate all things Aussie – Oi Oi Oi.
Photo at top. The stunning vista of Poachers Pantry Smokehouse & Vineyard property at Springrange NSW.