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Australian Wines:


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#1 Alex

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 08:14 AM

I know that Yellowtail, Rosemount and Banrock Station are widely available in countries other than Australia ( and have only a very modest level of market visability here) but to what extent are Australian wines which are not, like these, produced for a mass market available in other countries?
I am thinking of Hunters and Coonawarra styles, in particular..

#2 Wilfrid1

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 12:41 PM

Readily available in New York, if that's any help. The selection of Australian wines in a good wine shop here is not much different than London these days.
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#3 Adam

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 01:22 PM

Not sure if Wilfrid means this, but while there is huge volume of Australian wine in the UK, it is by and large either the swill or a very restricted amount of high end stuff, of a particular style (think Barossa).

In particular, Hunter reds and whites are very thin on the ground.

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#4 Alex

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 02:51 AM

Perhaps one reason for this small representation of quality rather than bulk-style (and I would class the first two wines I mentioned in this category) is the fact that Australian wines are selling into a market here of only 20 million, and the incentive to expand is not there?
More probable, perhaps, is the fact that this country, while it enjoys a climate in the inhabited regions similar to California, the Middle-East and Spain, has only a few areas which can be relied on to produce a top quality product year after year.
Irrigation is necessary in some areas to get the volume of harvest up to a viable standard , and the product, while available here in 4 litre casks for $10 Australian and perfectly drinkable, is, when exported, as Adam says, certainly not of bottle standard.
A pity, because a very poor impression of the quality of Australian wines is often the result.

#5 Adam

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 08:33 AM

This is to some extent true, but it is also to do with the taste of the market.

Australian riesling is a slow mover here (although this is changing) and even the labels that are here are of a restricted style (Anne's Lane/Knappstein) - citrus-floral, but nothing to limey (Pike's) or challenging (Leo Buring (sp?)). New Zealand riesling seems to fair better, I suspect due to the fact that it is more similar to the European styles (less dry, more body, apples rather then lime).

Also, it is difficult to get aged wine here and the rieslings really suffer for it. I suspect that there isn't a market big enough to justify the importation of quanties of some styles, like Hunter Semillion. McWilliam's "Elizabeth" would seem like an obvious choice, but I haven't seen it here. Ditto Tahbilk Marsanne - only latest releases, which are not nearly as interesting as the aged wine.

Hunter Shiraz (Burgundy) isn't a style which shines in its first 5-7 years (although my very favourite style), so there is little market for it. So basically what we get here are great big confection wines that can be drunk off the shelf.

The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born,
and sets a food discussion site?


#6 Wilfrid1

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 02:19 PM

Select Australia in the search engine at either of these sites to get an impression of what's available in New York, at least. Sure, you find the big producers - Rosemount, Wolf Blass - but the selection is much deeper:

www.astorwines.com
www.sherry-lehmann.com
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If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#7 omnivorette

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 02:21 PM

4 pages of Australian wines at Zachy's:

http://www.zachys.co...ce/findtext.asp?

34 pages of Australian wines at Sam's:

http://www.samswine....?Browse=&Page=0
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#8 Adam

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 09:29 PM

Not sure that I was trying to give the the impression that NYC (greatest city in the world), didn't have a good amount of Australian wine. :blush:

There were definately some interesting selections (Mount Langi Ghiran, 'Langi' Shiraz, 2000 from S-L, would be an interesting atypical Australian shiraz BTW), but it is a restricted range. I'm not sure that there really is an issue with this is there, supply and demand and all that?

There is a wide range in the stores products, but by and large the selection is dominated by reds from the Barossa and Chardonnay. In the case of Zachy's the selection is really dominated by two producers.

The original question was about representative the selection is of Australian wine, well the answer is that it isn't very representative of all the styles of wine (or even varieties or regions), but I'm not sure you would expect it to be?

Also, much of this choice is actually better then you would get in the UK I think.

The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born,
and sets a food discussion site?


#9 flyfish

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 10:03 PM

If you're interested in what's available in parts of Canada (quit snickering, New Yorkers, it's POSSIBLE he is!) a quick search of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) indicates 634 Australian wines (including any that have been recently discontinued), including 75 in their more upscale "Vintages" section. Of course, not all stores stock the same ones. Aussie wines were featured in Vintages not long ago, which normally results in a province-wide upsurge in sales of featured wines.

Lest anyone scoff "it's only Ontario," the LCBO is the largest single purchaser of beverage alcohol in the world and one of the world's largest beverage alcohol retailers. It purchases wine, spirits and beer from over 60 countries.

http://www.lcbo.com/...uctsearch.shtml

Coonawarra (prices are CDN$):

02 CAB SAUV MCLAREN/COONAWARRA (CHAPEL HILL)
Australia | Chapel Hill Winery Pt. Ltd.
VINTAGES 965830 | 750 mL | $ 17.95

02 CABERNET RESERVE COONAWARRA (PENLEY ESTAT
Australia | Penley Estate
VINTAGES 701821 | 750 mL | $ 54.95

BALNAVES OF COONAWARRA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2001
Australia | Balnaves Of Coonawarra
VINTAGES 918409 | 750 mL | $ 36.95

CABERNET SAUVIGNON ALEXANDER'S BLOCK 2001
Australia | Jamiesons Run
VINTAGES 913384 | 750 mL | $ 49.00

CABERNET SAUVIGNON SHOW RESERVE 2001
Australia | Rosemount Estate
VINTAGES 226662 | 750 mL | $ 29.95

KATNOOK ESTATE 'RIDDOCH' CABERNET/MERLOT 2000
Australia | Wingara Wine Group
VINTAGES 713255 | 750 mL | $ 15.95

KATNOOK ESTATE SHIRAZ 2002
Australia | Wingara Wine Group
VINTAGES 938225 | 750 mL | $ 29.95

MCWILLIAM'S STENTIFORD'S RESERVE OLD VINES SHIRAZ 2000
Australia | McWilliam's
VINTAGES 655415 | 750 mL | $ 49.95

PARKER COONAWARRA ESTATE 'TERRA ROSSA' MERLOT 2001
Australia | Parker Coonawarra Estate
VINTAGES 678581 | 750 mL | $ 33.95

PENFOLDS 'BIN 128' SHIRAZ 2002
Australia | Foster'S Wine Estates Americas
VINTAGES 509919 | 750 mL | $ 29.95

PETALUMA COONAWARRA RED 2001
Australia | Lion Nathan Wine Group
VINTAGES 922799 | 750 mL | $ 52.95

RIESLING 2003
Australia | Wynns Coonawarra Estate
VINTAGES 528216 | 750 mL | $ 11.95

WYNNS COONAWARRA CABERNET SAUVIGNON
Australia | SOUTHCORP WINES
LCBO 502039 | 750 mL | $ 19.90

WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE CABERNET/SHIRAZ/MERLOT 2002
Australia | Southcorp Wines
VINTAGES 511600 | 750 mL | $ 19.95

WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE CHARDONNAY
Australia | SOUTHCORP WINES
LCBO 468728 | 750 mL | $ 12.25 | PRODUCT DISCONTINUED

WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE SHIRAZ 2003
Australia | Southcorp Wines
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#10 mongo_jones

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 12:09 AM

how about australian fighting wines?

adam, could you expand a little on the, for lack of a better term, the national character of the australian styles of various varietals?

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#11 Adam

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 09:01 AM

No I bloody can't (there are quite a few wines in Australian you know).


But this interactive site is very good.

Click

The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born,
and sets a food discussion site?


#12 Alex

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 12:12 AM

A very useful site, and new to me. It is difficult to define the national character of australian styles of various varietals, because so much depends on individual taste. I have yet to find a Hortons (West Australian) wine I like, but they still sell reasonably well, and the lakes of very ordinary Chardonnays sold each year are more a result of skilled marketing rather than winemaking skill. In general, Shiraz and Semion, the two first varities planted in colonial times are the most popular with collectors, followed by Cabanet. As for climate and it's influence, as a rule I find that the newer the wine area and the more extreme the climate, the worse the quality of the product.