Region 'Red Australia' - Year 2006

Rating Drinkability Style
starstarstarstarstar keep Outstanding vintage, though quality falls short in Western Australia. Fully ripe wines with good tannic structure and well-developed flavours.

Weather Conditions

Lower than average yields and a notably early harvest - by two to three weeks in most places. The exception is Western Australia where a cold winter and the coolest summer in 45 years were suceeded by a rainy autumn delayed picking.

In general, a wet winter was followed by a warm, damp spring and a mild, pleasant summer - South Australia in particular enjoyed perfect ripening conditions. In Victoria, temperatures shot up early-summer, though dense canopy development prevented sunburn before the heat subsided. Grapes were picked early to retain acid structure.

In NSW, meagre rainfall reduced yields by 10-20% and by early March most fruit was ripe and picked. Likewise in Canberra District, where the warmest summer since 1998 hastened ripening.

Best Appellations

Thanks to lower yields and super summer weather, reds from South Australia look to be the stars this vintage - intensely flavoured, with modest alcohol and good ageing potential. Clare Valley, Barossa, Wrattonbully, Coonawarra and Langhorne Creek are standouts, while McLaren Vale Shiraz and Cabernet blends are showing well too.

New South Wales' Mudgee, Tumbarumba and Orange regions had a good red vintage, with well ripened fruit giving rise to luscious flavours and deep colour. Concentrated flavours from Victoria's Yarra Valley and South Gippsland regions, too, and Heathcote Shiraz appears promising. Full and fruity Pinot Noir from Tasmania and Victoria's Upper Yarra.

Best Producers

Wirra Wirra Vineyards (McLaren Vale, SA); Kilikanoon & Jim Barry (Clare Valley, SA); Smith & Hooper (Wrattonbully, SA); Elderton, John Duval Wines, Murray Street, Torbreck & McGuigan (Barossa Valley, SA); Margan Family & Tyrells (Hunter Valley, NSW); Jasper Hill (Heathcote, Vic); Yarra Yering (Yarra Valley, Vic); Houghton Park (Margaret River, WA); Moorilla Estate (Tasmania); Shaw & Smith (Adelaide Hills, SA); Philip Shaw Wines (Orange, NSW); Grove Estate (Hilltops, NSW)