A good year for wines from the Barossa and Victoria, also Cabernet and Shiraz from Western Australia
While most of the regions in the countrys south-east experienced excellent rains in the growing season, the summer of 1980 became very hot in January, remaining that way in the more southerly districts such as Coonawarra, central Victoria, the Yarra Valley and Margaret River. It was the first genuinely hot year for many growers in the cooler regions who were caught short by the rate at which fruit ripened and then began to dehydrate.
If it were not for the cool temperature fermentation techniques then widely deployed and the very rudimentary approach taken to mechanised vineyard management, Coonawarra would have unquestionably experienced one of its greatest vintages of all. Alas, the opportunity the 1980 season presented was allowed to slip by in this and other South Australian regions. Some excellent red wines were made by makers in central Victoria, while the reds from Margaret River and the Hunter Valley were unusually firm and robust.
Very few Australian reds from 1980 remain in top condition, so wines like the Balgownie Cabernet Sauvignon (Bendigo), the now-mature Penfolds trio of Grange Hermitage, Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon and Bin 80A (a blend of Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon and Barossa Shiraz), plus Warrenmangs Cabernet Sauvignon (Pyrenees), Yeringbergs dry red blend (Yarra Valley) and Orlandos St Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon (Coonawarra) really stand out.