Australia is the most ‘under-appreciated’ wine country: Decanter

Australia is suffering from stereotyping and ignorant clichés, according to the latest issue of Decanter.

In an edition dedicated to Australia, six features covering almost 30 pages make for recognition of the country’s move towards a more elegant, restrained style of winemaking.

The veteran Australian commentator Huon Hooke writes in the lead feature: ‘The age of elegance has dawned on Australian wine – there are more finer-structured, lighter-bodied, yet intensely flavoured red and white wines of moderate alcohol than has ever been the case.’

Hooke argues, however, that such wines are overlooked in favour of the bigger, riper wines, notably Shiraz, that first made Australia’s name. ‘To portray all Aussie Shirazes as blockbusters is an ignorant cliché,’ says Hooke. ‘The range of styles moves from mid-bodied, elegant, spice- and red-fruit flavours to full-bodied, opulent, choc-berry styles.’

The whole range of styles was on show in Decanter’s biggest-ever panel tasting, spanning 253 Australian Shiraz, all from sub-regions. While the panellists lauded the ‘finesse’, ‘balance’ and ‘freshness’ in many of the wines, the top performers also featured traditionally ripe and powerful examples, notably from South Australia.

‘The two bottles on our front cover, Giaconda and Mollydooker, are at opposite ends of the stylistic spectrum,’ writes editor Guy Woodward in his opening letter. ‘Each will have its admirers, but Australia is one of the few countries that could happily produce both.

‘It’s easy these days to get carried away by the progress of less established, emerging regions – and to come over all romantic about the Old World classics,’ Woodward continues.

‘Australia is one of the few countries to combine both qualities. In so doing, it stands as arguably the most under-appreciated wine country around today.’

The issue also contains profiles of two of Australia’s increasingly lauded, cool-climate regions – Victoria and Tasmania – plus an interview with Rick Kinzbrunner of cool-climate specialist Giaconda, a vertical tasting of Penfolds Grange and Special Bin wines, and a travel feature on Hunter Valley.

The November issue of Decanter is out now. Subscribe here

Written by staff