The Oenophiliac

Bringing you stories from the world of wine and beer.

A+ Australia Tasting. Saatchi Gallery: London 2012


So, round 4 of my new year tasting schedule, third one of the week. This one see’s me off to the Saatchi Gallery, London for the 10th birthday of the A+ Australian tasting.

 There is something to be said for mixing wine and culture. The setting was ideal for this years A+ Australian tasting, and on Australia Day too. With 143 wineries showing 800 wines it was a day for a relaxing, laid back tasting.

 The event was spread over 5 galleries with a further 3 set up for a chilling out room, master classes and feature tasting rooms.

 like the New Zealand tasting two days before hand the event wasn’t lacking in numbers and people from around the wine world. Wine writer and columnist Matthew Jukes, Decanter’s Andrew Jefford and The Independents Anthony Rose were out and about, pens in hand, glasses pressed readily to lips.

I walked in today with a bit of a game plan. I was going to seek out wines from cooler climates like Adelaide Hills, Mornington Peninsula and engulf myself in some fresh Australian fare, attempting to leave behind the bigger, richer styles. Two minutes later that plan was thrown right out of the window. Too many people kept on getting in my way to observe what was on the tables. Granted, I could have thumbed my way through the tasting book. Just not the same. The more prudent method was to take glass in hand, spy a table, pour.

I worked my way around 44 wines today. Here are a selection of the more notable wines I tasted.

Ulithorne Frux Frugis Shiraz and Sparkling Shiraz

From UK agents, hallowed-ground, are two Shiraz varietals from producers Ulithorne, McLaren Vale. One a still Shiraz the other a beautiful sparkling Shiraz.

Ulithorne is named after the first Irish Catholic priest in Australia, ‘Ullathorne’. However the incorrect spelling of the name has stuck and became synonymous with the McLaren Vale.

The Frux Frugis Shiraz. Lovely, deep red fruit on the nose with some liquorice notes on the palate. Not over powering either, only a touch of spice and pepper.

Flamma Sparkling Shiraz NV. Soft, smooth, delicate bubbles. Good balance of dark cherry fruit and acidity on the palate. An elegant wine all round.

Paringa Estate had three wines on show today from their Peninsula range. 2008 Chardonnay, 2009 Pinot Noir and 2007 Shiraz. Coming from Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. These cool climate wines were superb.

The Chardonnay showed good, crisp, tropical fruit with subtle oak and crisp acidity.

The Pinot Noir has some really good depth with soft red fruit, low tannins and little acidity. Easy on the palate.

Finally the Shiraz. The fruit was juicy with good acidity, low in tannins, smooth. Not a lick of pepper or spice.

Grant Burge Premium Wines

Coming from one of my favourite Australian wineries are Grant Burge Wines. The wines shown above are amazing. Particular mention goes to two of these wines, the Corryton Park Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and the Abednego Shiraz Mourvedre Grenache 2004.

The Corryton had great concentration of rich jammy fruits with some young, subtle wood fragrances. The palate showed great juicy, rich jammy fruits with soft, green tannins. Brilliant. Will keep for 10 years or more.

The Abednego, part of Grant’s Icon Range, had aromas of caramel, coffee and chocolate. The palate has deep, dark cherry fruit. Well balanced all round. Very, very elegant. Again this wine will keep on going for at least 10 years.

Grant Burge wines are worth checking out, whatever the label. He producers around 50 different labels and are they popping up all around the UK.



McHenry Hohnen Tiger Country

Two wines from Margaret Rivers McHenry Hohnen caught my eye. The first, Tiger Country, a blend of Tempranillo, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose was particularly intriguing because it had characteristics more in keeping with traditional Sauvignon Blanc. Nettles, herbaceous notes but on the palate some soft, lovely spicy red fruits with superb acidity that keeps the flavours bouncing around your mouth.

Following that was the Rocky Road Zinfandel. I’ve been told by the supplier that it is believed that this winery is the only producer to make a single varietal Zinfandel. Do feel free to correct this.

The nose showed sweet, fortified, port like notes. The palate though couldn’t be more opposite. The fruit tasted like watered down strawberries and  with some noticeable spice on the back of the palate. Good wine.

To be fair, all the reds I tried from these guys would be noteworthy. These two were just the stand outs. UK supplier louislatour.

The next set of wines I tasted were more borne out of curiosity. They were all good wines. I won’t write my notes down but I will show you what drew my eye to them. Notes are available upon request. For more information

Killibinbin Wines from Brothers in Arms Vineyards.

Points and kudos go to the design team. Very ‘Film Noir’ wouldn’t you say.

This was a good, fun tasting. The quality of wines , as expected, were high. The manor of the wines, surprising. I said at the top that I was aiming for cool climate, fresher style wines. I found this particular style in most. The Shiraz wines weren’t as big. The whites, including Chardonnays, were cleaner, fresher. Riesling’s, Sauvignon Blends were lighter in style. The fruit was more primary across the board.

Good to see some faces too.

Good work boys. Happy Australia Day.


One comment on “A+ Australia Tasting. Saatchi Gallery: London 2012

  1. Pingback: Australia back on top « Magics Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies.

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