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Wine

Vintage 2016 – the facts

Just released by Wine Australia, Winemaker’s Federation of Australia and Wine Grape Growers Australia, the Vintage 2016 Report shows some interesting trends in Australian wine.

The overall national crush was up by 6 per cent or 1.81 million tonnes. The top five white varietals by tonnes crushed were Chardonnay (406, 028), Sauvignon Blanc (100, 769), Pinot Gris and Grigio (73, 372), Semillon (64, 066) and Muscat Gordo Bianco (56,710). The top five red varietals by tonnes crushed were Shiraz (430, 185), Cabernet Sauvignon (255, 074), Merlot (111, 959), Pinot Noir (47, 860) and Petit Verdot (20, 299).

Interestingly, the overall national increase in Australia’s 2016 vintage crush has come from the growing cool climate and temperate regions that saw a 26 per cent increase in fruit crushed. There was a 57 per cent increase from Langhorne Creek, 27 per cent in Tasmania, 9 per cent from Margaret River, and 2 per cent from King Valley.

Source: Wine Australia. http://www.wfa.org.au/information/noticeboard/vintage-2016/ 

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Wine
Howard Park Dream Vertical
Words by Paul Diamond on 30 Sep 2015
Western Australian wine is a true phenomenon.It contributes less than 5% of Australia’s total production, but in a good year, can create some of the country’s best Chardonnay, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon. And in such a short space of time, just over 40 years, the west has come a long way.  Margaret River has an identity of “bush, blue sky and surf” combined with “pioneering spirit meets entrepreneurial drive” to create something that is completely unique, stylish and undoubtedly Australian. One of the stories that completely embodies this special identity is the Burch family that owns and operates Howard Park Wines . Like many of the great Margaret River estates, Howard Park did not start as a Burch family concern, but as a side project. In 1986, John Wade, while working as a winemaker at Plantagenet Wines, made a Riesling and Cabernet at Denmark Agricultural College and labelled them in honour of his father Howard. During this time, John attended a single bottle club lunch in Perth as a guest and sat next to Jeff Burch. Over this lunch a kinship was formed and not long after that Jeff and his wife Amy became partners in Howard Park. Two years later, Jeff Burch purchased a picturesque 138 acres of pasture in Margaret River that has the Wilyabrup creek running through it. Named Leston after Jeff’s father, it was situated in the heart of prime vine growing territory. The partnership between John and Jeff grew and in the early 90s they added Chardonnay to the Howard Park stable and started to release wines under the MadFish label. Early on, MadFish gained attention due to the striking depiction of the Aboriginal water turtle that symbolises perseverance and tolerance. Produced from cool climate fruit as approachable, contemporary and solid value wines, MadFish is now 20 years old and one of Australia’s most recognisable wine brands. A family business Over the next decade, the MadFish-Howard Park growth story accelerated. They purchased a property in Denmark upon which the first winery and cellar door were built. Jeff’s brother David and sister Lesley came on board and foundations for a new winery and cellar door at Leston vineyard were poured as the flagship single vineyard range of Scottsdale Cabernet and Leston Shiraz was released. By this stage, John had left and Howard Park-MadFish became a Burch family operation. In the early 2000s, they acquired a 200 hectare, cool climate property in Mt Barrow (Great Southern). As the wine stable grew and the quality increased, the accolades started to roll in. Jeff and Amy’s daughter Natalie joined the business, and the Burch family combined forces with Burgundian winemaker and biodynamic ambassador Pascal Marchand on a project to produce wines from both WA and Burgundy under one label. The Marchand & Burch range includes French bubbles (Cremant), Pinot and Chardonnay and Australian Shiraz, Chardonnay and Pinot. Today, family is still at the fore with Jeff CEO, Amy GM and marketing director, David managing the vineyards, daughter Natalie managing operations and sons Richard and David managing east coast sales and marketing. Tasting history Wine is the Burch family’s religion and it binds them in a way that is both humbling and inspiring. To get closer to their story, along with Wine Selectors Panellist Dave Mavor, I headed to Margaret River for a tasting with the family. In their newly opened Wine Chapel, we absorbed the family narrative through the varieties they hold dear: Riesling, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet. Howard Park Riesling 2001, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2014 Howard Park Chardonnay 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2014 Marchand & Burch Parongurup Chardonnay 2011, 2013, 2012, 2013, 2014 Marchand & Burch Mount Barrow Pinot Noir 2012, 2013, 2014 Howard Park Leston Shiraz 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2012 Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon 2000, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012 First up was Howard Park Riesling from the cool climate of Great Southern, a wine that since 1986 has defined the identity of Howard Park and is one of Australia’s most collected. Stylistically, Great Southern Rieslings are quite different from those of Clare or Eden Valley in that they start out as tight and slender with positive minerality, and with age, blossom into generous and elegant wines that have wonderful complexity. The older examples of 2001 and 2004 proved that these Rieslings age wonderfully with both wines showing delicate, youthful flavours balanced by toasty development. Everyone had favourites for a range of reasons: winemaker Janice McDonald loved the 2012 for its concentration and effortless neutrality and Natalie favoured the 2014 for its refreshing zest and weight. The highly awarded Chardonnay was next, stretching back to 2003. These wines are constructed with a mixture of fruit from Mount Barker, Porongurup and Margaret River and represent the leaner, cooler side of the Chardonnay spectrum. Very pretty and elegant, they have fresh acidity and bright, clean flavours that help them age slowly and gracefully. Minerality and texture are noticeable with the standouts holding beautiful fruit flavours of melons, grapefruits and nuts with a creamy, savoury complexity. Dave enjoyed the 2007 with its fresh citrus core and Jeff loved the 2013 for its balance and length. French connection Next came the Marchand & Burch Porongurup Chardonnays. The standard was high with a lean and tight style that delivers citrus and melon flavours with complexity, minerality and finesse. Standouts were the 2013 for its crème brulée aromas and tropical fruit palate and Jeff loved the 2007 for its French leanings and flinty complexity. Pinot Noir followed with the Marchand & Burch Mount Barrow line-up. These wines showed a distinct development of style that highlighted how critical vine age is to creating wines that have weight and complexity. The 2012 was lovely, with pretty sour cherry fruit, savoury spices and soft tannins and the depth and structure built as we moved through to the 2014. Considering how demanding Pinot Noir can be, especially from young vines, the potential of the Marchand & Burch Mt Barrow Pinot is massive. Amy and Natalie were both wowed by the 2014 due to its luscious layers and fine complexity. Leston Shiraz was next, stretching back to 2000, and considering Margaret River is not known as a Shiraz region, the high quality and consistency came as a pleasant surprise and highlighted the diversity of Australian Shiraz. All the wines had a lovely soft, black fruit signature with delicate layers of spice and fine tannins. As Shiraz goes, these wines are definitely on the savoury side and the oldest wines were aging beautifully. Richard loved the 2003 for its complexity, Dave’s standout was the balanced 2005 and Janice loved the perfume and fruit integrity of the 2009. Flying the Cabernet flag Lastly came the flagship Abercrombie bracket crafted from a selection of the oldest vineyards in Margaret River, Mount Barker and Porongurup. These wines are serious; they have depth, structure, complexity and would easily rank as some of the best Cabernet Australia can produce. Named after Jeff’s great-grandfather Walter Abercrombie, the wines are earthy, savoury and full of black fruits, but have incredible finesse and harmony. Jeff was impressed with how well the 2000 had aged, Natalie loved the 2012 “just because.” The tasting was a special line-up of wines that highlighted that Howard Park, just like WA wine, has come a long way in a short space of time. The exercise was made extra special by the generosity of the Burch family in sharing their wines, their stories and proving that wine is made better with family. www.howardparkwines.com.au
Wine
10 strange but true wine descriptors
What do cat’s pee, sea spray and horse hair have in common? They might sound like ingredients in a witchy potion, but they’re actually all aromas you could find wafting from your wine glass. Sounds strange, but it’s true and there’s more. Check out the top ten: Cat’s pee: Sauvignon Blanc lovers might be familiar with this one. It’s particularly apparent in cool climate examples and it’s not a negative description, so don’t let it put you off your next glass of Savvy. Kerosene: This can be found in aged Rieslings and comes from the compound 1,1,6-trimethyl-1,2-dihyronaphthalene (TDN). Whether it’s a desirable trait or not comes down to personal taste. Wet stone: Take a whiff of Semillon, Riesling or Chardonnay and you might pick up this character. It describes minerality and is a savoury term, so it means you’re sniffing a great food matching wine. Sea spray: If your Chardonnay is transporting your senses to the beach, you’ve scored yourself a complex, well-made expression of the variety. Baked bread: There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread, even if it is coming from your glass of Sparkling wine. It’s a sign of secondary fermentation so it’s desirable in Sparkling and Chardonnay, but watch out if you smell it in other wines because it could be a fault. Struck match: While sulphur dioxide is a common wine additive, if you can smell struck match, the sulphur dioxide has been poorly handled. This fault can also be described as burnt rubber or mothballs. Sweaty saddle: Brettanomyces, or Brett, is a type of yeast that can, when used at low levels, can add positive attributes to a wine. However, the perception of excessive levels is a fault. Horse hair: Continuing the horsy theme, this is another description of Brett. Tractor shed: More precisely, the oil on the dirt that’s leaked from a tractor – another Brett descriptor. Mousy: Another term to describe a fault, this time from bacteria, mousy is interesting because it’s an aroma that only certain people can pick up. So if you can pick up a scent of rodent, you’re one of the chosen few!
Wine
The Hunter’s best on show
While last month saw our athletes competing for medals in Rio, it also saw the wineries of the Hunter Valley going for gold at the Hunter Valley Wine Show. A huge success, the show saw 644 entries from 70 local producers. Of those entries, 59 won gold, 108 silver and 208 bronze. Among the judges at this prestigious event were Tasting Panellist Nicole Gow and Selector magazine publisher, Paul Diamond, who were both thrilled to have the opportunity to judge alongside local winemakers and others from key interstate regions. For Nicole, one of the highlights of the show was the fact that it reinforced her long-held belief that alternative varieties have a strong future in the Hunter Valley. “It was great to see the varieties we all know the region does very well like Semillon , Shiraz and Chardonnay , but it was also wonderful to see varieties like Vermentino, Fiano, Barbera and Tempranillo doing well.” “Wine Selectors has been championing alternative wines from producers like The Little Wine Co, David Hook and Margan for some time now, and they’re finally getting the recognition that their lesser known varieties deserve.” Paul added that he was also impressed with the rise of the categories outside of the traditional varieties and he also enjoyed how some producers were combining the traditional with the new with blends like Shiraz Tempranillo. Nicole was also excited to see the Hunter’s first ever trophy for a Rosé . “Overall, it was a really strong class”, she says. “The winning Rosé was made with Shiraz, but there was a mixture of varieties among the wines including Merlot and Sangiovese.” While the Wine Selectors team has worked hard over the years to build relationships with a huge number of Hunter Valley wineries, there is always someone new to meet. So for Nicole, judging at the show is a fantastic opportunity to discover some fresh faces to add to the Wine Selectors family. When all the awards had been given out, though, it was one of Australia’s favourite wineries that shone the brightest. The Tyrrell family proved that their passion and dedication never wanes with another 17 gold medals and 10 trophies added to their collection! The Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show 2016 trophy winners were: Marshall Flannery Trophy for Best Current Semillon : First Creek Wines 2016 Single Vineyard Murphy Semillon George Wyndham Memorial Trophy for Best Current and One-Year-Old Chardonnay: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2015 Belford Chardonnay J.Y. (Jay) Tulloch Trophy for Best Verdelho: Hungerford Hill 2016 Hunter Valley Verdelho Best Other White Trophy: The Little Wine Company Vermentino 2016 Henry John Lindeman Memorial Trophy for Best Two–Year-Old and Older Chardonnay: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2013 Vat 47 Chardonnay Ed Jouault Memorial Trophy for Best One-Year-Old Dry Semillon: Peter Drayton 2015 Semillon Elliott Family Trophy for Best Two-Year-Old Shiraz: Silkman Wines 2014 Reserve Shiraz Best Other Red Trophy: Dimbulla Estate 2014 Tempranillo Shiraz James Busby Memorial Trophy for Best Mature Three-Year-Old and Older Shiraz: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2013 Vat 9 Shiraz McGuigan Family Trophy for Best Mature Two-Year–Old and older Semillon: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2009 Vat 1 Semillon Trevor Drayton Memorial Trophy for Best Fortified Wine: Drayton Family Wines Heritage Vines Liqueur Verdelho John Lewis Newcastle Herald Trophy for Best Museum Red Wine: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2007 Vat 8 Shiraz Graham Gregory Memorial Trophy for Best Museum White: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2006 Stevens Semillon Rosé Trophy for Best Rosé: Australian Vintage Limited – 2016 Tempus Two Copper Series Shiraz Rosé Hector Tulloch Memorial Trophy for Best Shiraz: Silkman Wines 2014 Reserve Shiraz Innovative Red Wine Trophy: Margan Family Wines 2011 Breaking Ground Ripasso Shiraz Maurice O’Shea Memorial Trophy for Best Semillon: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2009 Vat 1 Semillon Murray Tyrrell Chardonnay Trophy for Best Chardonnay: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2013 Vat 47 Chardonnay Drayton Family Trophy for Best Named Vineyard Red Wine: Lucy’s Run Wines 2014 Shiraz Tyrrell Family Trophy for Best Named Vineyard White Wine: Meerea Park 2009 Alexander Munro Semillon Len Evans Trophy for Best Named Vineyard Wine: Lucy’s Run Wines 2014 Shiraz Petrie-Drinan Trophy for Best White Wine of the Show: Tyrrell’s Vineyards 2009 Vat 1 Semillon Doug Seabrook Memorial Trophy for Best Red Wine of the Show: Dimbulla Estate 2014 Tempranillo Shiraz Iain Riggs Wine of Provenance: Tyrrell’s Vineyards Belford Semillon –¬ 2005, 2013, 2016
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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