Saturday, June 27, 2009

Is Victoria the best wine state?

It’s a lovely Saturday afternoon; one child is having a sleep with his mum, the other is telling our new tenants, Daisy and Walter, about our home and who else lives here (no we are not letting out the shed, these are goldfish). With this I sit myself down to some coffee and ‘The Australian’ for a bit of me time.

Today Max Allen has written a little article about Australia’s best mixed dozen. He pretty much has it on the nose with his selection, but I would like to go further and put together a best of Victoria, for I reckon pound for pound Victoria producers the best wine in this country.

There is a catch however. Instead of a straight mixed dozen, I’m going to put together maybe a mixed two dozenish; these things are just too hard to compile.

· Paradigm Hill – from the Mornington Peninsula, this is a wonderful bone dry wine that has a lip smacking finish.
· Crawford River – from Henty in south west Vic, John Thomson delivers year in and year out a wine that has clean minerality when young and develops into a more Alsace wine when mature.

Chardonnay – this was hard considering Victoria is easily the best producer of Chardonnay, bar Leeuwin Estate and the new Tapanappa from the Adelaide Hills
· Giaconda – the Beechworth gem that never fails to deliver a master-piece of a Chardonnay.
· Bindi Quartz – I could not disagree with Max on this one; simply gorgeous.
· Yabby Lake – from Mornington, one of my favourites, with wonderful citrus notes of grapefruit. With Tom Carson at the helm now, this wine will only get better.

Pinot Noir – as with Chardonnay, I believe Victoria has no peer when it comes to growing and making.
· Punch Close Planted - from the Yarra Valley, the Lance family have been producing their own wine under the ‘Punch’ moniker since selling the ‘Diamond Valley’ label to the Rathbones. A magic wine that even when young has multiple layers of flavours. A wine that will be in short supply due to the recent Vic fires.
· Bindi Block 5 – since the first vintage in 2000, this wine has time and again produced what I believe has no equal when it comes to elegance.
· Merricks Creek Close Planted – like Punch, the vines are planted close to yield low quantities of fruit to maximise the fruit intensity for the wine. Right now this is my personal favourite and the most affordable out of the three.

· By Farr – from Geelong, Gary Farr can do no wrong. I truly believe this is Australia’s best Shiraz; fair dinkum!
· Sutton Grange Estate Syrah – a relative new comer from Bendigo, this wine, in particular the 05’ is all savoury, in mouth feel and flavour. Definitely one to sample next time you see it.
· Jasper Hill ‘Emily’s Paddock’ – a blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Franc, this wine delivers a much more appealing drop that the menacing ‘Georgia’s Paddock’

· Yarra Yarra – the ‘Cabernets’ and ‘Yarra Yarra’ are two of the finest wines coming out of the Yarra Valley, with eerily resemblance to Right Bank Bordeaux’s.
· Mount Mary - the Quintet, having the exact breakdown of fruit to that of Chateaux Margaux, delivers wine that is best left for at least 10 years before ripping open.

· Bindi.... again – be it the Blanc de Blanc or the vintage or even the multi vintage, these wines constantly shine and if you see one on a list or at a bottlo’, grab it, cos they are in short supply.
· Seppelt Show Sparkling Shiraz – beautifully crafted with real finesse and without the cloying mouth feel of Barossa Sparkling Reds

· Yarra Yarra – the Bordeaux Blanc blend is the only true wine of this style in Australia. With the February bush fires sweeping through the valley, it will be a quite some time before we see an estate wine from Ian McLean.
· Oakridge Fume Blanc – a great wine that marries Sancerre and Marlborough; clean mineral palate with nutty gooseberry green after taste.
· Limbic – from Gippsland, a lovely light Sauvignon with charm and plenty of food saviness

So there you have it. While I watch the Eagles get absolutely umpired out of the game against Hawthorn (I am actually a born and bred Fremantle boy who still follows the Eagles), I sit here drinking an Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo (a later blog) and still think, with exemption of Semillon, that Victoria is producing our best wines – perhaps the Kosta Tszyu of all wine states; pound for pound the best!

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