Wednesday, 22 February 2012
By Matthew Hemming, Fine Wine Manager
As much as I’d love to say I drink an eclectic and exciting range of wines at home, the corks we tend to pull are generally from the necks of bottles from classic regions. Amongst the whites we drink, Riesling accounts for the lion’s share – examples from all over the world are not only delicious, but are consistently amazing value. Dry Sherry, especially Manzanilla, features quite regularly, but disappears with almost indecent haste as an accompaniment to olives and charcuterie. The other factor determining what we drink is what I have in the cellar. Having only started buying in earnest 10 years ago, most of my wine is relatively young, so we’ve been dipping in and out of some recent vintages. Many people would call it infanticide but we’ve been having masses of fun with 2005 red Burgundy in recent weeks. Australia is my main source of new world wines, but more of that below.
I was lucky enough to spend a couple of weeks in Australia at the end of 2011 and it’s no exaggeration to say I was blown away by the quality of the wines. The stereotype of over-blown and top heavy alcoholic fruit juice is light-years out of date. Today, the reality of what is known as the ModOz style is mid-weight, moderate in alcohol and tautly focused. In particular, I’ve been enjoying some stunning Australian Chardonnay, tipped by many to be the only real alternative to smart white Burgundy. Chardonnay from estates such as Ocean 8, Bindi, Forrest Hill, Oakridge and Yabby Lake are truly world class and share a chiselled minerality, glassy texture and scent that are quite compelling.