What are the “first five” of Margaret River?
“Pioneers” of the region:
- Vasse Felix
- Moss Wood
- Leeuwin Estate
- Cape Mentelle
What region contains the Australian Domaine Chandon?
Yarra Valley GI, within the Port Phillip zone in Victoria
Mount Mary, BDX blend
- Savory Bordeaux-style (bit riper) that usually hovers around 12.5% alcohol.
- Never any Shiraz, because original owner didn’t like it and didn’t plant it!
Any Australian wines labeled by variety, vintage, or region must contain a minimum _____ of the stated grape, year, or region, respectively.
Jim Barry, Shiraz
- Top internationally recognized icon of Clare Valley
“First Growth” producer/location:
Parker Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon
Where would you find Pipers River, Tamar Valley, and North West Coast?
unofficial sub zones of Northern Tasmania. Tamar Valley is the center of production in the north (over 1/3 of plantings).
How would you describe the state of the Australian wine industry today?
Many parts of Australia have gone through a revolution similar to the ‘New California’ wine movement: as a reaction to the heavy, point-chasing wines of the ’90s, home-grown winemakers have pushed back against the overripe, heavily oaked status quo of Australian wine, and started producing lighter, leaner, characterful wines. Adelaide Hills is like ground zero. They’re really trying to define Australian style, instead of emulating other regions.
Why is Queensland less suitable for viticulture than other regions?
the inland climate turns desert-like west of the Great Dividing Range, and the coastal climates shift from subtropical to tropical as one moves north.
This GI lies within the foothills of the Snowy Mountains and is considered well-suited for sparkling wine production.
Tumbarumba GI (Southern NSW). CH/PN accounts for almost everything. It’s a frost-prone mountain climate so most of Tumbarumba’s two-dozen growers remain small, and sell the majority of their fruit rather than larger producers actually owning the vineyard land.
Generally, the best Australian Grenache is thought to hail from…
“some of the most exciting, up-and-coming McLaren Vale wines are produced from Grenache.”
“Ultimately, McLaren Vale Grenache at its best reveals a warm climate’s counterpoint to Pinot Noir.”
- especially drought-resistant, warm-climate hardiness
- “If there is a nuclear war, only two things will survive: cockroaches and Grenache vines.”
What are Rutherglen and Glenrowan?
Victoria GIs in North East Victoria zone famous for sweet, fortified wines: fortified “Topaque” produced from Muscadelle grapes and Rutherglen’s aged, fortified Brown Muscat (Muscat à Petits Grains Rouge)
Who makes “100-year-old Para Tawny”?
Seppeltsfield, from Barossa Valley. Seppeltsfield remains the only winery in the world to release a century-year-old, single vintage wine each year (Para 100 Year Old Vintage Tawny).
Phylloxera was contained to what two areas in Australia?
Victoria (Geelong) and a portion of NSW
How would you recommend selling Australian Shiraz?
In recent years diversity and regional distinctiveness have trumped the national homogeny. Selling “Australian” Shiraz is a disservice to the customer: Australia is a big country! Just like we don’t sell American or French Syrah (we sell Côte-Rôtie or Walla Walla). Try selling Barossa Shiraz, Hunter Shiraz, or Yarra Valley Syrah… the key is to reinforce regional diversity, and the modern wine drinker will likely respond positively.
Clonakilla, Shiraz-Viognier from Canberra (NSW)
co-fermented with Viognier, modeled after Côte Rôtie
Where are Yallingup, Wilyabrup, Wallcliffe, and Karridale?
unofficial Margaret River subzones proposed by Dr. Gladstones.
- Wilyabrup Cabernet Sauvignon from the red gravelly loam soils is a star
- Wallcliff contains the “Golden Triangle” (coined by James Halliday), which comprises Leeuwin Estate, Cape Mentelle, and Voyager Estate (home to top Australian Chardonnay for two decades)
What is the “Golden Triangle” of Western Australia?
a term coined by James Halliday: the Golden Triangle is within (unofficial) Wallcliff subzone of Margaret River and comprises 3 top Australian Chardonnay producers: Leeuwin Estate, Cape Mentelle, and Voyager Estate
Clarendon Hills, Shiraz
- cult wine from old vines
Wendouree: where is this producer located and what is it known for?
Clare Valley in South Australia - Shiraz and blends such as: Shiraz-Malbec Shiraz-Cabernet Cabernet-Malbec
Where would you find Blackwood Valley, Manjimup, Great Southern, and Pemberton?
South West Australia Zone, in Western Australia
Bass Phillip Reserve is made from what grape and where?
Pinot Noir, Gippsland. Most famous wine of the region.
What are the top varieties planted in Australia?
Shiraz, Cabernet, Chardonnay, Merlot, Semillon (in order of planting)
“Hill of Grace” producer/location:
- first produced in 1958
- old vines, single vineyard (first planted in 1862)
- wines aged in used and new French and American oak hogshead for up to 2 years. Minimal racking, and are bottled u/u
In your opinion, what Australian state offers the most diversity of wines?
Probably Victoria because it has the most wineries, and a broad range of climates between the Port Phillip coastal regions and the warmer inland regions, but tempered by the low mountain ranges of the Great Dividing Range that run through. So there are wines for every taste, from crisp sparkling wines to raisiny/rich fortified wines.
Name three major producers in the Yarra Valley.
Yarra Yering (Dry Red No. 1 and No. 2), Mount Mary (“Quintet”), Mac Forbes, Chateau Yarrinya, Yeringberg
Is Penfold’s “Bin 707” made from Cabernet or Shiraz?
What is Topaque?
fortified wine made from Muscadelle grapes in Rutherglen. Topaque has considerably less RS than Rutherglen Muscat (but more diversity at the table). Often served as an aperitif.
What are the age designations of the Barossa Old Vine Charter? (Producers may use these designations on labels, provided vineyard sources meet the requisite age.)
- Old Vines (35+ years of age)
- Survivor Vines (70+ years of age)
- Centenarian Vines (100+ years old)
- Ancestor Vines (125+ years old)
What are the major viticultural barriers across Australia?
- severe and continuing drought
- water rights / sustainability of irrigation
- brush fires / dry climate overall
When was the Commonwealth of Australia formed, and how did this impact the wine industry?
Formed in 1901, relaxed interstate trade barriers. This really cemented SA’s role as a “wine state” as it increased its competitiveness in NSW and Victoria’s larger urban markets (Sydney, Melbourne).
What is the most important GI within the Fleurieu zone, and what is it known for?
McLaren Vale GI, known for Shiraz, CS, Grenache
- also sustainable farming! windy/warm and dry climate has allowed many to pursue organic/biodynamic farming
- water is scarce so much irrigation is recycled wastewater from Adelaide, serving as a conservation model for other regions
Name top producers in Clare Valley.
- Wendouree (Cabernet-Malbec, Shiraz)
- Jim Barry (“Armagh” Shiraz!)
- Grosset (Polish Hill + Watervale Rieslings!_
What year did Penfold’s Grange debut? Who made the wine? What was it called upon first release?
Debuted in 1951, first made by Max Schubert (debuted as Grange Hermitage)
What is Langston’s?
Australia’s leading wine auction house. Langston’s created its “Classification of Australian Wine” in 1990 to detail top-performing, investment-grade Australian wines (now in 5th installment)
Where is Tumbarumba GI and what is it known for?
New South Wales. Known for sparkling wine, Pinot Noir/Chardonnay. frost prone because high elevation in the Snowy Mountains with lots of smaller growers that sell their fruit
What would you say overall—as far as selling the wines—Australia has going for it?
- A wide range of soundly made varietal choices, available at any price point
- the California Cabernet, Chardonnay or Pinot Noir fan can find something familiar yet distinctive in Australia, and/or fans of high-acid, Old World white wines may be surprised by Aussie Riesling/Semillon.
- If a guest likes the richer, bigger styles (mostly made popular in the 90s and early 2000s) these wines are still out there
- if a guest has preconceived notions (but open minded) there is a lot of opportunity to shatter stereotypes and give guests a whole new country of wines to discover
Where is Basket Range? What’s important about it?
Basket Range is a tiny town in Adelaide Hills GI (within the Mount Lofty Ranges zone). The Adelaide Hills (and more specifically Basket Range) has become “ground zero” for Australian wine’s avant-garde, symbols of the New Australia…
“Basket Range = Natty Nirvana” - Robbie
Where is Riverina GI, and what is it known for?
New South Wales, known for industrial viticulture. Casella (Yellow Tail) and De Bortoli are both located here
What is Margaret River known for? What is the climate?
Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay = region’s most respected wines internationally - but a large portion of local production is their Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend (SBS or SSB). The overall climate is Mediterranean (dry summers and rainy winters). Margaret River is marginally warmer than Coonawarra or the Médoc but Dr. Gladstones determined that its similarity to Bordeaux’s climate held promise for varieties from that region
This GI, in the Lower Murray zone, is the country’s leader in production. What is the river in the GI, and why is it important? What are the major grapes planted? What stands out about this region?
- Riverland GI
- Murray River
- the fertile soils around the river provide an agricultural oasis in the otherwise hot and arid interior, and irrigation water from the river is essential
- Chardonnay and Shiraz are the most planted but interestingly enough (e.g. what stands out) Riverland has a “surprising number of boutique producers (not typically exported) experimenting with everything from Petit Manseng/Vermentino to Montepulciano, Graciano, Saperavi
“John Riddoch” producer/location:
Wynns, Cabernet Sauvignon
(Limestone Coast Zone, SA)
In Australia, more and more producers are making white wines from which southern Italian variety? Examples (Larry Cherubino, Jacob’s Creek, Fox Gordon, Hart and Hunter, Banrock Station, Coriole, Robert Oatley.)
Why was the multi-state zone South Eastern Australia created? What states does it include?
- est. 1996 in response to EU laws requiring varietal wines to bear a specific region on the label
- encompasses all of Victoria, Tasmania, NSW, plus the winegrowing areas of South Australia and Queensland (read: everything but Western Australia)
What is Noble One? Where is it made?
sweet wine made by De Bortoli from the Riverina in NSW. First released in 1982. The lusciously sweet “Noble One” quickly rose to the pinnacle of Australian dessert wines, and has garnered an outpouring of international critical praise.
What is the most planted variety in Tasmania?
Pinot Noir, but white grapes together outnumber red plantings (CH, SB, PG, Riesling).
What is the complex of mountain ranges that runs north-south along eastern Australia, separating the wetter coastal areas from the more arid interior?
the Great Dividing Range
Is Rutherglen muscat typically affected by botrytis?
NO it is undesirable because it ruins the varietal character (plus it is historically uncommon given the dry climate). On the other hand, passilerage is necessary for concentration.
What Australian state produces the most wine?
South Australia - produces nearly half of all Australia’s wine.
How would you describe the difference between Barossa and Eden Valley?
Eden Valley is cooler, higher in elevation, and more sparsely planted (~1/5 of the acreage of Barossa and water scarcity makes expansion unlikely).
Given the cooler climate, many Shiraz wines labeled “Barossa” rather than “Barossa Valley” (signifying the zone rather than the region) include a dash of Eden Valley fruit for lift and acidity.
What are the 3 sub-regions of Hunter Valley, and why are they controversial?
Broke Fordwich, Pokolbin, Upper Hunter Valley
Pokolbin and Broke Fordwich are located within what has traditionally been known as the Lower Hunter Valley—the heart of the region’s viticultural activities—but “Lower Hunter Valley” did not receive GI status.
A 2013 a round-up of top winemakers and vineyard owners in Lower Hunter Valley, representing Tyrrell’s, Brokenwood, Thomas Wines, Audrey Wilkinson and McWilliam’s Mt. Pleasant responded with ready dismissal when asked if any of them would ever consider using “Pokolbin” on a wine label.
What region promotes itself as “Australia’s Red Wine Centre” and what do they specialize in?
Coonawarra GI (Limestone Coast Zone), specialize in Cabernet Sauvignon (CS, Shiraz, ME together produce over 85% of the region’s output. White wines are an “afterthought”)
What are the principle grape/s of Rutherglen wines (fortified and table)?
Brown Muscat (Muscat de Frontignan or Muscat Rouge à Petit Grains) for fortified. Shiraz and Durif for the red table wines.
What three zones make up the Adelaide Superzone?
Barossa, Fleurieu, Mount Lofty Ranges
Name 5 major “cult” Shiraz wines made from old vines.
- Penfold’s Grange
- Henschke “Hill of Grace” (Eden Valley)
- Yalumba “Octavius” Shiraz
- Torbreck “RunRig” Shiraz
- Clarendon Hills “Astralis”
“Polish Hill” producer/location/soils:
Lies atop blue slate bedrock not dissimilar from the Mosel Valley’s Devonian blue slate
Is sparkling shiraz made by the traditional method? Sparkling Shiraz rarely earns more than a shrug among US sommeliers, but it is popular in Australia with…
Very few are. The most common production = base Shiraz fermented to dryness and aged in oak before second fermentation in tank. Typically, sweetness is added through a small dosage of Australian Tawny, and most examples are at least semi-sweet in style.
Popular pairing in Australia with Indian food, popular Christmastime wine, “brekkie” wine
Does Rutherglen muscat see wood aging?
Yes — it matures for years or even decades, in various formats of old wood depending on the producer and the wine. As the wines mature, evaporation sends a share to the angels, resulting in a net loss of around 5% per year and a greater concentration of sugar, acid, and alcohol in the remaining wine.
Named because locals had designated the plot as a cemetery (but never used as one). Purchased in 1978. Brokenwood started by a team of 3 including James Halliday
What are the two rivers that make up the Big Rivers zone of New South Wales? Why is the zone important?
Murray River and Murrumbidgee River
It is the top producing zone in the country because of the Riverina GI. Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Semillon most planted. Mostly mass-market dominated, but importantly
***De Bortoli crowns their otherwise low-price range with their “Noble One Botrytis Semillon”
What type of soil is terra rossa, and what makes it red? What Australian regions do you find it?
Terra Rossa is a friable clay loam tinted vivid red by iron oxide. It overlies soft limestone it is highly permeable for a clay-based soil but offers good water retention to support the vines’ roots through dry summers.
Found in Coonawarra GI, Padthaway GI, Wrattonbully GI (all in Limestone Coast Zone)
- Also found in La Mancha and other areas of Southern Europe
Name three major Hunter Valley Semillon producers.
- Tyrell’s (Vat 1)
- Brokenwood (ILR)
- Lakes Folly
- Mount Pleasant
- Andrew Thomas
What is the climate of Tasmania?
similar to Champagne or the Rheingau in the northern sector, the southern part is even cooler.
Where is Yarra Valley GI and what is it known for?
Yarra Valley is within Port Phillip zone in Victoria. Known for
Pinot Noir, elegant styles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Shiraz (often co-fermented with Viognier, and generally called Syrah)
- Made from 120-160 year-old vines
- Original winemaker/proprietor David Powell after working at Rockford Wines in 1994.
- RunRig is flagship wine; Descendent is the single vineyard Shiraz
- Powell’s financial difficulties caused him to sell in 2002, reacquired in 2008 with an American businessman, but left again in 2013. Departure has caused controversy over if Powell’s original style is still intact.
How would you describe classic Hunter Valley Semillon?
- fairly low in alcohol (often 10-12% range) and incredibly acidic, usually simple lemon and slight grass notes in extreme youth
- never sees oak, no emphasis on lees stirring, but it will be aged for several years prior to release
- usually harvested at the end of January or during the first week in February, and fermented with commercial yeasts, bottled early with significant remaining level of carbon dioxide
Where is the Canberra District GI, and what is it known for?
Canberra District is within the South NSW zone, in NSW
Has more of a continental climate “not unlike the Northern Rhône”, known for Clonakilla’s Shiraz-Viognier (modeled on Côte Rôtie) and elegant styles of Shiraz, quality dry Riesling, Bordeaux blends, and Pinot Noir are being produced by a number of smaller producers
Cyclical drought and water rights are major barriers in the Australia vineyard. Two major restrictive irrigation techniques were developed in Australia. What are they?
RDI = regulated deficit irrigation: lowers the total amount of applied irrigation water during certain times
PRD = partial rootzone drying: reduces total water use by up to 50% alternates drip irrigation from one side of a vine row to the other (keeps half the rootzone irrigated and half dry) Becoming a favored means of significant water use reduction.
What regions are known to share the famous “terra rossa” soil with Coonawarra?
Padthaway GI, Wrattonbully GI (also in Limestone Coast Zone)
Where is Tahbilk and what is it known for?
Tahlbilk is located in the Nagambie Lakes subregion of Goulburn Valley GI of Victoria
Known for a flagship Shiraz from vines planted in 1860 (did not get hit by phylloxera) also boasts oldest Marsanne vines in Australia planted in 1927.
Lots of sandy, alluvial soils along the Goulburn River thought to be the reason they resisted phylloxera.
What makes Penfold’s Grange unique?
Not a single vineyard/site-specific wine, it is generally blended from many vineyards across several regions (a “testament to Australian style”)
“Art Series” producer/location:
- “The “Art Series” represents Leeuwin’s most opulent and ageworthy wines from each vintage. They are identified with paintings commissioned from leading contemporary Australian artists.”
What Australian GI is known for having the hottest climate in the country?
Swan Valley GI (Swan District Zone, in Western Australia)
“The Command” producer/location:
This GI contains the single sub-region Great Western GI. What state is it in, and what is it known for?
Grampians GI, located in western part of Victoria
Known for Best’s, (Best’s Great Western) pioneered the sparkling red style. Despite this history, mostly red table wine of Shiraz and CS now.
What are the most common varieties grown in the Port Phillip GIs?
(GIs = Yarra Valley, Geelong, Mornington Peninsula, Sunbury, Macedon Ranges)
- lots of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, followed by Shiraz
- overall cooler climate
What are the subregions of the Port Phillip Zone?
Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, Macedon Ranges, Sunbury
What other white grapes are prominent in Hunter Valley?
Chardonnay and Verdelho
What is “Black Saturday”?
Devastating bush fires throughout Victoria on Saturday, February 7, 2009.
“Black Saturday” resulted in 173 deaths as wind conditions changed rapidly, driving fires in unpredictable directions. In loss of life, it is Australia’s worst natural disaster to date; the state’s vineyards suffered serious losses as well. 5% of Yarra Valley’s vineyards were damaged or destroyed, along with vineyards in Bendigo, Beechworth, Heathcote, and Gippsland.
How would you describe Yarra Valley RED wines?
Pinot Noir a major player- Yarra is best known internationally for PN because of the cooler climate. Shiraz and Cabernet also produce lighter and more elegant styles. Shiraz is often labeled Syrah, WC fermentation common, low levels of new oak, lower alcohols across the board.
What part of Western Australia was first planted? What is notable about this area?
Swan Valley (sub-region of Swan District GI), notable for being Australia’s HOTTEST region. Previously most of the production occurred here, today most is in the SW coastal regions instead.
What bodies of water surround Margaret River GI?
Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean, Geographe Bay
What was the first commercial Margaret River wine?
Vasse Felix, a Riesling produced in 1971
What are the subzones of Margaret River?
Yallingup, Wilyabrup, Wallcliffe, Karridale, Carbunup, Treeton. Categorized by by the drainage direction for the region’s numerous rivers and creeks.
Where is Wilyabrup and why is it important?
Wilyabrup is an official subregion but the heart of the region in Margaret River, where 3 major producers are located.
What subregion are the producers Vasse Felix, Cullen, and Moss Wood?
Wilyabrup in Margaret River GI
What are the Margaret River “first five”?
The first 5 producers and pioneers of the region: Vasse Felix, Cullen, Moss Wood, Leeuwin Estate, and Cape Mentelle
What is the climate in Margaret River?
warm mediterrenean with maritime influence (dry summers and rainy winters)
Who is Dr. John Gladstones?
eading Western Australian scientist and agronomist, who researched the suitability of the region for grape-growing leading to the first plantings in the area.
What is the “Golden Triangle” of Australia, and where is it?
(coined by James Halliday) the Golden Triangle is in Walcliffe in Margaret River and comprises Leeuwin Estate, Cape Mentelle, and Voyager Estate. It’s been home to top Australian Chardonnay for two decades.
Dr. Gladstones proposed six unofficial subzones in Margaret River. What are they, and how were they categorized?
Yallingup, Wilyabrup, Wallcliffe, Karridale, Carbunup, Treeton. Categorized by by the drainage direction for the region’s numerous rivers and creeks.
Where in Australia would you find “SSB” wines popular?
Margaret River, today the blend (SBS or SSB) is the “engine room” of production, more than CH/CS, coming in a wide array of crisp, unoaked stlyes or high quality, oak-driven wines with Graves-like character
Where is Cape Naturaliste?
Western Australia, Margaret River. Cape Naturaliste is a headland in the south western region of Western Australia at the western edge of the Geographe Bay.
What is the Leeuwin-Naturalist ridge, and why is it important?
The Leeuwin-Naturalist ridge is a band of rolling hills running north-south the length of th Margaret River peninsula, from Cape Naturaliste to Augusta. It is important because it plays a major role in the terroir: although not very high, the ridge gives sufficient shelter to the vineyards immediately behind it and moderates the prevailing coastal breezes that blow in from the nearby beaches.
What is the most planted variety in Margaret River?
Semillon–it is the quiet, driving force behind the Margaret River wine scene. Cabernet, SB, and Shiraz follow but the Semillon/SB blends are the engine room of production.
Name the 5 official subregions of Great Southern GI. Broadly speaking, how do they compare?
Denmark GI, Albany GI, Porongurup GI, Frankland River GI, Mount Barker GI. Albany and Denmark are coastal regions, the climate is influenced by cool, coastal breezes from Antartic, promising PN and CH. Frankland River, Mount Barker, and Porongurup are inland and have a more continental climate and Riesling and Shiraz dominate instead. Mount Barker is the most established of all, and center of production.
What is the climate of Great Southern GI?
The GI is very large, and has the most subzones of any Australian wine region. The coastal regions of Denmark and Albany are strongly influenced by cool ocean breezes moving northward from the Antarctic, while the remaining subregions that are more inland experience a more continental climate.
Which of Margaret River’s subregions is not bordered by the coast? How does this impact the climate?
Treeton is inland, so warmer daytime temperatures overall and the largest diurnal swing between all the subregions
The Margaret River runs through which unofficial subzone?
Where is Domain Chandon’s Australian outpost
How does Lower Yarra Valley differ from Upper Yarra Valley?
Lower Yarra Valley is in the north, warmer and lower elevation while Upper Yarra Valley is in the south, cooler and higher elevation.
Where/what is the Bass Strait? Name the wine regions it surrounds.
The Bass Strait is a sea strait separating Australian mainland from Tasmania, specifically the state of Victoria. Mornington Peninsula and Tasmania.
What is the name of the strait that separate Tasmania and mainland Australia?
Name the 5 GIs of the Port Phillip Zone:
Macedon Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, Sunbury, Geelong
What is the coolest region of the Port Phillip Zone? Name a producer.
Macedon Ranges, Bindi Winegrowers
What is The Muscat of Rutherglen Network? What are their 4 tiers?
a producers’ syndicate (est. 1995) that developed a voluntary and self-regulating four-tier classification system for the Rutherglen Muscat wines based on taste profile. The 4 Tiers are Basic Rutherglen Muscat, Classic, Grand, and Rare.
Is Rutherlen Muscat typically vintage or non-vintage?
It is released as a blend of vintages, whether in its fresh and floral youth or after years of aging
What type of Muscat is Rutherglen Muscat made from?
Brown Muscat aka Muscat de Frontignan or Muscat Rouge à Petit Grains
Does Rutherglen Muscat see Botrytis?
NO it is undesireable because it ruins the aromatic/terpene character of Muscat.
What wine Victorian wine region is home to the sparkling Shiraz style?
Great Western, exemplified by Best’s Great Western
What is Topaque? What is it made from and where do you find it?
Topaque is a fortified wine made in the Rutherglen and Glenrowan regions of Victoria, made from Muscadelle grapes through passerillage
How would you compare/contrast Rutherglen Muscat from Topaque?
Topaque wines are lighter in color than Muscat (made from white rather than red grapes) and typically exhibit much less residual sugar than Muscat wines in the same category, less intensity and greater acidity
Name the other famous “stickie” wine from Victoria other than Rutherglen Muscat.
Topaque, made from Muscadelle grapes