Australian red wines are often stereotyped as all heavy-bodied and high-octane, overwhelming combinations of thick fruit flavors, oak and alcohol. But the country does produce several subtle, graceful red wines made in its cooler climate regions, though these have been difficult to find in the New York area. The New York Times’ wine writer Eric Asimov reports that this is changing, however.
At a recent wine dinner at the Spotted Pig in New York, Asimov tasted more than a dozen Australian reds that he described as “fresh, restrained and even savory with, yes, finesse and moderate levels of alcohol.” Among his favorites were three pinot noirs: a 2010 from Eldridge Estate in the Mornington Peninsula, a 2010 Dexter, also from Mornington; and a 2010 Moondarra Conception from Gippsland in eastern Victoria.
He noted that the best shirazes included several wines from the Yarra Valley, just east of Melbourne: a 2010 Punt Road Chemin; a 2010 Jamsheed Silvan; and a “wonderfully mineral” 2010 from Luke Lambert. Asimov also loved a 2009 Hewitson Old Garden mourvèdre from Barossa, made from vines planted in 1853, and, “because one can’t exist on red wine alone, a pinpoint, refreshing 2008 blanc de blancs from Gembrook in the Yarra Valley.”
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