Weekly Local Wine’d Up #8 – The Australia, New Zealand and South Africa Wine Regions
September means its back to school time, but when it comes to learning about wine, class is always in session for the folks at iYellow!
This Fall iYellow Wine Club is launching a new blog called “Local Wine’d Up!” The blog follows what Kate More, of iYellow Wine Group, learns about international wine regions at the International Sommelier Guild (ISG), where Kate studying to become an ISG Sommelier.
And since wine tasting is her homework (and because iYellow loves Ontario), the blog will supplement her study with reviews of great local varietals!
The goal of “Local Wine’d Up” is to demonstrate the quality and versatility of Ontario wine. An exploration of our local region can actually feel like an exploration of international wine, you just have to know which varietals to taste, and iYellow is here to help!
Don’t forget to take notes!
Week # 1: The Australia, New Zealand and South Africa Wine Regions
New Zealand – . Small duo of islands south of Australia.
South Africa – Southern tip of the African continent
Australia – Mainly Mediterranean
New Zealand – Maritime, ocean influenced
South Africa – Mediterranean
Australia – Sand, clay loam, terra rossa and limestone
New Zealand – Stoney and gravel
South Africa – varies but mainly acidic and granite
Australia – Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, chardonnay, Riesling and Semillon
South Africa – Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc aka Steen and Chardonnay
Australia – canopy management is common, most vines are ungrafted
New Zealand – canopy training systems to maximize sun exposure. Dr. Richard Smart was a pioneer in New Zealand vine canopy management.
South Africa – soil adjustments, gobelet (free-standing) vine training has been replaced by cordon (wire) vine training
Australia – leaders in vinification technology, but controversial methods are often used, such as regional blending, acidification and oak alternatives ie. putting oak chips in wine versus aging naturally in oak barrels.
New Zealand – Modern wine-making, most bottles have a screw cap and stainless steel aging is most popular.
- South Australia
- Barossa Valley – Shiraz
- Clare Valley – Dry Riesling
- Coonawarra – cooler region, Cabernet Sauvignon
- McLaren Vale – Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon
- Riverland – bulk-producing
- Yarra Valley – cooler and long growing season, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
- New South Wales
- Hunter Valley (North and South sections) – Good Chardonnay and Semillion from Upper Hunter
- Riverina – bulk-producing
- Western Australia
- Margaret River – Bordeaux reds and whites, high quality
- North Island
- Hawke’s Bay – Bordeaux Blends with Merlot, ripe flavours in single varietals too
- Wairapa – small production of top quality Pinot Noir
- South Island
- Marlborough – most famous, crisp and herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc
- Central Otago – top quality and concentrated Pinot Noir
- Stellenbosch – Bordeaux-style wines and Pinotage. Maritime influences
- Paari – KWV headquarters, All styles of wine produced
Like the New World Shiraz common in Australia, Creekside’s Queenston Shiraz offers up a gleaming glass of plum pudding, vanilla, with waves of toast and black fruit on the nose. This full-bodied wine possess both ripe fruit and savoury spice. It’s an excellent choice to sip and could be easily mistaken for its cousin across the hemisphere.
If you enjoy Sauv Blancs from South Africa, than treat yourself to a glass of this lovely wine! South African Sauvignon Blancs are known for their green notes and noticeably lower acidity than usual. Hinterbrook’s wine features classic goosberry, citrus notes all around and good acidity, but this crisp wine is also surprisingly silky. This wine won’t make your mouth water from its acidity, instead it’s like cool satin sheets – refreshing and smooth, especially after a long day.
It might feel like its fresh off the boat from New Zealand, but this Sauvignon Blanc is no foreigner. Its nose of fresh tropical fruit is accented with an oh-so-long finish after a delicious palate reminiscent of a fresh mango salad – think ripe mangos tossed with fresh herbs and greens.
There is no such thing as a copycat when it comes to a great VQA Sauvignon Blanc; our local terroir is a natural home for these grapes, just as Marlborough, New Zealand is for its own. Nevertheless, comparison is the name of the game, and this wine’s lively stone fruit, lemon tart, herbaceous and citrus notes will make any NZ die-hard a follower. The classic palate is slightly revised with some jazzed up tropical flavours but all in all, what we have here folks is a zesty Sauvignon Blanc, that tastes like the textbook version on a beach vacation, having a great time.
The best of Australian Rieslings are known for the grape’s trademark minerality, but most feature more green, floral and lime aromas, without the searing acidity found in more honeyed German verietals. Flat Rock Cellars’s Vadja’s Vineyards Reisling drinks along the same lines. This wine is primarily mineral with both a nose and palate of wet stone, underripe stone fruit, tart limeade and green apple. There is present acidity but it doesn’t overwhelm and the finish allows you to enjoy its truly lovely taste for a while, even after you’ve put down your glass.