Thursday, January 26, 2012

Australia Education Part IV

Now we move to South Australia, the state located between Western Australia and New South Wales. The middle ground shared geographically mirrors its position from a wine production standpoint as well. The small, isolated wine region in Western Australia. together with the oldest and largest wine producing region of New South Wales form perfect bookends for established, tourist-friendly, generally quality-focused South Australia.
The larger region of southeastern Australia includes the majority of bulk wine production in Australia, specifically, Riverina located in New South Wales. Although it is not noted on the map, Riverina is north of Victoria.


Let's move south to north. Far down in South Australia, mid-way between Adelaide and Melboune (nearly part of New South Wales) in the Limestone Coast region, lies Connawara. Appropriately enough, as it is relatively off on its own, the area draws comparisons to Western Australia. Hugh Johnson, in his World Atlas of Wine 4th Edition, writes, "The Margaret River region can be seen as the Connawara of the west." Many wineries produce wines from Connawara, few call it home.
The striking terra rossa soil, a distinctive red on top with limestone underneath, makes outstanding cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. Riesling is making a name for itself but Bordeaux varieties (cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc) are the calling card.



The Limestone Coast's long growing season, sometimes harvest does not begin until the rest of South Australia has finished, combined with the unique soil profile makes for distinct wines. The whites are full of citrus notes and bright acids. The reds, lively as well, show pepper and minerality, sometimes even raw meat. I know that last one sounds weird, maybe sanguine sounds better? Think about a good butcher shop (sorry vegetarians) and the enticing aromas inside.
I had good experiences with Bowen Estate but it has been a while, Highbank has impressed me in two tastings. Punter's Corner has been good and disappointing, but since they're reasonably priced I keep my eye on them. I wholeheartedly recommend Jim Barry wines in general (they're located in Clare Valley to be featured soon) but their Cover Drive Cabernet comes from Connawara and is an excellent example of the region. Wynns' shiraz and shiraz blends have always impressed me for the money.
Just north of Connawara is an emerging region with great potential and an already great name, Wrattonbully. Yalumba has focused some efforts there and it is an area to watch.

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