Aussie convinces again – Australian Wine Day 2019, Grand Hotel, Stockholm (15-12-2019 by Nenad Jelisic and Robert Jonasson)
The first major wine tasting of the autumn was the Australian Wine Day, which was organized by Wine Australia. It was noticed that desire to taste Australian wines was high as there were a lot of people at the tasting tables from the beginning. The Australian Wine Day has become an annual event and there were over 300 wines to taste from 58 producers at the tasting. There were wines to taste from 35 of Australia's total 65 wine regions. NJ Wines concentrated on the producers that are represented at the Swedish wine market. A total of 145 wines were tasted, of which 32 wines got more than 2,5 NJP, i.e. about 22%, which is a good result. Unfortunately, only a few wines got more than 3,0 NJP in ratings and only three wines got more than 3,5 NJP. Unfortunately, even during this tasting, the trend was that many of the best producers did not show their best wines. Despite this, this tasting increased the impression of the last year's tasting that the wines from Australia have got a big boost in the recent years. Jammy wines with eucalyptus scent, poor balance between the acidity and the sweetness and almost non-existent tannin structure were very few at this tasting. In general, most of the red wines were well balanced with good tannin structure and good fruitiness.
The following wines got more than 3,0 NJP (in alphabetical order): 1. First Creek Wines, Winemakers Reserve, Chardonnay, 2017, white dry wine, Hunter Valley, 3,5 NJP, 2. Kaesler, Old Bastard Shiraz, 2016, red dry wine, Barossa Valley, 3,5 NJP, 3. Penfolds, St Henri, Shiraz, 2015, red dry wine, Coonawarra, 4,0 NJP, 4. Ten Minutes by Tractor, Coolart Road, Pinot Noir, 2017, red dry wine, Mornington Peninsula, 3,5 NJP, 5. Ten Minutes by Tractor, McCutcheon, Chardonnay, 2017, white dry wine, Mornington Peninsula, 4,0 NJP, 6. Vasse Felix, Heytesbury, Chardonnay, 2017, white dry wine, Margaret River, 3,5 NJP, 7. Vasse Felix, Tom Cullity, 2015, red dry blend wine, Margaret River, 4,0 NJP and 8. Wynns Coonawarra Estate, John Riddoch, 2016, red dry wine, Coonawarra, 3,5 NJP.
The best producer at the tasting: Vasse Felix. There were two producers that really stood out; Vasse Felix and Ten Minutes by Tractor. Thanks to the fact that Vasse Felix-wines got a slightly higher average rating and that the best wine at the tasting came from the producer, Vasse Felix was chosen as the best producer at the tasting. Vasse Felix is a well-known wine producer who is usually considered as one of the best producers from Margaret River. Vasse Felix was founded in 1967 by Dr. Tom Cullity. The estate was the first wine-growing estate in Margaret River. At Vasse Felix, wines are mainly made of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, but also Shiraz and Semillon and blends between Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. All grapes are grown in Vasse Felix's four own vineyards in Margaret River. The vineyards are Home Vineyard, Watershed Vineyard, Karridale Vineyard and Adams Road Vineyard. Home Vineyard was planted by Tom Cullity as early as 1967. The other vineyards were planted between 1995 and 1998. The first vintage that was produced was 1971, but it was not but it was not particularly successful. However, the 1973 Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon was, it won the gold medal at the Perth Royal Show. The same year, David Gregg was employed as a winemaker. In 1984, the Gregg family bought Vasse Felix from Tom Cullity. In 1987, the Gregg family sold the estate to the Holmes a Court family, who are still owners of Vasse Felix. Since 2006, Virginia Willcock has been the chief winemaker. The vine growing philosophy is that everything should be done as naturally as possible in the vineyards. This means that no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are used.
The best wine in all categories at the tasting: Vasse Felix, Tom Cullity, 2015, red dry blend wine, Margaret River, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points). It is wines like this that makes it worth keep tasting wines. One immediately forgets all mediocre wines that one has tasted and takes it easy and enjoying great for a while. Unfortunately, such good wines are very rare at this type of tastings. Vasse Felix Tom Cullity 2015 shows that Margaret River can give world-class Cabernet Sauvignon dominated wines. Tom Cullity is Vasse Felix's prestigious wine that was created as a tribute to Vasse Felix founder Tom Cullity. The first vintage was 2013. The grapes for the wine come from the first vines that Tom Cullity planted in 1967. The wine is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. The grapes for the wine are handpicked, destemmed and gently pressed. Then the must is fermented/macerated with natural yeast from the vineyard for up to 34 days. After the fermentation and the maceration, the wine is aged in French oak barrels (225 liters) for 16 months (51% new and 49% 1 to 3 years old). In the nuanced and generous aroma of the wine, one finds both black currants and plums. Furthermore, one will find a very pleasant sweet spiciness and tones of roasted oak barrels, which both contribute to the complexity of the wine. The flavour is long and nuanced with a velvety tannin structure, well-balanced acidity and good fruitiness. The aftertaste is both long and fruit dominated. Vasse Felix Tom Cullity 2015 can be drunk now or aged for at least 15 more years i.e. until 2034. Drink it at 18°C from real Bordeaux glasses, if possible, from Orrefors, Kosta Boda, Spiegelau or Riedel. Serve it with a creamy beef fillet pasta topped with grated Parmesan cheese. Another serving proposal is herb marinated rack of lamb served with gravy sauce from rack of lamb and oven roasted potatoes.
The best wine region at the tasting: Margaret River. Margaret River is an Australian wine region. The region has about 5,020 hectares and it is considered to be the most suitable for the type of Bordeaux wines, the wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The terrain here is hilly and the maximum height is 90 m above sea level. Thanks to that the region is surrounded by two oceans, the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean, it has a Mediterranean climate similar climate. This means that the vineyards are not affected by extreme summer and winter temperatures. The Mediterranean climate along with that it always blows a little make the grapes ripen slowly, reach a good phenolic ripeness (a good balance between sweetness, tannin, dye and tartaric acids) and remain healthy.
Margaret River grapes, to the most widely planted red wine grapes belong Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot, while to the most planted white wine grapes belong Sémillon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Margaret River soils, gravelly, sandy, silty and slightly clayey soil. This type of soil is characterized by good drainage properties.