Do you have a penchant for putting down international wines? This week we ask experts for their advice on cellaring picks from further afield.
Q. Which country or region will be the next big thing on the global wine scene?
Importer and distributor Patrick Walsh of CellarHand points to dry rieslings from Germany and Austria. “Historically, these producers have made very off-dry or sweet wines, but in recent years – from the early 2000s onwards – there’s been a renewed push to make dry wines,” he says. Patrick points to Dr Loosen, which sits within his own portfolio, as one of the trailblazers of this new style. “These are dry, balanced wines where the cellarability is really long term.”
Patrick also notes these wines tend to age differently to Australian styles of riesling. “There isn’t much of that kerosene-like character, but more of what we call ‘lemon butter on toast’ emerging, and that’s a really cool thing,” he says. The price is right too – around the $60 to $70 mark can buy you serious quality, with Patrick suggesting their longevity simply depends on your patience.
Q. What is the one French wine that should be a must in my cellar?
While it always comes down to taste and budget, in terms of recent releases there are some strong contenders. Patrick from CellarHand says collectors should look to 2014 white Burgundies and 2015 red Burgundies. “I’ve bought up where I can because these white Burgundies are both delicious now, but showing an inherent balance that will allow them to go a long journey,” Patrick says. He adds that he personally likes to drink these wines at around 10 years of age – Montrachet and Meursault included – because he prefers them younger rather than fully mature. There is also lot of noise around the 2015 red Burgundy vintage, not least because it’s one of the first “normal” vintages in some time where the vines weren’t ravaged by natural causes. “The 2015 wines have enough poise and acidity to go the distance,” Patrick says.
In Halliday magazine, Patrick discusses the price range you’re looking at for investing in French Burgundies.
Q. How can I build an Italian wine collection on a budget?
Michael suggests seeking out quality barbera as well as red wines from Etna. He says that cellaring these wines is a little unproven, since it has only been about 15 years since the region came to notice. But he describes these Nerello Mascalese wines as being a little like pinot noir in terms of aromatics with more of a nebbiolo structure, high acid and a “punch on the palate”, which all bodes well for ageing. The clincher is many retail for under $40.
In the magazine, Michael outlines other Italian regions and wine styles to look out for.
Q. How do you start collecting wines from countries you’re unfamiliar with?
This can seem like an overwhelming prospect, but Luke Campbell of Vinified Wine Services has a straight-forward approach. “I always encourage people to pick a variety they love and then look to its homeland,” he says. “Always explore one variety at a time – shiraz is a good example. If you love shiraz, it comes from so many different regions here in Australia, but its homeland is in the Rhone Valley. Start with the Rhone and try some of those shiraz wines. It’s also grown in Italy and Spain, so you can then move on to other countries. Sangiovese is another good example, with Mark Lloyd at Coriole and the Chalmers growing great examples of this variety here. But then go to Italy where its home is Chianti and start looking at those wines.”
Next article: gauge the right time to open your cellared wines.