The definitive guide to Australian Wines
Whether you're partial to a big, buttery chardonnay or prefer a lean, citrussy example, you'll find a bottle to suit your mood in this roundup of recent tastings from James Halliday. This spectrum of styles offers something for everyone, from complex and intense to crisp and bright, all rated 95 points or above.
Discover why the Hunter Valley's Silkman Wines took out top gong in the James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge, trumping 600 entrants from 355 producers to take first place for 2015. James has much praise for the new wave of chardonnay on our shores, backing it to compete with the likes of Burgundy on the international stage. These are exciting times for the varietal.
Here are six new-release chardonnays with yet-to-be-seen tasting notes from James Halliday, spanning an easy-drinking Hunter Valley example, a vibrant Gippsland wine, a pair of elegant Tasmanians and cool-climate duo from the Yarra Valley.
Tune in to The Vincast with James Scarcebrook for an insightful interview with chardonnay producer Adrian Santolin. "Adrian grew up in the Griffith region of NSW, with both parents involved in the wine industry," says Scarcebrook. "He began working with wine as a teenager, and after a brief period when he contemplated a career in a completely different field, returned to Griffith to work for De Bortoli. After experience in the Hunter Valley he ended up in the Yarra Valley, where he now produces small-batch wines under the Santolin Wines brand."
James Halliday gives a blow-by-blow account of the memorable Chardonnay Pinot Noir 15 Dinner, hosted by Gary and Julie Hounsell at the Healesville Hotel in 2015. For James, the sumptuous five-course meal ranks among the greatest he has been privileged to participate in, showcasing Grand Cru white Burgundies, fine Champagne and covetable pinot noirs.
In this handy YouTube tutorial, James shows how to evaluate a wine's aromas and understand the bouquet of a white wine before tasting it, giving tips on swirling in the glass and the different distances at which to smell.
Big whites are back. The overwhelming trend towards longer and leaner white wine continues apace, but demand for more substantial white wine is on in earnest. Oak, fruit, richness and texture. They’ve almost been made to seem like dirty words in recent years… but no more. And for good reason. For all the talk of Euro this and elegance that, the truth is that drinkers are smart. Style is one thing, flavour is another. One without the other is like work without play.
Cullen Wines’ 30th annual International Chardonnay Tasting, held in Margaret River, had a serendipitous send-off from the queen bee of English wine writers, Jancis Robinson MW, in the Financial Times. In a lengthy article on the quality of modern Australian chardonnays, Robinson wrote: “I am finding more life, interest and value in the best of the new generation of Australian chardonnays than I am in the great bulk of white burgundies.”
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Wines considered to offer special value for money.