Australia sells more wine than any other country in the influential UK wine market. But that doesn?t mean that it enjoys the best reputation ? its wines are frequently dismissed as being over-ripe, over-alcoholic and over-exposed.
And although Australia itself is well known, there is very little recognition of the individual wine regions in the country ? in fact Barossa Valley in Australia was the least well-known major wine region in a recent survey of 3,000 regular wine drinkers in the US and UK.
So I set out to look for wines from Australia that have what the French like to call terroir ? that elusive link between place, climate, soil and winemaker that gives the best wines their sense of identity.
Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2007
Made by great Australian winemaker Brian Croser in partnership with Jean Michel Cazes of Chateau Lynch Bages in Bordeaux, this is haute-couture Australian wine.The grapes come from a single vineyard ? which is what you need to look for in Australian wine for the concept of terroir to really mean something ? of 30 year old vines in the Adelaide Hills. Lightly oaked, the flavours that you will find here are consciously similar to those from southern Burgundy ? less a Chablis interpretation of chardonnay, more like a Montrachet. It’s rich, but there is a lovely crisp backbone to it, and the whole effect is a world away from those buttery over-oaked Chardonnays that Australia has too often managed to produce.