Telling the story of Oz

07 January, 2011

This year’s Aussie annual trade tasting promises a “brand new conversation and a new brand conversation”, according to Wine Australia.

“Just being good and saying Australia on a label is no longer enough to tell the true story of Australian wine,” says the generic body.

“The Australian wine community is hugely diverse, and our most interesting wines are those that carry a distinct sense of place and are made by people with great stories to tell. This year’s Annual Trade Tasting will see the start of a brand new conversation through the launch of A+ Australian Wine – everyone has a story.”?The premise behind the initiative, according to Wine Australia, is to tell a story and focus on the heritage, diversity and quality of the Australian wine community.

Other highlights of the event will include a selection of feature tastings and three themed masterclasses hosted by wine experts from the UK and Australia. These tastings will include a Riesling masterclass presented by Andrew Hardy from Petaluma; a cool -climate variety masterclass hosted by Phil Sexton from Giant Steps and Martin Spedding from 10 Minutes by Tractor; and an Australian Terroir masterclass, presented by wine writer Andrew Jefford.

Enotria will debut its expanded Australian range since the acquisition of the Great West­ern Wine Company in August 2010. Enotria communications manager Ben Smith says: “Australia is one area where the relative strengths of both companies’ portfolios have married together almost seamlessly into an array of top- quality Australian wine. Whether you’re talking about world famous winemaking families such as Glaetzer, Henschke and Lehmann or more artisanal operations like Skillogalee, Tim Knappstein or Woodlands, the wines we’ll be showing all reinforce the A+ message from Wine Australia to the hilt.”??PLB will showcase new signing Brown Brothers, together with McWilliam’s and Geoff Merrill. Brown Brothers will be showcasing its range of Crouchen wines, as well as the super-premium Patricia range and a number of wines from the Limited Release range. McWilliam’s will launch its new low-alcohol Harmony range.

Early harvested and naturally low in alcohol at 8.5% abv, the range is aimed at the off-trade (rrp £7.99). The wines are McWilliam’s Harmony Shiraz 2009 and McWilliam’s Harmony Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2009, made by McWilliam’s winemaker Jim Brayne. NV McWilliam’s Hanwood Brut Chardonnay, (rrp £8.99), the latest sparkling addition to McWilliam’s off-trade focused Hanwood range will be launched too. New vintages from the Hanwood range, including the McWilliam’s Hanwood Crisp Chardonnay 2010 (£7.99), will also be at the stand.

?Domaine Direct will be launching four new vintages of Leeuwin Estate’s Art Series wines. The new vintage Margaret River wines to be launched are the Art Series Chardonnay 2008, the Art Series Riesling 2009, the Art Series Shiraz 2008 and the Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. The Leeuwin’s Prelude Vineyards Chardonnay 2008 will also be launched. “For the Prelude Vineyards range we are looking for fruit-forward wines with a rounded mouthfeel,” says Paul Atwood, Leeuwin’s winemaker.

Western Australia winery Barwick Wines will be showcasing its new UK selection of three key brands: St John’s Brook, fruit-driven Barwick Estate White Label (rrp £7.99) and premium Barwick Estate Black Label (rrp £9.99). UK and Europe sales manager Nick Dymoke-Marr says: “As one of the largest producers in western Australia, we have the ability to offer the UK a multi-tiered range of wines across various price points. The ATT gives us a great opportunity to introduce the wines to the trade and we’re very much looking forward to developing the brand in this market.”??Lion Nathan will launch Cellar Key – a new marketing platform using 2D barcodes. The programme will initially feature St Hallett, Wither Hills and Petaluma wines, and will be live from the day of the tasting. The barcode links consumers straight to content specific to each wine.

Family-run winery De Bortoli will show its new sparkler Rococo Rosé, a Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier/Pinot Noir blend. The new wine joins last year’s sparkling launch Rococo Blanc de Blancs and will be available to taste for the first time at the tasting. Other lines from De Bortoli will be Steve Webber’s new wine Riorret’s The Abbey as well as a selection of the Melba range.

Hewitson’s Old Garden Mourvèdre – a single vineyard wine planted in 1853 in Barossa Valley – will be on taste. Hewitson claims it’s the oldest Mourvèdre vineyard in the world, with every vine being 157 years old. It willl also be showing two new releases: Hewitson Gun Metal Riesling Eden Valley 2010 and Hewitson Baby Bush Mourvèdre Barossa Valley 2009.

Louis Latour Agencies is showing its selection of wines from two family-owned wine producers – McHenry Hohnen from Margaret River and Wakefield from the Clare Valley. Wakefield wines is new to Louis Latour Agencies portfolio and Neil Hadley MW, from the winery, will be present at the tasting to showcase Wakefield Eighty Acres, which claims to be the world’s first 100% carbon neutral wine.

Liberty Wines will be showcasing 50 wines from across its Australian portfolio, including wines of Dandelion Vineyards, the new venture of Zar Brooks, his winemaking wife Elena, and growers Carl Lindner and Brad Rey. Sourced from the Barossa, Eden Valley, Fleurieu and the McLaren Vale, the wines include an unusual Shiraz/Riesling blend. John Duval will be on hand to present the debut release of his first white wine – the Plexus Barossa Valley Marsanne/Roussanne/Viognier 2010 – alongside his Plexus Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvèdre and Entity Shiraz. New to the Liberty portfolio and available to taste are Grosset’s Off-Dry Clare Valley Riesling, Charles Melton’s Single Vineyard Shirazes and Mitolo Jester McLaren Vale Vermentino – the first white wine produced by Mitolo.

Stratford’s Wine Agencies will be show­casing the new-look Pirie South range along with new vintages of the Paxton wines. The South range is “more in line with the premium image of Pirie” and more premium fruit parcels are being used, according to the agent. In 2010 Paxton received its biodynamic in conversion certification so all wines from the 2010 vintage will be eligible to carry the biodynamic certif­ication logo. The new Paxton Pinot Gris 2010 and Paxton Rosé 2010 and the IWC gold medal winner Paxton AAA Shiraz/Grenache 2008 will be on taste.

Seckford Agencies will present Ferngrove, the Western Australian producer from Frankland River, and its King Malbec 2008 (rrp £17.98), one of its premium wines from the Orchid range, available to taste for the UK trade for the first time. Mel Hollick, sales director of Hollick Wines from Coonawarra will attend the tasting to present the Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (rrp £35.75), also available for the first time in UK.

After an absence from the market for some years Crittenden Estate is back with agents Richards Walford representing its wines in the UK. Garry Crittenden will be attending and showing his Crittenden Estate Chardonnay 2008 and Pinot Noir 2009, Crittenden Estate Zumma Chardonnay 2009 and Pinot Noir 2009 and Crittenden Estate Pinot Gris 2010. He says: “We also produce a range of wines from Spanish and Italian varieties, some of which will, we hope, eventually find their way into the UK via the Richards Walford portfolio.”

First Drop Wines will be introducing two new wines to the UK market: Mother’s Ruin McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and Half and Half Barossa Shiraz/Monastrell 2009 – a wine with “Old World roots, made in a New World of opportunity”, according to First Drop. Three new vintages will also be available to taste: Bella Coppia Adelaide Hills Arneis 2010, The Big Blind Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo/Barbera 2009 and Mother’s Milk Barossa Shiraz 2009.

Tyrrell’s Wines will launch its Old Winery Pinot Grigio and Adele Gould of John E Fells and Sons will be attending the trade tasting on behalf of Tyrrell’s.

Tahbilk will introduce new vintages and feature the latest museum release Tahbilk Marsanne 2003, as well as the “1860 Vines” Shiraz 2005, named after the pre-phylloxera Shiraz vines still surviving from 1860. The Eric Stevens Purbrick Shiraz vintage 2005 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 will also be launched.

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