Wine Talk

Snooth User: Stephen Harvey

Aussie Wine in the US

Original post by Stephen Harvey, Feb 7, 2017.

I am hoping to get some input on what Aussie wine the Snooth Community is seeing on the shelves [either retail or restaurants] in your local areas.

US wine in Australia is still very much limited to the bigger wine companies eg

Argyle Pinot Noir

Stags Leap

Berringer

Etude

Occasionly the big guns from Napa will appear on the Auction Sites.

I am always happy to give any recommendations if you are looking for an Aussie experience

Now I am back doing some posting I will keep my eye out for US wines over here and see if any you think are worth me having a look at.

Replies

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Reply by GregT, Feb 28, 2017.

Stephen - I just saw this:

"Dean Hewitson makes some great wines - his sons play Aussie football with mine"

I've met him a few times in the US. I love their wines. They do a great job with Mourvedre, either on its own or in various blends.

BTW, the cover story in the most recent WS was about Australian wine in the US. To summarize: higher-end wines took a hit as people started questioning the scores for for high-octane wines and kept buying the low-price stuff but some Australian wine makers adjusted and now Americans are supposed to become fans again.

But there were always a lot of fans. If you look at the percentages of imports to the US, they've been steady while some other regions have increased their percentages of the market. 

I think that the US market hasn't realized the diversity of wines coming from Australia. They think of it as all the same, but it's an entire continent with many varied regions that are completely different from each other. We in the US have Virginia, New York, Oregon and California and Australia has the same diversity.

 

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Feb 28, 2017.

Greg

Dean is a good bloke and yes does make some good wine

Unfortunately history showed thatv too many of our winemakers were seduced by Parker Points which were awarded for high alcohol "fruit bombs" sadly it was not the fruit that was the problem it was the decision to harvest later to "engineer" high alcohol.

The big problem we found with these wine was more often than not alcohol acid and tannin were out of balance and many failed to age and just got hotter on the palate [and unpleasant to drink]

The other big issue for our wines was the AUD/USD exchange rate which was sitting at 50-55 US cents to and Aussie dollar in 2001/2/3 i took my family on a US holiday and the exchange rate was horrendous for holidaying but great for exporting wine

By 2011 the exchange was now 1.11 US to 1 Aussie dollar great for us to travel to US but disasterous for exporting wine.

Add the costs of the US 3 tier import system and there was no money for anyone in the chain

Like the US/France/Italy et al we have many significant wine regions all of which are different

In my State of South Australia we have [with dominant varieties]

Barossa/Eden Valley - Shiraz and Riesling

McLaren Vale - Shiraz

Clare Valley - Shiraz and Riesling

Coonawarra - Cabernet Sauvignon

Adelaide Hills - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc

PLus the Riverland which is our Bulk Wine region

WA has Margaret river which is Cabernet and CHardonnay

Victoria has many small regions  - Yarra Valley, Mornington, Macedon Ranges, Beechworth, - these make excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay  with some example of cool climate Cabs and shirazes

add in Great Western for spicy shiraz, rutherglen for ports, muscats and Tokays

NSW has Hunter Valley with its fabulous semillons, and a number of other regions with very good shiraz and chardonnay.

Canberra [ACT] has superb riesling and cool climate shiraz

Tasmania is our sparkling white star and small quantities of excellent riesling  chardonnay and pinot noir

Not a complete list but an indication of the diversity of what we produce here

 

 

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Reply by amour, Feb 28, 2017.

Talking about Hunter Valley....I was just introduced to SILKMAN HUNTER VALLEY 2015.....the winemaker is Liz Silkman.  She and her hubby have presented their own label since 2013....hubby runs his father's FIRST CREEK WINES.

THIS IS REGARDED AS ONE OF THE BEST HUNTER SEMILLONS.

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Reply by amour, Feb 28, 2017.

Regarding Barossa.....in London, England, I was told about Greenock Wines, including the highly acclaimed  Greenock Creek Apricot Block Shiraz.   Mention was also made of the JOHN DUVAL 'ELIGO' 2009 and 2013......they both still need cellar time, I am reliably informed!  Those two just mentioned, are massive, muscular wines!

I have not heard them mentioned here in the USA.

I go to up-scale restaurants and hotel dining facilities in Florida and there are few if any Aussie wines.....we are missing out here!  With the Latin influence in Miami, Italian and Spanish wines hold sway, of course!

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Feb 28, 2017.

Greenock Creek is one to be careful of - the wines are often in the 16-18% alcohol range

I have found them to be a challenge as when they are good and in balance they are excellent but too often the alcohol is too dominant and that awful hot alcoholic attribute comes through

John Duval is the ex Penfolds winemaker who was in charge of Grange before Peter Gago

Eligo is his top wine at around AUD100

Entity Shiraz at AUD40 is an excellent wine and worth a look he also does a GSM blend under the Plexus label and a Rhone White as well

On restaurants and wine - i think Aussie winemakers are making more effort to reach out and connect with restaurants.

If you give me a couple of names of your favourite locals I will let the people i know ...know about them so they can contact

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Reply by rckr1951, Feb 28, 2017.

Here's another john Duvall you might like - 

2013 John Duval "Plexus" SGM Barossa Valley South Australia

I've got this ordered as of today.

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Reply by amour, Feb 28, 2017.

OMG....RCKR 1951.........you like BIG STUFF!

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Feb 28, 2017.

The Plexus which is SHiraz Grenache Mouvedre [sorry got my blend the wrong way around] is an excellent wine

I quite enjoy it with Thai Food [perhaps not too heavy on the Chilli]

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Reply by amour, Mar 3, 2017.

 

AVAILABLE IN THE USA!

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Reply by rckr1951, Mar 3, 2017.

AMOUR -  Yes I do, though I like big wine that is well balanced and John's history of winemaking I find his and Jim Barry's to be wonderful.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 6, 2017.

Amour have not tried that one - have had a few from Koonara 2013 solid vintage in Coonawarra

RCKR 

Agree Barry's wines are good

Pete and Sue Barry good friends of ours and their son Tom is great mates with my oldest

The Boys Tom and Sam are making some great Riesling under the Clos Clare label - worth a try if you see it your way

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Reply by amour, Mar 6, 2017.

We so proud and fortunate to have you as a wine guru, STEPHEN HARVEY!!!

THANKS...... AND HAPPY WINE WEEK AHEAD!!!

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Reply by rckr1951, Mar 10, 2017.

Stephen - Tell me what your thoughts are on James Halliday.  For my money he's Australia's version of Robert Parker or James Suckling.  HIs ratings on wines seem high for my money, much like Suckling's were for Italy and Bordeaux when he was working for WS and now, he's doing it for everyone that'll pay for it...Parker for Bordeaux and anything else with higher alcohol and tannins.

I really don't know Halliday's body of work, thus the question.

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Reply by rckr1951, Mar 13, 2017.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 13, 2017.

RCKR

Your observation is quite valid

Halliday has a strong reputation in our world

He is a Lawyer by trade and set up Coldstream Hills Winery which he later sold to what is now Treasury WIne Estates - Penfolds et al

Certainly Coldstream was part of the beginning of AUstralia's journey to producing our best  Pinot Noir and he has long been a strong advocate of the industry and together with Len Evans one of the highly regarded opinion setters

Personally I think his ratings our far too high but he is not alone there - leave that for another post

ALso like Parker he has people who work for him who share his philosophy

IMHO if you want the most balanced and honest assessment of Australian Wines I tend to look at what Jeremy Oliver has to say.

While I don't always agree with his ratings/opinions he generally will give more realistic scores and more importantly gives his reasons for his scores as a guide.

Oliver maintains his inpendence fiercely and will not engage with wineries r regions for income, he relies mainly on his own business model and will write for wine media

He seems to be more like Steve Tanzer from my very uneducated knowledge of Tanzer

 

 

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Reply by rckr1951, Mar 13, 2017.

STEPHEN - Thanks for the response and confirmation.  Steve Tanzer sold to Vinous a couple of years ago and he reviews for them - which reflects in their scoring.  I've always like his more characteristic reviews - instead of flowery tributes - and he's only signed on for a few years.

I tried to get Sooth to include Vinous on the site but that fell on deaf ears.

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Reply by rckr1951, Apr 5, 2017.

Picked up these. The Yalumba Viognier Eden Valley wasn't available yet so I purchased the Y series.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 5, 2017.

R

Yalumba Y Series is their entrance level - usually competent well made wines but the fruit source is generic South Australia

let me know how it drinks

The red I have never seen

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Reply by rckr1951, Apr 5, 2017.

Stephan - Sat. night is the plan. Couple of questions - 

1. Your thoughts on the Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier.

2. Same with the Jim Barry's The Cover Drive Cabby.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 6, 2017.

R

The Eden Valley Viognier is a nice drink - Yalumba have spent time expermenting with clonal selection and have a strong relationship with the Guigal family

They are committed to producing great Viognier in Aus

Their top one the Virgilius is very good but does need some time inn the cellar

The JB Cover Drive is a nice wine solid Coonawarra Cabernet - I think the name comes from the block being on an old cricket ground

In cricket a cover drive is a batting stroke hit at about 45 degrees on the off sode being to the right for a right handed batsman

Kind of like a drive over first base for a right handed batter in baseball

I am a bit biased with JB wines as they are good friends and our sons are good friends with their sons [ and they their boys play golf of 3 and 5]

Which reminds me US Masters is about to start

SHould we have what do you drink watching the Masters thread?



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