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Australia

In wine, as in sport, Australia takes no prisoners.  Their influence on modern winemaking is without measure as Australia has raised the benchmark for the quality and changed old perceptions of wine across all price levels.

It is believed wine vines arrived with the first fleet of British colonisers in 1788 though it was James Busby, a Scotsman, who in 1824 took a detailed collection of French and Spanish vine stock to Australia.

In wine, as in sport, Australia takes no prisoners.  Their influence on modern winemaking is without measure as Australia has raised the benchmark for the quality and changed old perceptions of wine across all price levels.

It is believed wine vines arrived with the first fleet of British colonisers in 1788 though it... read more.

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By the 1830s the main regions of today were producing wine and by the end of the century there existed an export market to Britain, mainly for fortified "Empire" wine. Eventually immigration, particularly from Italy and Greece, saw local demand for table wine develop the industry.

In the late 19th century Phylloxera, a vine-munching bug, ate its way through Victorian and New South Wales vineyards though largely left South Australia alone and so it has achieve a wine pre-eminence it has not since relinquished.

The Classification System

No classification exists though a Geographical Indication (GI) system was introduced in 1994 to help identify each wine based on the state, zone and region the grapes were grown. Effectively if a GI appears on the label then 85% of the grapes in the bottle must have been grown in that GI. While some wines can still be labelled as 'South Eastern Australia', for more specific regions such as the Barossa Valley and Margaret River the GI is much more relevant and helpful in determining terrior influences.  

Also by law the designated grape varieties on the front label must make up 85% of what is in the bottle, while the back label must identify 95% of the grapes used.

This system does not restrict what grapes are grown in any region nor does it monitor wine quality, unlike similar laws in Italy or Spain. But encouragingly the GI system does give the winemaker and grape grower more freedom in production and helps them to try new and potentially brilliant ideas.

The result is that it does require the wine buyer to know their wines, or at least ask a merchant for a little advice, to be sure to buy good quality wine.

Climate and Conditions

The perennially sun-kissed image of Australia might not quite be as accurate as its tourist board portrays, but it does possess a climatic consistency that Europe is lacking and there is enough diversity in this huge country to suit different grapes and imbue them with character.  New areas, with differing climate and conditions, continue to open up as the industry expands and it is only the difficulty of irrigation that stems the expansion.

The Wines of Today

In the 1970s the modern wine industry of Australia was born.  Cutting-edge techniques, experimentation, and accessible labelling came to the fore and the world beyond Britain suddenly realised what the country could do.  The export market boomed and the industry has never looked back.  

Australian wine is filled with every type of producer: huge corporations, boutique hand made wineries, and newcomers blazing a trail towards the next great style.  It has achieved consistency whilst retaining value for money and forever an enterprising fun loving spirit.

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  1. Sunnycliff Sparkling Brut, Australia

    Sunnycliff Sparkling Brut, Australia 75cl

    A rich, creamy texture with plenty of depth and fruit. Ideal as an aperitif or to accompany a wide range of dishes.

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    £10.28
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    £11.00
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    £8.57
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    £9.17
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  2. Bird in the Hand Estate Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, 2015

    Bird in the Hand Estate Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, 2016 75cl

    Fresh stone fruit, melon and citrus peel on the nose develops to nectarine and lightly dry roasted cashew nut in the mouth, 

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    £18.06
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  3. Juniper Crossing Semillon Sauvignon Blanc,

    Juniper Crossing Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Margaret River, 2017 75cl

    Pale straw in colour, this wine has a lovely fresh and fruity style showing aromas of gooseberry, green aples, pear and passion fruits. Smooth and rounded on the palate with a long refreshing finish.

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    £12.18
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    £13.94
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  4. Mitchell Riesling, Watervale Clare Valley

    Mitchell Riesling, Watervale Clare Valley, 2015 75cl

    Best Riesling, White Wine and Wine of the year in the Penguin Good Australian Wine Guide.

    A crisp and fruity example of a young wine that will mature into a softer and more mellow wine. The Australian winemakers have added weight to this European grape variety.

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    £13.26
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  5. Murphy Big Rivers Unoaked Chardonnay, 2015

    Murphy Big Rivers Unoaked Chardonnay, 2018 75cl

    An appealing unoaked Chardonnay, light green in colour with fresh tropical fruit aromas and a soft well-balanced finish. An easy drinking Aussie Chardonnay.

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    £7.43
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    £8.10
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  6. Bird in the Hand Estate Shiraz, Adelaide Hills

    Bird in the Hand Estate Shiraz, Adelaide Hills, 2016 75cl

    This Shiraz is a balance between intensity and finesse. Aromas of dark red berries and spice. Long complex and fine on the palate with a persistent depth and length on the finish.

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  7. Campbell's Limited Release Durif, Rutherglen, 2014

    Campbell's Limited Release Durif, Rutherglen, 2015 75cl

    Full bodied and very intense dark fruit with plum and cherry being the most pronounced. Some mocha notes on the palate which lead on to a long, complicated finish.

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  8. Hallmark Grenache

    Hallmark Grenache, McLaren Vale, 2014 75cl

    This is a classic old vine Grenache bursting with big black fruit flavours and a firm grippy body. Wonderful with a steak, beef burgers or any heavy red meat dish.

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    £10.56
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  9. Juniper Crossing Cabernet Merlot, Margaret River, 2013

    Juniper Crossing Cabernet Merlot, Margaret River, 2014 75cl

    Wonderful ripe fruit character of blackcurrant, raspberry, cherry and plums. The palate is deep and rich with juicy mixed berry and plum fruits. Some subtle spice and toasty vanilla hints compliments a long lingering finish.

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    £13.68
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  10. Mitchell McNicol Shiraz, Clare Valley, 2004

    Mitchell McNicol Shiraz, Clare Valley, 2006 75cl

    Full-bodied, showing the level of development one would expect, the flavours moving into an earthy, secondary spectrum, supported by savoury tannins.

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    £21.54
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  11. Mitchell Cabernet Sauvignon, Sevenhill, Clare Valley, 2005

    Mitchell Cabernet Sauvignon, Sevenhill, Clare Valley, 2009 75cl

    Rich and vibrant with deliciously mouth-filling fruit, a complex structure and fine balance; this wine displays all the characteristics of a premium Clare Valley Cabernet.

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    £14.76
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    £16.15
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  12. Mitchell Grenache Mourvedre, Clare Valley, 2012

    Mitchell Mataro Grenache, Clare Valley, 2012 75cl

    Citrus rind and black fruit on the nose, the palate consists of black fruit, pepper spice and subtle smoke. The finish is well balanced and it's lively, fruit forward character is the result of no oak aging

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    £13.02
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    £10.85
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