Wow, what a year it has been! Very turbulent across the globe, with so many natural disasters that global production was down significantly. Yet it was a great year for Australia with a good season and some cracker wines.
Vintage 2017 has been an awesome year for me, trying new and exciting wines, as well as re-acquainting myself with some old favourites.
I went to the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair for Winestate Magazine and tried wines from all over the world, and caught up with friends from other wine countries. Just a week later I was off to Amsterdam for WBM, to be one of 24 international wine judges for the World Bulk Wine Competition at the 9th World Bulk Wine Exhibition. It was a real eye-opener, demonstrating that “bulk wine” does not have to mean “cheap & nasty”. I tasted some sensational wines during the judging and at the Exhibition with the highlight being the 2017 Tannat from Uruguay.
At the time of writing this, I have tried a total of 1,924 wines for the year, made from all sorts of different grape varieties, from countries scattered across the globe.
I tried wines from Austria, France, Italy, Georgia, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Japan, Slovenia, Kazakhstan, Thailand, India, Indonesia (Bali), Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, USA, Canada and Mexico – Oh and of course, Australia!!!
A few of these wines were ordinary, but most of them were good and a handful, were sensational. It shows that almost every wine growing country produces a few exceptional world-class wines, a number of good wines and then a raft of 'commercial' wines. Australia is no different.
One of the great ways that Australia keeps innovating is by trialling Emerging (alternative) grape varieties rather than like most of the rest of the winemaking world, which stick to the ‘classical’ mainstream varieties. Right now we are making wine from 154 different grape varieties, compared with most other wine producing countries which average around 25-35.
I urge you to seek out new tasting experiences by both trying wines from different parts of the world (especially the newer wine producing countries) and by trying Aussie wines made from varieties that you have either not tasted or heard of before, or in styles that you are not familiar with. For example, the Emerging varieties such as: Verdejo (Spain), Carménère (Chile), Rkatsiteli, Saperavi (Georgia), Albarino (Spain), Lagrein (Italy, and so on. Sure, you may not like/enjoy all of them, but out of all the ones that there are, I am sure that you will find a new favourite variety.
As this is my last Blog for the year, I wish you and your family an enjoyable and safe festive season and wishing you all the best on your wine adventure in 2018.
By the way, these were My Favourite 25 Wines Tasted In 2017. They are not listed in any specific order:
: Lark Hill Biodynamic Scuro (Sangiovese/Shiraz) 2015 (Canberra)
: Hazyblur Basket Press Shiraz 2015 (Kangaroo Island)
: d’Arenberg The Anthropocene Epoch Mencia 2016 (McLaren Vale)
: Champagne Monsigny Premier Cru Brut N/V (France) – from ALDI
: Mount Majura TSG (Tempranillo/Shiraz/Graciano) 2015 (Canberra)
: GranMonte Durif 2016 (Thailand)
: Levrier by Jo Irvine Zinfandel 2014 (Barossa Valley)
: Kingston Estate Echelon Petit Verdot 2014 (Riverland)
: Marjico Cabernet Franc 2014 (Barossa)
: Chateau Mercian Koshu 2016 (Japan)
: Dell’uva Primitivo 2013 (Barossa Valley)
: St Hugo Private Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Coonawarra)
: Segura Viudas Cava Brut Reserva N/V (Spain)
: Calabri Wines St Macaire 2015 (Griffith)
: Hanhdorf Hill GRU Grüner Veltliner 2016 (Adelaide Hills)
: Patritti Wines Trincadeira 2015 (Barossa)
: Coriole 2017 Picpoul (McLaren Vale)
: Thiery Weber Grüner Veltliner 2016 (Kremstal, Austria)
: Turkey Flat Grenache 2016 (Barossa Valley)
: Warrumbungle Wines Dominvs Mvscidae Dorbeaux – Merlot/Petit Verdot/Cabernet 2007 (Coonabarabran)
: McGregor Vineyards Black Russian Saperavi 2012 (Finger Lakes, NY, USA)
: Champagne Jeeper Grand Assemblage Brut N/V (France)
: Humis Vineyard Carménère 2015 (Heathcote)
: Willem Kurt Chardonnay 2016 (Beechworth)
: Orlando St Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon 1986 (Coonawarra)