Wines of New South Wales, Australia
Geography & Climate
New South Wales is the second biggest producing region in Australia, after its neighbor to the West, South Australia. Often overlooked and definitely overshadowed by South Australia, New South Wales has wine-making cut out for it. It is home to some of the furthest North growing regions, condition is less than ideal with extreme heat, humid air and rough clay soil.
No region can better represent New South Wales than Hunter Valley, having to endure harsh growing conditions and poor soil, Hunter Valley proves time after time that itself can produce world class wine. Just 70 miles away from Australia’s biggest city, Sydney, Hunter Valley boasts some of the best Chardonnay there is. Its Chardonnay is known to be concentrated, explosive in flavors and aromas with long floral finish. Second to its Chardonnay, Hunter Valley also produce more elegant and earthy reds, such as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Hunter Valley is considered iconic for Australia, producing a wide variety of wines such as Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Verdelhoits with Semillon as a signature grape; with warm nights and hot days, vines strive to survive, rooted in sandy alluvial flats to red clay loams. Light and elegant, Hunter Valley wines are generally lower in alcohol, making them easy to pair with food. Highly underappreciated, Semillon is a dry white capable of balancing many delicious meals. Fresh and zippy or aged and pleasantly oily, it is a perfect partner for raw or slightly cooked shellfish, particularly with Asian flavors.
On the other of the dividing range lay Mudgee, a smaller sub region than Hunter Valley, but more blessed. The region sits higher up with clean air ventilating through vineyards, warmer climate allows berries to ripen and intensify their flavor, which explains the region’s bold reds, Cabernet Sauvignon and not far behind, Shiraz.
Further South of Hunter Valley, lays a lesser known region of Riverina. Previously known for low to medium quality wine, mainly large production jug wine. That is changing in the sweetest way possible. While still remains largely undiscovered, Semillon grape is making strikes towards world class sweet wine. When young, these wines are enjoyable, but nothing spectacular; however when age for several years, it is nothing short of a diamond in the rough. Humid condition promotes a magical phenomenon of Botrytis, fungus attacks the semillon grapes drying out its juices while adding a unique nutty flavor. Intense flavor, elegant sweetness of honey suckle, dried apricot and toast caramel, a late harvest Semillon from New South Wales reminisces those of Sauternes, Bordeaux.
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-Certified Sommelier (CMS)
Napa Reserva -Falling for wine, one sip at a time. TM