Australia by Producer
Australia is enjoying a much-deserved renaissance and we fundamentally believe we are several years ahead of the curve with many wine merchants relying on importers as a source of predictable, unimaginative wine selections. Our energy and the desire to exclusively represent Australia’s greatest wine producers has gained The Vinorium the reputation as the United Kingdom’s leading Australian specialist, capped-off with the prodigious IWC Australian Specialist of the Year & Decanter Best Australian Specialist 2018.
Situated in South Australia, 60 kilometres northwest of Adelaide, lies the Barossa Valley which has been producing wine since 1842 and these days is recognised as Australia’s quintessential wine region. The hot climate mixed with the ironstone and sandstone soil in the valley, makes excellent growing conditions for grapes and in particular, Shiraz (or Syrah) which classically is full bodied with earthy and spicy notes. Over the last 15 years there has also been an increased interest in the other red Rhone varietals Grenache and Mourvedre. The non-irrigated old vineyards on the cooler west side of the valley are the most treasured and provide fruit for Australia’s most famous wine, Penfolds Grange among many other top-quality bottlings.
Eden Valley is a wine making region sharing a boundary with the Barossa Valley and is dotted with the rolling hills of the Barossa Ranges. The Eden valley competes with the Clare Valley for the top-spot in high-quality Riesling production and the grapes thrive in the cool climate of the region. The other varietal that is important to this area is Shiraz and this is responsible for some of Eden Valley’s most highly acclaimed wines – the styles differ from those produced in south eastern Australia in that they have riper and smoother tannins and more ripe black fruit aromas with sweet spice notes. The wines are extremely well-balanced and both the reds and whites garner a great deal of complexity during the ageing process. One of our favourite producers from this region is the Henschke Estate and we have older vintages of both the Keyneton Estate and the Cyril available that show the red wines of Eden Valley at their best.
Clare Valley is the northernmost wine region in South Australia and is noted for being both one of the oldest wine regions and for being one of the most picturesque wine making regions in the country. The region is best known for its Riesling wines - the drier styles are recognized as some of the best of the world due to their range and depth of classic Riesling flavours – exotic citrus, orange blossom, lime and apple with a good minerality and crisp acidity. The regions red wines are also highly regarded and easily compete with some of the best wines produced in Australia. The wines are generally based around Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals and blends and have a deep colour and heavy concentration of flavours. The wines from Wendouree come highly recommended and prove that this wine making region is capable of producing some very special wines.
In South Australia on the coast you find the Adelaide Hills region, one of the highest and coolest regions in Australia. Within Adelaide Hills are two sub-regions, Piccadilly Valley and Lenswood, that are noted for their unique soils and micro-climates and with conditions in Piccadilly Valley being not too dissimilar from Champagne, not only does Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive here, but various other cool climate varieties such as Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Gris. Not only home to such producers as Shaw & Smith who take advantage of the cool, micro-climate of Lenswood to produce Chardonnay that rivals some of the best produced in Burgundy, Petaluma who also source grapes from Clare Valley and Coonawarra but are based in Adelaide Hills and use the unique conditions found here to produce high quality Shiraz and Chardonnay, but also a source of grapes for such iconic producers as Penfolds.
McLaren Vale is situated south of The Barossa Valley in South Eastern Australia. The local climates vary enormously according to altitude and exposure to the cooling sea breezes. Red grapes flourish here due to the warm climate and varied soil type and the region is best known for soft and juicy Shiraz, old-vine Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The climate is similar to that of the Mediterranean climate with four clear seasons. We can highly recommend the producers Kay Brothers, Clarendon Hills and Shirvington Estate from whom we have some fantastic wines.
Perched all the way over on Australia’s most south westerly tip is Margaret River. A region that accounts for less than 5% of Australia’s wine production but is responsible for 20% of the premium wines and the lion’s share of awards. Probably best known as the region that produces some of the new world’s finest Cabernet, Margaret River specialises not only in red and white, Bordeaux style wines but the region is also gaining a reputation for premium Chardonnays that rival some of the best found in Burgundy. Deep Woods have scooped up a multitude of awards across their range, including five gold medals and a staggering 98 points awarded for their Reserve Chardonnay 2017. Nocturne’s 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon picked up three trophies including Best Red Wine of Show. Watershed make no secret of their list of accolades, their labels crammed with gold medals and trophies and all but one of Flowstone’s wines have been awarded 95 points or above. The list of awards given to this tiny area in Australia’s most isolated region is endless and it’s no wonder that Margaret River is dominating Australia’s premium sector.
Positioned just over 400 km from mainland Australia’s south east coast, Tasmania has rapidly gained a reputation for being a premium, cool climate wine region, not just for sparkling wines but also for top quality still wines such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. With vineyard sites positioned on the north and south east side of the island taking full advantage of the cool, maritime influences and coastal breezes that help to preserve the crisp acidity and freshness that is so important in producing wines of this Calibre. Wine makers in Tasmania utilise the whole region often blending parcels from vineyards across the different sub-regions that each lend its own specific identity to the wines.
Tamar Valley on the north coast is one of the warmer sub-regions with a higher level of rainfall producing fruit with a riper character. Just to the east of this is Pipers River, one of Tasmania’s coolest regions with a terroir dominated by red, ferrosol soils and home to the outstanding sparkling wine producer House Of Arras. Created by Ed Carr who is unanimously considered to be Australia’s greatest sparkling wine maker, House Of Arras source grapes from top vineyard sites located on Tasmania’s south and eastern coastal sub-regions. Also based in Pipers River is our best selling wine of 2018, Bay Of Fires Chardonnay utilising grapes from several Tasmania’s cool eastern coastal regions. As we travel south we come to the East Coast region followed by Coal River Valley, Derwent Valley and Huon Valley. Based in the Huon Valley is Glaetzer-Dixon, responsible for producing, amongst others, the legendary La Judith Pinot Noir with 3 years of aging in new oak. Dr Edge is a producer that focuses on the unique expression of each terroir creating three individual, single vineyard Pinot Noirs each from a different sub-region. Simply named North - from Stoney Rise vineyard in Tamar Valley, East – from Hazards Vineyard in the East Coast and South – from Meadow Bank vineyard in Derwent Valley. As well as these single vineyard expressions Dr Edge also produces a blend of all three named Tasmania. Situated in Tasmania’s smallest sub-region Coal River Valley is Tolpuddle Vineyard who utilise this region’s tendency for slow ripening producing intense wines with layers of complexity.
Despite being the second smallest state in Australia, Victoria is home to over 600 wineries, more than any other wine-producing state. However, Victoria does not produce the most wine, as rather than producing mass quantities of cheaper wine, its wineries tend to be smaller and more boutique in style. The cool climate here produced by the coastal areas means that a wide range of wines can be made, from stunningly complex Chardonnay’s and delicate Pinot Noirs in the Yarra Yarra Valley, to savoury and rich Shiraz from Heathcote and iconic fortified wines from Rutherglen.
Situated due North of Australia’s capital, Melbourne, the Heathcote region sits nestled between the Goulburn Valley and Bendigo region, in Central Victoria. Wine from this region stands out due to the perfect combination of warm climates and cool, southerly winds mixed with its ancient rich, red Cambrian soil. The region has become renowned in recent years for its Shiraz, which tends to be complex yet well-balanced. As well as Shiraz, the other red varieties such as Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon do well here, with whites such as Viognier and Chardonnay becoming increasing popular. From the Heathcote region, we have a selection of wine from two of its best wineries, Wild Duck Creek and Tatiarra.
Located just east of Melbourne in Victoria and surrounding the Yarra River, Yarra Valley enjoys a mix of influences both mediterranean and continental with two main soil types including the bright red, fertile, volcanic soil found mainly around Seville. Yarra Valley has a climate slightly cooler than Bordeaux enabling a range of grapes from Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon and Semillon to Rhone varieties such as Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier and Roussanne, as well as many others. This enables a range of wine styles to be produced here evident with producers such as Yarra Yerring who create several outstanding Bordeaux and Rhone style blends. For their Eileen Hardy Pinot Noir, Hardys source fruit from both Tasmania and Yarra Valley, whilst Jamsheed focus on high quality Rhone varieties and Mayer produces highly complex Pinot Noir from whole bunch pressing.
Rutherglen is a wine producing region in north-eastern Victoria and has a long established record for making the finest examples of Muscat in Australia, if not the world. Its Muscats and Tokays are internationally recognised for their quality and unique style. One of the contributing factors to Rutherglen’s unique appeal is the climate; a variety of soils, with warm summers and cool evenings give grapes in this region a huge opportunity to ripen. While the area does offer a range of red and white table wines indicative of the region, it remains infamous for its incredible fortified wines and blockbuster reds. We can highly recommend both the Chambers Rosewood Grand Muscat and the Calliope Muscat – both awarded a near perfect 99 points from Robert Parker!