Old Vines, Classic Wines: a brief study of Australian wine

These wines were served at a Wine Australia lunch at the Texsom conference in Dallas, August 2023. It’s a really interesting set of wines taking a tour through some stylistic and regional variation.

Leagate Semillon 2021 Hunter Valley, Australia
A bright expression of this classic Aussie style, with more fruit than you usually find on a young Hunter Semillon. Lively and intense with a sweet core to the citrus, pear and apple fruit. Bold and expressive with a hint of melon. 90/100

Pewsey Vale The Contours Riesling 2015 Eden Valley, Australia
This is showing a little bit of TDN development, but it’s also very youthful and precise. Lively and intense with powerful lime fruit and high acidity. It’s dry and precise with some hints of toast and spice. 92/100

Tyrrells HVD Chardonnay 2021 Hunter Valley, Australia
This is from vines planted in 1908, ungrafted. Is this the oldest Chardonnay vineyard in the world? Complex, linear and intense with some bold pear and peach fruit, as well as some lemon. Lovely precision here: so layered. 95/100

Thistledown Sands of Time Grenache 2021 McLaren Vale, Australia
From the sandy soils of Blewitt Springs. Soft, sweet, exotic black cherries and blackberries. This is textural and very smooth with some nice floral notes, as well as a touch of white pepper. Such an appealing Grenache: ripe but expressive. 94/100

Clonakilla O’Raida Shiraz 2021 Canberra District, Australia
This is the more affordable sibling of the Shiraz Viognier, with some purchased fruit in the blend. Peppery and pure with taut raspberry and cherry fruit, and a hint of cured meat. So well defined, this is lovely stuff. 95/100

Langmeil Jackman’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Barossa Valley, Australia
Ripe and sleek with a meaty depth, some mint, and a slight saltiness. Rich sweet blackcurrant fruit here with boldness and soft tannins, finishing salty. 91/100

Hickinbotham The Peake Cabernet Shiraz 2019 McLaren Vale, Australia
Very rich and bold with some salty notes under the concentrated blackberry and black cherry fruit. This is a big wine with lots of structure and also a lot of very ripe fruit, finishing with a hint of ash and tar. 93/100

Spinifex Esprit 2020 Barossa Valley, Australia
This has lovely aromatics of sleek black cherry fruit with some suppleness and a slight meatiness. Fresh and supple in the mouth with great definition to the black fruits. Serious stuff. 94/100

Find these wines with wine-searcher.com