Treve’s Travels – Australia Today – Part II

Australia Today – Part IIFebruary 11, 2015

Text and photographs by Treve Ring

In Part I of this series, I highlighted a few regions in Western Australia and South Australia, recommending producers and wines I recommend seeking out and noting which was available at the upcoming Vancouver International Wine Festival.

Here I continue the tasting trek east, with a snapshot of what you can expect from each region, and some of the wines that I wish were here in Canada.

McWilliams Wines

New World? 6th generation Scott McWilliams
McWilliams Wines, Hunter Valley

But First, A Brief Rant

I get that consumers can be confused about the messaging of Australian wine. First impressions matter, and if your primary Aussie wine experience came via a bright kangaroo label for a handful of dollars plucked from a display larger than your car, you may be imprinted on cheap and cheerful (and sweet) Aussie wines. I encourage you to keep reading – read this report, my colleagues here and around the globe, and educated sources that matter. Taste some wines for yourself, talk up your trusted local wine store staff, and allow yourself to be open to the reality beyond the brand.

As for wine trade, I am beyond tired of hearing your sad excuses how all Australian wine is slutty, or sweet, or fruit bombed, or alcoholic. I get that you’re excited by the obscure rarities of innovative, envelope pushing producers. What about organic old ungrafted bush vine grenache, whole-cluster fermentation with wild yeast and 82 days on skins made by a surfing musician living in cool climate Adelaide Hills ? (Ochota Barrels – two wines are here for a limited time for VIWF).

We all take things for granted, including our own memories of place and taste. I gently encourage you (well, for trade I strongly encourage you) to pick up and taste again Australia TODAY.

To help you with this report

VIWF indicates wines and/or producers present at Vancouver International Wine Festival.
Wish You Were Here is part of WineAlign’s ongoing series signifying wines not yet available in Canada.
If no title noted, you can purchase this wine in Canada now.





Tasting with Mac Forbes winemaker Austin Black

Yarra Valley

The birthplace of Victoria’s wine industry is now recognized as one of Australia’s foremost cool climate regions. As such, sparkling wine features here as does perfumed and elegant pinot noir and fine, restrained chardonnay.

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2012

Wish They Were Here
Mac Forbes Woori Yallock Pinot Noir 2013

Goulburn Valley


Treve with 1860 planted shiraz at Tahbilk Winery, Nagambie Lakes

This historic region was first planted in the 1860’s. The warm climate and sandy soils are influenced by the Goulburn River and numerous smaller lakes and rivers crossing the inland valley floor. Ripe, rich, darker fruited, dark chocolate shiraz is renown throughout. Nagambie Lakes is a registered subregion, and home to the oldest and largest planting of Marsanne in the world.


Tahbilk Marsanne 2010

Mornington Peninsula

Gentle rolling hills and open pastures mark this tranquil region. Relatively small wineries take advantage of the complex soils, with many variations affected by the maritime cool climate. Elegant, alluring and delicate pinot noir and mineral and flinty marked chardonnay are flagship grapes.

Kooyong Single Vineyard Selection Ferrous Pinot Noir 2012

Wish They Were Here
Moorooduc Estate Robinson Pinot Noir 2012 *here for a limited time for VIWF



Idyllic Curly Flat, Macedon Ranges

Macedon Ranges

Australia’s coolest mainland wine region ranges from extremely cold in the windswept south-east to very cold in the north-west. Well suited to sparkling wine, though intense riesling, elegant chardonnay and lighter bodied pinot noir do well.

Wish They Were Here
Curly Flat Pinot Noir 2012 *here for a limited time for VIWF



Situated in central Victoria, Bendigo is afforded a healthy Mediterranean climate. Gentle rolling hills fold out from the granite ranges of central Victoria and vines were first planted here in the 1850’s. Deep, voluptuous shiraz and intense eucalypt cabernet sauvignon rule the reds, while intense, creamy chardonnay leads whites.

Wish They Were Here
Bress Harcourt Valley Riesling 2014



Strathbogie Ranges

Strathbogie Ranges

This distinct, high altitude region rises above the surrounding valleys, with vineyards reaching up to 700m. Rocky outcrops and decomposed, ancient granite soils cover wide, windswept vistas and provide the wines with intense aromatics, high acid and distinct savoury notes.

Fowles Wine Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz 2010



Rutherglen is synonymous with explosively rich and luscious dessert wines, layered with complexity and afforded great longevity. A classic continental climate of very hot summer days and cold nights yield grapes for fortified muscat, muscadelle and topaque, on par with the world’s best.

Wish They Were Here
Campbell’s Rutherglen Topaque NV




The Riverina grows 15% of the total Australian grape production ([yellow tail] winery Casella is headquartered here), and it is the largest wine producing region in New South Wales. This flat plane is also world-renowned for its sweet, botrytis-affected white wines.

De Bortoli Wines Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2009



line up of semillon, McGuigan Wines

Hunter Valley

Australia’s oldest wine region, with layers of vine history dating back to the 1820’s. Huddled around the Hunter Valley River, soils range from sandy alluvial flats to red clay loams. Semillon is benchmarked around the world by the examples found here, crisp and lively when young and complex, deep and honeyed with age.

Brokenwood Semillon 2014

Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon 2005
McGuigan Wines Bin 9000 Semillon 2014
McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon 2007



With its cool, marine-blown climate and long sunny autumns for ripening, Tasmania has pristine growing conditions for intense, fresh pinot noir and chardonnay – both ideal for premium sparkling wine.

Jansz Premium Cuvee NV



Check out Treve’s Travels feature on Australia TODAY Part I here. In addition, DJ Kearney is previewing her Oceans, Altitudes & Attitudes seminar that she is presenting alongside Rhys Pender, Treve will be talking all about the Global Focus, Shiraz/Syrah in a look at this grape in all its forms, as well and sharing what top sommeliers and wine professionals are excited about this year with a recap of the popular trade seminar, Excitement in a Glass. All critics’ shared their top 20 Under $20 at the VIWF, and will chime in on their top 3 wines to taste at the festival in our joint BC Critics’ Report coming out shortly. Finally, Anthony Gismondi’s Final Blend column will take an insightful look at the festival and where wine culture and private liquor retail is in BC today.