This is the second of two parts about selected Australian wine and winemakers. The first part is here.
In one respect, Rosemount, Robert Oatley Vineyards, and Jacob’s Creek/Orlando are completely different companies. The first is part of a huge multi-national, the second was formed not to be a huge multi-national, and the third is the high-end label for a huge multi-national.
But what they have in common is a willingness to make something other than shiraz that blasts away at your senses – and they aren’t shy about saying that. That’s a most welcome development.
Here’s a sample of some of their most interesting wines:
• Jacob’s Creek Johann Shiraz Cabernet 2001 ($80). Dark and juicy but not overly tannic or inky. All of the the Jacob’s Creek wines we tasted were well done, and this may have been the best. It’s availability is limited, so start looking now if you want to give it as a holiday gift. Because it would make a terrific one.
• Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling 2006 ($28). The Australians have made riesling for almost as long as they have made wine, and much of it is heavy and flabby and not much fun to drink. This is not one of those wines. It has some of the typical oiliness (which is not a bad thing), but also lots of lime and minerality.
• Rosemount Show Reserve Mudgee Chardonnay ($17). Clean, crisp and just a touch of oak. More than a few California wineries could lean a few things from this wine.
• Rosemount McLaren Vale Balmoral Syrah 2004 ($45). Expensive yes, but more refined and less alcoholic than the usual $40 shiraz. Which is one of the reasons why the company calls it syrah.
• Robert Oatley Pinot Grigio 2008 ($18). Yet another example of how little the Wine Curmudgeon knows about wine. It’s supposed to be too warm in Australia to grow pinot grigio. But this is quality at a fair price, a lemony wine that’s a little more rich than its Italian counterparts.
• Robert Oatley Rose of Sangiovese ($18). You’ll taste strawberry and balanced acid, and if the weak dollar makes this cost a few bucks more than normal, it’s worth it. Besides, who ever heard of rose made with sangiovese from Australia?