Join us for a great night of wine tasting as we head Down Under. Plentiful sunshine and a comparative lack of winemaking red tape have allowed the Australians to lead the field in the development of mainstream, competitively priced wines with a crowd-pleasing formula of fruit and oak. However, Australia today is home of the boutique winery, where a focus upon quality and restraint are changing the face of Australian wine.
For a tiny nation, New Zealand wine punches way beyond its weight. You can't have missed the UK Sauvignon revolution spearheaded by New Zealand's Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc; we take some time to understand the subtleties of this vibrant, vivacious wine style and then look beyond Sauvignon at what New Zealand has to offer.
Part 1: New Zealand
We kick off with a detailed deconstruction of a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to understand what makes it such a flamboyant and exhilarating wine style.
There's more to the New Zealand story than just Sauvignon with other fragrant whites such as Pinot Gris starting to make an appearance.
You can't leave New Zealand without taking a look at Pinot Noir which has caused a buzz in recent times, but is it good enough to challenge Burgundy and perhaps cement New Zealand's place as a producer of wines worthy of comparison to the very finest?
Part 2: Australia
Today, Australia is an exciting source of some of the world's most interesting wines that truly reflect the diversity of its climate, regions and winemaking culture. A new wave of independent boutique winemakers, preaching the values of focussing upon limited quantities of high quality, handmade wines and restraint in the use of oak are making their presence felt.
We start with a somewhat surprising grape variety - Riesling. Most of Australia is too hot to grow Germany’s superstar grape variety, but in the Eden and Clare Valley’s its just about cool enough to do so. If your experience with this grape is only an off-dry, lowish alcohol German wine, prepare for a shock with a bone-dry lime infused Aussie beauty.
Of course, Australia made its name with big, powerful red wines, none more so than Shiraz from South Australia. A very different wine from that grown in France under its other name – Syrah, here in the Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale the wines are rich and smooth with notes of leather and chocolate.
Finally, another Aussie big red, this time from the world’s most planted grape variety; Cabernet Sauvignon. Grown in many part of Australia, two areas stand out for premium wines – Coonawarra in South Australia and Margaret River in Western Australia. We will discuss both of these regions and the very different styles of wine they produce before sampling a wine from one of them.
As well as these wines from artisan producers, Australia is home to some of the biggest wine brands in the world. So, we will take this opportunity to briefly explain how the international wine market operates, and more importantly tell you what goes into the price of the wine in your glass. You might be rather surprised at where the money goes!
Professional ISO tasting glasses, all course materials including tasting sheets & water are provided