The other night a friend brought two older Yarra Yering whites to a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner. Both corks were in perfect condition with no ullage. (He bought them new and they’ve been cellared in an airconditioned, humidified cellar).
The first we tried was the Yarra Yering 1997 Chardonnay – well past its peak. Gold hues, appley, slightly oxidised nose. Soft on the palate, faint fino flavours along with dried pear. Lacked acid balance.
Next was the Yarra Yering 1998 Dry White No. 1. – a semillon and sauvignon blanc blend. Almost water pale in colour. Lifted nose of dried grasses, with a hint of lemon zest. Light, elegant, steely dry palate. Beautifully structured, fruit starting to develop secondary vinous characters. Lip-smacking finish of almost perfect acid balance. If I had tasted it blind my first guess would have been “Fine French dry style.” Curious to drink one of the best whites I’ve had in a year with such a simple meal.
‘Anything but New Zealand sauvignon blanc!’ A friend muttered as we perused a wine list recently. It’s claimed that eight out every ten bottles of wine sold on Australia’s Sunshine Coast are NZ sauvignon blanc so it is hardly surprising that locals’ palates are jaded.
Nothing wrong with the stuff, occasionally – but every day? Like watching endless re-runs of Frasier – monotonous.
The river of NZSB flowing into Australia has turned into a torrent. And especially at the cheap end there tends to be a certain sameness of style: underdone, lightweight, green grassy, acidic and thin.
At least Australian SBs exhibit a wide range of styles – from tropical to cool climate, but to this palate NZSB has become a cold-climate, one–dimensional trip. I mean, how many hits of hyper-methoxypyrazine can a wine drinker handle in a year? It’s almost enough to drive one back to Australian over-oaked chardonnay.
Every wine cask (bag in box) has a silver lining. At least for wine drinkers.
You can more or less judge the state of the Australian wine industry by the quality of wine available in casks. When cask wine is generally crap, it’s bad for consumers and means the industry is making a packet, selling all it produces across the price spectrum. Continue reading