Gourmet Traveller (Australia)

Max Allen on the wines that de­fine right now.

From pale rosé to red ver­mouth, MAX ALLEN rounds up the wine styles that de­fine the mo­ment.

- Food · Alcoholic Drinks · Recreation · Wine · White Wine · Wine styles · Margaret River · Canberra · Sauvignon Blanc · Sauternes · McLaren Vale · Balnarring

Wine styles de­fine an era as pre­cisely as fash­ion, food and mu­sic. In the 1980s we were drink­ing golden, oaky chardon­nay and lean and leafy caber­net. In the 1990s we wanted our chardon­nay un­wooded and fruity and our red wines – prefer­ably Barossa shi­raz – big and butch. In the 2000s we started broad­en­ing our drink­ing hori­zons, quaffing ries­ling out of screw­capped bot­tles, fill­ing our fridges with Marlboroug­h sau­vi­gnon blanc.

So what about the late 2010s? What wines are we drink­ing now that set us apart from pre­vi­ous decades? Here I’ve iden­ti­fied a few styles that char­ac­terise our mod­ern wine-drink­ing trends. I’ve rec­om­mended a few lo­cal names and la­bels, too: some widely avail­able brands found in big-chain liquor stores, some ob­scure, lim­ited-pro­duc­tion wines you’ll prob­a­bly track down from a good in­de­pen­dent mer­chant or laneway bar.


We still love Cham­pagne in 2017, of course – es­pe­cially high-qual­ity Cham­pagne from small-scale grow­ers – but we’re also re­ally dig­ging dif­fer­ent styles of fizzy wine from other parts of the world: top-shelf Tassie sparkling; pros­ecco (es­pe­cially mixed with Aperol in a re­fresh­ing Spritz); cloudy, un­fil­tered, rus­tic pét-nat, fer­mented in the bot­tle.

Main­stream Dal Zotto pros­ecco from the King Val­ley. In­die Delin­quente Pétil­lant Na­turel from the River­land.


“Min­er­al­ity” is the wine buzz­word of the mo­ment: a glass of white that tastes like it’s been sprin­kled with gran­ite dust is cat­nip to a wine geek. So: bone-dry, min­er­ally grape va­ri­eties such as chenin blanc, grüner velt­liner and as­syr­tiko are hot right now, as are va­ri­eties that have a rich, creamy mouth­feel – fi­ano and Fri­u­lano, pinot gris and pe­tit manseng. Main­stream Co­ri­ole Fi­ano from McLaren Vale. In­die Quealy Fri­u­lano from Bal­nar­ring on the Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula.


Noth­ing says 2017 hip­ster drink quite like a glass of or­ange-coloured wine made from white grapes that have been wild-fer­mented on their skins (prefer­ably in a clay am­phora) and bot­tled with no clar­i­fi­ca­tion or fil­tra­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, you won’t find th­ese in your lo­cal (just too painfully ob­scure), but som­me­liers love them, so they’re sur­pris­ingly well rep­re­sented on wine lists and in in­die stores around the coun­try.

Main­stream No, sorry, I got noth­ing.

In­die Cullen Am­ber from Mar­garet River.


We’ve fallen hope­lessly in love with rosé in 2017. Im­ports are boom­ing (Provençal rosé sales grew by more than 120 per cent last year) and we lap up as much of the lo­cal gear as wine­mak­ers can throw at us. Not that I’m com­plain­ing: I love how we’ve finally em­braced a wine style so per­fect for our food and life­style.

Main­stream De Bor­toli La Bo­hème Act Two Dry Pinot Noir Rosé from the Yarra Val­ley.

In­die Castagna Al­le­gro Rosé from Beechworth.


Long gone are the days when you needed to cel­lar red wine for a decade be­fore it was ready to be drunk. Now we want our reds juicy, medium-bod­ied, full of fresh­ness and fruit – snappy, smash­able wines made from grapes such as gamay, pinot noir, caber­net franc

and touriga, and new, lighter in­ter­pre­ta­tions of tra­di­tion­ally fuller-bod­ied va­ri­eties like shi­raz.

Main­stream Glaet­zer Dixon Nou­veau pinot noir from Tas­ma­nia.

In­die Ravenswort­h gamay from the

Can­berra Dis­trict.


One of the most ex­cit­ing wine trends in 2017 is the grow­ing num­ber of pro­duc­ers mak­ing ver­mouth: gen­tly for­ti­fied wine flavoured with bit­ter, aro­matic botan­i­cals. This gives wine­mak­ers enor­mous cre­ative free­dom, and gives us a whole new spec­trum of flavours to revel in.

Main­stream The Maidenii range of ver­mouths from cen­tral Vic­to­ria.

In­die The new red and white ver­mouths from the Ade­laide Hills Dis­tillery.


Back in the 1990s, when I started writ­ing about wine, Aus­tralian gre­nache and mataró (also known as mourvè­dre) were dis­missed by many as third-rate red grape va­ri­eties, and were mostly used to make cask plonk or cheap port. But a new gen­er­a­tion of wine­mak­ers has turned that per­cep­tion on its head, sourc­ing out­stand­ing fruit from old, low-yield­ing gre­nache and mataró vines to pro­duce char­ac­ter­ful, dis­tinc­tive red wines. And we’re lov­ing them.

Main­stream SC Pan­nell gre­nache from

McLaren Vale.

In­die Ochota Bar­rels From the North mourvè­dre from the Barossa Val­ley.

 ??  ?? Op­po­site, from left: De Bor­toli La Bo­hème Act Two Dry Pinot Noir Rosé, Ochota Bar­rels From the North mourvè­dre, Glaet­zer Dixon Nou­veau pinot noir, and Delin­quente Pétil­lant Na­turel.
Op­po­site, from left: De Bor­toli La Bo­hème Act Two Dry Pinot Noir Rosé, Ochota Bar­rels From the North mourvè­dre, Glaet­zer Dixon Nou­veau pinot noir, and Delin­quente Pétil­lant Na­turel.
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