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australia, austria, skin contact wines, slovakia, slovenia, yarra valley -

White wine is almost always made the same way. The grapes are pressed to gently extract the juice which is fermented with the skins removed (they can be used for grappa, added to a compost pit, or put back in the vineyard as organic matter: waste not, want not). This is to produce fresh, crisp, clear wines. There are exceptions. Because Riesling is never aged in new oak, the grape juice is often left in contact with the skins overnight to add structure and texture to the wine without interfering with the aromatics. Sauvignon Blanc sometimes has a short period...

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amber wine, australia, cabernet sauvignon, frankland river, mclaren vale, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, western australia, yarra valley -

Living here in California, I’ve learnt that Australian wine can be a difficult sell. There are preconceptions, often based on the success of yellow tail, that all Australian wine is simple and fruity. And as Australia has a similar climate to California and trends have paralleled since the 1990s, then why drink Australia instead of California? Well, dig a little deeper and you’ll discover esoteric winemakers, unexpected grape varieties, historic but lesser-known wine regions, and a wide range of quality wines. Let’s start with Grenache, because there are plenty of old vines which represent the tapestry of Australian winemaking history...

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australia, california, grenache, mclaren vale, san luis obispo -

Grenache has always been one of my favorite grape varieties, ever since I first started drinking wine. It's the heart of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of France's great appellations, and is grown across the Mediterranean: southern Rhône, Provence, Languedoc, Roussillon, north-east Spain, and in Sardinia. It's made in many different styles: light-bodied, full-bodied, powerful, pale-colored, rosé, sparkling. It's used in blends, or on its own; made from young vines or from old. And yet, despite all that versatility, Grenache has gained a low reputation. It's considered to produce wines too high in alcohol, too low in acidity and tannin, lacking the balance...

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adelaide hills, australia, fiano, grenache, mclaren vale, tasmania -

I'm just back from a two-week trip to Australia, only the second time I've been there. I visited producers I know well, and discovered others I'd never heard of. Some are making wine that's quite traditional to Australia's long wine-producing culture, others are much more experimental, many are somewhere in-between, advancing the quality of Australian wine with lower alcohol, less fruity wines. Here were some highlights. sparkling wine There is some phenomenal sparkling wine being made in Australia. The history of bubbles in the country goes back to the nineteenth century, when wines won awards in Europe. The development of...

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