Shiraz? What Shiraz? A Look Into Wines from the Land Down Under


Wines from The Land Down Under

We may not have even had Australian Wine if not for the American Revolution, which inspired Great Britain to find new land for a penal colony, and Captain Arthur Phillip led the 'First Fleet' to Port Jackson in 1788 where the capitol, Sydney was established.  Phillip allegedly had vines with him on the expedition, and vineyards soon started to grow around Sydney including nearby Hunter Valley.  The Hunter, Yarra, and Barossa Valleys were all producing wine by the late 1800s but the focus was largely on fortified wines-- wine that could last the long voyages from Australia to the rest of the Western World. The following wines will be on sale from 3/12/18 - 3/18/18.

Our Featured Wines of the Week brings us to the Land Down Under (where women glow and men plunder), with a focus on two sustainable producers from two distinct regions. While McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley are highly regarded wine regions known to the rest of the wine-making world, we're shining a spotlight on two upcoming regions-- Victoria and Adelaide Hills.

Wine Folly Map of the Wine Regions in Australia

Wine Folly Map of the Wine Regions in Australia


Holly's Garden, Whitlands, Victoria

Imagine yourself in Melbourne. It's the midst of a typical sweltering Australian summer, and you're driving some 255 kilometers north east on National Highway M31 to a region known as Kings Valley in Victoria. Just some 60 kilometers east you'll find Mount Buffalo National Park, but you've stopped at an area known as the Whitlands. Thanks to the higher altitude here, the temperatures are relatively cooler, and we've arrived at a winery known as Holly's Garden, located some 750 meters above sea level. Here they grow variatels like Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, with a couple of wines done in a méthode Champenoise style.  Much like our previous venture into Chile, they can grow Pinot Noir in this region thanks to the cooler micro-climate, though they are still careful to pick early to ensure the grapes don't over-ripen.  We were lucky to get our hands on the 2011 Pinot Noir, a vintage that has held up extremely well, and shows that the terroir of Australia can allow for great structured Pinot Noir.  

The rolling hills in the high altitude Whitlands of Victoria, Australia

The rolling hills in the high altitude Whitlands of Victoria, Australia


Winemaker Neil Prentice takes exceptional pride in his méthode Champenoise, making his Blanc de Noir out of 100% Pinot Noir, and resting the wine on lees without sulfur before using a solera method to age the NV Brut with wine dating back to 2007 still in use.  This complex aging method results in a sparkling wine with a slightly oxidative finish, perfect for an aperitif style wine.

BK Wines, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

We now find ourselves in Adelaide. It's still in the Southern region of Australia, in fact it's the capitol for the state of Southern Australia.  You'll find the Adelaide Hills wine region some 20 kilometers east of the city where, again, cooler climate and lush greenery dominate the landscape. Here, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Shiraz rule the roost and are responsible for some exceptional oak-aged wines.  We're focused on BK Wines, a small winery that was established a little over a decade ago in 2007 by Brendon and Kirstyn Keys. In the Kenton Valley they produce one of our favorite Chardonnay's, the 'One Ball', so named due to the vigneron having--well--one ball.  At some 1,600 meters, this Bernard clone chardonnay is hand harvested and fermented whole bunch and is often very sensitive to seasonal changes. Luckily for us, 2016 was another great vintage for Adelaide Hills, and after seeing 9 months of barreling in French Oak (10% new) this bottle produces a well balanced Chardonnay-- with a hint of musky pear and buttered toast on the nose and a rich mouthfeel with great acidity.  There's a reason people are starting to turn to Australian Chardonnay, after all.  

Vineyards in the lush greenery of the Adelaide Hills.  Source

Vineyards in the lush greenery of the Adelaide Hills. Source


Brendon's also a bit of an odd ball - pun intended - and he makes 'Nouveau Syrah' an unoaked Syrah (defying the Aussie tradition to call it Shiraz) done in a Beaujolais Nouveau  style.  You might think that Syrah- the ruby rich red wine known  for its dark fruit flavors - wouldn't be well suited for a more fresh and vital style. We did too, but we're happy to be proved wrong from time to time.  2015 was considered one of the better vintages for Adelaide Hills, and this Syrah is no exception. Brimming with berry compote and breakfast sausage flavors on the nose, this savory spectacle still manages to drink fresh, and is well worth the intrigue. 


Sale Runs 3/12/- 3/18

Holly's Garden NV Blanc de Noir (100 % Pinot Noir) - ̶$̶2̶9̶.̶9̶9̶  $24.99

Holly's Garden 2011 Pinot Noir -  ̶$̶2̶9̶.̶9̶9̶  $24.99

BK Wines 2016 'One Ball' Chardonnay -  ̶$̶4̶9̶.̶9̶9̶  $44.99

BK Wines 2015 'Nouveau Syrah' -  ̶$̶2̶9̶.̶9̶9̶  $24.99

Further Reading:

More information on wine production in South Australia

More information on wine production in Victoria, Australia

Holly's Garden

BK Wines