The Matthew Jukes 100 Best Australian Wines 2016/17.
The Matthew Jukes 100 Best Australian Wines 2016/17
Welcome to my 100 Best Australian Wines Report for 2016/17. As always, this publication is the result of exhaustive tastings held in the UK and Australia over the last twelve months. It represents the finest one hundred Australian wines available on the shelves in the UK for the coming year. It is designed as a balanced, modern collection of all styles of wine, including sparklers, whites, reds, sweeties and fortified wines. I endeavour to cover all price points and as many regions as possible in an effort to give you a complete Australian ‘wine list’ for the next twelve months’ worth of entertaining, cellar-building and championing. This document is, in effect, my snapshot of what is going on in Australia right now at the highest echelons of winemaking skill.
2013 First Drop, Quinta do Sul, McLaren Vale, SA
Matt Gant and John Retsas’ big Shirazes take a year off while the vintages re-align with this List’s release and, in the lull in this eye of the hurricane, I have been pleasantly surprised by two of the
alternative stars in the First Drop family. As you know, I am naturally wary of ‘Eurotrash’ varietals gate-crashing proceedings in Australia, expecting to get traction in the market just because
they are different. I knock back loads of rip-off pretender and headline grabbers preferring to focus on the noble varieties which have already found their karinya in Australia. Only wines which
reflect their origins, show true varietal flair in combination with their Aussie surroundings and also possess a large amount of x-factor are of interest and First Drop has two of these beauties
this year for you to consider. Quinta do Sul is a 86% Touriga, 14% Tinta Roriz blend coming from the Mediterranean climate of McLaren Vale while 2014 Nacional (£16.00, 13%, harveynichols.com, thesecretcellar.co.uk, connollyswine.co.uk, villeneuvewines.com) is a straight Touriga from the same source. 2013 Quinta do Sul is the bigger and more radiant of the two and I applaud its spice, attack and wild herb detail. It is swarthy and bold with ample banditry and Christmas cake mayhem on the mid-palate to hold your attention. 2014 Nacional is a slightly lighter wine with a direct red fruit theme and lovely liquorice and pepperoni notes giving it a savoury air and a typically meaty appeal. Both fascinating, these are wines to confound your senses and baffle your pals.
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