The first time i went to the boutiqe wine festival in Sydney a number of years ago, it was in a large space down on Hickson Rd next to the water. There was an overwhelming amount of vineyards represented there and I doubt I got through a third of them. This year it was at the Marriott in the city. As a testament to the downturn in the economy, one can only guess, it only took up 1 level this year instead of 2. The bright side of that was that I actaully stood half a chance of getting around to tasting everything, alas, my yapping to the wine makers got the better of me again and yet again I got to less than I wanted in the 4 hours of the session.
There was a good representation of NZ wines and it was nice to taste a Sauv Blanc that wasn’t following the Marlborough formula. Steve Bird Winery and Vineyards from the Aotearoa region had great Sauv Blanc with fruit flavours different from many of others coming out of NZ and a nice long lasting pallete. Steve is also quite proud of his 900 litre barrels that he is using for his Pinot. After some interesting stories about the dangers they can pose to employees fingers, a few grimaces later and the story finishing quoting the words from the OH&S officer is “you just can’t help stupid employees” . I got to try the pinot and it was well worth the wait. Definitley one of the better ones of the day.
As you would expect, many of the smaller regions of Australian wine making industry were there including Cowra, the Southern Highlands, Canberra district, Rutherglen, and plenty of others. My most recent interest has been with the Southern Highlinds. It was pointed out to me that this area is the 2nd newest Australian wine region in Australia. They managed to hold on to the title of newest for a whopping 2 years before being beaten for the title. This little area is only about 1 hr from Sydney and 2hrs from Canberra, so at least it should get some tourism to help it along once it is developed. I was most impressed here by the Tertini wines offerings. For some strange reason their stand was set apart from the others of the district but in the end that probably panned out better for them as they were apart from the others anyway. In particular I liked the 2005 ‘Eighteen55’ Pinot Noir. They had 2 offerings of the Pinot and this was definitley the better of the 2. At $30 a bottle it is reasonably priced. Pinot, being the difficult bugger that it is to grow and low yields, is often over priced for it’s quality compared to other varitals in my opinion, but this one is worth the price. It is at the top end of it’s value though, so it if goes up by too much, I might look around again to see what’s available.
Other wines that stood out: the Mulyan 2007 Shiraz (Cowra) – great value at $20/bottle and their 2006 Block 7 Chardonnay also pretty good. The Milldale JV shiraz 2006 (Broke – Hunter valley) showing some good signs for $12/bottle and the Whicher Ridge 2007 Shiraz at $25/bottle (WA – Frankland river region).
Couldn’t really take the camera in at the time, so this has to be a mere written wine review. Hopefully we’ll get the camera in to the next one.