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Thursday 30 September 2021

Why distinguished sites matter to Australia's family wineries

The French word terroir encompasses the natural environment in which a wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate.

They believe the tastes and textures of a wine are majorly influenced by where is is grown: the terroir.

Indigenous Australians have a similar concept, known as pangkarra.

Four of Australia's leading family wineries go together for Zoom tastings this week in which they explored what they call "distinguished sites" - vineyards that produce top-quality fruit each vintage. 

Howard Park, Taylors, Brown Brothers and Yalumba looked at key sites in Western Australia, the Clare Valley, Victoria and the Barossa, discussing the key elements involved in growing fruit for benchmark wines. 

All four wineries are part of the group Australia's First Families of Wine and they each presented a shiraz and a cabernet sauvignon that reflected their terroir. Blend PR put together the event.

The representatives were Nic Bowen (below) from Howard Park talking about vineyards in Margaret River and the Great Southern, Mitchell Taylor (above) from Taylors on the St Andrews vineyard in Clare, Tracy Taylor from Yalumba looking at the Barossa and Eden valleys and Coonawarra, and Andrew Harris from Brown Brothers talking about various sites in regional Victoria. 

Yalumba alone has no fewer than 123 grape growers on its books - in addition to its estate vineyards - so it needs to know where its best sites are for wines like The Cigar, a Coonawarra cabernet, and the Paradox shiraz. 

Similarly, Brown Brothers has access to a wide range of resources for its Patricia Shiraz and Cabernet, while Mitchell Taylor concentrated on the "diversities and synergies" of just one standout vineyard.

Bowen looked at they key elements in the Scottsdale Shiraz from the Great Southern and the Leston cabernet from Margaret River. 

"This was a great collaboration between like-minded family wineries," said Mitchell Taylor. "It was an excellent opportunity to give members of the wine trade and media a look at our various and different vineyards." 

Regional expression, and terroir, are alive and well in Australia.

# Some of my favourite wines of the night are pictured above.

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