Meet the New Barossans
Most of the focus on the 'new' Australia has been centered on the folks in the Adelaide Hills, Yarra Valley, McLaren Vale and even Castelmaine. What hasn't been talked about enough are the small handful of producers going to the most revered region in Australia and really setting things ablaze.
Dave Brookes profiles a couple of these producers and the steps they are taking to find harmony and precision in the, rather set in the ways, Barossa Valley.
Abel Gibson of Ruggabellus and Fraser McKinley of Sami-Odi get the nod here as the next generation pioneers. "The Barossa is in good hands, while we’ve only scratched the surface here, there are many other new and exciting winemakers coming through the ranks bringing fresh ideas to the region that has been referred to as “the womb of the Australian wine industry”.
"Memorize the New Importers" - Bon Appetit Magazine
Even though 16 years (going strong) isn't exactly 'new,' Vine Street Imports is being recognized for 'name recognition' and the juice in the bottle representative of the name on the front AND back of the bottle.
Belle Cushing of Bon Appetit gives her 'new rules' of wine and Rule #10 implies you 'memorize the new importers.' Alongside great names like Louis/Dressner, Selection Massale, Jose Pastor, vom Boden lies this little shop in South NJ trying to change the world one bottle of Aussie wine at a time.
Saveur Magazine names Australia as the Wine Destination of the Year
Writer Bruce Schoenfeld of Saveur says "forgive the blasphemy, Francophiles and Italy lovers, but right now Australia is the world's most interesting place for wine."
"Most of Australia's grape-growing regions lie somewhere on the spectrum between underrated and and utterly unknown."
Bruce highlights Adelina, BK Wines, Jamsheed, Ochota Barrels, Ruggabellus, and Sami-Odi.
photo credit: Lean Timms
Wine Business Magazine Highlights the Craft and Persona of Brendon Keys of BK Wines
Kiwi Born - Aussie Established high flying (literally on a skateboard) winemaker Brendon Keys of BK Wines in the Adelaide Hills continues to grow his brand through hard work and great booze. Wine Business Monthly highlights our dear friend and highlights what makes the man tick, why he does what he does and his aversion to safe winemaking.DOWNLOAD PDF »
Wine Spectator's Matt Kramer Says Margaret River Is The World's Most Under Appreciated Wine Region
OVERLOOKED - "The term "overlooked" deserves definition. In this context, I am suggesting that "overlooked" means not so much that no one has paid any attention at all. Today, you can find varying degrees of attention for pretty much any wine zone in the world. There's always someone posting a tasting note somewhere."
Matt Kramer tends to tell it like it is. He draws the line and often creates debate though he backs it up with facts. Matt is not afraid to bring up unpopular topics at Wine Spectator in a forum often filled with conforming ideas.
We'd like to think Margaret River has been overlooked but often when wines are poured for the public the response is very favorable.
2014 Harvest at Le Ragnaie
Our fearless Tuscan friend, Riccardo Campinoti took to the silver screen (or maybe grey one) to showcase a bit of the '14 harvest.READ MORE »
World's Highest Wine Launch!!! Armenian Style.
What happens when you introduce a wine to the world at 16,853 feet? You'd have to see it to believe it. Zorah's winemaker, Zorik Gharibian, did just that by revealing his latest wine called 'Yeraz' to the world.
Master of Wine, Caroline Gilby was on hand to join the festivities and likened 'Yeraz' to ‘something like a blend of Cru Burgundy mixed with top Sangiovese in character, but with its own distinctive hints of spice and crushed raspberry.’
When will the wine be available in the U.S? Only time will tell right now. In the meantime, the 'original' Armenian Grand Cru 'Karasi' is still available.
Australia on the Move
Harvey thinks "With more classic and oustanding bottlings available than ever before, it may finally be time for Americans to rethink their preconceptions about Australian wine."READ MORE »
Wall Street Journal is 'Stoked About New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc' - Featuring Auntsfield 'Single Vineyard' 2013
The zippy, zingy, grapefruity Sauvy has plenty of competition from wineries seeking minerality, texture and subtlety, Will Lyons of the WSJ has concluded.
From a blind tasting of 45 wines with Melaine Brown of the Providores Restaurant in London, they singled out 15 favorites that stood apart from the crowd.
Will had this to say about the '13 Auntsfield Sauvignon Blanc: "Fresh and pure with a refined nose laced with gooseberry and lemon grass, this wine possesses a silky, ethereal texture. But once sipped, bang!, a taut, powerful mineral richness shines through."
Dipping into Australia's natural wine scene
Harvey Steiman takes a deeper look at Jauma, Lucy Margaux, Ochota Barrels and BK Wines.READ MORE »
Holme Estate Shiraz cracks Drink Me Magazine's Top 150
One of the beverage industry's newest publications, Drink Me, has revealed their 'Elite 150.' From luxurious, rare bottlings crafted by well-known names, to tiny, passion-fueled niche products pushed to market by perseverance, the 2014 Drink Me Magazine Elite 150 singles out the 150 most exciting and memorable beers, wines and spirits from the past year. Led by Brian Freedman, Drink Me Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, the team of editors have sipped, sniffed, swirled, spit and at many times, savored, their way through a year’s worth of products in order find and single out the best. The inaugural Elite 150 celebrates ambitious bottles that are making a statement at all price levels, regardless of market familiarity. There are simply too many compelling libations out there to succumb to habit.
Vine Street Imports' own Holme Estate has made its mark in the elite company. Craig Holme owns and oversees production of the tiny parcel of land at the southern end of Australia. A place where the climate is cool and the hangtime is long.
Young Guns of Wine - Finalists & Winners Announced
The highly coveted prize of Young Gun of Wine was awarded on December 1st - guess who the winners are...READ MORE »
Jancis Robinson MW takes note of Le Ragnaie
Vine Street's beloved Grosso Gentleman Riccardo Campinoti recently had his wines reviewed by the illustrious Jancis Robinson MW. She was quick to notice "elegance" and "purity" in the wines and we couldn't agree more.
Coming off of the rich and powerful 2007 vintage, 2008 was a welcome year for terroir-driven wines that show finesse rather than mass. That said, the yields were down a fair bit from 2007 and not as much wine to go around.
Departures Magazine Highlights BK Wines
The luxury magazine, Departures, recently said "Australian Wine Finds It's Edge." "The Land Down Under has a reputation for producing wine that’s anything but subtle, but that’s not the full story," according to author Peter Weltman.READ MORE »
International Wine Writing Extraordinaire & Artist Creates the Label for 2012 Between 5 Bells 'H-Cote'
If you aren't familiar with Elaine Brown's insanely beautiful writing - please familiarize yourself now.
Elaine befriended B5B's David Fesq and David saw the real passion and gift that Elaine possesses. The collaborated on the newest release from Between 5 Bells: H-Cote, a blend of Nero d'Avola, Negroamaro, Riesling Skins and a splash of Shiraz!
In the history of VSI's awesome packaging...this certainly ranks among the best!
Great job Elaine!
Auntsfield: More Than Just Sauvignon Blanc!!! - Wall Street Journal Top 10 Pinot Noirs
There appears to be a general mindset that Marlborough is a one trick pony when in fact it couldn't be further from the truth. Its far southerly neighbor, Central Otago has garnered all the attention for Pinot Noir, though the top producers in Marlborough more than hold their own.
For starters, Otago Pinot Noir tends to be deeper, fleshier and bigger fruit. The wines have more in common with Santa Barbara than Burgundy. The lighter soils of Marlborough (particularly the hills to the south known as the Southern Valleys) impart a feminine quality and higher acidity to the wines and there is a Willamette/Burgundy thing going on.
Recently Will Lyons, wine contributor to the Wall Street Journal, discussed the differences in Kiwi Pinot Noir and listed his 10 favorite wines. We are thrilled with his selection of 2010 Auntsfield 'Single Vineyard' Pinot Noir to this list. The Cowleys have more than earned this award and the wines continue to be a serious value in the realm of world-class Pinot Noir.
Furthermore Southern Hemisphere wine experts, Tyson Steltzer and Matthew Jukes, recently updated their 'Classification of New Zealand Pinot Noir Producers' and have promoted Auntsfield from 2-stars to 3!
Flametree Wines | Crushes it with Recent Press
If you are unfamiliar with Flametree, then please pay attention. Flametree represents one of the great VALUES of Margaret River. How are $40 & $80 wines "VALUES?" Because when you look at quality in comparison to price...it sits in select company for the region.
Recently others have taken note as well. Namely Harvey Steiman of Wine Spectator, Lisa Perrott-Brown of The Wine Advocate and James Halliday of Australian Wine Companion.
The New York Times' Eric Asimov Rediscovers Oz
A group of NYC based sommeliers along with one of the most recognized voices in wine writing across the globe recently got together to taste through a few shining examples of Australian wines. The renowned Spotted Pig restaurant played host to the nibbles and wines and the summary is a tremendous read.
Jamsheed and Moondarra were highlighted for their delicacy and intricacies.
Alice Feiring Nails Down Her Picks for Passover
Alice Feiring is truly the "Queen of Natural Wine." Recently she listed her definitive go-to's for Passover 2013...Richie Harkham's infamous "Aziza's" Shiraz made the cut.
We just got the wine in house and ready to roll and there's not much at all.
100% Shiraz. No sulfur added. Kosher. Yummy.
Australian Wine: Rebooting a Brand
Renowned wine blogger, Richard Jennings shares his thoughts from Wine Australia's Next Chapter event in San Francisco. Definitely worth a read and adds more fuel to the 'comeback' fire.CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE »
Wine Spectator's Harvey Steiman says, "signs point to renewed interest as Wine Australia touts diversity."
Harvey Steiman, editor of Wine Spectator, recently visited Wine Australia's 'Next Chapter' Australian wine event in San Francisco. Harvey states, "Imagine, San Francisco sommeliers, notorious for seeking the most obscure wines they could find, excitedly sipping Margaret River Chardonnays, Hunter Valley Sémillons, even a Mornington Peninsula Dolcetto. And yes, Barossa Valley Shiraz. In recent years, as Australia's fortunes took a hit, one could hear crickets chirping at this annual event. Not this time."
The fact is that Australia is coming back. There is new generation of wine drinkers in the U.S. who approach Australia without prejudice. "When you describe to them the style of wines Australia was exporting to the U.S. 10 years ago, they look blankly at you," said John Duval (former Grange winemaker and owner/winemaker of his namesake label). "They only care about what's happening now."
The new generation of Aussie winemakers is making a difference in that perception as well. "The young guns are giving it a go at a more elegant expression, using whole-cluster fermentations and other techniques, emphasizing individual vineyard sites, all to make their wines more distinctive," Duval added.
This is definitely worth a read.
Bloomberg Top 10 Wines from 2012 From Burgundy to Armenia to Sonoma
Bloomberg editor, Elin McCoy gives her top 10 list of wines she's tasted in 2009. Iconic names like Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Quinta do Noval and Chateau Haut-Brion highlight the list along with the relatively unknown (as of now in the US) producer, Zorah from the mountains in Armenia.
"This year I sampled more than 4,000 wines in my search for the recommendable, hunting the world’s best in chilly cellars, historic chateaux, at noisy tastings and the tables of generous friends.
Here, in no particular order, are my 10 most memorable wines, from bargain to blowout. They range from a great Bordeaux to a new California red to a scarce bottling from the mountains of Armenia. All reflect the growing diversity of today’s wine world -- and where it’s going in 2013."
ZORAH STRIKES BIG IN TURKEY...more big news on our lone Armenian producer coming soon.
The Digital Wine Communications Conference held in Ismir, Turkey in November brought many of the world's best bloggers and journalists providing a platform the global wine community to address online communications and the issues of the future.
It was a HUGE success and one of the hottest (if not THE) wine of the event was 2011 Zorah Areni Noir (soon to be appearing on US shores in early 2013).
"The Next Big Thing" from Paul Grieco (International Sommstar/Owner of Terroir Wine Bar/Founder of Summer of Riesling)
Tyler Coleman (AKA Dr. Vino - www.drvino.com) caught up with Paul recently and the quotes that came out of the interview are priceless. If you needed more bulletin board material regarding the changing face of Australian wines, then this surely must be on top of the pile!
There has never been a more exciting time to drink Australian wines...that is a fact!
"Australia is the most exciting new world wine country on the planet."
- Paul Grieco
OCHOTA BARRELS / BEST NEW WINERY!!! - Sydney Morning Herald
Yet to be completely recognized uber-cult legendary winemaker / global feline supporting icon, Taras Ochota has recently had his hard work and brilliant skills awarded as 'Best New Winery of 2012' by the Sydney Morning Herald.READ MORE »
MORE GREAT PRESS - "Vintage Report: South Australian Reds 2010" - Decanter, December 2012
First Drop & Samuel's Gorge given tremendous accolades!
The hardest working wine writer in Australia and Decanter's Aussie Editor, Tyson Stelzer throws his two cents into the hat of the highly regarded 2010 vintage of South Australia.
"Could 2010 be the best Aussie Shiraz vintage in 20 years?"
2010 First Drop 'Mother's Milk' Shiraz - 91 points
"Purposely a soft, slurpy style of succulent cherries and plush blackberries and mulberries, sinking into dark chocolate oak."
2010 Samuel's Gorge Shiraz - 95 points
"An immaculately assembled, hand-crafted wine with a swirling vortex of impenetrable depth of black fruits and flickering nuances of mixed spice."
First Drop NAILS the 2013 Sydney Morning Herald Good Wine Guide
First Drop receives the highest honor of '5 Stars' with some impressive reviews to boot.CLICK FOR ARTICLE »
Is Stefan Breuer A Backup Singer In This One??? "MUST BE SEDUKTION"
Absolutely genius...READ MORE »
Interview with Dennis & Christian Canute of Rusden Wines
Coming very, very soon to the portfolio (orders being taken right now as we type this). One of the Barossa's great producers has a home again in the US.READ MORE »
Even the Irish love Some Young Punks...
He may not be Robert Parker (or even Saddat X for that matter), but who doesn't love a brief minute and change clip about the world's favorite giant cephalopod tracking down the T&T girls coupled with some scrumptious Sangiovese to boot...READ MORE »
Wine Spectator's Matt Kramer - "You Cannot Go Beyond Your Culture"
"California wines have changed, and often improved, in direct reflection to the many changes in our culture. And you can certainly say the same about Australian wines. Both are emerging from a longstanding and still powerful culture that prized power over finesse, strength over subtlety. Is this changing? You bet it is—and faster than some might imagine or care to credit."
Matt discusses the cause & effect relationship between quality of wine and the culture of the nation importing, producing and drinking those wines.
Renowed Vetri Sommelier Steve Wildy Wants You To Try 2007 Le Ragnaie Brunello di Montalcino
Anthony Giglio, Wine Columnist for monthly magazine La Cucina Italiana, sought out expert guidance in his November 2012 piece aptly named "Expert Guidance." He interviewed five sommeliers from five of his favorite wine lists across America: Chris Baggetta of Quince/Cotogna (San Francisco), Joe Campanale of Dell'Anima/L'Artusi/Anfora (New York), Liz Nicholson of Maialino (New York), Matthew Mather of Frasca (Boulder) and Steve Wildy of Vetri/Osteria/Amis/Alla Spina (Philadelphia).READ MORE »
Bindi Wines Honored with Wine & Spirits Top 100 Best Wines!
It may not have the recognition of Wine Spectator's Top 100, but this may be a more 'complete' list across price points, regions, small production wines, etc.
We've all grown to love Michael and his artisan craft. The Bindi Wines are unquestionably held in the highest regard among Australian wines and hold their own throughout the world. This is a great honor and something Michael is proud of.
A Video Tour of Le Ragnaie's 2012 Harvest
Le Ragnaie - America's Favorite Brunello di Montalcino™ :)READ MORE »
The Eagle Has Landed!!!... Pyren Vineyard
FINALLY! We've been awaiting the compliance officials go-ahead and it is finished. Pyren Vineyards will be here soon and this is a winery you don't want to miss. Balance at its core.
High in the western reaches of Victoria, the Pyrenees region is home to Pyren (novel name, huh?). The winery was established in 1999 and has been met with rave reviews. This will be the first appearance in the USA for these wines. We have the 'Broken Quartz' Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the 'Block E' Shiraz!!!
Check out the 'Winery' page on the website by clicking on Our Imports-Australia-Pyrenees(Victoria)-Pyren for more information.
A Video Tour of Valturio's Vineyards with Adriano Galli
Natural wines, high altitude & steep vineyards, remote locale...what is there not to like?
This is the next best thing to having a glass of 'Solco' Rebo with Adriano. Take a brief tour of the unique site and attention to detail & quality of Valturio.
Maynard James Keenan of Tool/Puscifer/Perfect Circle Gives SERIOUS Props to Ochota Barrels
Tremendous read for sure. The man is far more than a rockstar (talking about Taras Ochota), he is a serious winemaker. The same is true for Maynard!
"Aussie wines can be big and bold, but there's still complexity. LIke everything, when something becomes popular people go with the loudest noise, but they miss the subtleties. That's the beauty of the mainstays in Australia." - MJK
He's itching to visit Australia's smaller makers, and was recently wowed by a Grenache from Ochota Barrels: "They're picking a little earlier, they're a little more austere and restrained and subtle and elegant; rather than hitting you in the head." - MJK
Australia Grows Up - Beverage Journal, October 2012
Nice read from the October issue of the Beverage Journal...
It's coming back. Are you with us?
In Defense of Australian Shiraz - Food & Wine, November 2012
Food & Wine's wine editor, Ray Isle, explores the current and future state of Australia's most planted varietal.
The future is a lot brighter than you may believe!
Coming Soon to the VSI Lineup - Flametree Wines
Not just a rising star, but an established shining one in the heralded Margaret River region of Western Australia.
For years, Vine Street Imports has looked for a Margaret River winery only to be consistently dismayed by the quality to price ratio that we saw. For those that don't know, Margaret River is held in the highest regard in addition to the crop of younger winemakers establishing themselves.
FINALLY...we found our jewel in the crown of Western Australia, Flametree Wines.
Coming Soon to the VSI Lineup - Jauma Wines
A little glimpse into the mind of Jauma's puppet master, and Australian Sommelier of the Year, James Erskine. Look for these wines in early 2013! All natural and all delicious!DOWNLOAD PDF »
Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser tastes the "real" Australia
Think we're the only ones touting the 'Frank Reich led Buffalo Bills '93 win over the Houston Oilers esque' comeback of Australia to the mantle on which it deserves a rightful place with the other 'iconic' wine regions?
We like to think there are other 'occupiers' in this movement and here is a voice as loud and respected as any.
Director of Education of the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Tim Gaiser gives his two cents on the subject in a recent tasting last week. 08 Bindi 'Composition' Chardonnay gets some serious props along with some other great Australian wines!
Le Ragnaie receives the coveted 'Tre Bicchieri' from Gambero Rosso!!!
In Riccardo's first ever submission to the highly acclaimed Italian wine guide (on the same level as Wine Spectator of Italy), the 2007 Le Ragnaie 'V.V.' Brunello di Montalcino received the highest honor, '3 glasses.'
Only 9 2007 Brunelli received this designation!
Best Vintage in at least a Score???
After a hell of a run of hell-like conditions, the Aussies have caught a much needed break. Many have regarded 2012 to be that vintage of a lifetime and we have to agree from what we've tasted.
Perfect, even ripeness took the best leftovers from a tough, rainy vintage in 2011. Therefore 2012 is thought of as a bit of a vegetative vintage (good thing) as the vines naturally lowered their yields by producing leaves. 1990 is the hallmark of what everyone is comparing this to.
Home of the Brave!!!
See Matt & John of First Drop go from vine to bottle in a great video!CLICK HERE »
Two new Poggio Anima wines are en route!
Check out this overview of Poggio Anima that our 'scribe' prepared. This is truly a forward thinking project in Italian wines that should not be missed.DOWNLOAD PDF »
Australian Shiraz on the Comeback Trail!!!
Josh Raynolds of Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar Shares Some ThoughtsREAD MORE »
Wine Spectator 'Insider' 8/1/12 - FIRST DROP CRUSHES IT!
The boys from First Drop are at it again...Harvey Steiman has recognized their hard work and keen eye, nose and mouth for great booze.DOWNLOAD PDF »
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar Issue 163: July/August 2012 - Best New Releases from Australia
Wine critic Josh Raynolds reviews the best new releases from Australia. Have to say that we look pretty darn good!!!DOWNLOAD PDF »
Can Australian Shiraz Come Leaping Back?VISIT WEBSITE »
The art of the wine label is all in good tasteDOWNLOAD PDF »