Compiling this hotlist, Q and I have tasted pretty much every bottle of Australian wine we could get our hands on in the last 12 months, both here in the UK and in Australia.
From the support that we received from the Australian wine industry, we were able to get access to the wines and the people who make them. It made this huge task so much easier, and it played a key part in enabling us to discover new wines that might not otherwise get a hearing. Thank you to these people for your continued accessibility, candour and support.
In a year of dramatic headlines and events, it is good to be able to launch our strongest hotlist ever. We would like to applaud those smaller producers who have conjured subtlety and nuance into their distinctive offerings with world class élan. Deciding on the final 100 was tougher than ever – we had nearer 200 wines that could conceivably have made it (more than ever before). We hope that the final hotlist will both promote as animated a debate as we had in deciding them, and once again prove its worth as an essential buyer’s guide.
And now for some of the wines off that list, how about we start with some whites for this week. These three are very tasty and extremely affordable…
2008 Nepenthe, Altitude Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills, SA £8
Having tasted this wine fifty odd times in the last twelve months, and on every occasion being delighted with its terrific presentation of top quality Altitude Sauvignon Blanc, it is quite remarkable that – if you are very quick off the mark – you can pick it up for as little as £6 (on offer) across the country. Dangerously inexpensive, yes, but also incredibly brave to showcase this region’s excellence to an ever-widening audience. So we must all congratulate you Nepenthe for this service.
2008 De Bortoli, Windy Peak Pinot Grigio, Vic £9 BC
Steve Webber adds yet another string to his bow, this time attacking a sector that is woefully under-represented in terms of one important characteristic — overt quality! And so, with typical panache, bravado and charisma he has kicked Pinot Grigio so far up its rear end that it will perform its magic even in front of the strictest of judges. It is rare these days to find something so cheap and so delicious.
2008 Cape Mentelle, Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon, Margaret River, WA £13 LA
A return to former glory for one of the most famous wines in Australia, ‘08 heralds a balletic, supine and sleek SBS which harks back to years gone by when the great David Hohnen first came up with this recipe. These days it is Rob Mann playing the old tune better than it has ever been played before — who’d have thought that this iconic wine would destroy its portfolio partner, Cloudy Bay, in this vintage, as effortlessly as it does.
Matthew Jukes is wine correspondent of the Daily Mail and is read each week by over 9 million readers. He annually compiles his 100 best Australian wines and over the coming months we will be featuring selections from his 2009 list.
Matthew Jukes is wine correspondent of the Daily Mail and is read each week by over 9 million readers. He annually compiles his 100 best Australian wines and over the coming months we will be featuring selections from his 2009 list. Visit his website.
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