Introductory Wine Course, Part 5
Welcome back to our Introductory Wine Course series!
Our final lession is on white & red varieties and styles.
Labelling wines in Australia
- Varietal composition - What grape varieties are used in the wine. By Australian law, varietally labelled wines must contain at least 85% of the speciﬁed grape type. If there is more than one grape, the varietals must be listed in descending order of content ie Cabernet Sauvignon 60% / Merlot 40%.
- Origin - Where the grapes originally come from. In Australia we call the origin ‘Appellation’ there are 28 registered appellations in Australia. Barossa Valley & King Valley are both Australian appellations.
- Brand name - Lou Miranda Estate, Leone, Southern Trail and Terreno are all brand names owned by Lou Miranda Estate.
Classifying grapes and styles
White grape varieties
- Light or Aromatic - never oaked, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc
- Medium bodied - sometimes oaked
- Full bodied - oaked and rich, Chardonnay
Red grape varieties
- Medium bodied - Merlot
- Full bodied - Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz
White wines that age
Most white wines are produced without any skin contact, (phenolics help a wine age). Acid, sugar & certain winemaking techniques help white wine to age. In summary: Riesling ages best of the aromatic styles. Oak fermented and matured chardonnay especially with lees contact ages well. Botrytis & sweet wines also have a good life span.
Red wines that age
Just because it is a red wine, does not mean that it is capable of ageing gracefully. Some prerequisites are:
- Purpose of consumption - early drinking styles are made soft and easy drinking, wines meant for ageing tend to be stronger and richer.
- Overall balance - if a wine is not well balanced in its youth, it will not gain fruit and ﬂavour with age.
- Personal taste - some people enjoy aged wines while others dislike them.
- Variety - medium bodied varieties like pinot noir tend to favour early consumption whilst thick skinned cabernet sauvignon are naturally age-worthy.
- There are always exceptions to the rule.
Flavour characteristics of white varieties
- Pinot Grigio - Apple, pear, citrus, lime, passionfruit
- Sauvignon Blanc - Asparagus, capsicum, herbaceous, grassy, gooseberry, tropical fruit
- Chardonnay - Cucumber, grapefruit, apple, melon, peach, fruit salad, ﬁg, tropical ﬁg
- Botrytis Semillon - Peach, honey, apricot
- Merlot - Herbaceous, leafy fruit, violets, sappy, cherry, raspberry, plum, beetroot, blackcurrent
- Cabernet Sauvignon - Herbaceous, capsicum, tomato bush, leafy, minty, black olive, blackcurrent
- Shiraz - Herbs, spice, raspberry, plum, pepper, blackberry, mulberry, liquorice, black olive, jam
We hope you have learned a thing or two about wine during our series. If you have any questions, please doen't hesitate to stop by the Cellar Door or ask on our Facebook Page.