There’s been so much wine news lately regarding the 2009 vintage in Bordeaux that we all could be forgiven if we’d forgotten that other parts of the world are dealing with the annual ebb and flow of luck regarding their fruit and juice. This happens everywhere and every year, of course, and certainly every time--as this year--Bordeaux is home to another remarkable vintage. (In the past decade alone, 2000, 2003, 2005, and, now, 2009, have all garnered the kind of press that any other region would kill for in a stretch of time twice as long.)
But to lose sight of the good (albeit less press-covered) fortunes of other parts of the wine world is to not only limit your wine knowledge and experience, but to ultimately hedge your bets against tasting some pretty remarkable juice when it becomes available.
This appears to be the case with the 2010 vintage in Australia--across the country. Decanter.com reported yesterday that “Rain and cool weather have favoured the 2010 vintage in Australia--in contrast to the heat and fire of last year.”
“From Western Australia to the eastern states,” the news item continued, “yields are reported to be lower than 2008 and ‘09, mainly due to a heat wave during flowering in November which affected some varieties including Chardonnay and Grenache.”
News of 2010’s quality comes at a time when more and more consumers are discovering the range and variety of wines coming out of Australia--that they are not all made in the “critter label - fruit bomb” style that so many of the most popular bottlings embody. Rather, Australia is home to a wide range of high-quality and distinct regions whose terroirs and grape varieties can produce wines every bit as detailed and pleasurable as the best of the Old World. The trick, as always, is for consumers to be exposed to them, and to taste them with the same level of excitement and open-mindedness that they bring to, say, Bordeaux, Brunello, or Burgundy.
A year like 2010, as well as its attendant good press, helps that cause tremendously.