Thursday, February 02, 2006

Consider WA - Western Australia that is

A year a so ago, a member of an online wine board launched into a discussion of the WA wines. He didn't initially explain that he was interested in the wines, not of Washington State, but of Western Australia. Now, Washington State produces some wonderful wines - but the fact is that that I haven't been sipping on a WAshington State wine over the past few evenings, I've been sipping on a wine from Western Australia.

I know of a number of people (including yours truly) whose interest in wine began with the discovery of big, fruity Australian wines - most notably of the varietal grape Syrah (or Shiraz) as it's almost labelled in Australian and South African wines. And yes, I, as do many other with interests in wine, find that their tastes move gradually towards less intense, but more complex wines. Some afficionados entirely lose interest the big Aussie and other New World wines. I believe that they are losing out. For me, the key to enjoying quality wines is to match the wine with the occasion and more especially the food.

Nonetheless, the big Shiraz wines from Coonawara and McLaren Vale are not going to be for everyone. For those, I recommend being on the lookout for wines from Western Australia.

This evening, I'm enjoying the remnants of a bottle of Galafrey Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 (from the Mount Barker 'appelation' in Western AustraliaI.)

This wine is a mere 12.5% ABV - whereas a typical Cab from Australia will be in the 14+% range. What the Galafrey lacks in power, it makes up for in finesse, having a noticeable and attractive nose, good fruit and a slightly silky mouth feel. This wine has been sitting in the cellar for about three years - and is pretty well the same as I remember. Perhaps it will improve with age, but since I possess no further bottles, I'll never know.

There seems no good reason not to drink this wine now, and those wine drinkers looking for Australia's wine alter ago would do well to try some wines from W.A..


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