I am just moments away from heading to the airport (again!) as our endless harvest continues. Now it’s back to Italy. As I stuffed the two-prong European adapter into my luggage, and pulled out the three-prong one I had used in Australia, a theme that has been going over and over in my head came up again: the need for a better understanding of the diversity of that three-prong adapter country – Australia.
The Aussies stormed our shores with boat-loads of cheap and cheerful wines that we welcomed with open arms. They then showed us the big-and-brawny, which we welcomed too. Now the question is, “Is there more?”
I believe the answer is an unequivocal “yes!” But the evidence must come from the Aussies themselves (and a few of us Yanks who also make wine down there).
Australia is very roughly the size of the United States, and if you overlay the two maps, their wine-making regions stretch from somewhere in the neighborhood of our mid-Atlantic, down to Florida, over to Texas, in fits-and-spurts through to California and up to about Oregon. That’s a lot of land, a ton of real estate, and it is as diverse as can be. As a wine drinker and sommelier, this is fantastic – there is so much to explore and to enjoy. But as a wine producer, I feel the urge to explain and promote this diversity so that the wines can be better understood and appreciated.
I look to the Barossa Valley as an example of this diversity and, hopefully, a point of departure for others to comment on and get the ball rolling. The Barossa is located in southern Australia, about where Austin, Texas, is in the US. It extends from just south of the town of Lyndoch and continues north beyond the reach of the ever-expanding town of Nuriootpa, a distance of about 30 miles.
Driving Barossa is not too dissimilar to the drive out of Carneros and through Napa Valley up to Calistoga. The big difference is that along the Californian journey you will go through a great diversity of AVA's, including Carneros, Oakville, Rutherford, Stags Leap and others. The diversity is recognized in Napa and thus the larger region of Napa is subdivided to help us, the consumers, make better sense of the wines and what makes them unique.
In the Barossa, I perceive the differences between Lyndoch, Vinevale, Ebenezer, Marananga, Greenoch and so on. But these areas are not officially recognized or promoted in a way that reaches many wine drinkers, especially in the US. I know the soils are different, and the wines are different. I would like to have those differences articulated so that we can better appreciate and enjoy them.
Rory Gurland — Chicago, IL — November 27, 2007 8:12pm ET
Harvey Steiman — San Francisco, CA — November 28, 2007 1:12pm ET
Rachel Dixon — Hawaii — November 30, 2007 9:54am ET
Richard Betts — denver airport at present — December 5, 2007 10:14am ET
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