Peppers Experience

Adventuring with Australia’s Great White Wines

Nick Stock, Award-winning Wine Critic
Nick Stock - Award-winning Wine Critic

Nick Stock - Award winning wine critic

It’s a subtle difference, but I’m a much bigger fan of diving into Australia’s great whites than diving with them. I’m talking about wines of course and the hotly contested title of Australia’s greatest white wine. Traditionally there are three in contention; chardonnay, riesling and semillon.

Chardonnay has been through a lot in the last 15 years, including a kind of vinous mid-life crisis. Those of you who have been to any of our wine dinner and Wine Wars events will have heard me tell the story of how chardonnay was hot, then so not, and is once again back in the limelight.

It stormed into favour with all guns blazing in the late 1980’s and was then tossed aside just as quickly for being, well, too bold, too oaky, too buttery and too rich. Sounds gross but we were right. Winemakers got a little carried away (and so did the critics back then, promoting some pretty ordinary wines!) and wine drinkers got a little sick of these big golden beauties.

Now chardonnay has been re-imagined as a more lively, vibrant style in Australia. The great modern chardonnays from regions like the Yarra Valley, Tasmania, Adelaide Hills and Margaret River are powerful but refined, still very complex but much better balanced. Chardonnay kind of grew up, went through a bit of an awkward stage, and is now really looking amazing. Go forth!

Semillon is the great wine of the Hunter valley region in New South Wales and there’s no other place in Australia that can challenge great Hunter Semillon for quality and an ability to transform so beautifully over time. When young it is undeniably fresh, tangy and racy, when more mature it is like warm buttery toast and marmalade in a glass. If you haven’t tried a great older Hunter Semillon make sure you do, they’re uniquely delicious.

The other is riesling, which is a bit of a long distance legend like Hunter Semillon. Great Australian riesling can be found in many parts of the country, it’s a variety that has the ability to deliver great wine in cooler and warmer places. Victoria’s Macedon Ranges and Grampians regions are historically great, as are South Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, Tasmania and the Canberra District are newer frontiers and Western Australia’s Frankland River and Great Southern regions are elite sources of great rieslings.

What you will notice across all three of these great Aussie white wines is that I come back to the place in which the grapes are grown every time. Provenance has a huge influence on how good a wine will be and you have to grow the right things in the right places. Its very much like ingredients used in the kitchen, the source is all-important to the quality and it’s the same for wine.

At Peppers we’re dedicated to giving you the best experience possible and our wine offering, across all of our destinations, is built around bringing you the best wines grown in the best places and made by our finest winemakers. So take a moment when you visit us and think about which great white wine you want to explore, the world really is your oyster. In fact, make that oysters and Riesling!

Cheers and see you at Peppers!

To read more of Nick's blogs click here

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