"One of Australia's modern classics, Command is a big Shiraz that does not go over the top. Its silky tannins and rich flavors add up to an arresting wine, a seductive Shiraz that oozes with rich cherry, plum, exotic spice and meat flavors that linger against grace notes of chocolate and espresso. Delicious stuff, and it's built to last. Drink now through 2020. 600 cases imported." -Wine Spectator
Established in 1982 by Lorraine and Neil Ashmead, Elderton Wines is now run by the second generation - Cameron and Allister Ashmead. They are custodians of a Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot Barossa floor vineyard, with plantings dating back to 1894. At present, they have been listed multiple times among Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines and received numerous other prestigious accolades.
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With a landmass the size of the US, Australia has just as many appellations. Many wines are simply labeled from their state of origin. Some of these are the most popular:
New South Wales
- New South Wales has a variety of smaller wine growing regions. Many wines are a blend of these smaller appellations, leading to the more encompassing designation of New South Wales.
– A small percentage of Australia’s winemaking occurs on the West Coast. The largest Australian state, Western Australia, includes the appellations Margaret River and Great Southern.
– This appellation encompasses the states of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. Grapes are often trucked in from at least 2 of these states for crushing and bottling, giving the wine a more general appellation of origin. This is the broadest appellation in Australia.
Like the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of
Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.