Crimson red in colour. A fragrant, perfumed bouquet full of sweet forest fruits, underlying cinnamon and clove spices with just a subtle whiff of oak. The Water Wheel Shiraz is a much more aggressive wine on the palate, but some time in the cellar will mellow this monster. The dark, ripe black fruit flavours are accompanied by roasted spices and a little tar, as with the aroma the oak is very subtle and never intrusive. A good length of persistence with firm, astringent tannins.
Water Wheel Winery
The present Water Wheel operation is the brainchild of Peter Cumming whose family have long been established as successful growers of tomatoes and cherries around Bridgewater-on-Loddon to the north-west of Bendigo in central Victoria. Peter studied winemaking at Roseworthy, and after a few excellent years as winemaker for Hickinbotham at the old Anakie vineyard near Geelong, threw himself boots and all into the Water Wheel business. His driving ambition as a relatively inexperienced winemaker was to capture as much flavor on the palate of his wines as he possibly could, precisely the edge that Water Wheel still retains over so many of its competitors.
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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.