Some critiques of Australian wines

I read with interest a recent review by Jancis Robinson MW of a tasting of Australian collectible wine.  It is subscriber only unfortunately, so there is little point posting the link.  It’s a frank assessment of the wines tasted and that’s a good thing – critics should be open and honest.  But the views expressed can be tested too.  Few locally for example I expect would describe a Phillip Jones’ Bass Philip wine as “Not like Burgundy at all! … Not really very sophisticated”  (Bass Phillip Reserve Pinot Noir 2012).  The word “sweet” receives 33 “matches” in 59 wine descriptions when describing (mostly) South Australian shiraz.  A Noon grenache is described as having “massive sweetness and alcohol on the palate.  Most unusual nowadays!” which more or less captures the zeitgeist in some quarters as regards Australian warm climate wine styles from Barossa/McLaren Vale, I think.

A Clonakilla shiraz viognier is conversely noted as being “bony and very different from the Australian Shiraz norm“.  This had me thinking too.  Is there such a norm?  Perhaps in offshore markets where the depth of offering is not there.  But in Australia in 2016?  At least in my view, there’s considerable variation in style moving north to south (think Glaetzer-Dixon in Tasmania), east to west.

3 thoughts on “Some critiques of Australian wines”

  1. I suppose that every critic sees things a little differently based on their own personal preferences of what they like and what they don't like and this is then reflected in their 'notes'. As a wine consumer I also don't rate all critics the same. For example, I don't take much notice of Robert Parker given he has a marked preference for over oaked and over extracted wines. This is not a style of wine I enjoy. By the same token Parker's successor, Neal Martin, it now seems has quite different preferences to that of his old boss.So, we consumers also have our own preferences and for maximum satisfaction perhaps we should seek out those critics whose tastes and preferences accord more with our own palette.


  2. All true, and it may be as simple as personal preferences. I suppose it's a case of the extent to which preferences lead to less desirable pre-judgement. Objectively, for example, the comment on Phillip Jones' wine – a wine that has garnered strong praise locally (although I have not tried it at $500+ a bottle…!) – seemed on the tough side.


  3. Yes, I recently had the pleasure of visiting Phillip Jones at his winery and was hugely impressed by his wines. When leaving I could only smile and say \”You don't need me to tell you how good your wines are.\” So, for Jancis Robinson to comment as she did is rather odd…but that's just my opinion!


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