Australia is very far away and the people there sure do talk funny. They even have their seasons backward. But underneath it all they're a lot like you and me: they love their food and wine and, famously, have some of the hottest chefs working in some of the most exciting restaurants in the world.But if everything you know about Aussie wine you learned in the ‘90s or 2000s, you probably think that, exciting as their food scene may be, Australia’s wine scene is a hard pass. It’s all sun-baked Shiraz or mass-produced cheapies, with the occasional collectible bottle of Grange or Henschke.don't think that way!Go into any of Melbourne or Sydney’s top restaurants and you'll find a wine list with great Old World wines from cool-climate regions, including names like Clape, Dauvissat, Mugnier, and Conterno. Those familiar wines tell you a lot about what the wine directors are looking for: balance, terroir, point of view.Unsurprisingly, the Australian wines that make the cut show those qualities in spades. they're generally not names from Australia’s illustrious past (you don't see Hill of Grace all that much). And they're almost never 100-pointers from the Parker era. They tend to be small producers from out of the way (often cooler-climate) appellations. And they tend to be very good.On a recent trip we spotted Jauma on lots of great wine lists—and their wines never disappointed. They are definitely wines with a point of view: Jauma farms biodynamically and they work in a “minimally-additive” style (no added sulphur)—Australian for "natural", I guess. Like most of the post-Parker rising stars, they aim to keep alcohol low and freshness up by picking early enough.But they aren't gimmicky, aggressively acidic wines. The Ralph's Grenache, for instance, manages the kind of trick a great winemaker anywhere in the world would be proud of, balancing succulent “only-in-Australia” fruit with a minerality and freshness specific to the sand and ironstone in that vineyard.These feel like wines made by people who love wine. Which is true! They are wines with a point of view, for sure, and with a contemporary natural wine-vibe. But they are elegant and pretty clearly the product of Australia’s incredible food culture and tradition. Try these for a taste of what’s happening down under, without the jet-lag.
Fruity , Funky , Juicy