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Vancouver International Wine Festival offers unique Australian wines

02/27/2015 07:00 EST | Updated 04/29/2015 05:59 EDT
Australia is the theme at this year's Vancouver International Wine Festival, and those in the wine trade are hoping it will inspire the next era for Australian wines. 

"I think it's the beginning of a big change that's going to happen for Australia," said On the Coast wine columnist Barb Philip.

She says Australia was one of the first countries to offer big, flavourful "sunshine in a bottle" red wines at a modest price, which was a winning strategy until the rest of the global market caught up and did the same.

"The market became saturated with these kind of juicy, full-bodied, $15 wines," said Philip.

She says since then, Australian wine sales have plateaued. So producers and wine experts are trying to move beyond Australian wine's original image.

"What we're trying to do is show that Australia actually offers regionally distinct really, really interesting wines that can't be copied anywhere else in the world," said Philip.

She says the focus of this year's festival will be on wine from specific Australian regions.

There are 55 producers coming to the festival, and BC Liquor Stores has also made a small purchase of unique Australian wines, which will all be available for tasting.

Australian wine recommendations

Oliver's Taranga Fiano. McLaren Vale. 2014. $29.99

This winery was one of the first to pioneer fiano, a white grape variety.

Although it's originally from Southern Italy, when grown in this region of Australia it has its own unique taste. It is a fresh, stone-fruit, floral and pear wine. 

Balnave's Estate 'The Blend' Coonawarra. 2012. $29.99

Coonawarra is one of the key regions known for cabernet sauvignons that are herbal and minty with a cassis streak and firm but soft tannins.

This merlot cabernet blend incorporates those features to produce a unique profile that can't be found anywhere else.

Jamsheed 'Harem La Syrah'. Yarra Valley/Pyrenees. 2013. $32.99

This red wine offers a tiny bit of spice, strong black pepper notes and a mixture of red and brambly fruit.

Moorooduc Estate Robinson Pinot Noir. Morning Peninsula. 2012. $49.99

There are only 240 cases of this wine available. The Robinson vineyard is the most floral Mooreduc Estate vineyard.

This wine offers bright cherry fruit and a touch of dill. It's full and ripe, but very balanced on the palate.

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: The next era of Australian wines

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