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Here you will find information about the classification of Australian wine and wine types. Choose your area of interest below:
A basic description of the Australian Classification’s four levels are as follows:
Exceptional - The most highly sought-after and prized Australian wines on the market.
Outstanding - "Super Seconds" of the Australian wine market. Benchmark quality wines with a very strong market following.
Excellent - High performing wines of exquisite quality achieving slightly lower values and market strength.
Distinguished - Secondary market staples or emerging classics. Sometimes undervalued on the market.
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Misunderstood, neglected and looked down upon, Riesling is probably the finest white grape variety on the face of the planet. Undoubtedly the best value grape variety in the world and arguably the most versatile, it is capable of wines that are dry, and in some cases frighteningly austere, as well as the most deliciously liquorous dessert wines. Riesling is reasonably fussy about where it is planted, preferring warm and well-drained sites that allow for its charms to show through. Despite its dazzling quality it is shunned, largely due to the myth that all Rieslings are sweet, and it has only been winemaker recognition of its brilliance that has kept plantings up. The shape of the wine will be largely governed by the site and situation, but it usually has fine apple notes, hints of minerals and fresh acidity. The amount of heat will govern the weight of the wine and the finest should be medium but with incredible persistence of flavour. It also has some of the best ageing potential of any grape - especially the sweet wines.
Also known as.Rhine Riesling (Australia et al), Reno (Italy), Johannisberger (Germany)
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This is often blended in Australia with Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. In both Australia and Bordeaux, this incredibly versatile vine suffers from lack of exposure in its true form. Rather the bridesmaid and never the bride, it usually ends up blended with more famous varieties, to which it adds weight and ageing potential. This is a real shame as it is a grape of character and style, with rich flavours and a creamy texture with lovely apricot, peach and dried white- fruit flavours, rather like a richer version of Chardonnay. Its lower acidity and thin skin make it perfect for the production of sweet wines, both late harvest and botrytised, indeed it is the major ingredient in the great sweet wines of Bordeaux. Some extremely fine, dry, whites are also available from Australia's Hunter Valley and Bordeaux's Graves region, which can age over many years.
Also known as.Semillon Muscat (France) Hunter Valley Riesling (Australia) Wyndruif (South Africa)
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The most obvious difference is the use of oak, or rather its absence. A very few growers favour new oak; others are more discreet in their use of wood, buying the occasional new barrel, while others firmly maintain that oak and Chablis are absolutely incompatible. On the whole, I am inclined to agree, unless the use of oak is very subtle indeed, like garlic in cooking, in that you should not immediately taste it, but would notice its absence. Chablis is unique in that it is the one fine Chardonnay that does not need oak, and in a world in love with the taste of oak, that is so refreshing.
Good Chablis has a firm mineral quality, what the French call pierre à fusil, or gun flint. There is an austerity about Chablis, a structure coming from the acidity of a northern clime, that gives the wines a steely backbone. Sometimes in their youth, the true flavours are hidden. A very young Chablis has an immediate fruitiness, but after a year or so, goes into a tunnel of adolescence so that the taste becomes dumb and awkward. At this stage the charm of Chablis is hard to detect. But wait three or four years, or even longer, and the wine begins to emerge into adult maturity and your patience is well rewarded.
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