The Australian whine guide is back for another year.  In 2016 we review some exciting new whines that are sure to dazzle the palate and excite the senses – not to be outdone, the traditional flavours still have many good years of drinking remaining.

Kyrgios’ ‘Inevitable’ Shiraz, 2016
Yass (ACT)
‘Inevitable’ is one of the boldest new whines on the Australian market.  In the past few years the Kyrgios whinemakers have been building a steady reputation and generating an exciting buzz, though without being able to meet the high expectations.  In 2016 industry experts predict the Kyrgios whine, a brash flavour and for many, still lacking in maturity, to finally come into its own.  The neighbouring Tomic Estate is also expected to rise alongside Kyrgios.

Abbott’s ‘Single Vote’ Chardonnay, 2009
Hunter Valley (NSW)
A disastrous 2015 saw the Abbott Estate almost fold.  A string of poor releases including ‘Sir Philip,’ ‘Bishops Visit,’ and ‘Onion Skin,’ culminated in a catastrophic drop in popularity.  An eventual takeover by Turnbull & United Breweries saved the whinemaker from complete implosion however any resurrection in 2016 will need to be managed carefully.  To mark the new year, Abbott’s have released their classic ‘Single Vote’ from 2009.  As always, Abbott’s is best served cold, by a woman and enjoyed in the company of other males at a round table.

'..and she hadn't even finished the ironing!'
‘..and she hadn’t even finished the ironing!’

Dutton’s ‘Mad Witch’ Riesling, 2001
Toowoomba (QLD)
Expectations are high for the Dutton Estate in 2016, though experts are coy on whether or not the whinemaker is capable of matching the hype.  A white whine of rare quality, Dutton’s continually divides consumers, producing whines that have been described as thick, coarse and often of an exceedingly low quality.  Nevertheless, Turnbull & United Breweries, who inherited the whinemaker in 2015, continue to stand by Dutton’s, but for how long?

Hird’s ‘Glory Days’ Cabernet Sauvignon, 1993
Yarra Valley (VIC)
It’s been many years since the Hird Estate released a whine of any notable quality.  Recent releases have been reviewed as sour and flavourless, leaving a bitter taste on the palates of a loyal fan base.  Experimentation with traditional whine making techniques has been largely to blame for the drop in quality and failed partnerships with Dank Breweries and the Robinson Estate have been particularly damaging to the Hird’s reputation.  With the release of ‘Glory Days,’ the Hird Estate is hoping for a revival of fortunes, although it may be too little too late.

A clip from Hird's 'Glory Days' promotion
A clip from Hird’s ‘Glory Days’ promotion

Shorten’s ‘Treading Water’ Merlot, 2007
Mornington Peninsula (VIC)
Once considered the whine ‘next in line,’ the public’s taste for Shorten’s has dropped dramatically in the past 6 months.  The 2015 ‘Ideas’ range did not resonate with the drinking public and was described as ‘lacklustre, flavourless and uninspiring swill,’ by many whine experts.  A considerable reversal of fortunes in the second half of 2016 is desperately needed, though many are expecting the Plibersek Estate or Albanese Breweries to eventually rise from the Shorten Estate’s ashes.

Abetz’s ‘Noah BC’ Chardonnay, 1958
Richmond (TAS)
An old style, ‘traditional values’ white whine, Abetz’s has been prominent on the Australian scene for many years, however is predicted to feature strongly in 2016.  Abetz’s whines were originally developed in Germany before production moved to Australia in the 1960’s.  In the years since, the whinemaker has been largely influenced by the Howard and Abbott Estates, although eventually developing their own eccentric twists, including the ‘Necessarily’ release of 2014.  Rumours of a merger between Abetz and Abbott’s in the second half of 2016 have the industry buzzing.

Ford’s ‘Joint Destroyer’ Temperanillo, 2016
Adelaide Hills (SA)
Ford’s Estate have been producing high quality, although abrasive and divisive whines, for many years.  Famously organic and sustainable, Ford’s are known for leaving the skins of their grapes in the bottle, because ‘that’s the way nature intended.’  2016’s release of a Temperanillo is according to Ford’s ‘symbolic’ and ‘addresses a critical underrepresentation of the product in mainstream market.’  Industry experts are divided on whether Ford’s can sustain their popularity, or whether their uncompromising style will develop into an acquired taste.