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As a Drink Editor I receive a lot of requests for restaurant, bar and nightlife recommendations. So I started a blog to chronicle Chicago's social scene which eventually morphed into New York's drinking and dining scene. After years in Chicago, I'm now a full time resident of NYC, the East Village to be exact. Look forward to sharing the latest and greatest from the wine & spirits world, straight from the Big Apple.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wine from Down 'Unda

In order to get Chicagoans to open up to Australia’s wine diversity and to encourage city dwellers to look beyond Shiraz, Wine Australia worked with the City of Chicago to develop a unique Australian Wine Oasis in tandem with Chicago Jazz Fest. The chic urban oasis provided a relaxed atmosphere where you could experience 24 wines by the taste and the glass. All of the wines were between $9 and $15: a budget friendly price for you Cheeky girls saving up for this season’s Louboutins. Be sure to visit where you can enter to win a trip to Australia to visit their wine country.

This Cheeky writer chatted with James Gosper, Director of Wine Australia for North America to get the deets on the wines that grow in the Southern Hemisphere.

Cheeky: What’s unique about the climate and land of Australia that lends to producing such great vintages?

Australia has a huge diversity in climate and soil which lends to amazing diversity in wines styles and varieties. You can enjoy cool climate Pinots Noirs on one hand, and warm climate full bodied Shiraz on the other. We had wines of many styles and many climates at the festival to demonstrate this diversity.

Cheeky: Tell me about the most under-rated Australian wines

Australia is regarded as Shiraz - so all other varietals and styles are under rated. At the Festival we had extraordinary interest in many alternatives varietals such as Viogniers, Pinot Noirs, Grenache, Pinot Gris, Roses, sparklings, and some very interesting blends. The objective of asking the consumers to “Open Up” was achieved with great success. One consumer stated that he did not know the Australia produced Pinot Noir, and then proceeded to say he was blown away by the quality the Pinot noir had to offer.

Cheeky: Share some thoughts on what separates the wines from Australia from those produced in other regions of the U.S.

Many wine drinkers know they can get Pinot Noir from Oregon and cabernet from Napa, however they are completely unaware of the diversity of Australian wine regions. Our wine regions stretch from east to west coast, and many have been producing wines for more than 120 years.

Cheeky: Who do you predict as the new “It” girl, the up-and-coming wine varietal that Chicagoans should have their pulse on?

Check out Aussie Rieslings (Clare and Eden valley), Pinot Noirs from Victoria and Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blends from Margaret River. And you can’t forget old vine Grenache - yummy.

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