Lofty Whites from Down Under

By Robert Parker

Australian winemakers are best known for their full-bodied, intensely flavorful reds, but they also do a remarkable job with whites. Their most common are chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and viognier, but some adventurous Aussies have had success with riesling and even verdelho, which is usually grown in Portugal.


D'Arenberg 2006 Stump Jump White (McLaren Vale)

This cuvée is 63% riesling and 16% sauvignon blanc, with marsanne and roussanne making up the rest. It exhibits a fragrant nose of mineral, flowers, honeysuckle, and citrus. It is tasty, refreshing, and a notable value. Drink it over the next 12 to 18 months. $9


Black Chook 2007 VMR (McLaren Vale & Langhorne Creek)

Made from 80% viognier and 10% each of marsanne and roussanne, this wine is fermented mainly in stainless steel. It offers aromas of white peaches and apricots. On the palate, it has a medium body, ripe fruit flavors, and a long finish. $18


Reilly's 2007 Barking Mad Riesling (Clare Valley)

Light gold with a fragrant bouquet of mineral, citrus, and honey, this "off dry" riesling—it has a hint of sweetness—is balanced by lively acidity and ripe fruit. $15


Jim Barry 2007 Riesling The Lodge Hill (Clare Valley)

Exhibiting aromas of earth, mineral, citrus, and lemon-lime, this ripe, crisp, mouth-filling, well-balanced riesling can be enjoyed over the next five to seven years. $19


Thorn-Clarke 2006 Chardonnay Shotfire (Eden Valley)

This chardonnay exhibits aromatic complexity, including notes of mineral, poached pear, and melon. Supple-textured with ample ripe fruit, it should be consumed over the next two to three years. $19


Margan Family 2006 Verdelho (Hunter Valley)

This medium-bodied offering has an enticing bouquet of minerals, flowers, green apple, and lime. On the palate, tropical flavors emerge along with excellent concentration, lively acidity, and a long finish. Enjoy it with a meal of shellfish or roast chicken. $15


Rolf Binder Wines 2006 Viognier Hovah (Barossa Valley)

Light gold in color, the 2006 exhibits a spicy perfume of rose petal, peach, and apricot. The wine dances lightly across the palate into a lingering finish. Drink it over the next year or two. $18


Innocent Bystander 2006 Pinot Gris (Victoria)

Light straw-colored, it offers complex aromas of mineral, flowers, pear, and tangerine. Expansive on the palate, with layered flavors and excellent balance, this flavorful wine will provide pleasure over the next two to three years. $18

Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.

Robert Parker is the world's most influential wine critic. Visit to see tens of thousands of tasting notes, buy his books, or subscribe to his newsletter, The Wine Advocate.

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