South Australia v France tasting challenge


The Government of South Australia maintains a European office in London, headed by Bill Muirhead, the Agent-General for South Australia. Its role is to increase awareness of South Australia and drive preference for the State’s offering as, among other things, a producer of premium food and wine.

Still, it might have been thought a risky strategy to pit South Australian wines against French wines at a tasting the Agent-General hosted for the French Chamber of Commerce this week. But good on them, they ran with my idea and, aside from provoking plenty of lively debate, who dares wins! Voting for their favourite white and red wine of the night, by some margin the guests preferred South Australia’s Shaw & Smith M3 Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2010Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2005.

Admittedly the Penfolds was the most expensive (and mature) wine shown but, with an RRP of £24.99, the Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay acquitted itself extremely well against its Burgundy premier cru rival, Domaine Chevalier Ladoix Blanc 1er Cru Les Grechons 2008 (RRP £32).

Here’s the line up which I presented:

Mount Horrocks Watervale Riesling 2011 (Clare Valley, South Australia) -v- Cave de Hunawihr Riesling Grand Cru Rosaker 2010 (Alsace, France) 

Shaw & Smith M3 Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2010 (Adelaide Hills, South Australia) – v – Domaine Chevalier Ladoix Blanc 1er Cru Les Grechons 2008

Balnaves Cabernet Merlot 2009 (Coonawarra, South Australia) – v – Jean-Christophe Barbe Chateau Mouras Graves 2007 (Bordeaux, France)

Charles Melton Nine Popes 2009 (Barossa Valley, South Australia) – v – Chateau de Vaudieu Chateauneuf du Pape 2010 (Rhône, France)

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2005 (South Australia) – v – David Reynaud Crozes-Hermitage Les Croix 2010 (Rhône, France)

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  1. Derek

    A lovely selection of wines! The Reynaud Crozes possibly will feel hard done by as you allude. Out of curiosity apart from the St Henri, all the wines are from Liberty Wines? Was this just for ease? No criticism meant just idle curiosoty?

    • sarah

      Hi Derek – eagle eye on sourcing! Yes, you are right. Partly about logistics. Also because Liberty have a great Australia list. Even better, I was able to fine tune my selection of head to head wines at their portfolio tasting. Sarah

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