The West Australia Wine Guide 2012 by Ray Jordan

A user friendly guide to the wines of Western Australia

By Laura McKinnon
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The West Australian Wine Guide 2012 - by Ray Jordan

The West Australian Wine Guide 2012 - by Ray Jordan

 

Written by Western Australian wine critic Ray Jordan the Western Australian Wine Guide contains over 800 reviews from the nine wine regions of Western Australia extending from the Swan Valley to one of the biggest wine regions in the world, the Great Southern.

This book is more than just a list of ratings, the reader is introduced to the regions through a 2011 vintage report letting them know the stand out varieties for each region. While initially you may wonder why this information is of value, it is useful to know what varieties were best in each region for that season so that you are not limited by the wines listed in the guide, but can explore other producers.

Next the author outlines the characteristics of common wine varieties found in Western Australia including the regions were the best examples can be found. This basic description with accompanying region information is great for the novice who, for example, only knows they particularly like Semillon. As a result of reading this section they will now know that the best examples of Western Australian Semillon are generally to be found in Margaret River or Geographe.

Another question this book sets out to begin to answer is one asked of many wine shop assistants, “What wine would you suggest I drink with …?” Whether you plan on having Peking Duck or Ham and Pineapple Pizza Ray suggests some ideas that might be a little more constructive than the blank stares I often get when I ask this question at our local store.

For those looking for a more challenging food and wine matching experience four local Western Australian chefs have contributed recipes you can cook yourself and suggested wines to serve with them. My personal favourite is Russell Blaike’s (from Must Winebar) French Onion Soup Gratinee. The suggested wine match is the Xabregas Riesling.

The general information section also includes information on cellaring wine, tips on tasting and finally information on the “Best of the West” starting with the best value wines. To be listed as a best value wine it must have received at least a score of 90 points meaning it is of high quality. All are also under $20 per bottle and much to my delight it includes a few of my favourites in the list of 50. The “Best of the West” also includes information on the wine of the year, the Sandalford Prendiville Reserve Shiraz 2009 as well as the winners of red, white, best value wines of the year, producer of the year, most improved, most promising and winemaker of the year. There is also a list of the runners up in the best red and white categories. A handy tool if you want a quick recommendation for a wine to knock your socks off.

The balance of the book is broken up into the nine wine regions with each section starting with a brief outline of the region including history, viticulture, tourism and local food information. This is followed by the reviews of wineries of that region in alphabetical order. Each review section includes a blurb with key information about the winery then a list of the wines reviewed from that winery. For every wine reviewed the full name is given, vintage year, price, review, score out of 100 and cellaring time.

Entries range from half a page to a full page depending on the number of wines submitted for review. The pages are visually appealing with clear bottle images for most making it easier for you to match the review to the bottles you are looking at in a bottleshop. The reviews are generally a paragraph in length and use descriptors most people will be familiar with such as chocolate, blackcurrant, olive, tropical and passion fruit.

Another great feature of this guide is the pull out map of all nine regions with wineries marked. So while the whole guide might be a little bulky to carry with you on a day trip you can easily mark on the map your top four destinations for the day on the map and stick it in your glovebox or bag.

Overall the West Australian Wine Guide is great companion for anyone travelling to Western Australia for a wine experience or simply wishing to travel through the Western Australian wine regions at their leisure in their own home.

 

The West Australian Wine Guide 2012 written by Ray Jordan is published in Australia by West Australian Publishers (Perth, 2011; sc, 264 pp) RRP A$24.95.

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April 05th, 2012
 
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