Exploring Australian Wine Regions With Handpicked Wines

Australian Wine Regions Handpicked Wines_Cori Solomon


Since Australia is the world’s sixth-largest country producing great wines, there is one winery that diversifies itself among many of the Australian wine regions. That winery is Handpicked Wines. Although headquartered in Mornington Peninsula, the winery produces wine in many top wine regions worldwide, primarily emphasizing Australian wine regions. The ultimate goal is to make “regionally expressive and site-specific wines.”

The History of Handpicked Wines

William Dong, founder and managing director of Handpicked Wines, entered the business as a négociant. As time passed, Dong wanted to own vineyards instead of purchasing grapes, juice, or finished wines. That led to purchasing his first Australian vineyard, Capella Vineyard, on the Mornington Peninsula in 2013. Today he owns six vineyards in Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, Tasmania, and Barossa Valley. At the same time, Handpicked Wines works with growers in other Australian wine regions. Those regions include Beechworth, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Heathcote, Hilltops, Margaret River, Mclaren Vale, Murray Darling, and Pyrenees.

Australian Wine Regions Margaret River_Cori Solomon
Australian Wine Regions Margaret River

Wine Ranges

Production consists of several ranges of wine. They include Regional Selections, Collection, Single Vineyard, Number Series, and Trial Batches. Most people are familiar with the Regional Selections, known for its labeling of the hand depicting the various soil colors found throughout the Australian wine regions.

The Regional Selections represent varieties that are grown in a specific region. The Collection characterizes premium wines from handpicked vineyards.

Handpicked Wines White Wines_ Cori Solomon
Handpicked Wines White Wines

Winemaking

Under the direction of head winemaker Peter Diller, Handpicked Wines practices organic and sustainable principles in the vineyards, winery, and tasting rooms. They are Australian-certified for both of these methods. The aim is to offer wines with a sense of place for each designated vineyard location across the various Australian wine regions. Because of the diversity of vineyard locations, instead of bringing the grapes to one site to produce the wine, they transport the winemakers and other personnel to the various grape-growing areas.

Handpicked Wines utilizes three principles in wine production, a sense of place, sustainable viticulture, and minimal intervention, thereby letting the grapes speak for themselves, thus adding to that sense of place.

Discovering Australian Wine Regions with LA Wine Writers

Recently, Adam Dromi, the US Market Manager for Handpicked Wines, presented many wines from various Australian Wine Regions to a group of LA Wine Writers at A.O.C. Brentwood in Los Angeles.

It was a marvelous opportunity to sample wines from Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Tasmania, Margaret River, and Barossa Valley. Many of us had not sampled wine from Tasmania; as wine writers, these excited us the most.

Australian Wine Regions Tasmania_Cori Solomon
Australian Wine Regions Tasmania

Australian Wine Regions – The Whites

2021 Pinot Gris Mornington Peninsula: This Pinot Gris exhibits more depth than most typically found with this variety. This depth may be due to the granite and sandy loam soils and aging in stainless steel and concrete. I found a crisp, clean wine with some effervescence and flavors of citrus and spice.

Handpicked Wines Regional Selections Pinot Gris Mornington Peninsula_Cori Solomon
Handpicked Wines Regional Selections Pinot Gris Mornington Peninsula

2019 Chardonnay Yarra Valley: This Chardonnay ages in stainless steel with oak staves added near the end of the aging process. I could smell the oak on the nose.

2019 Chardonnay Tasmania: This Chardonnay is part of the wine Collection range, and my preference is between the two Chardonnays we tried. I found a leaner Chardonnay with nice acidity and citrus flavors.

Australian Wine Regions – The Reds

2019 Pinot Noir Yarra Valley: I consider this wine an entry-level wine due to its lightness.

Handpicked Wines Regional Selections Pinot Noir Yarra Valley_Cori Solomon
Handpicked Wines Regional Selections Pinot Noir Yarra Valley

2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River: The wine ages 18 months in tank and oak. It is by far the favorite wine of the tasting. I loved the savory spices that accented the dark fruit.

2018 Shiraz Barossa Valley: The wine aged 12 months in French and Hungarian oak. The wine displayed ripe fruits.

Handpicked Wines Collection Shiraz Barossa Valley_Cori Solomon
Handpicked Wines Collection Shiraz Barossa Valley

Delving into Tasmanian Pinot Noir

We sampled a vertical of three Tasmanian Pinot Noirs, 2019, 2017, and 2015, from the Collection series. All three expressed flavors of cherries, but it was 2015 that was the most balanced and integrated.

Glasses of Tasmania Pinot Noir_ Cori Solomon
Glasses of Tasmania Pinot Noir

The Finale

We finish our tasting with the 2020 Shiraz from McLaren Vale. Although a younger wine, I found it rich and balanced, and my second favorite wine of the tasting.

Handpicked Wine Shiraz McLaren Vale_Cori Solomon
Handpicked Wine Shiraz McLaren Vale

Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer received a hosted winetasting luncheon. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.

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