Australia’s winemaking history can be traced as early as 1788 when English settlers cultivated the first grapes near Sydney. Over the next century, the industry underwent various ups and downs (although it was mostly the latter), and it was only in the late 1960s when the Australian wine industry really started to flourish.
Now, decades later, this industry is, needless to say, experiencing its best years.
Australian Wine Regions
There are almost 400,000 acres of vines in Australia, and there are around 50 wine regions strewn all over the country. Listed above are some of the most common Australian wine regions.
This area boasts their Cabernet Sauvignon. They also produce Chardonnay, Semillon, and Sauvignon Blanc blends.
Great Southern is nestled in a rather isolated region. It is blessed with a cool climate, one that allows its wineries to create highly distinctive wines.
The Eden Valley
The Eden Valley is composed of a series of hills. It yields excellent Shiraz and Riesling.
If you want to have the finest Riesling, then Clare Valley is your best bet. This area produces full-bodied reds and dry whites.
McLaren Vale enjoys a warm climate, which results to rich, flavorful reds from Shiraz, Grenache, and Cabernet.
Coonawarra is Australia’s leading Cabernet region. Its grapes are marked by a robust flavor.
Langhorne is chilled by the lake and the nearby sea, which allows its wineries to cultivate high quality wines at a minimum cost.
Adelaide Hills grow Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Victoria’s state in the Australian wine industry is fascinating. Even though it only accounts for 30% of the country’s plantings, Victoria prides in having the greatest number of wineries of all states.
Yarra Valley is renowned for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Recently, it has also displayed success with Shiraz.
Lastly, there’s Tasmania, an island that is filled with breathtaking landscapes. It excels in producing sparkling wine, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.
Australia’s Most Famous Wines
Australia successfully cultivates a number of grapes, but it is Shiraz that often steals the spotlight. Aside from Shiraz, here are some other grape varieties that Australia is immensely famous for.
Shiraz is also known as Syrah, and as mentioned earlier, it’s the most widely planted variety in Australia. An interesting to note is that the taste of Shiraz varies slightly, depending on where it’s grown. It can be marked by a bright berry flavor, tinged with spice, or with a hint of something earthy, like oak. This makes it an incredible versatile grape.
Riesling is on the rise lately, and it’s expected that its fame will continue to boom. It is highly aromatic and is best paired with Asian cuisines.
This is planted in several wine-producing regions in Australia. It doesn’t thrive quite well in cooler climates.
Chardonnay is responsible for half of Australia’s white wine production. In fact, it can be found in 63 different wineries all over the country.
After Chardonnay, Sémillon takes the second spot as the most widely planted white grape in Australia. It’s usually paired with Sauvignon Blanc.
Merlot has a considerably lower acidity than other reds, which makes it perfect to pair with all sorts of cuisine since the taste isn’t too robust to overwhelm the food. Merlot is distributed across the country, although it doesn’t fare well in the colder regions.
Australian Sauvignon Blanc is distinct from the other counterparts of this grape. For one, it’s more refined, and its taste is a bit subdued, which makes it extremely versatile when matching with food.
Australian Pinot Noir is gaining more popularity recently, and it’s abundant in Tasmania and Southern Victoria.
Grenache’s history goes way, way back, but it’s only recently when it’s finally starting to gain more credit. Like many Australian grapes, this one is also quite versatile. It’s either produced straight or mixed with other varieties, such as Shiraz and Mourvedre.
Verdelho originally hails from the Madeira region in Portugal. Concurrent with the European style, this variety is also characterized by its high acidity and alcohol content. It bursts with fruitiness and is sometimes blended with lime, honeysuckle, and so on.
Cabernet Franc is already a household name in the wine industry. It’s one of the world’s leading black grape varieties. It’s often fused with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Tempranillo is a grape variety from Spain. In the recent years, however, it has witnessed more popularity in the Australian wine industry.
The Australian wine industry is now enjoying its most successful years, and what best time will it be to relish the drinks that they offer?
If you want to have a sampling of Australian wines, then check out our Shiraz and Merlot variants above.