In the last 25 years or so Australia has made incredible strides in winemaking. But to be completely clear here, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since.
So, don’t let anyone tell you Australia is a new thing. That’s simply not true. Sure some of their wine labels are irreverent! That’s fun and shows Aussie personality. Due to the fact that new technologies and the focus on modern techniques makes Australia listed as a New World wine. It’s history goes way back.
The majority of the great wine regions are in the southeastern area of the continent, including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia; Yarra Yarra Valley and Pyrenees in Victoria; and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. The Hunter Valley produces excellent Semillon that reminds you of first-rate French Sauternes.
Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and numerous blends including Grenache and Mourvedre.
I’ll say in these areas one of France’s noblest black grape varieties, Syrah with its intense and distinctive perfume suggestive of briar fruit, tar, baked spice and black pepper plus its firm structure is grown with excellent character and also the Grenache is such a burly beast in in these parts and it must be tasted. These wines are comparable at times to the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage
In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great steps are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds and again Grenache. The Pinot Noir is nice and fresh.
There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the land Down Under, where Riesling also enjoys worldwide acclaim. It can age for years. While many equate Aussie wines with “value,” there are more than a few tremendously rare and high-priced options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine journals and critics throughout the world; like the famed Penfolds Grange.
But as with everything quality levels in Australia hinge greatly on yields and geography and that is what has been getting better and better. It’s time to give Australia’s wine a serious look because it’s delicious and can be a great value.
Try something from regions I’ve mentioned.