- Posted by The CorkGuru
After reading possibly the best wine description ever written by an Australian Wine Blog: The Wine Wankers, it inspired us to dedicate one of our blog articles to the fabulous creations made by Australian winemakers. With so many wine options to choose from (and solely being known for Shiraz Wine), we’re afraid that at times our friends from down under are overlooked. This promise of heavenly ‘wine grease’ made us curious.
Different wine varieties and regions are always going in and out of style, and we are feeling the heat (and the cool) from Australia this year for the following reasons:
Plethora of Regions
With over 3,000 wineries and 76 regions, the continent of Australia is just oozing with wine options for you to sample. In fact, in the process of writing this article it has been extremely difficult to narrow down just a select few wines to recommend, so let’s take a look at the bigger picture. Australian wines are broken down into 4 main regions: South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria. Thank the lord for this wonderful interactive map from The Australian Wine Society to help us virtually frolick each vineyard and terrain.
Here are 5 regions that are topping our wine “to do” list:
- Barossa Valley – This region has been producing red-wines for the US for over 20 years. Since there are warm and cool climates in this area, there are many different varieties to choose from.
- Clare Valley – North of Adelaide, this region’s wine history dates back to the mid-nineteenth century and is best known for rieslings.
- Margaret River – Western Australia’s most well known wine region measuring 100 km specializes in cabernet, chardonnay, semillion and blends.
- McLaren Vale – Australia’s top reds come from this area south of the Margaret River. Try the Shiraz and Grenache.
- Yarra Valley – Due to the cool growing season, Yarra Valley’s pinot noirs and chardonnays sound delish, but it makes for a hard choice with over 70 wineries to choose from just a hop and a skip from the city of Melbourne.
Lots of Grape Variety
The thing that struck us about the Wine Wankers wine description though, and indeed the inspiration for our research, was that the “wine grease” was referring to a Muscat! This flies in the face of the typical American perception that all Australian wines are heavy, jammy fruit-bombs. So what we really set out to discover was, what do the locals drink and how do we get some of their juice?
Shiraz, Shiraz, Shiraz. Certainly this is the grape that is the most widely recognized as Australian and we are more than happy to taste-test the wine varietal term that the Aussies themselves coined. In fact, an Adelaide Hills Shiraz was just recognized last year as Australia’s best red wine at the International Wine Challenge. Being a grape that’s able to withstand the most climate change, several Australian winemakers are able to produce complex Shiraz from both warm- and cool-climate regions. What can we say – some like it hot, some like it cold (some like it in the glass… or the whole bottle).
But, if you can believe it, there is more to Australian vino than Shiraz wine. As it turns out, the other top varieties from Australia include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Semillon. Surprised by any of these? Take a look at the top planting breakdowns on the Wine Australia site for more surprises.
So, the most pressing question is what should you drink? And where do you start? We did some research and settled on some picks from Elin McCoy on Wine-Searcher.com. If you cannot find these exact wines, search for substitutes that offer similar taste profiles. You won’t be disappointed!
More Australian Wine Importers in the US
Within the past year, the Wine Australia Initiative – USA Program was launched to help more Australian wines enter the US marketplace. The program has been connecting Australian wineries with importers in the US, and helping them with logistics along the way. In addition there are some great companies importing Australian wines, so we can all taste their sweet nectar. Here are a handful to check out:
- Hudson Wine Brokers http://www.hudsonwine.us
9 producers in 9 Australian wine regions that are well known to Aussies, but not yet to the U.S. These brokers import only Australian grown wines.
- Little Peacock http://www.little-peacock.com
Being an Australian native, the founder imports wines from Australia regions only, specifically South Australia, West Australia and Victoria.
- Epicuraen Wines http://www.epicureanwines.com
Importing Australian wines for over 12 years, many of the family-owned wineries in this importers portfolio are located in South Australia with a focus on the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, but also touts producers in Western Australia and Victoria.
- Vine St. Imports http://www.vsimports.com/index.php
Imports from 6 different countries, including 18 different regions in Australia alone.
- Quintessential Wines http://www.quintessentialwines.com
Headquartered in Napa, CA and one of the larger importers in the US, Quintessential brings wines to us from 10 different countries which includes 12 Australian labels.
All this talk of Australian wine makes us thirsty. Can someone please fund us a trip to Game of Rhones this year?
Have you tried an Australian Wine that you loved or loathed recently? Tweet us @CorkGuru.