Text: Cecilia Wong
Whenever Shiraz is mentioned, Australian wines would pop up in someone’s mind. Australia has a good reputation of Shiraz and a long history of planting it. World’s oldest Shiraz vines are found in Barossa Valley, and still producing fruit for winemaking. With approximately 1.2 billion litres of wine produced annually, Australia is the fifth biggest wine-producing country worldwide. Amongst the hundred grape varieties available in Australia, the most widely planted one is Shiraz, followed by Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. More recent marketing campaigns promote other varieties.
South Australia is the largest wine region in Australia, produces almost half of Australia’s wine, and is home to many famous brands such as Penfolds, St. Hallett, Rosemount and Lindemans. There are five key wine regions in South Australia. Barossa Valley is well known for its excellent Shiraz wines, but their great GSM (Grenache, Shiraz & Mourvedre) should not be neglected. In the recent years, a significant number of winegrowers planted Mediterranean varieties like Fiano, Montepulciano, Tempranillo, Dolcetto and Graciano, and have practiced their farming in organic or biodynamic way; both are invigorating to the industry.
McLaren Vale is another mecca in Australia for Shiraz, but it also produces superb Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. Grenache in McLaren Vale is comparable is indeed the trump card of the region, Mediterranean styled varieties, for instance, Barbera, Fiano, Sangiovese and Vermentino could be found here too.
Clare Valley has a sublime reputation of producing outstanding wines, and Riesling here is one of the best in Australia, despite it represents only 3% of the total wine production in the country. Chardonnay, Semillon, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon are other great finds in this region. Other up and coming grape varieties include Pinot Gris, Sangiovese and Tempranillo.
The celebrated Terra Rossa soil from Coonawarra region has exceptional terroir for Bordeaux styled reds, also pay special attention to its quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
Distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir wines are made in Adelaide Hills; it becomes increasingly interesting with more plantings of unusual varieties such as Arneis, Grüner Veltliner and Fiano (whites), Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Montepulciano (reds).
Whether you like red or white wines, South Australia has a lot to offer that worth your exploration.