Australia is one of the most prolific wine-producing countries in the world and not many people in the U.S. are aware of it.
History of Australian Wine
The birth of Australian wine making first started when vine cuttings from the Cape of Good Hope were brought to the penal colony of New South Wales in 1788. Although these first vines failed, eventually other settlers managed to successfully cultivate vines for winemaking, and Australian made wine was available for sale domestically by the 1820s.
Currently, wine is produced in every state, with more than 60 designated wine regions totaling around 160,000 hectares. The majority of Australia’s wine regions are located in the southern, cooler parts of the country, with vineyards located in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania, and Queensland. Each wine region takes advantage of the particular Terroir (such as climatic differences, topography, and soil types) to produce different wine varieties and styles. The major varieties are predominantly Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Semillon, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Check out our suggestions below for a delicious introduction to the wonderful world of Australian wines!
Fresh and zesty aromas of green nettles, passionfruit, lemongrass, and mango. Light bodied, showing layers of fresh lemongrass and papaya. Fine, crunchy acidity helps to focus the taste buds on the finish, which is persistent, clean, and utterly delicious.
Serve alongside Asian shredded chicken salad with crushed roasted peanuts, or any other delicious, crunchy oriental fried noodle salad. For ethnic cuisines, try Greek and Mexican food and other fresh dishes that feature avocados, tomatoes, green onions, olives and sharp cheeses.
South Australia is the heavyweight wine state, producing most of the country’s wine and boasting some of the its oldest vines. The dry, hot climate ripens grapes fully, making bold, dense, and concentrated wines. Set on the banks of South Australia’s majestic Murray River, the Oxford Landing vineyard is in the Adelaide Hills region. These cool hills just east of the city provide the perfect ingredients for lemony sauvignon blanc and chardonnay.
Open red and dark berry fruit aromas combine alongside subtle glimpses of dark chocolate and controlled oak spice. The soft deep red and black fruit notes seen together on the nose also show in abundance on the palate where they are accompanied by a fresh acid line and a super fine tannin frame.
Pair red meat with a big, bold wine like the Schild Shiraz. These big, tannic wines pair nicely with a complex BBQ dish because they bring out some of the more subtle flavors. A bold wine like this can hold up to the intense flavors of slow-roasted barbecue pork, authentic beef asada tacos or even baked chicken and mole sauce.
The Barossa Valley has a rich viticultural history with patches of bush-trained vines, many more than 100 years old. It is first and foremost a red wine region. The classic Barossa Valley wine is a ripe, concentrated, and high-alcohol red made from Australia’s flagship red grape, Shiraz. Shiraz is king but cabernet sauvignon, grenache and mourvèdre play an important part, too.
Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz blended wines are a particular specialty of Australia showcasing ripe, balanced, dark fruit flavors and spice supported by softly integrated oak resulting in an impressive, smooth red wine.
As a general rule, Shiraz (Syrah) and Cabernet Sauvignon both pair very well with grilled meats, vegetables, wild game and beef stew. A protein-based fat: butter, cream, or a thickened broth-based sauce like a demi-glace will balance the wine’s tannins. Pair your grilled meats with chargrilled asparagus drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, mustard greens, and radishes.
Penfolds vineyards are located primarily in South Australia on prime land throughout the state’s renowned viticultural regions. Throughout its history, Penfolds has owned and leased vineyards in addition to sourcing grapes from independent growers. This strategy reflects the tradition of multi-vineyard and multi-regional sourcing first introduced in the 1860s. This allows for a consistency of style and quality across vintages, of which Penfolds is renowned for.