If you ask wine connoisseurs to list their favorite wines, you can bet not a single Australian brand would figure in that list. Considering that Australia has an exciting array of wines to offer-from Riesling to Barossa Shiraz-it is a pity that wines from Down Under do not enjoy the fame they deserve. There used to be a time when Australia used to export wines in bulk at throwaway prices.
The continent became infamous for exporting the inferior stuff, holding onto the quality ones for home consumption. But following the uprooting of near unlimited acres of vineyards owing to periodic droughts, the Australian winery scenario evolved greatly. Presently, Australia is home to some of the biggest vineyards that produce some of the most sought after red and white wines.
Many of Australia’s wine producing regions have been awarded GI (geographic indication) tags, underlying the exclusivity of the wine brands. Some of these regions include Eden Valley, Barossa Valley, Hunter Valley, and Margaret River. In this blog, we present 10 premium wines brewed from the grapes cultivated in the continent’s main wine regions.
The best Australian Shirazes brew in the Barossa Valley in South Australia situated 60 kms northeast of Adelaide downtown. Barossa Valley is synonymous with Shiraz as select vintners like Peter Lehmann, Wolf Blass, and Rockford Wines produce topnotch Shirazes. Take for instance, the Basket Press Shiraz brewed by Rockford Wines that has acquired iconic status.
Rockford Wines released the first Basket Press Shiraz vintage edition batch in 1984. This Shiraz is brewed using the best grade of Barossa Shiraz grapes sourced from select vineyards in Barossa Valley. Basket Press Shiraz is handcrafted using traditional equipment and thereafter matured in French and American oak barrels for a couple of years.
You can identify this red wine by its deep red color and its fruity, medium-bodied, soothing flavor.
Penfolds with its vineyards in Magill Estate, Barossa Valley, is one of the most celebrated wineries in Australia. And the winery is best known for its ‘Penfolds’ Grange’ which the National Trust of Australia lists as a heritage wine. Robustly-flavored and fully-ripe Shiraz grapes go into making the garnet-hued Penfolds’ Grange.
The whiffs range from shitake mushroom to XO sauce to hoisin with subtle notes of sautéed beef, red licorice, and game meats. Penfolds’ Grange is aged in brand new and large American oak barrels.
Clare Valley in South Australia has a global reputation for producing some of the best varieties of Rieslings and Shirazes. And the Rieslings brewed by Jim Barry Wines paved the way for the production of some top-quality Australian Rieslings. Jim Barry’s Florita Riesling is a dry white wine that exudes flavors and scents of lemony citrus peppered with notes of stone fruit.
Your nostrils will pick up intense notes of tropical fruits, orangey tangs, and spices. The finish is crisp with aftertastes of minerals and flinty soil. Pair your aperitifs with cured meat, roast chicken, shellfish, pork, and snacks.
The Henschke family of winemakers has been in business for 150 years, having cemented its reputation in producing quality wines. The Hill of Grace, a red wine, is definitely one of Henschke’s bestselling spirits, keeping Aussies in high spirits for decades. Easily distinguishable by its deep crimson color, Hill of Grace tantalizes you with intense aromas of dark plum, blueberry, and blackberry.
Inhale a little deeply and you’ll pick up hints of sage, star anise, and exotic spices layered with whiffs of dark cedar and beef stock.
Greenock Creek Vineyards & Cellars ferments Cabernet Sauvignon grapes sourced from a small vineyard having vines about 80 years old. When the grapes ripen fully, they’re handpicked and tested for flavors before the must is subjected to fermentation. The winery makes use of shallow and large fermenters for brewing the must following which it is pumped, chilled, and compressed.
Once primary fermentation is over, the wine is transferred to French hogsheads for ageing up to 3 years. Thereafter, the wine is decanted in bottles where its sits for another 2 years. This Cabernet Sauvignon exudes almost all the flavors that you’d associate with premium cabernets including berries, chocolate, lavender, and mint. Relish this wine with sides of cured pork, smoked salmon, roasted duck, and crisp salads.
The 2017 Arcadian Shiraz bagged the best prize at the 2018 London Wine Competition for packaging, value, and quality. Idyll Wine Co’s Arcadian Shiraz also won awards for ‘Best Australian Shiraz’ and ‘Best Australian Wine’. The grapes used for producing this wine come from the Murray Darling Basin in Victoria. A first-rate red wine, the Arcadian Shiraz gives off strong notes of French and American oaks, coupled with robust traces of plum and cherry.
The 2015 Reserve Merriman Cabernet Sauvignon is Shaw Vineyard Estate’s flagship Shiraz identified by its deep garnet hue. The nose is a potent combination of burgundy and black forest fruits with underlying notes of pepper, spices, and ripe berries. The finish is a medley of flavors with hints of cedar, dark berries, and cassis dominating.
Many wine connoisseurs and aficionados that have sampled By Farr’s 2015 Pinot Noir, have found the pinot’s taste to be divine. The grapes for producing this Pinot Noir abound in the Sangreal and Farrside vineyards. Following harvesting of the grapes, they’re fermented in fermenters with open-tops. The vintner uses natural yeast for expediting fermentation, following which the wine goes into Allier barrels where it sits for 18 months.
The flavors tend to be delectable and strongly masculine with notes of black and red fruits, spices, minerals, and cured meats.
The Gilbert Family Wine Company Pty Ltd creates the Gilbert wine using grapes procured from Orange. This Gilbert Riesling overwhelms your palate with aromas of fresh lime, spices, herbs, and cut grass. The finish is layered with fragrances of ginger, fresh fruits, and lemongrass spice.
The Tudor Shiraz’s flavors represent a judicious blend of smooth tannins, blackberry, spices, and peppers with rich hints of leather and French oak. Aldi Stores Australia which brews this Shiraz is a venerated vintner in Australia.