Wine Education: Australia
When I think of Australian wine my mind immediately rushes to Shiraz and the many bottles of Yellowtail that I consumed in my youth (21+ youth of course)! I’m sure many of you have the same experience, but I’m here to change that!
Australia, the 8th largest wine producing country in the world, has so much more to offer than Shiraz. From the cool ocean breezes, to the ancient, unique terroir, there is something for everyone in Australian wine.
What started over 30 years ago as a high end Australian wine auction house, has become the premiere guide for Australian wine classification. Langton’s Classification breaks out the finest Australian wines into 3 categories: Excellent, Outstanding, and Exceptional.
Excellent wines are constantly popular, regularly on the list and consistently expressive of the stereotypical characteristics of each wine. There are currently 68 Excellent wines on Langton’s list.
Outstanding wines are those that express vineyard provenance, regional recognition, and true Australian winemaking processes.
The highest ranking Exceptional wines, represent those of the finest wines with representative character of place and generational excellency.
Like Italy and France, there are numerous regions in Australia that produce wine. Most of which are in the southern part of the country.
New South Wales
I would say the most popular wines from New South Wales hail from The Hunter Valley, well known for Shiraz and Semillon, as well as Canberra District. New South Wales and the area around Sydney have the longest history of winemaking in Australia, yet only produce about 30% of the continent’s wine yield.
Recommended Wine: Andrew Thomas Wine Braemore Semillon
The island of Tasmania is a great producer of white wines. Tasmania has forces from both the Indian Ocean and South Pacific, creating distinctive flavors and acidity in the wines from this region.
Recommended Wine: Jansz Tasmania Premium Rosé NV
The neighboring Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley regions in Victoria are well known around the world. Both areas create fruit forward, jammy Pinot Noir and the terroir of the Yarra Valley provides distinct characteristics in Cabernet Sauvignon. As the wine ages the flavor profiles drift from spice and vanilla to cedar and leather.
Victoria is also home to Rutherglen, which is the leading producer of fortified wines in Australia.
Recommended Wine: Mac Forbes Pinot Noir
I’m sure that most of you who are familiar with Australian wines would recognize the regions in this province. Clare Valley, Eden Valley, Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra are all located here.
In Clare Valley you will find brisk citrusy Riesling and decadent Shiraz, while if you move to Eden Valley your Riesling hit more floral notes.
Barossa is home to the oldest continuously producing Grenache vines in the world. It frequently plays into the GSM blend of Grenache, Shiraz, and Mourvedre, a popular red wine blend in Côtes du Rhône.
Coonawarra, located in the Limestone Coast area, is known for it’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Expect dark fruits, intense flavor, and bold tannins.
Adelaide Hills produces mostly white wines but also offers a rich Pinot Noir.
Recommended Wine: Angove Family Crest Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre
Queensland offers a smaller variety of wines only producing Shiraz and Chardonnay from its South Burnett and Granite Belt regions. While South Burnett is a newer wine region dating to 1993, Granite Belt has a longer history and is the highest wine region in the country.
Recommended Wine: Symphony Hill Wines Reserve Shiraz
Margaret River is arguably the most well-known producer in Western Australia. From crisp Semillon and refreshing Chardonnay to elegant Cabernet Sauvignon and vibrant Shiraz, Margaret River produces some incredible flavor profiles.
Recommended Wine: Streicker “Bridgeland Block” Syrah 2014