Now, after part 1, I think is the perfect time to look at the different regions within Australia. Now depending on what you’re looking for, Australia has a region for it. For example I want a really big peppery Shiraz, well then I go to the Barrossa Valley, maybe I want a much more refined ripe fruit Shiraz… well then I simply leave Barrossa and head over to the Clare Valley or Maclaren Vale! I know it doesn’t really make much sense- if I’m honest I don’t really have a full grasp on it yet either. All I know is that different grapes need different elements… but at the heart of it all- they all require a long time to ripen, that way they are more infused with flavour. Which makes sense- think about it, if something grows too quickly its going to miss out on a lot of stuff. So its down to the Wine maker to pick a region that will help grapes ripen slowly but surely. One of the best ways to do this to have a diurnal climate… basically meaning warm days and cool night. I know it’s a bit confusing, but trust me I’ve been reading a lot about it, and essentially that’s one of the main keys to growing grapes. Also soil matters- but that’s a whole can of worms that really doesn’t need to be opened at this point… So below we get a tiny bit technical… I know, I know, but it really was unavoidable- there’s only so long I can waffle on, before I have to give ye some useful information- but what I said in Part1 remains true, I’ll try and keep it as easy as possible!
The Clare valley is unique to Australia with its cool nights and hot summer days, which ensures the fruit ripens slower and more evenly than elsewhere (seeeee diurnal climate… told you!). The Clare Valley is unique for its abundance of eucalyptus trees, which fill red wines- such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz- with a touch of mint. I know- relax, for some reason the word mint terrifies people when it comes to Clare Valley Cabernets… But trust me when they’re done correctly Clare Valley wines stamp their authority as some of the most special wines in the world- even with the mint! Honestly try some of them- a good example of top quality Clare Valley wine is the O’Leary-Walker Cabernet Sauvignon!
Comprised of many different “terroirs”, the McLaren Vale offers an array of different wines- each giving distinction to the wines produced in this area. McLaren Vale Shiraz displays pronounced berry and spice characters with some dark chocolate and liquorice, while Shiraz from cooler sub-regions exhibits defined ripe raspberry characters. McLaren Vale Shiraz is renowned for its great softness and rolling palate.
Located north of the Clare Valley, Southern Flinders receives a large amount of Sunshine. However, this sunshine is tempered by virtue of the fact that the region is elevated which serves to keep it cool, and therefore the grapes ripen earlier than in the neighbouring Clare Valley. Southern Flinders is capable of creating great reds in Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon- however, like other regions in Australia its best known for its Shiraz’s.
Coonawarra is synonymous with classy Cabernet Sauvignon, full of plum and blackcurrant fruit. So much so, that successes with other grape varieties is overlooked. The limestone geology also suits Chardonnay and Riesling, but with Cabernets like these there is little need to look too far afield.
The Barossa Valley is best known for its Shiraz. Australia‘s, and some of the world’s oldest Shiraz vines still live on in the Barossa from low yielding dry grown bush vines that produce highly concentrated, lush, complex, rich, intense, and full-bodied wines. Softened by some oak and resplendent with juicy berry fruit, dark bitter chocolate and slight minty characteristics, Barossa Shiraz is renowned throughout the world as one of the best. Barossan Shiraz’s may have been on the map for a while but now they are also turning their hand the white variety- Viognier.
The Eden Valley wine region includes the High Eden sub-region and is known for its rockier, more acidic soil than the neighboring Barossa Valley. The area has a higher elevation, and thus has a colder, wetter climate. The Eden Valley is home to the Hill of Grace vineyard with its 130+ year old Shiraz vines that are behind the world renowned Henschke Hill of Grace wine. The Eden Valley has also gained international attention for its limestone noted Rieslings.
The climate of Margaret River is more strongly maritime-influenced than any other major Australian region. The low diurnal and seasonal temperature range means an unusually even accumulation of warmth. Basically the climate is similar to that of Bordeaux in a dry vintage. Interesting fact about Margaret River… the region produces just three percent of total Australian grape production, but it produces over 20 percent of Australia‘s premium wine market. The principal grape varieties are fairly evenly split between red and white; Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Merlot.
As diverse as they come. With over 600 wineries, Victoria has more wine producers than any other Australian wine-producing state but ranks third in overall wine production due to the lack of mass bulk wine-production. The style of wine ranges from full body red wine to dry white’s.
Boasting a much cooler climate than other prominent Australian regions, Adelaide Hills is the perfect Region for Sauvignon Blanc, Cool Crisp Chadonnay, and also Pinot Noir. The cool days and nights suit the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but also its clay soil retains enough water to prevent either from becoming overly Jammy. Now I Know I talked a lot about Shiraz- even told you it was in my top 5, but I think Pinot Noir would have to be my favourite red! I love the subtlty of it and how a good one will always surprise you, and that’s exactly what the O’Leary-Walker wine does. Its Silky Smooth with a slight touch of Spice on the palate! Also for all those People who hate Chardonnay… try their Adleaide hills Chardonnay. The biggest problem with Chardonnay is how oaked it is- but the oak can be brilliant… if its done right! Now O’Leary-Walker wines are not ones to do things by half measures- AT ALL! This Chardonnay will get you lookin differently at the grape!
Phew! Congratulations to those who read all that, and for those who just skipped to this part well at least now you know where to find the info you’re looking for! Anyways thats everything I can think of with regards to Australian wine- I’m sure I’m leaving loads out, but feel free to call me on it!