Australia has long been famed for its wine. Whether it’s a Shiraz from the Barossa Valley, a Riesling from the Hunter Valley, a Cabernet from Coonawara or a Chardonnay from Margaret River, because of the variety of climates, you will be able to find somewhere to grow almost any grape variety.
In recent years and unrestricted by legislation on what grapes are permitted in certain regions, Australia has started to move away from French grapes and started to experiment. Wines are becoming less alcoholic in style and more food-friendly.
This has been encouraged by cookery shows, much like the UK, so as demand for better, more interesting wine soars, the demand for cheap, poorly put together and overly produced Chardonnay has diminished. This has left wine makers looking for something a little more interesting, and so, they turned to Italian varietals.
There are all sorts of interesting wines coming out of Australia at the moment. Not too many have made it to the UK market yet so, when you’re next in Oz, keep an eye out for a herbal, nutty and aromatic Fiano from South Australia which is a good alternative to Sauvignon Blanc.
How about a Garganega from Barossa? It’s a grape which can be delicate and acidic or rich and full bodied depending on how the wine is made. If you are looking for red wines, a Nebbiolo from Margaret River might float your boat. It’s incredibly aromatic and wood smoke, violets and even tar are common on the nose. On the palate, there are dark fruits, supple tannins and high acidity and it’s a perfect food wine. A Barbera from McLaren Vale is certainly another wine to watch out for. It has an abundance of cherry notes, but can vary from spicy and rich to smoky and smooth.
I would strongly suggest trying a wine that is slightly different from what you would normally choose, after all variety is the spice of life.