If you’re thinking about Australia, you’re probably quick to think about Shiraz, a grape variety that made the country famous and continues to delight wine drinkers the world over. But if you’re thinking about Australian wine, these days, you should also be thinking about Riesling, Barbera, Sémillon, Mencia, Grüner Veltliner, Montepulciano, Vermentino, Nebbiolo, and many more grape varieties you probably didn’t even know were growing in the country.
With fall fully moving towards winter, Australia might not be the first place you’re thinking about for wine to match those nice, comforting meals, but it’s definitely worth taking a fresh look at what’s going on Down Under. If it’s been a while, you’re definitely in for some pleasant surprises.
From maritime climate to warm interior plains, cool mountain valleys to hot, dry, and sandy expanses, winegrowing areas in Australia are as diverse as they come. And while some famous producers built the country’s international reputation on sunny, technically impeccable varietal wines, recent trends have put the focus squarely on terroir specifics and a great diversity of approaches and styles – including a number of natural and rather experimental approaches.
All the more fun to be had for consumers, as pleasant surprises abound in bottles from Margaret River, the Adelaide Hills, Mornington Peninsula – or even Barossa, whose offerings go well beyond the big, bold Shiraz that made it famous. In recent years, Grenache from McLaren Vale has shifted to a lighter and brighter style, with crispy red fruit and almost floral elements that have taken it to a whole other level.