Although the vineyards of the Adelaide Hills are only 20 minutes from the centre of the city, they are nearly 2,000 feet higher in altitude and have a completely different soil structure. Due to the v
Australia in many ways epitomises freedom and attitude in the New World. Producing every style of wine imaginable from innumerable grape varieties - the most famous being Shiraz - innovation and experimentation have been the hallmarks of this great wine producing nation for decades. Indeed, Australian wine often hits a sweet spot in the relationship between price and quality, and as such is extremely popular in export markets. This led to overproduction and oversupply in the 1980s and 1990s as big brands began to dominate the industry, eventually damaging the reputation that early producers had worked so hard to promote. Nowadays we are witnessing a dazzling return to form, with ever more artisan and terroir-focused producers crafting wonderfully expressive and appealing wines, as they seek to demonstrate that Australia is a worthy contender.
With some of the oldest plantings of Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre in Australia the Barossa Valley is perhaps the most famous wine region in Australia. The warm valley floor and scarcity of water, coupled with incredibly old, dry farmed vines produces some of Australias most powerful reds.
Clare Valley is famed for its hilly topography and cooler temperatures. The best sites are of high elevation and protected from the full strength of the sun's rays. In fact, it is the combination of exposure and altitude that helps to retain freshness in the region's wines, alongside a wide diurnal range. Australia's best examples of Riesling often hail from the Clare Valley.
The Coonawarra region of South Australia produces some of the worlds finest Cabernet based wines. Coonawarra is blessed with the winning combination of climate and its famous Terra Rossa soil.(a rich
Western Australia's most important wine growing region. The cooling influence of the Indian Ocean gives producers like Voyager Estate the ability to produce Cabernet Merlots, Sauvignon Blanc Semillons and Chardonnays of considerable elegance, that with age become more than a little old world in style.
Marlborough sits at the tip of the South Island is the largest of New Zealands big three wine regions. Situated in a large flat valley floor with deep gravel and silt beds, summers are dry and nights often cool. Sauvignon Blanc is the grape the region is most famous for, though much of what is produced here is sold off in bulk to large commercial producers.
A strongly maritime influenced region in South Australia that produces some of the countries finest Grenache, Syrah and Cabernets.
Mornington Peninsula is situated close to Melbourne in Victoria. Being close to the ocean gives the region a cooler maritime climate than one would expect from Australia. There is a wide range of soil types and micro-climates here, although Pinot Noir is emerging as a particularly promising grape variety in the region.
Arguably Americas most important wine growing region, home to the likes of Dominus, Heitz, Cain Cellars and Opus One. Bordeaux varietals are key in this 40 mile long North-South valley that stretches from the San Fransico Bay up towards Calistoga and the sheer variety of different climats and vineyard sites is as bewildering as the sheer variety of styles of wine produced. At their best these can be some of the most opulent examples of Cabernet Sauvignon in the world - truly great wines with dinstinctly long cellaring potentials, but more youthful approachability than their european counterparts.
Piedmont sitting at the foot of the mountains is justly regarded as one of, if not the finest wine growing region in Italy. The noblest grape found in the region in undoubtedly Nebbiolo, with the DOCG's of Barolo and Barbaresco at the forefront of production. Barbera and Dolcetto come in second and third, and being earlier ripening are often found located on those sides of the hills that receive less sunshine. The wines from Piedmont are intrinsically food friendly wines, a fact understandable given the culinary strength of the area.
The most productive wine region in Australia, with just under 50% of all grapes grown, grown here. It includes the regions of Barossa, Mclaren Vale, Connawarra and the Clare Valley.
South-Eastern Australia is a Geographical Indication (GI) covering the entire southeastern third of Australia. This area's western boundary stretches 1250 miles (2000 km) across the Australian continent, from the Pacific coast of Queensland to the Southern Ocean coast in South Australia. This vast viticultural "super zone" effectively encompasses every significant Australian wine region outside Western Australia.
The Island of Tasmania sitting off the south of Australia is home to numerous terroirs and climats. The most success found thus far, in a region that is yet to fully unlock its true potential, comes from plantings of Pinot Noir. Apsley Gorge exploit their land near the Douglas Apsley National park to great effect making one of Australias most exciting Pinot Noirs.
Victoria is generally cooler than neighbouring South Australia. With the exception of the more inland Rutherglen, perhaps the Victoria's most famous wine, all the other regions have a distinctly maritime feel. The most significant wine regions within Victoria are Rutherglen, Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Geelong. All styles of wine are produced here, from fortfied wines to crisp, zippy whites, and everything in between.
Western Australia represents perhaps the most exciting "new" winegrowing region in Australia. The cooling influence of the Indian Ocean, coupled with some truly exceptional winemaking talent sees advances in quality year on year, and wines of real character and drinkability being produced.