About Australian Wine

About Australian Wine
Wine is a bit of a quandry when one speaks of Australia. Here is a country that ranks sixth in the world as far as total production, yet it so too often associated these days with inexpensive, mass-produced wines.

This is understandable, given that a few huge corporations produce a great majority of the country's wine, with much of its destined for supermarkets in the USA and England. But this reputation is a true shame, as there are so many excellent wine regions that are home to some magnificent producers.

Shiraz is the country's signature wine; not only is it Australia's most widely planted variety, it is also the wine with the greatest reputation. Especially in the Barossa and Clare Valleys, there are explosive versions of this wine that can age for many years. Other notable reds from Australia are the Rhone blends with varying percentages of Grenache and Mourvedre added to Shiraz.

Certain areas such as Western Australia are ideal for cool climate varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Probably the best white wines are Semillon from Hunter Valley and especially Riesling from the Clare and Eden Valleys. These Rieslings, thought quite different from those produced in Germany, are equally brilliant and are most assuredly world-class

Top Picks for Australia

Shottesbrooke 2013 Reserve Series Eliza Shiraz
97 points
$45.99
Cloudy indigo color. Attractive, roasted, meaty aromas and flavors of mocha maple fudge, smoked nuts, jerky, and toasty cedar and clay with a satiny, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a tingling, involved, long finish that exhibits suggestions of blackberry creme brulee, pomegranate-tomato chutney on rye raisin toast, beef consommé, and tamari with moderate oak flavor. A decadently delicious and savory shiraz that will stimulate and satisfy.
97 points $45.99
Zonte’s Footstep 2016 Canto Di Lago Sangiovese-Barbera-Lagrein
96 points
$25
Nearly opaque garnet black color. Spicy, exotic aromas and flavors of spicy fennel relish, pomegranate chutney, and eucalyptus with a supple, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, appealing, medium-long finish with suggestions of spiced nuts, tomato-citrus compote, peppered amaro, and saffron and alpine herbs with dusty, fine tannins and moderate oak flavor. A lovely, spicy and herbaceous red blend that screams for herbed grilled meat.
Bells & Whistles 2014  Limestone Coast
96 points
$35
Ruby black color. Spicy aromas and flavors of menthol-mint, cassia, black raspberry, gooseberry, aniseed, peppercorns, and eucalyptus with a slightly chewy, lively, fruity medium-to-full body and a peppery, subtle, very long finish displaying accents of orris root, fresh thyme, limestone, and sea salt with firm tannins and moderate oak flavor. A knock-out herbal red that highlights the Limestone Coast’s impressive terroir.
Berton Vineyards 2017 Metal Label Black Shiraz
95 points
$14
Best Buy
Deep purple color. Herbal aromas and flavors of menthol rub, eucalyptus incense, spicy blueberry cobbler, and lemon-thyme rub with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, nuanced, long finish that exhibits accents of pomegranate-cardamom chutney, cranberry-choke cherry relish, cedar bark, and buckwheat honey with crunchy, chewy tannins. A perfectly Oz tribute to St. Joseph, with absolutely pristine acidity and length that reflects the limestone soils, and will age beautifully.
Awards: '2018 World Value Wine Challenge-Top 10 Red Wine $15 and Under' Best Value Australian Shiraz Exceptional Value
95 points $14 Best Buy
Zonte’s Footstep 2016 Chocolate Factory Shiraz
95 points
$25
Dark black ruby color. Toasty aromas and flavors of s’mores, blueberry pie, praline, and anise spiced meat with a supple, bright, fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, very long finish with accents of spiced sour cherry, fig jam on herb carrot muffin, and hint of eucalyptus with light oak flavor. A chewy and appetizing syrah with everything in fine balance.
Levantine Hill 2015  Cabernet Sauvignon
95 points
$64.95
Dusty ruby black color. Curious aromas and flavors of dried stone fruits and potpourri flowers, tomato beet-pickle relish, spicy pomegranate pastry, and beef stock with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity fat body and a graceful, interesting, medium-long finish displaying overtones of marinated root vegetables, honeyed nuts and herbs, and earth with fine, chewy tannins and light oak flavor. A rich meaty, herbal red that will shine at the table.
95 points $64.95
Monterra 2016  Cabernet Sauvignon
94 points
$25
Black garnet color. Aromas and flavors of black cassis, autumn leaves, eucalyptus, paprika, black licorice, and warm tobacco with a silky, vibrant, dry medium-full body and a tingling, layered, long finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A warm and spicy cabernet with a Bordeaux-like presence; will be a delight with grilled meats and celebrations.
Monterra 2016 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
94 points
$40
Black garnet color. Aromas of ripe plum, ground ginger, eucalyptus, and rosemary with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, complex, long dark chocolate, pomegranate, toasted baguette, butter, and fleur de sel finish with well-integrated, chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A delicious, well-structured Cabernet with heaps of spice; drink now or cellar.
Shottesbrooke 2015 Single Vineyard Series Bush Vine Grenache
94 points
$32.99
Medium dusty ruby color. Aromas of red plum, warm asphalt, and date with an vibrant, dry medium body and a delightful, medium-length over ripe strawberry, watermelon fruit leather, creme Anglaise, and cedar finish with well-integrated, dusty tannins and light oak flavor. A surprisingly robust expression of confected fruit and smoky cedar. richness that isn’t cloying.
94 points $32.99
Sidewood 2015 Mappinga Shiraz
94 points
$42.50
Opaque ruby black color. Spicy, woody aromas and flavors of crispy blueberry cobbler, dark roasted nuts and tomatoes, eucalyptus and pine, and dark chocolate drizzled bacon with a silky, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, distinctive, long finish evoking accents of pickled cranberry-cucumber relish, blueberry-tangerine chutney, spiced nuts, and cedar with crunchy, chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A powerfully delicious, evergreen and spicy shiraz tailor made for spicy barbecue.
94 points $42.50