Australia: Australian Cabernet and Friends
What About Aussie Cabernet?
It is inevitable that any "New World" country with pretentions to high quality red wine must excel with traditional Bordeaux varietals. Australia adopted Cabernet at an early stage of its development as a quality wine producer, and Merlot is now increasingly popular due to its high demand at present. Cabernet and Shiraz blends found favor and acclaim before the more classical Bordeaux blend of Cabernet and Merlot. With Merlot vines now bearing fruit in the cooler regions of Australia, Merlot varietal wines and Bordeaux blends are now appearing on the marketplace in commercial quantities.
The source of Australias finest Bordeaux varietal wines are the countrys cooler regions, notably Coonawarra and the upcoming Padthaway, although Barossa Valley produces rich Cabernets with higher alcohol levels and riper flavors. In relation to premium California wines, these wines will often have a more restrained character, sporting 12-13% alcohol, though they are distinctly New World in their fruity generosity of flavors. US consumers have so far voted with their pocketbooks in buying as much quality Australian reds as they can obtain, creating world shortages of premium Aussie red wines.
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