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

Sidewood 2019  Pinot Noir
93 points
$30
Dusty ruby color. Inviting aromas and flavors of cherry chutney, suede, lilac, milk chocolate, forest mushrooms, and honey with a silky, vibrant, fruity light body and a smooth, complex, long finish with overtones of candied orange peel, ginger, and hazelnut with light oak flavor. A delicious Pinot Noir with enticing fruit aromatics and a mouthwatering palate; a no-brainer.
Jip Jip Rocks 2019 Shiraz Cabernet Padthaway
93 points
$19
Best Buy
Black ruby color. Interesting aromas of cured meats, intense berry concentrate, oregano, ginger-honey-lemon lozenge, eucalyptus, hints of bacon, and raspberry cake with a round, crisp, fruity medium-full body and a warming, intriguing, medium-long ripe plum, blistered berries, rooibos tea, and hint of tropical fruit finish with moderate oak flavor. A bold and balanced Australian red that’s drinking beautifully now.
93 points $19 Best Buy
Farmer’s Leap 2015  Cabernet Sauvignon
93 points
$16.99
Best Buy
Garnet black color. Aromas and flavors of ripe blackberry, earth, menthol-mint, and black tea with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, complex, very long finish with accents of underripe strawberries, rooibos, and clove with chewy, well-integrated tannins and moderate oak flavor. A bold, juicy, ageable Cabernet with silky-yet-firm tannins that will pair seamlessly with steak.
93 points $16.99 Best Buy
Sidewood 2014 Isabella Sparkling Rosé Adelaide Hills
93 points
$25
Steely amber color. Inviting aromas and flavors of brioche, ripe cantaloupe, cranberry relish, strawberry preserves, nutmeg, and honey butter with a silky, lively, effervescent, dryish full body and a smooth, intriguing, medium-long finish manifesting shades of toasted almonds in nougat and hint of menthol-mint with a suggestion of oak flavor. A terrific Australian sparkler with a svelte body, sophisticated aromas, and acidity that doesn’t quit; drink now or cellar.
Wakefield/Taylors 2018  Tempranillo
93 points
$20
Best Buy
Garnet black color. Herbal, fruity aromas and flavors of eucalyptus honey, cranberry chutney, sarsaparilla, and vanilla almond bark with a supple, tangy, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, long finish that shows touches of pomegranate-blueberry sauce, cola float, and herb and spiced nuts. Robust herbs and spices delight in this exotic Australian expression of the famous Spanish grape.
Awards: '2019 World Value Wine Challenge-Top 10 Red Wine $20 and Under' Best Value Australian Wine Exceptional Value
93 points $20 Best Buy
Sidewood 2019 Mappinga Shiraz
92 points
$45
Indigo color. Aromas and flavors of strawberry-rhubarb pie, ripe plum, vanilla bean tea, wintergreen, and tarragon with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, refreshing, medium-long finish with accents of milk chocolate-covered caramels, smoked meats, and violet with well-integrated tannins and moderate oak flavor. A chewy and complex Shiraz that sings.
Thorn-Clarke 2018 Shotfire GSM Red Blend Barossa Valley
92 points
$27
Black violet color. Aromas of blistered blackberry, sweet tea, carnation, and smoked meats with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a seamless, amusing, medium-long cinna-mint finish with well-integrated, crunchy tannins and moderate oak flavor. An inky GSM from Down Under with bold flavors and well-integrated tannins.
Zonte’s Footstep 2018 Baron Von Nemesis Shiraz
92 points
$48
Black garnet color. Aromas and flavors of black plums, black cassis, pomegranate, green olive, grilled coffee-rubbed pork belly, and lemon zest with a round, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a long finish. A velvet monster of a Shiraz that will appeal to lovers of brawny, voluptuous wines.
Wakefield/Taylors 2016 The Pioneer Shiraz
92 points
$140
Black garnet color. Complex aromas of smoky pipe tobacco, plum dumplings, blueberry pie, black olive, vanilla bean, and gingersnap cookies with a slightly chewy, lively, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, distinctive, long pickled beets, dill, and dark chocolate finish with firm tannins and moderate oak flavor. A bold, spice-laden Shiraz with a complex nose you can get lost in.
Wakefield/Taylors 2019  Riesling
92 points
$20
Best Buy
Yellow straw color. Attractive, inviting aromas and flavors of wet stone, yuzu marmalade, pickled ginger, honey, and geranium with a satiny, vibrant, bone-dry light body and a sleek, elegant, long finish manifesting notes of orange zest, hints of anise, and coriander seed with no oak flavor. A fantastic Riesling with beautifully integrated flavors, singing floral high notes and great ageability.
Awards: '2020 World Value Wine Challenge-Top 10 White Wine $20 and Under' Best Value Australian Riesling
92 points $20 Best Buy