G'Day, Mate! // Your Australian Wine Primer

Category: Drink

by Katie Delaney Owen

I have a special place in my heart — and in my wine cellar — for Australia. Without a doubt, South Australia is one of the best places to study wine, and living in Adelaide, I had direct access to some of the best wine producing regions in the country, such as McLaren Vale, the Adelaide Hills, the Barossa Valley, and the Clare ValleyDrive a little bit farther, and you’ll hit the Cabernet-haven of Coonawarra.

Just like here in the States, each region has its own specialties and displays its own microclimates — and no two are the same. From Rhône reds in McLaren Vale to Pinot and Chardonnay from the Mornington Peninsula, Australia is bursting with interesting wines.

To my dismay, we don’t see many of them on the shelves here in the U.S., so I’m happy to have brought Dinky-Di to our portfolio. I think it's a great addition and also a pretty quintessential representation of the classic Aussie red: the Shiraz-Cabernet blend. It’s luscious and bold and generally quite yummy — just as it should be!

A vineyard in McLaren Vale

So there you have it. Australia's awesome not just because of the kangaroos, koalas, and all of its jovial, welcoming inhabitants, but because the wine industry there is — what's the word? — fierce.

Here are a few things I learned during my adventures in Oz:

Shiraz/Syrah grapes

*The grape variety Shiraz is pronounced “Sheer-az” and is one of the most commonly found reds in Australia — and it’s often blended with Cabernet, like in Dinky-Di.

*There are actually some cooler areas in Australia — the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula, to name a few. Oh, and we can’t forget Tasmania, which produces some nice sparkling wines!

*The Aussies love their full-bodied reds. If you're what I like to refer to as a “tannin-whore” (or someone who likes more generous red wines), Australia is your jam.

A vineyard in the Adelaide Hills

*That being said, it’s not all about the reds. Places like the Adelaide Hills make light, pretty whites and delectable Chardonnays. The Riesling wines from the Clare Valley rival the best in the world — German, Austrian, and otherwise — and the Hunter Valley produces whites from Sémillon that can hold up for 10 to 20 years.

*Vegemite pairs with nothing. I don’t care what you say! I’ll never eat it, and I refuse to pair it with any wine.

*Many alternative varieties fill vineyards in Oz. They don’t discriminate. You’ll see people playing around with Tempranillo, Verdelho, Sangiovese, Barbera — you name it, they grow it!

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