Find out more about Australia’s extensive wine range
From Shiraz to Semillon, Viognier to Petit Verdot, Chambourcin to Chardonnay, Australian wines cover an extensive range. Each variety has individual subtleties to explore, so delve into our list and discover what makes each variety unique.
Red wine varieties
Australia is blessed with red wine in every conceivable style, hailing from a diverse number of regions. Overseas we are best known for Shiraz and this grape more than any other has cemented our place in the fine wine world. Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are hot on its tails, while Merlot still suffers from a PR crisis. There is a whole host of new varieties such as Tempranillo, Barbera, and Sangiovese starting to really make an impact.
White wine varieties
While it still seems out of fashion to many, you’d be surprised to know that Chardonnay is still one of Australia’s most popular white grapes. The success of Sauvignon Blanc (thanks to the Kiwis) means that many Australians are now drinking aromatic whites of a similar style, be they blends or straight varietals. Riesling still has a cult following but is not considered mainstream, while Pinot Gris and Viognier are on the rise.
Rosé just goes from strength to strength and every clever winemaker can now be found experimenting with different red varieties such as Grenache, Sangiovese and Pinot Noir. Rosé’s reputation has soared, not to mention its suitability to match the Australian climate as it makes a great alternative to a chilled white or a lighter bodied red. Like most white wines, Rosés are best served chilled and enjoyed soon after release.
Fortifieds / dessert wine
There is a rich tradition of fortified winemaking in Australia, at one time at the turn of the century they were the only wine styles being made. Today the respected varieties include Tokay, Muscat, Sherry and Port. Fortified wines are produced like most table wines, but a measure of alcohol is added during the fermentation process, or afterwards in the case of Sherry. The most popular style of dessert wine is the Botrytis cinerea fungal infection (noble rot) which is the process where the dehydrated grapes turn the acids into sugars, producing a wonderful sweet style of wine.
Australian Sparkling can very happily hold its head up high with a reputation that can match the best of Champagne. Thanks to the championing of regions like Tasmania and Tumbarumba, we are starting to see examples that express purity of fruit and clever winemaking decisions. The only reason Sparkling is not labelled Champagne is because it does not hail from the famed region in France, although it goes through the same winemaking process and uses the three mainstay varieties; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.