Australia’s Winemakers are looking beyond Shiraz and Chardonnay.


Many wine drinkers swear by Australian shiraz and chardonnay.

Grapes are not indigenous to the continent, but were introduced by English settlers.

Shiraz, especially in South Australia has made red wines from this continent famous, and chardonnay, being a “chameleon” grape grows in almost every wine producing region.

Now that a saturation point of shiraz and chardonnay seems to have been achieved in export markets, astute Australian wine makers are starting to plant other grape varieties suitable for the overall climate of the country.

Pinot gris, sauvignon blanc, viognier, and vermentino are white grape varieties that show great potential. Some winemakers blend sauvignon blanc with viognier for more fruit, others vermentino with pinot gris. For red, many growers and winemakers are experimenting with tempranillo, malbec, dolcetto, nebbiolo, sangiovese, toouiga nacional, tinta francesa and tinta negra mole.

Some produce varietal wines, others blend them to achieve more exotic vermentino with pinot gris. The imagination seems to have no limit.

Murray valley, just north off Sydney, is much warmer than Victoria, and Victoria is much warmer than Tasmania.

Tasmania grows cool climate acid-driven grapes, while South Australia’s climate yields “fruit bombs” with relatively low acidity.

Recently, I tasted Yalumba’s pinot gris, and vermentino which offered very appealing flavours. The Running With The Bulls Tempranillo was stunning.

Another winery successfully blends touriga nacional with tempranillo.

Some wineries blend chardonnay with Semillon and end up with unusual and very aromatic wines, much liked by connoisseurs.

Who would have thought only 20 years ago that Australian winemakers would plant barbera, cabernet franc, nebbiolo, sangiovese and bend them to appeal to millions in Australia and elsewhere in the world?

Stay tuned!

Comments are closed.