The Myth of Australian Wine


It has been said of Australian Wine that it is too big, overly alcoholic, too jammy, a fruit bomb, massed produced critter wines, and the list goes on.  While some of these accusations may have been valid (at least for some producers) in the recent past, I defy anyone to look through the breadth and depth that is Australian wine and level those same accusations.

Too big, jammy and overly alcoholic?  Well, there are still a few that might meet that standard (about 10%), but the vast majority of wineries are pumping out really fantastic wines of great diversity.

Take Western Australia (yeah, didn’t even know about them, huh?).  The area around Margaret River is producing some really great Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, among many other varietals.  You will find they make really well made medium to full bodied reds and some really sumptuous whites.  They rival some of the best of Bordeaux and even (are you sitting down) Napa.  Plus, I have heard that Western Australia is one of Mick Jaggers favorite wine appellations in the world (that just rocks on so many levels).

Look to Victoria for some exceptional Shiraz and even Pinot Noir.  The reds of Victoria rival those of any place in Australia and also in the rest of the world.  Some great cool climate shiraz from the Grampian Ranges (north of Melbourne) will challenge even the most Rhône loving purists not to like them.

Tasmania isn’t just the home of the Tasmanian Devil!  Tasmania is also home to many Pinot Noir, and Sparkling Wine producers that rival New Zealand, Oregon and even (wait for it) King Burgundy himself.  There are some Sparklers that could easily slip into a Champagne tasting with no one being any wiser for it.

These are just a few of the area’s that are making great wine in Australia – and that’s without mentioning the big guys, Barossa and McLaren Vale (where many of the Big Wines have come from).  I would like to paraphrase Lisa Perotti-Brown of  The Wine Advocate – Global consumers who claim they are bored with Australian wines should taste the diversity of the high quality wines coming out of Australia and if they are still underwhelmed with these fruits of stiff competition then I would have to conclude that they are tired not with Australia but with wine.

Jeffrey Hall

Aussie Wine Buyer, Amazing Grapes