Australian wine has dominated the UK supermarket shelves and restaurant tables for at least twenty years. In fact Australia is now responsible for the most wines sales by volume to the UK than any other country in the world. However despite it being a big seller when it comes to the UK it is only in the top 10 when it comes to overall wine production statistics.
Initially Australia was known primarily for its Chardonnay. It was this oaky white wine which really bought it to the forefront of the British market. Because of the Australian climate the grapes tended to mature more than the same grapes would in Europe – producing a wine with a higher sugar and in some cases higher alcohol content than its European counterpart. The climate has also led to Australia being able to produce fewer weak wines and therefore the wine produced is more consistent than that produced in Europe which is more at the mercy of changeable weather. However as tastes change and time has moved on the wine industry has too and Australia now produces a wide range of wines.
There is a vast amount of wine produced in Australia and we are now going to take a whistlestop tour around some of the wine regions concentrating on those which produce red wine.
In New South Wales the best known region is Hunter Valley, here you will find some excellent Shiraz. Wines can be labelled as being form the upper or lower valley but both areas concentrate on Shiraz for their red wine.
Also in New South Wales is Mudgee and the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. This area was previously responsible for some of the cheaper lower quality wines but this has changed over the last few years and there are some really good Shiraz wines now coming out of this region.
For great Pinot Noir wines head to Victoria, The Mornington Peninsula and the Yarra Valley are both producers of some fine varieties of this type of wine. In fact Victoria is singlehandedly responsible for a great deal of red wines that end up on tables across the UK with Goulburn Valley, Great Western, Rutherglen, King valley and Milawa all producing some fantastic wine.
South Australia is where many of the wines produced for mass consumption come from. Coonawarra is seen as one of the finest wine regions of the area producing rich Cabernet Sauvignon and fiery Shiraz. Also notable in this area is the wine region of Barossa Valley which is one of the oldest and best known places for viticulture in Australia. Shiraz is what the region made its name from so it is definitely worth checking it out!
For a great range of Australian red wines, or just to browse wine in general, it is a good idea to consult an independent online wine retailer. You can browse wines in your chosen price range, and you can research before you buy.
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Fiona Muller has been writing for over 20 years. She is a qualified journalist and has worked in food and drink writing for the last few years. For more information on wine, go to - www.laithwaites.co.uk
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