Some of the Best Ratings and Reviews – and Great Prices
As befitting the success and popularity of Australian wines, there are many fine reviews and high ratings on wines from “down under” in the Wine PocketList. A recent search for Australian wines yielded several hundred recent reviews, with an emphasis on Shiraz and Chardonnay, along with a healthy mix of Semillon and Muscat. In the last several decades Australian red and white wines have garnered great reviews, and are now recognized as some of the best priced, most highly rated wines in the world. Most importantly, the price/quality ratio you’ll find in many Australian wines is remarkable. The vast majority of the wines in our Australian wine reviews were under $20, with several A+ wines. That’s over a 94 rating on the Wine Spectator scale.
Shiraz and Chardonnay
Though Australia’s 850 or so wineries produce about a third as much wine as California, the well-priced, well-made wines have earned admirers the world over. Chardonnay is now the third most popular wine (behind Shiraz and Cabernet) and Shiraz (the uniquely Australian adaptation of the French Syrah grape from the northern Rhône Valley) is a big, flavorful red that has helped put Australian wine on the map with its stellar reviews.
One uniquely Australian trend is to blend two grapes, and include both in the wine’s name. One of the moist successful pairings (in our opinion) is the Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz (or vice versa, depending on which grape is dominant in the blend).
A Consistent Climate
Typically pleasant to drink early on, Australian wines benefit from the generally warm, dry climate. Though there are many wine growing regions (the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra and Clare Valley in South Australia, Yarra Valley and Rutherglen in Victoria, and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valley in New South Wales to name just a few), the majority of Australian wines are simply labeled “South Eastern Australia.”