G'day mate, welcome to the world's friendliest wine country. Put your feet up and have a glass of Chardy or Cab Sav.
Australian wine surfed into world view in the mid-1980s on a wave of 'Crocodile Dundee,' the TV show 'Neighbours' and sporting prowess, and has never looked back. Consistency, value for money and out-and-out flavor are the plus points - are there any bad ones?
The seemingly unstoppable machine that was the Australian wine industry has taken a few knocks in recent years. But while the cheaper wines are coming in for criticism, the top wines are better than ever.
Aussie Chardonnay used to be buxom and oaky, but there are now more subtle citrussy wines from the Adelaide Hills, Margaret River and Yarra Valley. The Rieslings can be world-beaters, with Clare Valley, Eden Valley and Mount Barker being the hot regions.
Semillon comes in two styles - tangy, unoaked and long-lived from the Hunter Valley, and fuller and woodier from South Australia. In Margaret River, it forms a seafood-friendly partnership with Sauvignon Blanc, a grape which is best as a solo performer, from the Adelaide Hills. Look out too for Verdelho, with its guava and apple freshness. Shiraz is top dog for reds.
For power and intensity, try wines from McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley; for subtlety, go for Central Victoria, Yarra Valley and the Lower Great Southern. Cabernet excels in Coonawarra, Yarra Valley and Margaret River, although the fuller styles from McLaren Vale and Clare Valley can be very moreish. Then there's lovely Pinot Noir from the Adelaide Hills and Yarra Valley, not to mention Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese … Who said Australia was boring?