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    Beginners Guide: 8 Australian Wine Regional Heroes (Part 2) | Watson's Wine

    Beginners Guide: 8 Australian Wine Regional Heroes (Part 2)

    AustraliaRed Wine

    Let us continue the exploration in Australia wine regions and their signatures after our tour to Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Coonawarra! Our next destinations are Hunter Valley, Yarra Valley, Margaret River and Tasmania!

    5. Hunter Valley – Semillon

    hunter valley

    The Hunter Valley in New South Wales is a popular wine producing area and tourist spot. Engaged in wine making since early 19th century, it is one of the warmer wine regions in the country with hot and humid summer. Yet, the gentle sea breezes from the Pacific Ocean keep things cool enough for quality grapes to grow and avoided over-ripening.

    Semillon is the classic local wine with excellent aging potential, which are highly sought after by collectors. Harvest period of Semillon is generally early with relatively low alcohol content. It is lively, fresh, often perfumed in lemon, grass and mineral flavors when it is young, and develops an attractive golden color exuding a complex aroma of honey, toast, toasted nuts after aging while maintaining its fruitiness and acidities. An aged Hunter Valley Semillon carries a unique and unforgettable palate that blinded many wine tasters it was barrel aged!

    6. Yarra Valley – Pinot Noir / Chardonnay

    Yarra Valley

    An hour away from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is the first wine-growing district in Victoria. Grapes have been planted here as early as in 1830s, filling the area with up to 2,150 hectares of vineyards. The cool climate region has an annual rainfall of 1,100mm, making it one of the wine regions with highest rainfall in Australia. However, with high drainage capacity, it is suitable for grape growth.

    Vineyards could be found in different altitudes, ranging from 50 to 350 meters above sea level, bringing diversity to local wines. While the Reds account for about 2/3 of the total production, mainly the signature Pinot Noir in light to medium bodied. A light bodied Pinot Noir can usually be founded in cooler area with strong red fruit flavors, including strawberries, red berries, and plums; where warmer area delivers medium bodied wines with riper fruitiness and generally aged in new or old wooden barrels to add complexity.

    The Whites like Chardonnay that flows with white peach, grapefruit and honeydew scent are also a must-try in Yarra Valley. It is worth mentioning that people typically believe Australia Chardonnay has a fuller body, much oaky and round palate. Yet, here in Yarra Valley is the first region to enhance acidity in Chardonnay through early harvest and old barrel fermentation. Wineries will also age their wine to bring a more refreshing taste while retaining fruitiness.

    It would do justice to say that the Yarra’s has strike a balance between modern Australian Chardonnay and the pursue in fruitiness and acidity through using new to old wooden barrel in fermentation and aging, especially raising temperature during fermentation to increase aroma. The Chardonnay in Yarra Valley nowadays is undoubtedly having more fragrance, and a much more complex structure with balancing finish.

    7. Margaret River – Cabernets / Chardonnay

    Margaret River

    3 hours from Perth, Margaret River is a coastal oasis surrounded by pristine beaches and famous among tourists and surfers in Western Australia. What a great joy in life to sample seafood by the sea and pair it with refreshing white wines produced locally!

    Although Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are the two white grape varieties with the highest yielding in Margaret River and mostly blended, local wineries tend to choose Chardonnay as their flagship white wine. The Margaret River Chardonnay has a naturally high acidity and is medium to full bodied, with rich aromas of plums, peaches and apricots. As in red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon has allocated most of the production in the region. Wineries typically use it to go for a Bordeaux blending with Merlot, which both shared a rich blackberry, blackcurrant and spices flavors with strong structure, medium to full bodied and ripped tannins. After that, winemakers will decide whether to age them in new or old wooden barrels, mostly French oak barrels. Although it generally cost more, French oak barrels certainly add in complex and rich fragrance in wine, giving the wine a more delicate and balance style.

    8. Tasmania – Sparkling


    Tasmania is in the southernmost part of Australia and is a leading region in bringing world-class sparkling wines. The wines are extremely precious by accumulating less than 1% of Australia total wine production from its entire region. The Tassie has a cool maritime climate, which is very great for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay while allowing them to retain certain acidity level. These two grape varieties are widely used to make sparkling wines, earning this place the name of “Petite Champagne”.

    Most of the wineries will perform second fermentation inside the bottle for their flagship item, even if it inevitably brings up the cost as it adds bread and biscuits flavors alongside the fruity fragrance. Noticeably, bubbles in the sparkling wine produced under this method tend to be fizzier and more detailed, no wonder earning the Tasmanian a place in the world’s best sparkling wine.

    Check out some of the regional heroes

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