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    7 Iconic Australian Producers You Should Know | Watson's Wine

    7 Iconic Australian Producers You Should Know

    Australia is a huge country with an abundance of quality wine producers – it is definitely a blessing to wine lovers, but may also cast some difficulties for us when deciding what wines to try. Here we specially curate a non-exhaustive list of excellent Australian producers that you should know, all of which offer some of the top-sellers in our portfolio. Perhaps it would give you some insights into where to start!  

    1.     Penfolds

    Founded in 1844, Penfolds is unquestionably one of the most commercially successful wineries in Australia with worldwide popularity and a great reputation for consistent quality. Its wine portfolio of reds and whites is very wide, which can cater to the needs of different wine lovers.

    Its top-tier wine is Grange, one of the most celebrated wines of Australia that exemplifies the house’s multi-region, multi-vineyard blending philosophy. Every wine lover should try it at least once in his/her lifetime.

    Other top-selling choices include Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, nicknamed “Baby Grange”, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, very generous on the palate. Its components were matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange.

    St Henri Shiraz is another popular Shiraz from the house. Unusual amongst high-quality Australian red wines, it does not rely on any new oak but is matured in old large vats, resulting in soft, earthy, mocha-like characters, offering a completely different Shiraz style.

    If you like Cabernets, you may have a look at Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon. It offers varietal definition and approachability, yet still with structure and depth of flavour.

    2.     d’Arenberg

    d’Arenberg is one of the most iconic wineries in South Australia, managed by the famous Chester Osborn who acts as the chief winemaker and the viticulturist. Among so many South Australian wineries, d’Arenberg stands out in many different ways – in addition to the wide range of wine offerings and great quality, they are also always full of character.

    Its top-selling wine is the signature Dead Arm Shiraz. ‘Dead Arm’ is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata. When infected, half of the old vines, or an ‘arm’, will be reduced to deadwood. Yet, with the great care of the winery, the grapes on the other half of the vines, despite the low yield, will display amazing intensity, and the resulting wine is often full-bodied with excellent texture, structure, and incredible depth of fruitiness.

    A number of wines from other ranges are popular as well, such as Footbolt Shiraz, a classic, entry-level McLaren Vale Shiraz, and The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier, a quintessential McLaren Vale Shiraz added with Viognier that brings extra boldness and special chemistry. Both of them are super great value, and customers love to get them in bulk and buy them again and again for daily drinking.

    3.     Elderton

    Elderton Wines is proudly owned by the Ashmead family in Australia’s picturesque Barossa Valley and offers some of the best Barossa wines that the region has to offer. They aim to create excellence from distinguished vineyard sites. Their flagship wine, Command Shiraz, is a renowned single vineyard wine, sourced from super rare ancient vines that date back to 1894 – which is over 120 years old! It is often regarded as one of Australia’s best and most highly acclaimed wines. Accolades have come from the world over for vintages.

    An entry-level option is their Estate Shiraz, which comes from different parcels of their 3 family vineyard sites that highlight the individual terroirs of the region. For example, Greenock provides the power and vines dating back to 1915 and Eden Valley offers elegance. From the three vineyard sites, Elderton aims to make balanced wines that can be enjoyed young but will stand the test of time. What’s more, wines from their estate vineyard range are very budget-friendly!

    4.     Kaesler

    Kaesler Wines is a premium Barossa winery, particularly famous for its old vine Shiraz. The founding family was the pioneer who settled in the Barossa Valley in the 1840s and planted their first vines in 1893. To this day, Kaesler wines are made from these ancient, dry-grown vineyards. For example, the highly regarded estate-grown wine Old Bastard Shiraz. The release of the 2018 Old Bastard celebrates the astonishing 125th Anniversary of the vineyard.

    Also noteworthy are their mid-priced The Bogan Shiraz and Old Vine Shiraz. The Bogan Shiraz is well known to be a quintessential, full-bodied style of Shiraz. The two Shiraz vineyards from which this wine is sourced complement each other well – The Marananga block provides intense, old vine produces with particular blue fruit offerings. The Nuriootpa block provides more black fruits.

    The Old Vine Shiraz has been consistently produced as an elegant wine, representing a different style of Shiraz when compared to its bolder brothers, The Bogan and Old Bastard Shiraz. 

    5.     Vasse Felix

    Planted in 1967, Vasse Felix was the first vineyard to be established in the Margaret River wine region of Western Australia and has led the region in quality since the beginning. The climate of the region is more maritime influenced than any region in Australia in terms of rainfall and is famously similar to Bordeaux in a dry vintage.

    Vasse Felix has a clear focus on the regional strengths of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, along with Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends. While its Cabernets are extraordinary, its best-seller with us is its flagship white Heytesbury Chardonnay. It is from a selection of the most unique and striking vineyard plots and is recognized for innovative winemaking, ripeness, and distinguishing ‘Heytesbury’ character. A truly distinct, fine, and rare wine.

    6.     Yarra Yering

    Yarra Yering is one of the oldest vineyards in Victoria’s Yarra Valley founded by Dr. Bailey Carrodus, an Oxford-educated vigneron. Since the first vintage of their signature Dry Red Wine No. 1 and Dry Red Wine No. 2 in the 1970s, Yarra Yering quickly gained an international reputation for quality and individuality. The estate is today managed by winemaker Sarah Crowe, who continues the legacy of elegance and sophistication. Soon after her succession, Sarah received one of the wine industry’s highest honours – James Halliday’s 2017 Winemaker of the Year, and the winery itself has been named the 2022 Halliday Winery of the Year as well!

    Two of their must-try wines are the abovementioned Dry Red Wine No. 1 and Dry Red Wine No. 2. The former is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot while the latter is mainly Shiraz-based. They are different in styles but are both of exceptional quality.

    For Dry Red Wine No. 1, fruit power is the hallmark of this blend, and it often ends with an herbal lift. Complex but not intimidating. The first plantings at Yarra Yering into block No. 1 were the Cabernet vines used in No. 1 and the name was born. The Malbec was also part of the original 1969 plantings.

    As for Dry Red Wine No. 2, some vines are from the 1969 original planting of Shiraz, and some are additionally planted in the 90s. It is a complex and layered wine, sweet and savoury all at once.

    7.     Henschke

    Henschke is a respected family-owned winery in Australia, recently awarded ‘2021 Winery of the Year’ by James Halliday. It owns some of the top single vineyards in Australia – such as the famous Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone vineyards.

    Hill of Grace is a legendary wine in Australia, considered one of the most classic and best-known Shiraz in the country. Its unparalleled concentration, length, complexity, and definitive track record of ageing all rank among the best in the world. The Vintage 2016 has been rated 100-point by James Suckling.

    Also not to be missed is its Keyneton Euphonium, a beautiful composition of shiraz from up to 50-year-old vines growing in the Eden and Barossa Valleys, blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Very concentrated and powerful with mouth-watering ripe plum, blackberry, and an exceptionally long, fine tannin finish. The wine name was inspired by an antique B flat euphonium, a large brass wind instrument, produced in the 19th century and used by the Henschke Family Band.