The land down under produces some spectacular wine. So we decided to get on a plane and see for ourselves. Since wine production is as vast as the continent itself, we settled on 3 regions, Yarra Valley (VA), Mornington Peninsula (VA) and The Hunter Valley (NSW).
The Yarra Valley: Well known for its Chardonnay which is my personal favourite, Pinot Noir and Cab Sav (as the Aussies say). The climate here is relatively cool (it rained our entire visit) so the wines produced are lower in natural sugar and a bit tarter. You will find more citrus and mineral notes in the white wines and fruity and savoury notes in the reds. This cooler climate is also suitable for producing sparkling wine, made predominately from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Noteable wineries: Yering station, has a great tasting room with ample choices, Tokara Estate and finally Oakridge for its exceptional Cab Sav. You can always stop by Domaine Chandon for the sparkling if you have time.
Mornington Peninsula: When we were here, we felt like we were in another world. This little peninsula about 1.5 hours out of Melbourne is magical. Lush green trees and wineries tucked behind them. Its loaction means that its climate is affected by the surrounding sea, bringing a tart saline note to the wines. Like the Yarra Valley, the focus is on Chardonnay, acidic and fresh. However, it is the Pinot Noir that rules this area, ranging from light delicate flavours to powerful and dense. You can also find if you look Pinot Gris and Tempranillo.
Noteable Wineries: Tucks Ridge for a beautiful Rose, Ten Minutes By Tractor and Montalto for breathtaking views of the vines over lunch.
The Hunter Valley: Well well well, our first impression of the Hunter Valley was wet. Yes, again it was raining! However, in the morning it stopped long enough to venture out to some wineries. Probably the most famous wine region in Australia and it didnt disappoint. Here, Semillon and Shiraz rule the roost. It has a similar climate to Mornington, with winds and salty air from the Pacific, it is Australias wettest and hottest wine producing area. Wines from here are robust yet delicate, you will find punchy reds and light but equally punchy whites.
Noteable Wineries: Iron Gate, this winery deserves a whole post, and so it shall. Soon. Savannah Estate for delicious sparkling and Tempus Two for an odd taste in music, great food and an amazing Blancs de Blanc.
Sadly, many of Australias wine region remain undiscovered by us. This leaves only one possible solution. Time to pack our bags and go back!