We are working our virtual way through the great continent of Australia, introducing you to their vast wine regions and world-class wine offerings. Today’s post focuses on South Australia and the island of Tasmania.
This southerly expanse is the driest of all, borders on five other states and the sea to the south. Its climate is described as “Mediterranean,” and as such boasts optimum wine growing capabilities. Some claim that some of Australia’s best wines come from the South Australian wine region.
Barossa Valley. This bustling, popular wine region is close to Adelaide, one of Australia’s largest cities. The valley climate here is enticing for wine making and vacationing, and is at the forefront of both local and international tourism. German immigrants founded Barossa in 1842, and the surrounding area is dotted with picturesque buildings stemming from that heritage. Some of the oldest vines in Australia are proud producers of Chardonnay, Semillon, Grenache, Riesling, Shiraz, Mourvedre, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Coonawarra. Almost as old as Barossa, (est. 1890), this region has a more coastal climate, cooler and moister. Part of her success is due to rich soil from sea inundations over time, and actually having once been part of the underwater seabed. Wetlands and lagoons surround this area, and water is now channeled off in modern constructs. Good choices of wines that capture the best of the rich soil and cool, moist climate are Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Riesling.
This tiny southern island is a paradise for vacationers, foodies and wine lovers! It is small enough to see in a few days, with many activities for everyone, including hiking and boating. With a cool, maritime climate, Tasmania has become known for outstanding wines throughout the island, and is gaining a niche in the sparkling category. Her vineyards were planted among the earliest of all Australia, and even provided cuttings for other vineyards on the mainland. Tasmania’s flavorful and highly aromatic wines go well with all of the native foods, including specialty cheeses, honey, mushrooms and premium beef. There is even an energetic beer industry if you want a break from wine. Good picks: Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz and sparkling wine.
Have you tried any wines from South Australia or Tasmania? What did you think?
To see my earlier Australian articles, please visit “Exploring Australian Wine,” “Wine Down Under: The Major Wine Regions,” “Australian Wines – from Devastation to Deluge,” “Exploring the Australian Wine Regions of NSW and Queensland” and “Exploring the Australian Wine Regions of Victoria and Western Australia.”