Australian White Wines
Chardonnay is probably the most popular or important white grape variety in the world, and a good Australian Chardonnay is unquestionably superb, but don’t stop there! Australia has so much more to offer in white wines!
Each grape variety produced in Australia is unique and almost impossible to describe. It can be said though that Australia must be the easiest place in the world to obtain delicious, concentrated ripe fruit, harvested in perfect conditions. An Australian white wine can be any colour from opulent golden yellow (almost orange) to the palest lemon yellow, the colour depending on which region it comes from, or more specifically, the weather in the region. When looking at colour you already get an idea of the taste (the deeper the richer), but you will get a better idea from the nose (smell of the wine). The nose will indicate the product of well grown and fully ripened grapes. Chardonnay is used to produce sparkling wines and dry white wines.
Chardonnay benefits from oak maturation, the oak flavour complimenting the fruit flavours of the Chardonnay grape. This is a wine best drunk when still relatively young. The most famous regions producing top quality Chardonnay include Padthaway, Langhorne Creek, Adelaide Hills and the Margaret River (see Australian Wine Regions). When blended with Pinot Noir, Australia’s greatest sparkling wines are produced. Sauvignon Blanc is another popular white wine variety in the world. However, it is relatively new to Australian white wines and produced in the cooler regions of Victoria and South Australia. These wines have a distinct fresh gooseberry-like flavour. Also best drunk when still young, this wine is unoaked. It is often blended with Semillon. Semillon is grown throughout Australia and is the main white variety of Bordeaux. Semillon is produced in the regions of Hunter Valley, Mudgee and Barossa Valley. Often blended with Semillon, this wine is usually unoaked. However, you will find some oaked styles among Australia Bordeaux wines.
Riesling, one of the classic white grape varieties of the world, was historically grown in Alsace and German wine regions. Of course conditions are warmer in Australia and the result is a wonderfully perfumed dry elegant wine. This wine can be consumed while young fresh and zesty, or left to mature and develop into a lovely aged wine. World famous for producing Riesling are the regions Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and Eden Valley of South Australia.