We love a food and wine holiday; and Australia, with its wealth of fantastic eateries and wineries, is one of our top picks for gourmet getaways. Australian wine culture is flourishing and there are so many wine regions to explore. Here we select five of our favourites for red grapes – and, if you're curious as to which wine is best to pair with your alternative Aussie meats, our Oz expert, together with Tim Wildman, a Master of Wine, give their tips on food and wine pairing here.
South Australia’s love affair with wine began here in McLaren Vale, a lush region which produces incredible Shiraz and Cabernet varieties. Lying just south of Adelaide, McLaren Vale is home to 65 wineries scattered across the rolling countryside – delightful to meander through on foot or by bike, stopping off for a spot of wine-tasting on the way. The Wirra Wirra, Coriole and S.C. Pannell vineyards produce excellent reds, many of which originate from Mediterranean countries like Spain and Italy – Sangiovese and Tempranillo, for example – as McLaren Vale’s warm climate is perfect for these grapes.
Lesser-known Langhorne Creek is another prime region for red grapes, and the specialty here is Malbec. Situated on the Fleurieu Peninsula where the rich land hugs the Indian Ocean, Langhorne Creek boasts many family-owned and operated wineries, like Bleasdale Vineyards, who give an excellent insight into the history of South Australian wine producing on their tours. Taste exquisite Malbecs at Bremerton Wines, whose quaint stone barn from the 19th century makes for a charming atmosphere.
The more temperate clime of Victoria is great for Shiraz, which tend towards pepper and tannic or blue fruity bites. Yarra Valley has a spectacular selection of cellar doors that range from the long-standing to the newer boutiques cropping up. With innovative approaches to winemaking, Yarra Valley possesses a solid reputation for its great wineries: Oakridge and Innocent Bystander are great examples of this, whose cellar doors are both slick, standout statements bound to impress visitors. This, plus its proximity to foodie hotspot Melbourne, makes Yarra Valley a truly desirable gourmet region to visit.
Australia’s southernmost state, Tasmania enjoys a moderate maritime climate, whose conditions allow for wines such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and sparkling varieties to thrive. With mild summers and long autumn days, grapes ripen slowly here and acquire an intense flavour. Brown Brothers is a forerunner in Tasmania’s winemaking, producing a fruity, silky smooth Pinot Noir which you can try amongst others at their cellar door, ‘Devil’s Corner.’ This is one of Tasmania’s 230 vineyards, set amidst striking scenery of dolerite-capped mountains, sweeping beaches and snaking rivers.
Another fantastic region for Pinot Noir, along with other cool climate varietals like Chardonnay, is the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, just an hour south of Melbourne. Kooyong and Port Phillip Estate is a relatively young winery which has been producing outstanding wines since 1987. Their cellar door is a sight to behold, with futuristic architecture and sublime views down to Westernport Bay. Once you’ve stocked up sufficiently on wine, duck into the local markets and marvel at the stalls laden with fresh, organic produce, from meats and cheeses to fruits and vegetables. Head in any direction within the peninsula and you’ll reach the coast, perfect for a wine picnic and refreshing dip in the sea.
Feeling inspired? Take a look at our sample itineraries for Australia by clicking here.
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