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  1. Pyrenees, Vic

    Pyrenees, Vic

    For most people, hearing the words 'the Pyrenees' makes their eyes glaze over and look distantly off to the left as they imagine the wonderful joys of Southern France, where it meets the Spanish border. Respond with the statement 'No, I meant the Pyrenees region of Victoria..' and their eyes revert back to the present moment and a quizzical look appears on their faces.. 'There's a Pyrenees in Australia?!' Yes, there most certainly is. Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell, Scottish surveyor and explorer first came upon this land in the year 1836. He was the first European on record to have travelled through this part of Victoria finding it more temperate in climate and better watered than NSW. This section of the Great Dividing Range reminded him of the Pyrenees in France, where he had previously served in battle. The first vineyards were planted here by the Mackareth family in 1848. The winery was said to be quite substantial, however around the end of the First World War, two brothers

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  2. Hunter Valley, NSW

    Hunter Valley, NSW

    Most notable for being the first major wine region in Australia, the Hunter Valley had vines planted as early as 1789. The authorities at the time encouraged wine production, thinking that folks overindulging wine was preferable to filling up on strong spirits. Responsible Drinking back in the 1700's!

    History

    It was James Busby, after snapping up a chunk of the valley between Branxton and Singleton, who ushered in the region's (and in large part Australia's) presence on the world stage as a notable producer of acclaimed wines. Busby travelled throughout Europe and South Africa in 1831 collecting cuttings from over 500 vineyards, including Syrah from Hermitage in the Rhône. Many of these were planted in the Hunter, and notables like George Wyndham (Wyndham Estate) used cuttings from Busby's Kirkton vineyards. By 1876 there were approximately 1800 vines in the Hunter, and vineyards were growing north and south along the valley.

    And all the hard work was

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  3. Barossa Valley, SA

    Barossa Valley, SA

    Just 60km northeast of Adelaide, the Barossa Valley is one of Australia's oldest wine regions. Warm and dry, it is renowned for producing the distinctive Barossa Shiraz, a full-bodied red with notes of chocolate and spice. The valleys and sloping hills create several temperature ranges. But in summer, take it from us: it's just plain hot.

    The soils range from clay and loam in the cooler areas to the classically South Australian sand and red-brown loam in the valleys. Irrigation is often required, but with water supply an increasing problem, many growers are practicing dryland farming, relying on what falls from the sky and clings from night fog. Couple this with the number of very old vines in the region (which produce limited quantities of grapes), and the result is fruit with deeply concentrated flavour which quickly ripen. A great foundation for some of the world's most acclaimed reds.

    History

    Settled in numbers in 1841, land in the area was offered to

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  4. Marlborough, NZ

    Marlborough, NZ

    Generally regarded as the launch point for the modern NZ wine world, Marlborough is as stunning to see as it is hospitable for growing Sauvignon Blanc. Cool, sea-lashed nights and warm days create long ripening seasons, giving NZ savvy's a fresh, green and intense flavour with wonderfully balanced acid. Drink them young, and enjoy them with seafood.

    History

    While wine has been produced in this region for decades (yeah, we hate to think that the 70's were THAT long ago), the 1980's were the watermark for Marlborough. The Sauvignon Blanc's were gaining attention for being as good, if not better, than anywhere else. This was aided by a gradual decline in making the wine with a smokey, oaked style. Clean and crisp with limed acid became the fashion, and critics showered them with praise. By the late 90's, many were writing that Marlborough was the best spot on earth to grow Sauvignon Blanc.

    Visiting

    Today, the demand and quality have made Marlborough the

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  5. Adelaide Hills, SA

    Adelaide Hills, SA

    Considerably cooler than the surrounding plains, the hills are washed in rain during winter months, and the peaks wrapped in fog. It is considered a high rainfall region compared to other Australian regions, but outside of winter the climate is warm and dry. Night time temperatures are the feature - notably cooler than the day when the sun sets. Worth noting is how the average rainfall increases the higher you go, with Mount Lofty picking up 1400mm on the old splash-o-meter compared to 850mm just 10K down the road in Charleston. This range of moisture and altitudes results in a variety of soils, but in general are sand and clay loam over clay subsoils. A bit of shale and ironstone can be found, and the soil is acidic on average and rarely acidic.

    The combination of climate and soil lends to superb cool-weather whites like Riesling (if you watch for mould), Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and crisp Chardonnays. Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon can also be found, with the grapes

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  6. Canberrra District, ACT

    Canberrra District, ACT

    Tucked on the border of the ACT and NSW, this is small region but notable for good cool-weather whites. Chilly temps in winter and soil that drains the winter rains suit good Chardy's and Riesling, and the local producers run with it. Closer to Canberra Shiraz loves the warm days and cool nights in this part of the area – the result is complexity over punch.

    Visiting

    Worth a drive up if one is hitting the Wine and Roses Festival in the city. There are over 30 cellar doors to visit, and the scenery is speccy.


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  7. Mudgee, NSW

    Mudgee, NSW

    Snuggled in amongst the mountains of nothern New South Whales is Mudgee. It may be "just down the road a stretch" from the Hunter, but the climate is far from similar. Lower humidity and cooler summer nights encourage a slower, gentler growing season. Compared to it's eastern neighbour, Mudgee wines tend towards softer flavour and complexity. Good Chardy's and Cab Sav's feature.

    History

    Vines were planted as far back as 1858, and most folks agree there's a very good run of Chardonnay vines in the region. Was it a from a James Busby clone? (He who travelled the world collecting vine cuttings from Europe and South Africa in 1832.) Possibly, but with lashings of peach and fig, a good Mudgee chardy needs no heritage to be enjoyed.

    Visiting

    With it's own wine festival and a habit of treating tourists well, it's a great region to visit. Over 40 cellar doors are on offer, and the active local food industry will keep you filled up between tastings. A treat.

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  8. Wrattonbully, SA

    Wrattonbully, SA

    Like neighbours Coonawarra and Padthaway, Wrattonbully is a cool-climate region with superb terra-rossa soil. If complex, elegant wine is what you're after, you'll find some stellar examples from here.

    History

    The first vines for winegrapes were planted in the late 1960s; however it was in the 1990s that the excellent soils and elevated sites attracted many winemakers from surrounding areas. The region now draws winemakers and the attention of wine connoisseurs from around the world. Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are the two main varieties grown, and Wrattonbully wines of these varieties are highly regarded for their complexity and elegance. Merlot and Chardonnay are also widely grown with great success - in fact the cool climate of the Wrattonbully wine region is proving suitable for many varieties.

    The Wrattonbully wine region lies over several ranges in the area surrounding Naracoorte, including the Naracoorte Range (also known as the Kanawinka escarpment

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  9. Yarra Valley, Vic

    Yarra Valley, Vic

    Yarra Valley, just an hours drive east from Melbourne, is one of Australia's great cool-weather regions. Chardonnay lives happily here, granting the wines notes of peach and fig. The real standout is Pinot Noir, that fickle red that challenges winemakers everywhere. The Yarra terroir is very suitable, producing complex wines with deep notes of berry and plum.

    History

    In many ways, the Yarra is one of the real survivors in the Australina wine industry. Vines and wineries were around as early as the 1830's, with names like St Huberts and Yeringberg garnering praise and getting attention overseas. Sadly, the economic downturn in the late 1800's hit the region's wineries hard, and by the 1930's vines were replaced by pasture. It was in the 1960's, as was the case elsewhere in Australia, that local Doc's got into the Yarra wine trade. This fostered a revival of plantings and winemaking in the region, with quality table wines popping up. St Huberts and Yeringberg re-opened,

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  10. Heathcote, Vic

    Heathcote, Vic

    Often a well-kept secret amongst lovers of classic Australian Shiraz, Heathcote is hallowed ground for a group of smaller red wine producers. Ancient red soil dating back 500,000 million years seems to lend unique presence and depth to the flavour of reds made there. When James Parker scored Wild Duck Creek's Duck Muck at 99 in the late 90's, the word was out. Heathcote Shiraz was world-class in the right hands.

    History

    Other reds do very well here, and vines had been around as far back as the 1860's, but the emergance of boutique wineries in the 1960's is when the region really took shape, growing by small, clever steps throughout the 70's to today.

    Visiting

    Now, Heathcote is reknowned, and the grapes sought after by a number of neighbouring wineries. Some larger producers now grow there as well.

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  11. Mornington Peninsula, Vic

    Mornington Peninsula, Vic

    As you'd expect from a peninsula, Mornington is cool and maritime, with vines getting a good blasting of cold in winter. Folks who know about climate and wine would know that would rule out your classic big, bold Aussie reds. Maybe, but good producers and a focus on medium-bodied wines and sparklings have put this area on the map.

    History

    Like those nice folks in NZ, Mornington winemakers let the weather work wonders with Pinot Noir, Riesling and Viognier. Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are worth mentioning, and as is typical of cool weather regions, the wines are soft, complex and elegant.

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  12. Mount Barker, WA

    Mount Barker, WA

    A sub-region of the Margaret River, this notable spot is cool and has the kind of soil Riesling thrives in. Complex reds like Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and that brooding Pinot Noir are also happy here. It's a world-class spot in the region.

    History

    It was back in 1955, when Professor Harold Olmo (on leave from his post as Prof of Viticulture at the University of California) spent eight months in the area studying the problems growing grapes in the Swan Valley. He tipped Mount Barker as the perfect spot for making wines in a light European style. The idea was endorsed years later, with plantings at the Department of Agriculture's experimental vineyard at Foresthill in 1965.

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Items 1 to 12 of 23 total

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