Before I moved to Australia, which I mostly imagined as a sunny, beachy paradise where everyone says “good on ya, mate”, I had absolutely no clue that it was as prolific and renowned in wine-making as are Europe’s wine capitals such as France or Italy. So, if you’re not that into surfing, smashed avo on toast (yum!) or spending your Christmas party in a bathing suit, and you do consider yourself a lover of finer things in life, then pack your bags and aim for one or several Australian wine regions.
From the famous Barossa Valley, Hunter Valley, Yarra Valley, all the way to Tasmania, there are wineries of all sizes and to fit all tastes. Fan of Shiraz? Head to South Australia and NSW to enjoy their warm climate vintages. If you prefer reds, Victoria should be your destination.
Western Australia is home to one of the most beautiful wine regions in the country, perhaps even in the world, and if you’re looking for a perfect romantic getaway, no need to look further than Margaret River. They have a slew of boutique wineries with intimate accommodation and no touristy vibe to spoil your stay – but, if you do like a more exciting experience, it’s best to visit during their annual Margaret River Gourmet Escape.
Although known for its punchy Cabernet Sauvignon, the region also produces many other blends and varieties that truly carry a unique set of flavors only known to the area. Have a taste of their Merlot, for example, and you won’t regret it, I know I’ve loved every sip of it over Christmas. If you want to go straight for the big guns, Leeuwin Estate is one of the world’s top wineries that comes from Margaret River, and is definitely worth its reputation.
It’s conveniently close to Melbourne, home to approximately 80 wineries to choose from, and they offer a delicious wine and chocolate tour on top of their already exquisite experience. Although it is considered as one of the smaller wine regions in Australia, it doesn’t lag behind when it comes to quality sips and great gourmet tastes in their local restaurants.
Since Yarra Valley falls under the “cooler climate” spots (which I know is difficult to imagine exists at all Down Under), their rich reds and sparkling whites are top choices for most visitors, both local and international. Don’t miss on their Chardonnay, and you’ll be surprised by its perfect balance of acidity and oaky aftertaste. And have I mentioned they have a chocolate tour?
With numerous cellar doors, acclaimed restaurants and wine tasting tours, Hunter Valley is definitely home to some of the best Australian wine you could possibly taste. The region’s rivers, Hunter, Goulburn, Williams and Paterson all make for a soothing, wine-friendly climate that gives birth to some of the most elegant Semillon vintages which tend to taste great from the first day out of the barrel, or decades later.
Another perk of Australian wineries is that they predominantly rely on local farmers for produce, and they give their meals a touch of the region you’re visiting. Every single time I’ve been to Hunter Valley, I’ve done my best to try a new dish on the menu combined with some of their traditional wines – and they only seem to get better at what they do.
Yes, its neighboring Barossa is certainly more famous, and worth a trip to the Australia’s Southern wine regions, but McLaren Vale is its humble, and equally memorable companion in producing some of the world’s finest Shiraz. Right next to Hunter, this area is also one of the oldest regions in the country, and as such, deserves a separate trip to its many handsome wineries.
Seasonal menus accompany timeless vintages of the local cellars, and while it’s a perfect spot any time of the year, for a more festive spirit, head to McLaren during their Sea and Vines Festival. It has a plethora of promising degustation sessions, tours, and cooking demonstrations, a paradise for a foodie who loves wine and cheese (that would be me). Don’t let its size fool you – this region makes for one hell of an experience even for the versed wine connoisseurs, so don’t hesitate to take the trip.
About the author
Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. She spends most of her free time at home walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. She is an avid lover of photography and a regular contributor at highstylife.com. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.
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