Australian wines in the US

5 04 2010

Chris, who I met at the recent conference I attended in the US, asked me to recommend some Australian wines that are available in the US. Having been to the US often, I’m reasonably familiar with the brands of Australian wine sold there. Here’s what I advised Chris:

Personally, I’m a red drinker — preferably shiraz (syrah) variety, or perhaps a cab sav (cabernet sauvignon).

Some of the wines you get in the US that are supposedly from Australia are cr*p! Especially those labelled with Aussie icons or Aussie-sounding names — e.g. Alice White, Yellow Tail, anything with a koala or kangaroo in the name or on the label!

Some of the legitimate Australian wines you can get there under the names we know here include: Penfolds, Lindemans, Rosemount, Jacobs Creek etc. You usually can’t go wrong with a Penfolds (Bin 128, Bin 389 are particular favourites of mine), or, for a quaffer, Jacobs Creek or Penfolds Thomas Hyland. Personally, I don’t drink Lindemans or Rosemount — typically they are blends from all over.

Read the label. And as you do, be aware there’s no such appellation in Australia as ‘South Eastern Australia’. That’s a big red flag that the wine is a blend of cr*p from who knows where. I see it often on wines bottled for the US market. So watch out for them. They may be OK as quaffers, but basically the wines are rejects, and no self-respecting winemaker wants to put their name to them.

Good wine growing regions in Australia include:

  • Hunter Valley (NSW)
  • Coonawarra (South Australia)
  • Margaret River (Western Australia)
  • Yarra Valley (Victoria)
  • Clare Valley (South Australia)
  • Barossa (South Australia)

and many more!

We have a robust wine industry in Western Australia, so almost all the wines I drink these days are local ones — you’re unlikely to find those in your local bottle shop/liquor store. Western Australia’s most noted wine regions are Margaret River, Swan Valley, and Great Southern. Others are Blackwood Valley, Geographe, Pemberton, and others.

Here’s a good map showing the various Australian wine regions: