Australian wine seduces the world

For many of us Australia with its kangaroos and crocodiles is the last country associated with vineyards and vintage wines. Nevertheless, in the past 16 years Australian wine managed to seduce practically the whole world. Australia became the second large wine-exporter in the world. Almost all the best grape varieties of France and Germany are grown in Australia.

Australia can be described as the perfect wine producing country. The southern part of Australia lies between the proper latitudes for quality grape growing. The majority of the regions is coastal, the climate is Mediterranean there. Australia enjoys a diverse range of climate, topography and soil characteristics. It is not surprising that Australia's winemakers produce wines in a myriad of styles.

Australian winemakers are known to work beyond the great traditions of winemaking to create delicious wines. The Australian wine sector has a proud history of innovation. Now the country has almost 2 thousand wineries producing more than 8.5 thousand wines.

At a global level, Australia is now the second largest wine exporter with customers in more than 100 countries. Australia's biggest customer continues to be United Kingdom purchasing 43% of exported Australian wine in 2004-2005.

Australian wine is easy to understand through grape, that's one of the reasons of popularity of Australian wines. All Australian wines show clearly on their labels the grape varieties used and the character of the wine. Many will also provide information of the best foods to complement the wine.

Almost all the best grape varieties of France and Germany are grown here. Australian wines range from bargain basement reds and whites, up to the premium red wines such as Penfold's Grange and Jim Barry's Armagh. 

Two and more grape varieties are often used in Australian wine. So characteristics of different grape varieties supplement each other. For example Shiraz Cabernet is a blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, the two most important and widely planted red grape varieties in Australia. The fleshy Shiraz fruit weaves itself into the Cabernet's framework, produce a wine with fabulous structure and flavor. These Australian red wines - blends of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon - are extremely popular all over the world.

The major Australian white wine/grape variety is Semillon. That is a great Australian varietal, certainly worth tasting. The best examples of Semillon dry white wine are from the Hunter Valley and Mudgee in New South Wales, and the Barossa Valley in South Australia.

Chardonnay is Australia's most widely planted white grape variety. It is used here to produce sparkling and dry white wine styles. wines with ripe melon flavors are made of Chardonnay grown in warm regions of Australia, and the cooler areas produce Chardonnay tending to be more peach and citrus like. Some of Australia's most popular Chardonnays are often blends of ones made from both warm and cool regions. Australian Chardonnay wines are best drunk when they are relatively young (1-3 years), and are an exceptionally good accompaniment to a range of foods.

Riesling is also widely planted in Australia. It is one of the greatest white grape varieties in the world. In Australia, under warmer conditions it can make outstanding wonderfully perfumed wines with power, flavor, elegance. These wines are best when young, fresh, and zesty, but capable of developing into lovely aged wines. The range of styles varies from the light and crisp to rich sweet desert wines.

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