You might not think of it as one of the world's leaders, but Australia’s wine industry is the fourth largest in the world, behind France, Spain and the USA. And with over 40% of its production going overseas, Australia's white wine is highly sought after.
Australian white wine boasts extraordinary diversity and quality, with almost every region of the country's south coast laying claim to almost every type of wine grape.
Today we're taking a look at the five of the best white wines for 2017 that the nation has to offer, along with some recommendations to get you started. Cheers!
Types of Australian white wine
Most of Australia’s wine regions now grow chardonnay and, depending on where it’s grown, its flavors can range wildly from citrus to deep and fruity.
Over 341,000 tonnes of Chardonnay grape are grown every year in Australia, almost half of the country’s total wine production.
Why not try: Eden Road The Long Road Chardonnay 2013
This light to medium-bodied, light chardonnay is lively and fresh. It boasts floral, peach and pink grapefruit aromas, and has a tangy and persistent finish.
Although the Riesling variety of grape has long been thought to have originated in Germany, it has been grown in Australia since the 19th century, notably in the country’s Southern regions.
It’s ripening process goes through several stages, which makes it very flexible for producing wine. Its flavors start at a citrus level, before then moving through to rose petals, peach and tropical fruit.
Why not try: Frankland Estate Rocky Gully Riesling 2014
This Australian Riesling sits at the more ripe end of the scale, featuring exotic fruit, subtle apple and lime aromas. It’s light and crispy, and very accessible.
Typically, Sauvignon Blanc is dryer and more tart than Chardonnay, although this can very much depend on the ripeness of the grape and where in Australia it’s been grown. When picked early it has aromas of peppers and green apple, and later it sweetens to features flavors of melon and apricot.
Sauvignon Blanc is a grape variety that has done very well in recent years, particularly New South Wales, Western Australia and some parts of Tasmania.
Why not try: Yalumba Y Series Sauvignon Blanc 2014
This beautifully creamy and pale wine has notes of lemon and fresh tropicals. It has a tangy citrus line that makes it a very easy wine to drink, which is typical for the very best of Australia’s Sauvignon Blancs.
From the famous Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, its flavors start as grassy and herby before then turning to peach and fig as it ripens, before ending in a deep honey and apricot flavor.
Its primary flavors tend to also be based around apple, pear and green papaya, all giving a crisp and clean finish.
Why not try: Plantagenet Hazard Hill Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012
This wine is actually a blend, mainly comprised of Semillon, but also featuring Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Its supple juicy mid palate has delicious racy lemon and grapefruit flavors.
This semillon boasts lemon flavors that go fantastically well with the grassy notes of the Sauvignon Blanc.
Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris
Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are actually the exact same grape variety, with the former originating from Italy and the latter in France. Both are now extremely popular in Australia and firmly placed in the mainstream white wine market.
Pinot Grigio is generally a crisp light-bodied white wine, while Pinot Gris is typically fuller bodied. Both are much drier than Chardonnay due to their high acidity, although Pinot Gris does tend to have a slightly sweeter taste.
Why not try: Holm Oak Tasmania Pinot Gris 2015
This beautiful Pinot Gris is fragrant and boasts a flowery pear and jasmine flavor. It’s fermented in wild oak barrels, which leaves the wine with weight, and the wine finishes with lovely crisp natural acidity.