Understanding the wide range of different wines can take some a lifetime. Developing a palette that is refined and able to discern slight changes in sweetness and acidity, plus the enormous range of subtle flavourings can only take time and experience.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t begin. And the best place to begin is by understanding the different types of wines.
Red Wine Varieties
Rose: Rose wines tend to come in many shapes and hues, even sometimes containing bits and pieces of leftover wines or grapes. The leading roses are made from the ground up, and are not reliant on sweetness of the grape.
Pinot Noir: Coming from Pinot noir grapes, the name is taken from the French words for pine and black; the pine alluding to the grape variety having tightly clustered, pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit. The wine tends to be of light to medium body with an aroma reminiscent of black and / or red cherry, raspberry and to a lesser extent currant and many other fine small red and black berry fruits, but covers a wide range of flavours, textures and impressions.
Shiraz and blends: Commonly found in regions spread across Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria, the Shiraz is extremely adaptable to almost every regional climate in Australia. Shiraz are known for their full-bodied flavours with softer tannin, jammier fruit and spice notes of liquorice, anise and earthy leather.
Cabernet Sauvignon and blends: One of the world’s most popular red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon tend to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that contributes to the wine’s aging potential. Cabernet Merlots are popular variation and can be bought at high quality for reasonable price in Australia.
White Wine Varieties
Riesling: Riesling has a history stretching back over 800-plus years in Germany, and in the latter part of the 19th century the best wines attracted higher prices than First Growth Bordeauxs, often sold when 40 or more years old. The quality of contemporary Australian riesling is of world class in this tradition.
Semillon: This high quality white wine offers the ultimate choice between drink now, soon or much later. The Sémillon grape is rather heavy, with low acidity and an almost oily texture. It has a high yield and wines based on it can age a long time.
Sauvignon Blanc and blends: The style of Australian sauvignon blancs, and especially semillon sauvignon blanc blends, is well suited being food friendly. A classic white wine, the scope of the Sauvignon Blanc differs greatly depending on the region it is grown around Australia.
Chardonnay: Oaked Chardonnays are rich, full-bodied and have additional flavors of vanilla, butter and even caramel from the oak. The trend in Australian wines has been to move away from the oaked wines with alcohol content also coming down. Chardonnay’s are known for their rich array of flavours and notes.