The Best Australian Wines to Drink Right Now | Wine Enthusiast
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The Best Australian Wines to Drink Right Now

Chances are, you know Australia makes wine. But do you know how varied it is, and the leaps the country’s winemaking has taken in just a few short decades?  

While the country has a long history of producing vino—its oldest vines date to 1843 and still produce grapes—there is also a wealth of ambitious producers keen on trying new things. This includes reviving nearly forgotten varietals, turning vineyards into wildlife preserves, experimenting with natural and biodynamic wines and figuring out how to evolve in the face of climate change.  

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“With 65 wine regions spanning a nation with roughly the same land mass as the United States, Australia is one of the wine world’s most diverse and—in this reviewer’s opinion—underrated wine nations,” says Christina Pickard, a Wine Enthusiast writer-at-large who reviews wines from Australia, New Zealand, New York and England. 

While the country is best known for its full-bodied Shiraz and dynamic Chardonnay, Australia offers much more, including other cool-climate varietals like Gamay and Grenache. To celebrate the wealth of wine from the region—and to help make buying them easier—we’ve rounded up a lucky 13 of our favorite bottles. 

“This list demonstrates the country’s astounding diversity of wine styles, from gorgeously complex Margaret River Chardonnay to perfumed McLaren Vale Grenache and world-class Tasmanian bubbles,” Pickard says. “To add to the fun, they’re wines from a mix of small batch, lo-fi producers, medium ones with larger-than-life reputations and large-scale household names. There is truly an Australian wine to suit every palate.” 

Xanadu 2021 Reserve Chardonnay (Margaret River)

A margarita-style Chardonnay if ever there was one, this feels like you’re standing at the edge of the Indian Ocean (less than four miles from where these grapes are grown) on a brisk day, the salty sea air whipping, the sand between your toes, a lemon twist martini in hand. As delicious as it is evocative, it pings in the mouth with a lightly creamy texture and mouthwatering, laser-like, lemon zest acidity that lingers long on the finish, making it impossible to put down. 97 points. Editor’s Choice. — Christina Pickard

$59.99 K&L Wines

Giaconda 2019 Estate Vineyard Shiraz (Beechworth)

From one of the world’s most underrated fine wine regions, Beechworth, this estate enjoys icon status Down Under, selling out in a matter of minutes. Here in the U.S., it’s still a well-kept secret (for now). While the estate is known more for its Chardonnay, this Shiraz bottling is downright gorgeous. With a perfume worthy of slathering all over oneself, it billows notes of macerated blueberry and red berry fruit, a potpourri dish of dried florals and spices, licorice, chocolate and terra-cotta. It’s silky and slinky, soft around the edges like melted chocolate, but lifted by alpine freshness. Supple, sexy and drinking well now, this could continue to evolve until 2030 or so. 97 points. — C.P.

$85.72 Saratoga Wine

Torbreck 2020 RunRig Shiraz-Viognier (Barossa Valley)

Rich, evocative aromas of mulberry, blueberry, coffee bean and hot-cocoa mix lend approachability to what is otherwise a rich, dense wine, packed with flavor, but also with powerful, chalk dust tannins that need serious protein if opening now. Patience will be rewarded, however. Give this a few more years in bottle. 96 points. Cellar Selection. — C.P.

$234.99 Yiannis Wine

Cullen 2021 Kevin John Chardonnay (Margaret River)

Vibrant, concentrated aromas of just-sliced pineapple and lemon bounce from the glass of this premium Margaret River Chardonnay, from one of the region’s most long-standing and progressive producers. There’s a gingery, salted rock undertow. The palate shows creaminess and fruit weight but remains juicy and bright thanks to a beautiful thread of vibrant acidity that ends long and citrusy. Delicious now, this could age until 2033, at least. 96 points. — C.P.

$99 No Limit Fine Wines

Walsh & Sons 2021 Roi Cabernet Sauvignon (Margaret River)

There’s a lovely fruity lightness to this, in comparison to the density of some Margaret River Cabs, with an elegant perfume of red currant, bay leaf and savory spice. The succulent, silky fruit washes over the tongue first, the fine, spicy tannins creeping in later. A focused, food-friendly drop that’s deliciously drinkable right now. 95 Points. — C.P.


Henschke 2008 Hill of Grace Shiraz (Eden Valley)

Because the 2019 vintage was so small, Henschke has offered up a few museum releases of vintages that were similar climactically to ‘19. This is a rare opportunity to taste the evolution of Australia’s most famous single-vineyard wine— and what a sexy one it is. With shades of brick starting at its edges, the heady aromatics of a wine in its second decade of transformation are immediately apparent: spiced macerated cherries and blackberries, mocha, the cracked spines of old books, raw beef and hoisin-glazed mushrooms. It’s silky in the mouth, the tannins still firm and powdery, but softening, curving into the folds of the wine, a spiced meat nuance lingering on the long finish. 99 points. — C.P.

$779.28 Saratoga Wine

Brokenwood 2018 Oakey Creek Semillon (Hunter Valley)

This is aging comparatively quickly but it’s showing beautifully. Both vibrant and fruity, and also honeyed and oily, there’s delicate floral, white spice and waxy citrus and peach notes to start. The palate is wonderfully fresh with a long, bright line of lemon acidity that cuts through the viscosity of the mouthfeel. It’s a uniquely Australian style that should hold up for several more years. 94 points. — C.P.


Ochota Barrels 2022 The Price of Silence Gamay (Adelaide Hills)

Since the untimely death of Taras Ochota, who was one of Australia’s modern winemaker rock stars, his wife, Amber, has taken the reins, and wine quality hasn’t suffered. This small-batch Gamay is oh-so-delicious with enticing plump berry fruit and spice aromas and a spicy, herbal, stony mineral underlay. Piercing acidity and chiseled tannins create linearity and drive. There’s an ease and transparency to this that comes from minimal winemaking, and a drinkability that belies solid winemaking and varietal and site expression. 95 points. Editor’s Choice. — C.P.

$61.99 Astor Wines

Unico Zelo 2021 Esoterico White (South Australia)

This is a vibrant snap, crackle and pop wine, from its electric orange color to its bombastic, musky aromas of ginger, florals, honeycomb, candied citrus and peach. It doesn’t disappoint in the mouth, with well-placed skins-y tannins and tingly, spicy acidity. There’s a botanical garden feel and an orange peel note to end. For those more adventurous drinkers—and for those seeking highly ethical winemakers—this won’t disappoint. 94 points. — C.P.

$24.99 Station Plaza Wine

Moorooduc 2018 Pinot Noir (Mornington Peninsula)

Mornington Peninsula is synonymous with Pinot and Moorooduc is one of the region’s top producers. The color of rose petals and bricks, the ’18 vintage is in a lovely place. It’s aromatic and expressive, with potpourri-like aromas of dried red berries, crushed flower petals and spice that knit seamlessly together. They’re underpinned by earthy, autumnal nuances. The ethereal palate comes with a beautiful tang of acidity. It’s framed by ultra-fine, chiseled tannins, which leave room for the delicate red fruit, floral and spice flavors that linger on the lengthy finish. Drink now—2028. 94 points. Editor’s Choice. — C.P.

$34.99 The Half Moon Bay Wine & Cheese Company

Yangarra 2020 Ovitelli Grenache (McLaren Vale)

From one of Australia’s Grenache masters, this is a concentrated-yet-elegant vintage of biodynamic winemaker Pete Fraser’s “egg” wine. Lucid, lifted cran-cherry red fruit is woven with savory herbs, licorice and dried florals, and flecked with minerals. The palate is a tightrope of elegance and power, with tightly wound, talc-textured tannins. Still in its infancy, it has at least another decade left in it. 95 points. — C.P.

$89.99 Wine House

Grosset 2023 Polish Hill Riesling (Clare Valley)

2023 was a cool, late-ripening vintage in the Clare and the resulting wines are elegant and filigreed—approachable now, but with the structure and complexity to age for decades. Delicate aromas of lemon-lime, peach blossom, beeswax and lavender soap open. Like a soft hold of the hand, they lead gently to a pristine palate that’s dry with high-toned fruit and prickly acidity. Texturally it feels both lightly creamy and chalky all at once. 96 points. Cellar Selection. — C.P.

$59.99 Plum Market

Clover Hill 2016 Méthode Traditionnelle (Tasmania)

Medium gold in hue, it instantly offers likable aromas of lemon, toast, margarita salt and cashew. They lead to a wonderfully fresh, zippy palate with a chalky texture, tingly, lemony acidity, a softly creamy mousse and persistent bubbles to the long finish. It is a class act from a top Tassie bubbles producer, and at a cracking price to boot. 94 points. — C.P.

$45 Buy Aussie Wine
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