Australia - Grape Varieties and Winemaking

6 important questions on Australia - Grape Varieties and Winemaking

What are the top nine varieties planted in Australia. Which percentage is black and which percentage is white?

Top nine:
  1. Shiraz, 30% - 40.000ha
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon - 25.000ha
  3. Chardonnay - 22.000ha
  4. Merlot
  5. Sauvignon blanc
  6. Pinot Noir
  7. Semillon
  8. Pinot Gris
  9. Riesling

60% is black, 40% is white

In the late 20ths Australia produced full bodied, ripe and fruity wines. In the last 10-20 years styles evolved and diversified. How? Describe Grape growing and wine making.

In viticulture:
  • Site selection
  • Vineyard management
  • Precise harvesting dates

In winemaking, experimentation with:
  • ambient yeasts;
  • skin contact in whites
  • lees contact in whites
  • solids in fermentation in whites
  • whole bunch and stem inclusion in reds
  • adoption of screw caps

Name the 8 common black grape varieties in Australia?

Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Mouvedre  aka Mataro, Cabernet Franc, Ruby Cabernet
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What is the other name for the grape variety Mataro

Mourvedre. Mataro is used in Australia.

Semillon produces Australia's most distinctive white wines. What is notable and where is it produced?

  • 3rd white after Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc.
  • Can be used in blendings with the two varieties above.
  • In Hunter Valley: low alcohol, high acidity, unoaked style. Develops great aroma complexity with bottle ageing.
  • Barossa Valley: fuller-bodied, higher alcohol, oak maturation. Not so age worthy.
  • Riverina of New South Wales: Semillon frequently affected by noble rot, making complex sweet wines.

What is the role of Colombard in Australia?

  • Grown in the hot inland regions of Riverland, Murray Darling and Riverina.
  • Plantings have decreased
  • Used as a neutral cheap blending partner with wide known grape varieties such as Chardonnay, in expensive wines.

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