Food & Drink

6 Australian wines for a drop of sunshine in a glass

These whites and reds are bursting with brilliance, says Sam Wylie-Harris.

Celebrate Australia Day with these wines from the continent
Smiling woman sitting in picnic chair drinking glass of red wine Celebrate Australia Day with these wines from the continent (Andrey Moisseyev / Alamy Stock P/Alamy Stock Photo)

When you really want to drink in sunnier climes and fill your glass with something gorgeous, you can’t beat a bottle from Down Under.

Australian wines are fruit-forward, with enough pizzazz to ping your interest with their power and structure, and will make you want to jet off to this paradise for wine lovers.

To mark Australia Day celebrations (January 26), we’ve rounded up some top drops from its most famous wine regions…. get ready to charge your glasses!

1. Kooliburra Clare Valley Shiraz 2021, South Australia, £7.99, Aldi, in-store

Kooliburra Clare Valley Shiraz, 2021, South Australia, Aldi

Australia’s A-list red grape, you can’t beat a rich, ripe food-friendly red that promises satisfaction with every sip. Beautifully aromatic with dark brambly fruits, mulberry, cherries and gentle spice, overlaid with the faintest hint of toasty oak and a smooth, savoury finish. Unbeatable value.

2. 19 Crimes Chardonnay 2022, South Eastern Australia, £9.50, Sainsbury’s

19 Crimes Chardonnay 2022, South Eastern Australia, Sainsbury's

An upfront chardonnay in a rich, buttery style, this golden nugget offers tropical fruit flavours with flecks of honey, caramel and vanilla notes, in a bold but balanced style. The lemony acidity keeps everything fresh and bright, with a creamy, harmonious finish. A vibrant style reflecting the country’s key white grape.

3. Artan Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2021, Coonawarra, Australia, £11.50, Co-op in-store

Artan Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2021, Coonawarra, Australia, Co-op

Impressive from the word go with characteristic eucalyptus and sweetly spiced cassis, this is a wonderfully complex cabernet sauvignon with a rich, juicy, intense palate of blackcurrants, blueberries, violets and prunes, with hints of cedarwood, cushioned by fine-grained tannins and long, sumptuous finish. In a word: Gorgeous.

4. Houghton Heritage Red 2020, Western Australia, £11.99, Waitrose

Houghton Heritage Red 2020, Western Australia, Waitrose

Offering the best of both worlds, this suave blend of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon provides an accessible and downright delicious example of how the region’s sun-kissed fruit really shines. Richly perfumed, enticing berry notes abound with cherries, blueberries, cassis and peppered spice, framed by fine tannins and touch of tobacco leaf. Smooth and round, everything glides beautifully along.

5. Wynns The Siding Cabernet Sauvignon 2021, Coonawarra, Australia, £15.50, Tesco

Wynns The Siding Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Coonawarra, Australia, Tesco

Another splendid example of Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon, this famous producer’s entry-level offers a wealth of flavour and richness with plump, luscious fruit, notes of undergrowth, cedary oak, menthol, fresh sage, exquisite florals – think lavender and violets – and a velvety smooth, polished finish. Gorgeousness in a glass, this is a wine you want to drink again and again.

6. Robert Oatley Finisterre Chardonnay 2019, Margaret River, Australia, £22.50, Fareham Wine Cellar

Robert Oatley Finisterre Chardonnay 2019, Margaret River, Australia, Fareham Wine Cellar

From another star winemaker, this silky chardonnay is rich and powerful, yet wonderfully elegant with glossy tropical fruits, pear drops, hints of cream, nougat, nectarine, lime blossom and well-judged oak, all leading to a long, fine finish exhibiting verve and freshness. A perfect parcel, the price reflects the purity, clarity and quality of fruit. Fabulous and worth seeking out.