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Australia’s smallest and coolest state on the mainland is a goldmine of wine styles and flavours. It has no fewer than 21 winemaking regions, comprising both historic areas and relatively recent ones. Together they make Victoria a very diverse winemaking location; from the phylloxera-surviving vines in the hot Rutherglen to the relatively cool Yarra Valley.
The Yarra Valley is something of the spiritual winemaking heart of Victoria, and is home to some of Victoria’s best known names. Here the upper slopes are cool, rainfall is reasonably high and soils vary enormously. Some of Australia’s best Pinot Noir can be found here, though experimentation with varieties is rife.
Most of North East Victoria is undeniably hot and has long been known for its fortified wines: the famous stickies produced around Rutherglen. Recently vineyards have been planted at higher altitudes in the relatively new regions of King Valley, Alpine Valleys and Beechworth, which have developed reputations for fizz, Chardonnay and Italian varieties. The Upper Goulburn is another upland area in the foothills of the Australian Alps, and has produced exciting Rieslings.
Over in Western Victoria, the Grampians is a region that’s thick with lime soil vineyards. It's a stronghold of sparkling winemakers - much of Australia's weird and wonderful sparkling Shiraz comes from here - but fine still Shiraz and Riesling are also produced, as they are in nearby, but cooler, Henty.
Further inland, in Central Victoria, Bendigo and Heathcote are making fine and pure red wines, often from Shiraz.
One of the most exciting regions in recent years has been the Mornington Peninsula which, as the name suggests, experiences a maritime climate. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay excel here.
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