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South Australia

The Barossa Valley is probably the most familiar wine-producing area in the country, but it is joined by many others achieving excellence in South Australia. McLaren Vale, the Clare and Eden Valleys, Padthaway and, most prestigious of all, Coonawarra are all synonymous with fine red and white wines that compete with the best of the Old World whilst maintaining an identity all of their own.

The Barossa Valley is probably the most familiar wine-producing area in the country, but it is joined by many others achieving excellence in South Australia. McLaren Vale, the Clare and Eden Valleys, Padthaway and, most prestigious of all, Coonawarra are all synonymous with fine red and white wines that compete with the best of the Old World whilst maintaining an identity all of their own.

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Quantity, however, rubs shoulders with quality. South Australia produces about half of Australia's wine and, while the best will worry the winemakers of Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Rhône, the majority will not be disturbing their sleep. The Riverlands area near the border with Victoria and New South Wales produces wine on an industrial scale that is usually boxed rather than bottled though there are, of course, exceptions to be found.

Styles of Wine

Like much of south-eastern Australia the climate and conditions are so varied, and the winemakers so active and experimental, that the range of styles is immense.  Shiraz is traditionally the premier grape of the region, notably in the Penfolds Grange Hermitage, and can be extremely bold and seductive.  The best Cabernet Sauvignons are austere when young but open out with age, whilst Riesling and Semillon both make exceptional dry and sweet white wines.

South Australia is home to many massive corporations and big name brands churning out reliable wines year after year without much interest in character, but these huge operations will usually also own small wineries where wines are crafted with a great deal more finesse and sympathy.  South Australia is capable of being all things to all men (and women, of course).

Key Vines

Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Mourvèdre and Grenache account for almost all of the planting.

Climate and Conditions

Terroir, that indefinable influence so beloved by the French, has its adherents in the heart of South Australia.  The 'terra rossa' of Coonawarra, a loam soil that is red with iron, is credited with much of the character that the district can create in its wine.  Regarding the climate, much of the region would be too hot without the cooling influence of the Southern Ocean.  The Riverlands rely on large scale irrigation from the Murray River to be viticulturally viable.

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  1. Bird in the Hand Estate Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, 2015

    Bird in the Hand Estate Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, 2016 75cl

    Fresh stone fruit, melon and citrus peel on the nose develops to nectarine and lightly dry roasted cashew nut in the mouth, 

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  2. Mitchell Semillon, Watervale Clare Valley

    Mitchell Semillon, Watervale Clare Valley, 2009 75cl

    Rich, creamy and soft, a brilliant example of Semillon, a grape variety which achieves a wondrous complexity in Australia.

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  3. Mitchell Riesling, Watervale Clare Valley

    Mitchell Riesling, Watervale Clare Valley, 2015 75cl

    Best Riesling, White Wine and Wine of the year in the Penguin Good Australian Wine Guide.

    A crisp and fruity example of a young wine that will mature into a softer and more mellow wine. The Australian winemakers have added weight to this European grape variety.

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  4. Rowlands Brook Chardonnay, South Eastern Australia

    Rowlands Brook Chardonnay, South Eastern Australia, 2017 75cl

    A rich bouquet with aromas of melon and fresh tropical fruit. A beautifully balanced and integrated wine.

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  5. Bird in the Hand Estate Shiraz, Adelaide Hills

    Bird in the Hand Estate Shiraz, Adelaide Hills, 2014 75cl

    This Shiraz is a balance between intensity and finesse. Aromas of dark red berries and spice. Long complex and fine on the palate with a persistent depth and length on the finish.

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  6. Hallmark Grenache

    Hallmark Grenache, McLaren Vale, 2014 75cl

    This is a classic old vine Grenache bursting with big black fruit flavours and a firm grippy body. Wonderful with a steak, beef burgers or any heavy red meat dish.

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  7. Hollick Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, 2013

    Hollick Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, 2013 75cl

    Hollick Wines is a small, family run winery, with vineyards in the heart of Coonawarra in South Australia. The wines reflect the character of the region. This wine is made from a selection of old vines and displays typical ripe cassis and berry fruit characteristics, with soft tannins. This wine will sucessfully cellar for up to 10 years. 

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  8. Mitchell McNicol Shiraz, Clare Valley, 2004

    Mitchell McNicol Shiraz, Clare Valley, 2006 75cl

    Full-bodied, showing the level of development one would expect, the flavours moving into an earthy, secondary spectrum, supported by savoury tannins.

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  9. Mitchell Cabernet Sauvignon, Sevenhill, Clare Valley, 2005

    Mitchell Cabernet Sauvignon, Sevenhill, Clare Valley, 2009 75cl

    Rich and vibrant with deliciously mouth-filling fruit, a complex structure and fine balance; this wine displays all the characteristics of a premium Clare Valley Cabernet.

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  10. Mitchell Grenache Mourvedre, Clare Valley, 2012

    Mitchell Mataro Grenache, Clare Valley, 2012 75cl

    Citrus rind and black fruit on the nose, the palate consists of black fruit, pepper spice and subtle smoke. The finish is well balanced and it's lively, fruit forward character is the result of no oak aging

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  11. Mitchell Peppertree Shiraz, Clare Valley, 2009

    Mitchell Peppertree Shiraz, Clare Valley, 2013 75cl

    A full-bodied red wine packed full of red berry fruit, with a subtle peppery character evident on the finish.

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  12. Molly Dooker The Scooter Merlot, McLaren Vale

    Molly Dooker The Scooter Merlot, McLaren Vale, 2016 75cl

    The nose is full of plummy fruit character and hints at the spice to come on the palate and finish. In the mouth, this complex wine is medium-bodied with rich concentrated fruit and soft tannin. The finish brings hints of spice and some chocolate notes.

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