In the world of White wine, there are a select handful of grape varieties that dominate - Chardonnay with its powerful tropical fruits, Sauvignon Blanc with its pungent gooseberry aromas, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio with its delicate pear scents plus Riesling with its purity and focus.
But outside of the classics are dozens of great white grape varieties that are well worth exploring, some of which can be found in our exclusive wines and weekly deals. Often these grape varieties are relatively recent entrants into Australia so have not had time to build their reputation or find their perfect region but over time will become an important component of Australian wine.
Take Semillon for example, which has been an Australian workhorse but when grown in the right place can produce miraculous wines. The Hunter Valley is most famous for lanolin-scented unoaked Semillon that can drink well for decades, especially from wine producers such as Tyrrell’s. Semillon can also be aged in oak, and sometimes blended with Sauvignon Blanc as is seen in Margaret River and Bordeaux, to make truly great wines.
One of the most fascinating recent changes in Australian wine has been the explosion in alternate grape varieties, particularly from Italy and Spain. Italy in particular has a wealth of white grapes which are well suited to Australia’s warm climate, on top of the already well-established Pinot Grigio. Grapes such as Arneis, Fiano and Vermentino can make delicious wines and have shown great potential, particularly in warmer regions such as McLaren Vale.