Not every region of the world is blessed with the perfect climate conditions to make wines fit for the wine connoisseur. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, some regions are simply too cold, too dry or too anything to give grapes what they need to mature just right. Wine grapes mainly thrive on the 30th and the 50th degree of latitude, in the Northern and Southern hemispheres of the world, just perfect for our gold-locked friends, Australia and New Zealand.
But the two countries haven’t always been known for their wine production. As many of you already know, France, Germany, Italy and other European countries were known as the original wine experts of the world. It wasn’t until recent decades that the two countries really hammered their name into the wine industry.
If you’ve ever tasted a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, then you probably understand why they’re one of the leading producers of the wine and why they’ve set the bar so higher for wine producers everywhere. Wine critics describe NZ’s Sauvignon Blanc as pungent and aromatic with tropical fruit overtones. This wine typically pairs well with fresh flavors including seafood, citrusy and savory dishes.
Chardonnay: Australia vs. New Zealand
Australia is to Chardonnay as New Zealand is to Sauvignon Blanc. Chardonnay is Australia’s most popular white wine. It’s known for its fruity notes from both warm and cool climate regions and can be found in varying levels of acidity depending on where it was produced.
But today, New Zealand offers a similar deal. Even just within the islands of New Zealand, you’ll find many flavors of Chardonnay. Depending on the region of the country you travel to (down the wine aisle that is), you might find different levels of acidity, light to full-bodiedness and different flavors.
So who does it better? It’s hard to say. Before the 90’s Australia’s Chardonnays were known to be heavily oaked‚ over ripe and buttery, not exactly fan favorites. But when they figured it out, boy, did they ever. But like a younger sibling living in the shadow of their older and more experienced brother, New Zealand was quietly perfecting the crisp, fruity and acidic Chardonnay wine lovers everywhere so widely praise.
Shiraz, also called Syrah in other parts of the world, is the big, bold, red grape of Australia. Though it grows in many other parts of the world including Chile, France and some parts of the U.S, Australian Shiraz grapes are known to produce a medium-full body wine with round jammier fruit flavors and other notes including black cherry, dark chocolate, plum and black pepper. Currently it’s the most produced grape in Australia, making the Aussies the second biggest exporter of Shiraz after France.
Your typical Cabernet Sauvignon wine is full-bodied, filled with dark fruity flavors and savoriness and for the most part they had always been up until the 1990’s. You’ll find that there’s quite a bit of variation of flavors within the Carbernets, even within Australia. But as of recently, Australia and other parts of the world known for their Cabernet Sauvignons have taken a turn for the riper fruity flavors.
But enough talking, let’s get to tasting! Join us for our Down Under Wine Dinner on January 14th to tour Australia’s world of delicious wines paired with Ling & Louie’s signature dishes. See you there!