Top Australian Wine Picks

The Hottest Varietals Making Waves Down Under

It is hard to resist that Aussie charm especially when it comes to the abundance of affordable, easy-drinking, upfront and über-approachable styles of wines produced in that vast country. For the same reasons, many see these wines as a ‘guilty pleasure’ not worthy of sophisticated company.

But just in time to prove all those naysayers wrong comes a slew of diverse, high quality, and value-minded wines in the General List category (meaning you can find them at almost any LCBO). For a good while now, there have been few new wines released in the LCBO’s Aussie category as many of the big labels that have historically done so well have dominated the shelves. However, in a joint effort by both Wine Australia and the LCBO, an abundance of new wines has hit the market in order to showcase the range of wines Australia produces and to generate a renewed interest in this category.

What is so exciting about this recent release is that these wines are extremely varied in their styles and grape varietals and showcase wines that most would not traditionally associate with Australia such as Riesling, Moscato, Pinot Gris, Sangiovese and Pinot Noir. More and more, these grapes and styles are making waves and are now here to be appreciated.

Here are my top picks of the Aussie wine rush.


Cooralook Pinot Gris 2008
Australia, 212712, $14.95

Pinot Gris, the same varietal as the affable Pinot Grigio, is produced in a French, Alsatian-inspired style which is lush, full-bodied and full of notes of peach and honeysuckle. The wine comes from the cooler Victoria region where this delicious style is becoming all the rage.



Clare Hills Riesling 2009
Clare Valley, Australia, 215111, $14.95

Cooler Clare Valley in South Australia has become renown for this refreshing and friendly style of Riesling chock-full of distinctive Riesling character such as mineral, crisp acidity and energizing herbal notes.





Lenswood Hills Pinot Noir 2010
Adelaide Hills, Australia, 215095, $16.95

Some of the best and most elegant examples of Pinot Noir in Australia come from the cooler climate of the Adelaide Hills region. Both lovers of New World and more traditional styles will delight in this well-balanced Pinot with plenty of finesse.




McWilliams’ Hanwood Estate Moscato N/V
South East, Australia, 212696, $13.95

Gentle bubbles, sweet fruity flavours, low alcohol and playful nature provide plenty of appeal in this Italian-style Moscato which is sure to be a hit this summer. Great as a starter a palate cleanser between courses or paired with light summery desserts.





Hardy’s The Chronicles Butchers Gold Shiraz Sangiovese 2008
Australia, 219139, $14.95

Best known as the grape of Tuscany, Sangiovese and other Italian varietals are fast gaining acclaim throughout Australia. The varietal is fresh with complex flavours and a lighter appeal which is a welcome contrast to Shiraz which can be big, bold and fleshy and lacking some vibrancy.




Kangarilla Road Shiraz 2008
McLaren Vale, Australia, 212738, $17.95

Shiraz is the flagship grape of Australia and known elsewhere as Syrah. It would not be a proper Aussie release without this characteristic grape whose generous style, richness and approachability is unmatched elsewhere in the world.



Click here for a complete list of these wines available at your local shop.


Sara d'Amato is a Toronto-based wine consultant, sommelier and feature critic at A graduate of the University of Toronto and Niagara College's winery and viticulture technician program, she was the youngest and only woman to win the grand prize at Canadian Renaissance Wine Tasting Challenge in 2006 as featured in CBC's Wine Confidential Documentary. Sara has been awarded The Ontario Hosteliery's Top 30 Under 30 Award and is a staunch promoter of local wine and gastroculture.

Sara is a member of the Wine Writer's Circle of Canada and continues to participate in judging wine competitions across the country. Currently, Sara sits on the board of the Ontario Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.