Despite their historical importance, the Adelaide Hills boast a somewhat contemporary wine scene. These cool climate vineyards are home to early ripening grapes such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Wide diurnal temperature changes often produce exciting aromatic wines.
Barossa Valley is known throughout the world for its exceptional expressions of Shiraz. These full bodied red wines combine ripe black fruit with prominent oak flavours and extremely popular. Cabernet Sauvignon is also important here and is often compared and contrasted with Cabernet planted in both Coonawarra and Margaret River. When it comes to white wines, Semillon makes fuller wines with lower acidity than those made famous by the Hunter Valley.
The Clare Valley finds itself around 125km north of the city of Adelaide and is known for its diverse microclimates. Riesling is highly regarded and is often planted at between 300-500 metres to produce dry wines with locally distinctive aromas of lime. There are also plenty of good wines made from Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Coonawarra is located inside the Limestone Coast and is known for its relatively cool climate wines. With a climate not unlike that of Bordeaux it will comes as no surprise that Cabernet Sauvignon stars here. Coonawarra is also known for its distinctive iron-rich red soils. Shiraz is also a consistent performer and is capable of some of the best wines in Australia.
Just north of Adelaide, and east of Barossa, the Eden Valley is home to some of Australia’s top cool climate wines. Riesling does particularly well here. Altitudes ranging from between 380 and 500m ensure a long growing season and result in wines with interesting aromatic profiles.
Further away from the majority of the state’s wine regions, the Limestone Coast is located in the south east corner of South Australia. Its cool climate is appreciated and has given prominence to the smaller wine growing area of Coonawarra which enjoys international fame. It is also home to emerging areas such as Mount Benson, Wrattonbully and Padthaway.
Located just south of Adelaide, the McLaren Vale boasts over 7000 hectares of vines and as such produces a wide range of wine styles. Vineyards are planted at sea level and ascend up to 350m. Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon do exceptionally well here, but there is also a growing trend for Mediterranean varieties such as Vermentino