Regional Wines to Try on Your Next Australian Wine Getaway

Posted by Megan Osborne on Wednesday, November 1, 2017

When you’re on your next Australian wine adventure, visiting vineyards, cellar doors and restaurants can sometimes be a tad overwhelming. What will you drink, and what will you pass on by?

Participating in wine tastings are, of course, one of the most enjoyable activities, but sometimes it can be difficult knowing where to start. After all, you don’t want to miss out on what could be your next favourite Australian wine because you sampled too many dodgy drops.

Our recent Australian Wine Getaways collection will point you in the direction of where to stay on your next vino-themed escape; from central wine region pads to onsite vineyard accommodation. This guide is the perfect matched-wines accompaniment, brought to you by our friends at Halliday Wine Companion. It lists some of the top picks of what to drink while you’re staying at one of our beautiful wine destination accommodations! With tasting notes usually exclusive to Halliday Wine Companion members, we’ve uncovered the insights on these top Aussie drops.

Whether you’re staying in a luxe Adelaide Hills retreat, in a boutique hotel on the banks of the Derwent River, or wedged between beautiful coastline and rolling vineyards in the Mornington Peninsula; here’s what regional wines you should try when kicking back in your boutique winery accommodation. Plus, check out our article on the most beautiful Australian wine destinations. See the stays here, and read this article for some real corkers.

What Wine to Drink in the Adelaide Hills

Not just known for its wineries, you can also visit breweries in the Adelaide Hills, partake in some fruit picking, and even cuddle a koala!

But we know you’re really here for the wine, so what regional wines does this South Australian destination do well? Due to variations in the terroir including climate and soil, the northern area of the Adelaide Hills is known for producing full-bodied red wine, whereas the central section of the region produces more chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. Further south in the Kuitpo area towards McLaren Vale, keep an eye out for semillon, shiraz, merlot and sauvignon blanc. Here are three high-scoring picks from the Halliday Wine Companion that are worth trying when in the Adelaide Hills.

Shaw + Smith M3 Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, 2015 
97 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
M3 now comes from selected sites over the Adelaide Hills, not from the vineyard previously called M3. Pale straw-green; it may be autosuggestion, but this has great freshness, vibrancy and finesse, the flavours pitched halfway between white peach/stone fruit on the one hand, grapefruit/citrus on the other. Obviously fermented in French oak, but is not obviously oaky. – James Halliday

Shaw + Smith
136 Jones Road, 

Shaw + Smith wine tasting

Image: Shaw + Smith Facebook

CRFT K1 Vineyard Kuitpo Adelaide Hills Gruner Veltliner, 2016  
95 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
Hand-picked, whole bunch-pressed, wild-fermented on full solids, 3 months on lees, bottled unfined. Pale straw-green; a brilliant feel and flavour, with minerally acidity providing the structure to guarantee a 10-year future, and indeed two or three times that. – James Halliday

CRFT Wines 
45 Rangeview Driv,
Carey Gully

Sidewood Estate Adelaide Hills Shiraz, 2015
96 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
Has a highly fragrant bouquet, verging on outright perfume; spicy notes are part climate, part whole bunch-derived, and the multi-clone backdrop provides a beautifully poised palate. Very good value. – James Halliday

Sidewood Estate
15 Onkaparinga Valley Road,

What Wine to Drink in the Barossa Valley

With sixth-generation winemaker families, and some vineyards more than 150 years old, the Barossa Valley is well and truly an established Australian wine region. The majority (70%) of vines planted towards the end of the nineteenth century consisted of shiraz, grenache, mataro (mourvèdre), so you know you’ve hit jackpot if you’re an Australian red wine lover.

With great wine, also comes great food; so you can rest assured that your stomach will be well lined when touring the Barossa Valley. Hop on a bike and cycle from vineyard to vineyard, or squeeze in an afternoon of shopping in Tanunda for fashion, artisan goods and homewares, or the beautiful Angaston for an afternoon pick-me-up coffee.

Here are some suggestions for Barossa red wines, a cheeky rosé for something a bit lighter, and a blow the budget red from one of Barossa’s most well known names.

Turkey Flat Barossa Valley Rosé, 2016  
95 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
Made with 95% grenache, but with input from cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and mataro. It's not far short of perfect; the drinkability factor here is immensely high. Rose petals, cherries and strawberries, ripe but not overtly sweet, with spice and herb notes and - the coup de grace to any attempt at resistance - texture like velvet. – Campbell Mattinson

Turkey Flat 
67 Bethany Road,

Charles Melton Grains of Paradise Shiraz, 2014 
97 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
Aged on lees for 24 months in a 60/40% mix of American and French barriques, the American oak seasoned for 3 years in France and coopered using the immersion bending technique. The bouquet is exceptionally complex and fragrant, with spiced plum and oak translating to the equally complex medium-bodied palate. Its fundamental elegance is captured by the long palate and aftertaste. A wine with unlimited exploration opportunities. – James Halliday

Charles Melton
194 Krondorf Road,

Penfolds Bin 95 Grange, 2013 
99 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
96% shiraz, 4% cabernet sauvignon from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and Magill Estate, matured for 20 months in new American hogsheads. Gloriously, splendiferously complex. There are so many layers of flavour it's labyrinthine, yet you never lose the thread, the path, of the wine. Austerity is not a term often used with Grange, but it's here, and to the benefit of the wine. – James Halliday

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, 2015
97 Points 

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
Matured for 12 months in American hogsheads (32% new). Unapologetically made with the don't fix if it isn't broken aphorism. It is tightly structured, with faultless attention to detail - wheels within wheels stuff, but inexorable in sending its black fruits (blackberry, blackcurrant) flavour message. Despite its full body, and its far-reaching longevity, it's tailor-made for the saltbush lamb shoulder of tonight's dinner. – James Halliday

30 Tanunda Road,

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz

Image: Penfolds Facebook

What Wine to Drink in McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale is a short 45-minute drive from Adelaide, and while known for its shiraz, grenache and cabernet sauvignon are other highly produced varietals. Look out for Mediterranean drops such as fiano, vermentino, tempranillo and sangiovese which suit the climate in this South Australian wine region.

In between winery hopping spend some time at the beach, with the coastline of the Fleurieu Peninsula beckoning for some sun and relaxation.

d’Arenberg The Bonsai Vine McLaren Vale Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre, 2014

94 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
Matured for 12 months in 50/50% used French and American barriques. Deeply coloured, it's a particularly luscious and enjoyable GSM. The medium to full-bodied palate is stacked with red and black fruits, perfectly weighted tannins, and an earthy/savoury twist on the finish. Great value. – James Halliday

Osborn Road,
McLaren Vale

d'arenberg winery vineyard

Image: d'Arenberg Facebook

Wirra Wirra, The Absconder McLaren Vale Grenache, 2015
96 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
High quality old vine grenache was open-fermented and matured in French oak for 10 months. Superb clarity of its crimson-purple hue; it is an exercise in purity and place, showing once again the synergy between McLaren Vale and grenache on the near-endless palate. I also think the wine may prove to be exceptionally long-lived. – James Halliday

Wirra Wirra
463 McMurtrie Road,
McLaren Vale

Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Sangiovese Rose, 2016
92 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Not
An attention-grabbing pale cherry-pink yet a serious rose with texture. The flavour of strawberries and cream, cranberries, watermelon and the refreshing lively acidity sangiovese offers in abundance tempered by some sweetness, yet finishes dry. – Jane Faulkner

Chapel Hill 
1 Chapel Hill Road,
McLaren Vale

What Wine to Drink in the Mornington Peninsula

A short trip out of Melbourne, perfect for a wine weekend away, the Mornington Peninsula has you sorted for vineyard and brewery hopping, fine dining and beach bliss.

Whet your tastebuds at gin distilleries, and feast on cheese, olives and other vibrant fresh produce in this coastal destination. Some spectacular walks await, and when it comes to Mornington Peninsula wine, look out for the cool-climate pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris drops.

Willow Creek Vineyard O’Leary Block Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir, 2015
95 Points 

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
From the block planted in '89 to MV6 and D2V5, very low cropping, it produces the best fruit. The D2 portion was 50% whole bunch-fermented, the MV6 100%, both portions spending 3 weeks on skins, matured in French oak (20% new). Similar colour to its cheaper sibling, and similar weight; however, an extra 6 months in oak has given it a more savoury make-up to its palate. – James Halliday

Willow Creek Vineyard  
166 Balnarring Road,
Merricks North

Port Phillip Estate Single Site Red Hill Chardonnay, 2015
95 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
The bouquet has a touch of a la mode funk, and the palate has more depth and power than Kooyong's '15 Chardonnay. It there's a criticism, its richness and punch doesn't leave much airspace for finesse, but that's no crime in a chardonnay world so fixated on elegance. – James Halliday

Port Phillip Estate 
263 Red Hill Road,
Red Hill

Montalto Pennon Hill Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir, 2014
96 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
In best Montalto tradition, involving unique handling processes in the winery, this has a tapestry of dark fruits, stem, spice and fine tannins, the fruit and savoury forces locked in combat with neither winning. Gold medals Melbourne Wine Show '15 and Winewise Small Vignerons Awards '15, where it was also awarded the trophy for Best Pinot Noir. – James Halliday

33 Shoreham Road,
Red Hill

Montalto vineyard and olive grove restaurant and wine

Image: Montalto Facebook

What Wine to Drink in Victoria's High Country

High Country spans a vast area of Victoria, with some great wines along the Great Alpine Road. The two most recognised wine regions are Beechworth for its Italian varietals such as sangiovese and nebbiolo, alongside some great chardonnay and shiraz. Rutherglen is celebrated for its fortifieds and durif, so enjoy a rich red with dinner and make sure to follow it with a muscat or tokay.

Giaconda Estate Vineyard Chardonnay, 2015
98 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
Hand-picked, whole bunch-crushed and basket-pressed, fermented in French oak (30% new), 100% mlf, matured for 22 months, not filtered. Pale, bright straw-green; the bouquet is very complex, yet subtle due to emphemeral husky/creamy nuances. The sheer power of the palate is of a category unique to Giaconda (and perhaps Leeuwin Estate), for it is on you before you realise it, the acidity bright and fresh notwithstanding the mlf. – James Halliday

30 McClay Road,

All Saints Estate Durif, 2015
93 Points 

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
Destemmed, crushed, open-fermented, hand-plunged thrice daily, pressed in the 130 wooden basket press, matured in new and used barriques and puncheons for 18 months. A rare beast indeed: a durif that can be claim to be medium-bodied, even the apparent suggestion of elegance with its compote of plums and black cherries, and soft, persistent tannins. – James Halliday

All Saints Estate  
315 All Saints Road,

All Saints Winery in Rutherglen

Image: All Saints Estate Facebook

Morris Old Premium Rare Liqueur Rutherglen Opaque, NV
99 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
It's possible to contemplate the meaning of life with this wine. The epitome of complexity yet it's seamless and so fresh. There's a depth of flavour, with impeccable balance of richness and sweetness to acidity. In another stratosphere. Take your time coming down. 500ml. – Jane Faulkner

Morris Wines
154 Mia Mia Road,

What Wine to Drink in the Bellarine Peninsula

Up from the Great Ocean Road, the Bellarine Peninsula encapsulates the Geelong wine region as well as Torquay and the edge of Port Phillip Bay. Catch glimpses of vineyard escarpments abutting crystal clear ocean, all from a comfortable spot inside a winery restaurant. Inventive gourmet produce and cuisine is a hallmark of the Bellarine Peninsula, and wines to look out for include pinot noir, pinot gris, cabernet sauvignon, riesling, viogner and sauvignon blanc.

Oakdene Jessica Single Vineyard Bellarine Peninsula Sauvignon, 2016
96 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
Hand-picked, crushed, fermented in French oak (15% new) with cultured yeast, matured for 8 months. The bouquet is perfumed, rare for sauvignon blanc, and the palate has great precision and drive, the overall complexity compelling. The barrel fermentation has worked like a charm, making me reluctant to spit the wine out - unheard of. If entered in wine shows it should sweep the field, the length amazing. – James Halliday.

255 Grubb Road,

Leura Park Estate Block 1 Reserve Geelong Chardonnay, 2015
95 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
More finesse and detail to the Block 1 Reserve albeit a fuller-bodied and flavoursome wine with stone fruit, grapefruit pith and grilled cashews, creamy leesy and lemon curd. The French oak, 35% new, impacts on flavour and shape of the wine but all positively, the end result a moreish, savoury toned wine. – Jane Faulkner

Leura Park Estate
1400 Portarlington Road,

Terindah Estate Terroir Series Road Block Bellarine Peninsula Pinot Noir, 2014
95 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
Brighter, clearer hue than Hill Block; lively and extroverted, with red and darker fruits beating a tattoo on the long palate; complex but true to its variety, its balance protecting its future. – James Halliday

Terindah Estate
90 McAdams Lane, 

Terindah Estate View

Image: Terindah Estate

What Wine to Drink in Southern Tasmania

Hop across the Bass Strait to immerse yourself in the sparkling shores of Tasmania. The south east coast in particular, which is perfect to visit when Hobart is your base, making your way along the Derwent River to the edge of the Derwent Valley.

Seeing a rise in biodynamic viticulture, the Southern Tasmania wine region’s cool climate is the ideal ground for pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris. Tasmania has developed a name for sparkling, so keep your eyes peeled for these, too.

Home Hill Estate Pinot Noir, 2015
97 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
Manicured estate vineyards and the inclusion of a small amount of whole bunches are the starting line for a wine that is never less than great, the wine show records of this and the Reserve totally deserved. This remarkable wine is at once juicy yet lushly textured, its drive and length foregone conclusions, its red cherry/berry fruit core at peace with the tannins and oak of an exceptional wine. – James Halliday

Home Hill
38 Nairn Street,

Pooley Riesling, 2016
97 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
From four estate vineyards, hand-picked, destemmed and crushed, fermented with cultured yeast. You can't make wine by numbers, nor rate them. This won the trophy for Best Riesling at the Melbourne Wine Awards '16 off the back of 9.5g/l titratable acidity, pH 2.9 and residual sugar 3/5g/l. This should by rights be fearsome, but it's not - its just awesomely delicious, with a bouquet full of white flowers, the palate with pink grapefruit and Granny Smith apple. It's virtually immune from ageing. – James Halliday

Pooley Wines
1431 Richmond Road,

Stefano Lubiana Late Disgorged, 1996
95 Points

Wine Companion Tasting Notes: After a decade on lees and a further 9 years on cork, this cellar door only release must be the oldest current release sparkling in the country, and for all it represents it is grossly underpriced. Its hue has evolved to a gloriously full yellow with copper tints and its flavours encompass an expansive universe of complexity of grilled pineapple, dried peach, ginger nut biscuits, burnt butter, glace fig, baked apple and mixed spice. Nuances of smoky tertiary complexity are beginning to emerge. At 20 years of age, it has attained the wonderful twilight of its life, and has done so with integrity and grace. – James Halliday

Stefano Lubiana  
60 Rowbottoms Road,

Stefano Lubiana Winery

Image: Stefano Lubiana Wines

And while you’re in Tasmania, you’d be remiss not to road trip up to the Tamar Valley to sample some stunning sparkling.

Josef Chromy Vintage, 2011
94 Points 

Wine Companion Tasting Notes:
The depth and power of Relbia estate pinot noir is bolstered by the richness of 5 years of lees age to produce a particularly intense and characterful Chromy Vintage. White peach, fig and mirabelle plum fruit of succulent ripeness and commanding presence linger very long and full, toned by the vibrant yet ripe acid flow of the cool '11 season. A creamy texture and grand layers of ginger nut biscuits, chocolate and coffee proclaim lees maturity. A great release for Chromy. – Tyson Stelzer

Josef Chromy Wines
370 Relbia Road,

If you’re keen to discover more about the perfect drops for your palate, subscribe to Halliday Wine Companion and get full access to the tasting notes of all the Australian wine worth talking about. And don't forget to check out our amazing wine getaway stays.