Big, bold Shiraz blockbusters and crisp, upfront Chardonnays are the wines that put Australia on the map.
The first grape vines were sent down under on the First Fleet in 1788, but it wasn’t for another 200 years that Australian wine became really trendy.
Always ahead of the game, Tony Laithwaite started selling Aussie wines in the 70s. His first was was a Coonawarra Cabernet but his stock from Oz rapidly grew.
Now of course, Laithwaite’s produces its own wines in Australia, at the RedHeads Wine Studio which first opened in the McLaren Vale before moving to the Barossa.
Add to that the fact that our best-selling wine The Black Stump Durif Shiraz is an Australian export and we’ve got a good old list of reasons to celebrate Australia Day!
What is Australia Day?
Held annually on the 26th of January, the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, Australia Day is the day Australians acknowledge their country’s history, celebrate contemporary Australia and reflect what it means to be Australian.
From the Aboriginal families whose ancestors have lived on the island for more than 65,000 years, to those who have travelled from all over the world to make Australia their home, the national holiday celebrates all members of the community.
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Friends and families gather for barbecues on the beach, fireworks displays and festivals to celebrate Australia Day.
To celebrate in solidarity, we’ve chosen five of our favourite Aussie wines for you to try.
The Black Stump Durif Shiraz
It wouldn’t be an Australia Day celebration without a glass of The Black Stump. Always popular with our customers it’s produced by Casella Wines, which first started growing grapes in 1969 – the same year Laithwaite’s was formed!
Filippo and Maria Casella immigrated to Australia from Sicily in 1957 and in 1965 bought a farm and began to grow grapes to sell to local wineries, but their dream was to make their own wine and build a business of their own.
Now Casella Wines is run by the couple’s three sons, with John at the helm, and the winery produces small-batch exclusives just for us – which is why you won’t find The Black Stump anywhere else.
RedHeads Rusty Roof Chardonnay
We couldn’t showcase Australian wines without mentioning something from our very own RedHeads Wine Studio.
It was hard to pick just one but we settled on the first release from our brand-new Barossa winery which has it’s own vineyard. It’s mainly Shiraz but there were a few rows of Chardonnay which were too good to ignore so our team got busy making this gorgeously fruity, oak-aged white.
McPherson The Full Fifteen
Another hugely popular big red in our range, The Full Fifteen is velvety smooth yet bursting with juicy red and black fruit and has a lovely toasty finish thanks to the American oak barrels it ages in.
Winemaker Andrew McPherson has travelled all over the world making wines, but has settled back at home in Australia where he says he caters to “ordinary wine drinkers, not the ‘spit and gargle’ crowd”.
Penley Estate Casablanca Vineyard Coonawarra Cabernet Merlot
The Coonawarra region in South Australia is renowned for Bordeaux style reds. Its name is the Aboriginal word for Honeysuckle.
The area is blessed with soil perfect for growing Cabernet grapes with immense concentration and poise so this wine is bursting with rich plum flavours.
This Penley Estate red is a fraction of the price of the winery’s flagship wine so definitely worth snapping up quickly.
Yarrunga Field Special Reserve White
This white blend shot to the top of our best-sellers when Oz Clarke and Jilly Goolden featured Yarrunga Field’s Special Reserve on the BBC’s Food and Drink programme.
The pair dubbed it “Aussie sunshine in a glass” and that remains true with the 2018 vintage which is bursting with fresh grapefruit, lemon and peach.
Perfect for both a sunny Australian barbecue and an evening tucked up in a cosy corner!