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While it's true that Australia can't stand side-by-side with the likes of France and Italy when it comes to winemaking history and tradition, it has made a definitive mark on the international wine world over the two decades. In fact, Australian wine exports have grown so much since the nation's wine boom started in the 1990s that it's now the fourth-largest exporter of wine in the world.
Certainly, much of Australia's growth can be attributed to the critter-laden labels of brands like Yellow Tail and The Little Penguin, among others. However, while large wine companies may serve as the "face" of Australian wines, there are also a large number of artisanal producers creating critically-acclaimed wines that are not to be ignored.
The majority of Australian wine is produced in South Australia in the South Eastern Australia appellation. Smaller producers making higher-quality wines are prevalent in subregions such as Barossa Valley, Coonawarra and McLaren Vale. There are other significant regions, of course, like Victoria and New South Wales, and the US has also seen an uptick in wine imports from Western Australia.
Shiraz is undoubtedly the most celebrated grape in Australia -- it led the way for Australia's burst in production -- but the country has also seen great success with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling and Grenache.
Shop for Zinfandel
Often referred to as "America's Heritage Grape," Zinfandel is the quintessential California grape. It is just this unpretentious, homegrown mystique that attracts anti-wine snobs to the many varied styles of Zinfandel.
Red Zinfandel's telltale bold flavors vary from raspberry liqueur to exotic Asian spice, chocolate and pepper notes. It’s generally high in alcohol, with rich, syrupy fruit and a lush texture, making it a favorite of another American tradition — barbecue. White Zinfandel wine is a blush wine made from the Zinfandel grape, generally much sweeter than Red Zinfandel. Regardless of whether its white or red, Zinfandel is purely an American wine phenomenon.
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