South Australia is known for its excellent vintages, but these five bottles of wine are the ones you absolutely have to try.
Dubbed the Great Wine Capital of Australia, Adelaide and South Australia is internationally recognised for producing some of the best Australian wines. From the Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills to the Clare Valley and Coonawarra, most of the state is considered ‘wine country,’ with 18 different wine regions offering a diverse range of wines and unbeatable cellar door experiences. The ultimate destination for a wine holiday or weekend away, if you want to get to know South Australian wine better, we know the perfect place to start. From prestigious shiraz that will warm you up in winter to crisp, award-winning (and affordable) chardonnay, here’s our pick of the best wines from Australia’s best wine regions.
1. Penfolds, Grange Shiraz, Adelaide
Often referred to as the ‘Great Australian Red’, the multi-vineyard, multi-region Penfold’s Grange is one of Australia’s most prestigious, critically acclaimed and iconic wines—it’s even listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. First produced in 1951, it has a complex, full-bodied flavour featuring notes of blackberry, chocolate, coffee, and leather, achieved using Shiraz grapes with small amounts of cabernet sauvignon occasionally added to the blend. The iconic red topped bottle is the favourite tipple of none other than Ed Sheeran, the singer a collector of the 707. Ed even poured a glass of Penfold’s 1997 Grange for music royalty Lionel Richie while they shared a meal in Wales. Naturally, it’s expensive, but you can buy a glass—or just a taste—at Penfolds Magill Estate, which is just a 15-minute drive from Adelaide. If you're in the Barossa, you can also sample it at Penfolds Barossa cellar door.
2. Jim Barry, The Florita Riesling, Clare Valley
An internationally acclaimed riesling region, there is one name that is synonymous with both the varietal and the Clare Valley. Jim Barry. As one of the first producers of riesling in the area, Jim Barry is credited with cementing the region's reputation. First released in 2004, it’s no surprise that The Florita riesling is one of the most celebrated Australian wines. With stone, mineral and white floral aromas, moving into white peach and citrus notes, it’s produced using hand-picked grapes from one of the region’s oldest vineyards—the Florita vineyard in Watervale. The best way to taste? Visit their cellar door and enrol in The Florita experience – a guided tasting of their current vintage (including namesake Florita) as well as a platter of fresh local produce served in the vineyard.
3. Rockford, Sparkling Black Shiraz, Barossa
Rockford might be a small boutique winery in the Barossa Valley, but James Halliday described it as “an icon”. Producing wine since 1984, their Sparkling Black shiraz is an Australian wine delicacy, made with shiraz grapes that are matured in oak casks before blending and bottle fermentation. Best served chilled, this sparkling South Australian wine is complex with notes of blackberry, black cherry, chocolate and a hint of spice. Almost impossible to find, it’s available exclusively through Adelaide retailers, their cellar door in Tanunda (approximately one hour drive from Adelaide) and mail order, with a strict limit of three bottles per customer.
4. HENSCHKE, HILL OF GRACE SHIRAZ, EDEN VALLEY
Henschke Hill of Grace shiraz is one of the most iconic and sought-after wines from South Australia. Named after the family-owned Hill of Grace vineyard in the Eden Valley, which was originally planted in the 1860s, it’s considered a benchmark for Australian shiraz due to its elegance, complexity and longevity. Made using traditional winemaking techniques, the price of this famous wine varies depending on the vintage, but like Penfolds Grange, it’s considered a prestige wine and has the price tag to prove it. If you want to try before you buy, sign yourself up for the Hill of Grace Experience and enjoy a tour of the historic working winery as well as a private tasting.
5. TAYLORS, JARAMAN CHARDONNAY, ADELAIDE HILLS AND CLARE VALLEY
A blend of grapes from the Clare Valley and the Adelaide Hills, this full-bodied chardonnay is both complex and elegant, with citrus, white peach and nectarine characters and a subtle flinty note. A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, Taylors Jaraman chardonnay is a must-try. Don’t believe us? Well, take the word of 240 wine experts from across 46 countries, who awarded this drop ‘Best of Show Australian White Wine’ at the prestigious Mundus Vini Grand International Wine Awards in 2023. Retaining at just $26, the Jaraman, held its own against 7,500 other wines submitted. Taylors also took home the title of Best Producer from Australia. Cycle past their cellar door to try their wine and chocolate tasting experience, before continuing along the Clare Valley Riesling Trail.