Australia & New Zealand
Australia hit the wine big-time thanks to its blockbuster fruit bombs, and two of these famously big wines were made from Shiraz and Chardonnay. Today, these two grape varieties are still hugely important and although they still have their own style, their character is not as big and ballsy as it once was, partly because the fashion has moved on from such in-your-face wines, but also because it makes them more food friendly.
Shiraz and Chardonnay are grown successfully all over, from Western Australia to New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon from South Australia in particular are big, gutsy red wines, and the regions of Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra are loved for spicy Shiraz and dense blackcurrant Cabernet Sauvignons, just the thing for a red meat dishes. Australia has classics, yes, but experimentation is in Australia's nature, and these days it's doing a good job of successfully producing alternative Spanish and Italian varieties like the meaty Tempranillo and aromatic Pinot Grigio too.
New Zealand's rise to wine fame also came about thanks to one red and one white grape variety, albeit different ones to Australia. Sauvignon Blanc reigns supreme here and has carved out a serious niche for itself in the South Island region of Marlborough, where the Sauvignon Blanc is so pure and deliciously pungent that it can often resemble a freshly squeezed passion fruit and mango fruit juice.
New Zealand's cooler climate means that the red grape from Burgundy, Pinot Noir, performs very well here and makes wines with pure raspberry fruit, which is a style that's especially famous from the regions of Central Otago and Martinborough, although Pinot Noir is grown all over the country, including in Sauvignon Blanc's NZ spiritual home, Marlborough.