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into the Australian way of life : THE LOCAL ANGLE

Best Aussie Wine Isn't 'You're Out of Beer, Mate'

September 16, 2000|VALERIE GUTIERREZ

Australians love great wine, and they have a variety to select from, what with more than 550 wineries.

Most of the vineyards are in the southern part of the country, which has nine wine districts producing nearly two-thirds of Australia's wine. The country has no natural grapevines, the first settlers having brought them when they arrived in Sydney Cove in 1788. The climate, particularly in the fertile areas closer to the coast, makes it an ideal location.

Times wine critic Russ Parsons said there's not much difference between the taste of California and Australian wines.

"The Australian wine industry is bent on conquering the world," he said. "Taste one and see what you think."

If you want to taste for yourself, try 1998 Greg Norman Estates Coonawarra Cabernet-Merlot. It's the first vintage from the renowned golfer with overtones of earth and berries.

Or visit Los Angeles Wine Co., which has a promotion this month featuring a selection of critically acclaimed wines from Australia, ranging from $3 to $50 a bottle.

For a day of wine tasting, make reservations for Oct. 28 at the Wine Exchange in Orange, featuring a day of tasting 20 wines and dessert for less than $30.

Or next time you're at Trader Joe's, pick up a bottle of Australian wine for less than $6.

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