Sam Wylie-Harris heads Down Under to select seven of the best Australian wines to enjoy now.

Australia has become a powerhouse for beautifully crafted, fruit-forward wines, that exude class and have the power and structure to make you want to jet off to this sunny wine lover's paradise and go knocking on its cellar doors.

The seventh largest wine producer in the world, exports to the UK from Australia are at a five-year high - and while winemakers continue to push the boundaries and experiment with new grape varieties, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay are still its heroes.

To toast their bottled sunshine and celebrate the beginning of the Australia wine harvest, we've headed to some of its renowned regions in the south to snap up seven bonza bottles...

1. The Barbarian Semillon Chardonnay 2018, South Eastern Australia (£8.49, Laithwaite's)

From the heart of the Australian wine scene, this vibrant sem-chard blend of toasty, lemony semillion (one of the country's most exciting grapes with excellent ageing potential) and juicy, peachy chardonnay collides beautifully with golden apple (there's also a smidgen of chenin blanc), citrus flavours and even a hint of orange marmalade on the fresh and zesty finish.

2. Tesco Finest Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2017, Yarra Valley, Australia (currently reduced from £11 to £8, Tesco)

A modern, upfront chardonnay made by De Bortoli (who've established a reputation for making some of the best wines in the valley), this is beautifully pure, fresh and aromatic, with florals, white peach and tropical fruits. There's vanilla and spicy oak - but fresh acidity allows the flavours to shine through with a bright, lively, finish.

3. Wakefield Estate Riesling 2016, Clare Valley, Australia (currently reduced from £13 to £11.70, The Australian Cellar)

This medal-winning winery produces all our favourite styles in spades, especially this bone-dry riesling from Australia's most famous riesling region. With a fragrant bouquet, featuring fresh lime and blossomy nuances, the punchy, tangy, limey, lemony fruit is polished to a gleam and powered by lively acidity, with hints of orange blossom and herbs riding on the crisp, vivid finish.

4. Extra Special Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Coonawarra, Australia (£7, Asda)

Coonawarra is renowned for its cab sav - and bargain-hunters should look out for this little gem, which more than delivers with its rich, brooding blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. It's fantastically concentrated, along with a tell-tale eucalyptus note that weaves through the forest floor of sumptuous fruit and lingers on the smooth, generous finish.

5. Waitrose St Hallett Reserve Shiraz 2017, Barossa Valley, Australia (currently reduced from £11.99 to £8.99, Waitrose)

Shiraz headlines in the Barossa Valley, which boasts some of the world's oldest vines, some more than 150 years old. Celebrated winery St Hallett is famous for its Old Block Shiraz - to make the grade, the parcels of vines must be more than 40 years old (the oldest planting dates back to the 1870s).

But if you want to sip with satisfaction at a fraction of the price, they've done a brilliant job with this rich, ripe own-label. With inviting blackberry aromas, it's bursting with baskets of sweet, spicy brambly fruit that coats the palate and lingers softly on the finish.

6. The Black Pig McLaren Vale Shiraz 2017, McLaren Vale, Australia (£11.99, Virgin Wines)

The same star grape that goes into the richly flavoured reds of McLaren Vale, this wine shows deliciously concentrated fruit with dense black cherry, blackberry and spice all vying for attention, with a velvety smooth peppery finish that glides effortlessly along. Dangerously easy to drink, it's a real beauty that just keeps on giving.

7. Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Premium Barossa 2016, Australia (£14, Sainsbury's)

Trophy winemakers Chateau Tanunda - famous for being Australia's largest and oldest wine chateau - are behind this stand out blend of grenache, shiraz and mouvedre, otherwise known as a GSM and a classic Cote de Rhone blend. Here, it speaks with an Aussie accent and offers the best of both worlds, with a smooth ride all the way. The wine opens up with perfumed black fruits, followed by a sleek, rich mouthful of blackberry and rich cherry flavours, pleasing spice, chocolate, a touch of aniseed, cushioned by silky smooth tannins and a deft finish that doesn't want to let go.