Among the many developments in Australian wine this century has been the introduction of new grape varieties. Most have Italian origins from warm Sicily to the cool north. In toto, they are offering new tastes and textures unlike our more familiar varieties. The whites include fiano, vermentino, pinot grigio, grillo and arneis, while nero d’avola, primitivo and nebbiolo and the rare sagrantino and sangiovese provide genuine alternatives to our reds.
While these have been planted all over the nation, the regions showing most promise so far are the King Valley, Heathcote and McLaren Vale. Interestingly, none of these areas are too hot or too cool.
That said, why not explore the Italian originals? Most of those in the chain-store market are relatively cheap but definitely worth sampling. For higher quality, some of the independent retailers and Italian-themed restaurants have many excellent options – in particular, anything imported by Trembath and Taylor or Enoteca Sileno.
Brown Brothers Prosecco ($17)
The dependable BB’s version of the Italian light bubbly is up there with the better ones. Also available in a four pack of piccolos, enhancing its appeal to casual quaffers.
d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Marsanne Viognier 2018 ($16)
Plenty of fruit flavour within a rather broad palate. Versatile with food, for those times when a break from chardonnay is in order.
Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($18)
When a red of depth and substance is appropriate, it’s hard to go past the Tahbilk. Savoury and satisfying, a bargain.
This will be Paddy’s final column for AEU News. Before becoming a full-time wine writer in the 1980s, Paddy was a teacher. He remains a vocal advocate for public education and a valued life-long AEU member. We thank him for his many years of expert columns, pinned to fridges across the state.