There are at least 30 new red grape varieties that have been trialled in Australia over the past two decades. Some have been embraced as alternatives to our long-established (mainly French) varieties. Others are promising works in progress and some will eventually prove a waste of money, hard work and good dirt.
Most of the newcomers are Italian with a few Spanish and French as well. So far, those which have proved successful are the Italians Sangiovese and Montepulciano. Examples of the former include the pioneering Coriole in McLaren Vale, Penfolds in the Barossa, a couple at both Beechworth and the Clare Valley, and the Italian families in the King Valley.
Montepulciano is not as widely planted but is showing great promise. Examples include Mr Riggs Adelaide Hills version and Kangarilla Road in McLaren Vale.
Tempranillo stumbled early on and most efforts ended up in blends, but more recent vintages are showing the benefit of experience. At this stage, it appears the grape is better suited to inland, continental climates than more coastal, maritime ones.
Three impressive examples are the Mr Riggs Yacca Paddock from the Adelaide Hills, Di Georgio’s latest made from Bordertown fruit and Quattro Mano’s La Reto from the Barossa. Enjoy exploring!
Tempus Two Tempranillo 2017 ($13)
A local version deliberately made in a lighter, softer style than most. A handy entry point to the variety over summer.
Brown Brothers 1889 Tempranillo 2018 ($18)
A fine example of the varietal style at a fair ask. Worth tracking down.
Campbells Bobbie Burns Shiraz 2017 ($24)
Buy a bottle and raise a glass of this rich Rutherglen red in honour of the late Colin Campbell, one of the truly great wine pioneers within the Victorian wine renaissance from the 1970s onwards.