Greetings and a happy New Year. Let’s make a New Year’s resolution and try some of the different white wine and red wine grape varieties out there and give Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz a rest for a while, you never know you could be pleasantly surprised and fall in love with something new. I have listed some of these varieties that have appeared on our shelves and have given some ideas on what to drink them with.
Due to climate change many of our traditional varieties are being put under pressure so the winemakers are looking for more resilient varieties and with the climate of Australia we can plant many of these ‘old world’ grape varieties, the vines not only grow very well but the flavours can be so different from their European counterparts but in a nice way. Viognier This strictly isn’t a new variety, it has been out there for around twenty odd years but didn’t achieve the following it probably deserves, which could be because as the grape variety was being introduced so was Sauvignon Blanc and it can be confusing with its spelling and many consumers couldn’t pronounce the name, however now is the time to discover a wine with a wonderful sensory experience full of vast nuances of flavour.
Yalumba has persevered with the variety since it caught their eye in the early 1970s when their chief viticulturist visited the Rhone Valley in France and was captivated by the elusive, luscious and complex characters of this grape variety. Although many vineyards have Viognier planted a lot of it is actually blended with Shiraz and just 5% can soften out a full-bodied red wine.
However, Yalumba produces six different wines with the Viognier grape, The Eden Valley Viognier, an Organic Viognier, The ‘Y’ series Viognier, The Virgilius Viognier, The FSW8B Botrytis Viognier (a dessert wine that also goes very well with blue cheese) and The Hand Picked Shiraz Viognier. When we had The Yalumba winemaker visit our wine club in Perth and introduce one of these Viognier wines the response was fantastic and the orders plentiful, enjoy with seafood, shellfish, chicken, veal, pork or a lightly spicy Asian dish. Fiano There are expectations this could be the next big thing in white wines but that remains to be seen, I have heard this many times before but this wine is a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc.
The grape variety hails from the warmer Italian coastal regions including Campania and the island of Sicily where it was almost forgotten by local winegrowers due to its low yields. Here in Australia, it has found a home all around the country but especially in McLaren Vale where the close proximity to the ocean suits the grape variety. Coriole who have a long history with Italian varieties planted the variety in 2005, also Angove, Geoff Hardy, Oliver’s Tarringa Vineyard, Serafino, Bremerton, Kangarilla Road and here in Queensland Ballandean Estate in The Granite Belt.
Because the wine is quite acidic enjoy the wine with frito miso, fried or baked seafood, vegetables, or pasta with a creamy sauce. Gruner Vetliner. An Austrian grape variety which is now finding favour in Australia especially wine from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia where the wine combines freshness, minerality and good length of fruit character. Wineries that produce the wine include Nepenthe, Hahndorf, Tomich, O’Leary Walker and Longview. Enjoy this wine with all manner of Asian dishes from Chinese sweet and sour pork to Vietnamese spring rolls and Japanese tempura.
Other dishes include salads with asparagus and artichokes, salty charcuterie, Bratwurst and other smoked or cured meats. Let’s not forget a few new red varieties that have suddenly emerged especially from grape varieties that make some of the finest wines from around the world. Tempranillo Spain’s finest grape variety has a love of heat and can partner other Australian grape varieties such as Grenache and there are now over 200 winegrowers producing Temranillo in all wine producing regions.
Australian Tempranillo tends to make powerful wines with blackberry and spice overtones which despite being a big wine, retains a balanced acidity. A good alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz try one from Nepenthe, Tim Adams, Brown Brothers, All Saints, Amadio, Barossa Valley Estates (BVE), Chapel Hill, Mr Riggs, Yalumba or from Golden Grove from the Granite Belt Queensland. As with Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz this variety can handle any red meat or mature cheese and could be a talking point around the BBQ this summer.
Nebbiolo Why this breathtaking grape variety has taken so long to arrive on our shores is any bodies business and it was only a matter of time before this was rectified. Success has already come from The Mornington peninsular, The Yarra Valley, The Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and The Clare Valley. Look for Blue Pyrenees, Pizzini (King Valley winery that has pioneered Italian varieties for years), Coriole and S.C. Pannel. (An Australian winemaker of the year)
Another wine to try instead of a Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, Nebbiolo is usually dark ruby red with cherry like characters and will accompany any red meat course. Perhaps next time we will continue to look at other new varieties but I suggest that some of these are worth investigating over the next few months and don’t forget if you need any advice or help drop me a line. Cheers, Philip Arlidge firstname.lastname@example.org
“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold wine washed away leaving only the sea taste and succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with a crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.” Ernest Hemmingway
My thoughts exactly!