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    Emerging Grape Varieties in Australia | Watson's Wine

    Emerging Grape Varieties in Australia

    AustraliaNebbioloNew WorldTempranillo

    New World never fails to surprise us with something new. In recent years, “alternative” grapes are growing fast in Australia, where the production is dominated by international varieties like Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The rise of these unfamiliar faces and surprising blends has become an increasingly important topic for the country’s winemakers.

    To explore more suitable varieties for the next generation, some avid winemakers are making the effort with some other grapes we easily associate with other regions – such as Nebbiolo and Tempranillo. The Mediterranean climate of southeast Australia is ideally suited for Spanish and Italian varieties. Despite the small planting volume now, these varieties could be the rising stars of the country. Let explore some of the greatest examples now!

    Barossa’s Expression of Traditional Portuguese Varieties

    Inspired by the famous Douro Valley of Portugal, Seppelsfield’s winemakers made use of the traditional ‘fortified’ Portuguese varieties to create surprising, modern blends in the Barossa. A blend of Tinta Cao, Tinta Amarela and Tourigahis, the ‘No. EC3’ by the winery is a wine of purity and elegance crafted to highlight floral aromatics and bright, mid-weighted complexity.

    Each grape variety contributes significantly to the blend: Tinta Cao for the red fruit brightness and smooth tannin; Tinta Amerela the leather and dried herb complexity; and Touriga a distinctive violet aroma and colour.


    Sagrantino – a Guest of Honour from Italy

    Olivre's Taranga

    The Oliver family of Oliver’s Taranga has an ongoing relationship with their vineyards in McLaren Vale for 180 years. With six generations of stubborn, competitive growers who love to challenge themselves and the palate of their followers, the family works not only with McLaren Vale’s well-known varieties, but also with a diversity of emerging grapes, such as Mataro, Vermentino, Fiano, Tempranillo, Mencia, Touriga, and White Frontignac.

    Particularly noteworthy is their Sagrantino. Sagrantino has its traditional home in Umbria, Italy and is usually made for cellaring, requiring at least a decade to reach its drinking potential. At the hand of Oliver’s Taranga, it retains its signature intensity that sets it with other Australian varieties apart, but at the same time is with softer tannins and can be enjoyed earlier. It has beautiful floral aromas, loads of savoury fruit and a fresh acid line. Best enjoyed it over meals, such as Pork!

    Shiraz and Pinot Noir Blends – The Great Comeback of Legends

    saint and scholar Pinot Shiraz

    Pinot Shiraz may seem peculiar, but it is actually not something completely new – in the 40s to 60s, some of Australia’s most legendary wines, particularly those from Hunter Valley, were blends of Pinot Noir and Shiraz. But as trends come and go, the blend went out of fashion, and the market was dominated mainly by the rich, bold style single varietal wines. In recent years, people are looking for more diverse styles of wine, giving a chance for the return of this medium-bodied, aromatic style wine.

    Saint & Scholar Adelaide Hills Pinot Shiraz is one of the great examples. Wonderfully complex, ultra-generous and expressively lifted, this wine is built for early enjoyment and pairs perfectly with red meats and slow cooked barbecue.

    Leaving It All Behind for the Love of Nebbiolo

    New Faces

    Luke Lambert studied winemaking at Charles Sturt University. As with so many Australian winemakers, Luke’s ideals were forged through travel through classic European wine regions, like the Piedmont of Italy, where he fell in love with Barolo and Barbaresco (both are made from Nebbiolo). After that, Luke spared no pains to make excellent wine in Australia. The Yarra Valley is now home and his focus is on making wines from Nebbiolo with purity, freshness and elegance.

    Luke first came to Denton Vineyard to make the Nebbiolo in the 2010 vintage. With Luke’s passion and leadership, Denton Yarra Valley Nebbiolo is an example of fine Nebbiolo in Australia. The granitic sand over granite boulders and long, slow growing season contribute lots of bright, fresh red fruit, red flower perfume with fine and elegant texture.

    An Ongoing Exploration of Tempranillo

    Henschke is one of Australia’s leading winemakers and grape growers. Being recognised for their rich heritage, innovative spirit and commitment to handcrafting exceptional wines, they extend their experience and know-how of winemaking to other grape variety.

    The 2018 vintage of Stone Jar pays tribute to fifth-generation Stephen and Prue’s grandson Bosco Nicolas Henschke, the second child of Johann (a sixth-generation member of the Henschke family) and Angela, who was born in Spain in 2018 with a congenital heart defect and passed away at 4 weeks of age. Apart from this being his ‘vintage’, the Tempranillo grape is native to northern Spain, where Bosco’s maternal family have a long history of making wine from this variety.


    Related Articles:

    New World Regional Heroes – Iconic Wine Types of Star Regions

    Grenache: Pinot Noir of the South