Alternative Reds


There’s a lot of wine out there, and I’ve been tasting furiously, uploading 465 new reviews from my October tastings.

They include verticals from Yeringberg, Sally’s Paddock and Tarrawarra Estate – all of whom are celebrating anniversaries – plus swags of chardonnay, rosé, sparkling and Champagne, and also sauvignon blanc, semillon and blends of the two.

Perhaps the most interesting is the mixed ‘other’ reds tasting, which encompasses tempranillo (increasingly interesting in Australia, and the latest Running With Bulls is amazing), durif (a stalwart of North East Victoria – see Campbells, Rutherglen Estates, Scion and Morris – but there’s also a rip-snorter from the Swan Valley’s Pinelli Estate), sangiovese (we’re struggling but several wineries are making progress, such as Chapel Hill, Pizzini and Coriole), nebbiolo (a fascinating grape with more and more good bottles from people like Topper’s Mountain, Pizzini, Freeman and Casa Freschi), barbera (again Coriole shines), and malbec (Hay Shed Hill has a beauty).

There’s also zinfandel/primitivo, petit verdot (Xanadu has a ripper), montepulciano, sagrantino, aglianico, and a bevy of new wines out of left-field from a WA label, Mazza, whose vineyard is at Donnybrook. Mazza also makes a feature of Portuguese varieties, the best wine I saw being Cinque, a blend of five Portuguese red grapes. The pity is they’re made in such teensy volumes.

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