Australian wineries are increasingly focusing on grape varietals from European regions that suit our climate, including varietals native to southern Italy and Spain.
Tempranillo is now one of the most focused grape varietals in McLaren Vale, which has a similar climate to northern Spain. We are also being acquainted with Mencia, Graciano and – for the second time – Albarino.
2018 Margan ‘Breaking Ground’ Albarino, Hunter Valley, NSW
In 2008 it was discovered that vines planted in Australia that were thought to be Albarino were in fact Savignin. This meant that winemakers around the country had to search again if they wanted to grow Albarino.
In 2014, Hunter Valley winemaker Andrew Margan planted Albarino – again (like everyone else) – and we are seeing his first bottling with the 2018 Margan Estate Albarino.
This wine has lovely acidity and structure, with trademark apple notes. It’s one to enjoy with grilled octopus, paprika and kipfler potatoes.
2017 La Linea Mencia, Adelaide Hills, SA
Hills winery La Linea specialises in Spanish varietals and makes the only Mencia in the area, along with Tempranillo in several styles. The 2017 Mencia is bright and juicy with red cherry notes and firm tannin. This would work well with a pork and vegetable stew.
2017 Samuel’s Gorge Graciano, McLaren Vale, SA
A bright and fragrant grape varietal, this has lots of spice and cherry and is a lovely example of the wines from Samuel’s Gorge, which champions Spanish and French varietals. Try it with suckling pig.
2017 Green Door ‘Amphora’ Monastrell Geographe, WA
Green Door is located in the picturesque Ferguson Valley, an hour and a half south of Perth. It focuses on Spanish varietals, and uses the Spanish vernacular for the grape also known as Mataro or Mourvedre. This wine is fermented in Amphora and it has a lovely spicy element to it, with deep purple fruit notes. It would go stunningly with a nice piece of steak.
The Spanish Bull – the first of a European series of wine dinners being hosted by the National Wine Centre – will take place on June 14, featuring a Spanish-themed menu designed by executive chef Steve Clark and wines selected by James Boden.
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