I have never been happy with the words ‘alternative varieties’ to describe wine grapes that are new to Australia or if not new in the minority. To me the words seem to denigrate the varieties, it’s a form of vinous discrimination.
Failing to adopt the norm I have called this review, cousins as its how I look at all varieties, all are cousins either close or distant.
Not that I am keen on what has become to be known as the noble varieties (French cépage noble) a quick internet search brings up the six most often cited or sometimes seven if syrah/shiraz is added as it is seemingly on a whim.
- Cabernet Sauvignon,
- Pinot Noir,
- Sauvignon Blanc,
I did get the below chart from Wine Folly which totals 18 varieties. Historically there were other varieties that supplied the world with its wine, such as gouasis blanc, savagnin, cabernet franc, muscat etc. some now as depleted as many European noble families.
I’m not sure if the chart was created by Wine Folly of taken from elsewhere. I like it because it demonstrates that varieties such as sangiovese and tempranillo are classed as being important (scrap the pretentious noble) and not as Australia describes them as ‘alternative.’
Anyhow enough of my socialist logic and to the reviews, all are equal on my tasting bench until tasted.
Robert Channon Verdelho Bubbles NV: Tasted March 2017: A lovely tost/yeast nose more usual on an older vintage sparkling wine or Champagne. Its lively in the mouth, the fizz a touch too sparky but a minor point it travels with ease and delights along the way 92 points and a bargain at $20
Margan Hunter Valley Verdelho 2016: Tasted March 2017: Soft and easy in all departments its just starting to come into its own and will be better as 2017 advances, 91 points an OK price at $20
Gartelmann ‘Jessica’ Hunter Valley Verdelho 2016: Tasted February 2017: For me a passionfruit nose, unbelievably fresh clean, and zippy in the mouth absolutely delightful, gentle across the palate but enough points of pleasure to make it a cut above just a ‘glass of white’ 94 points and good value at $22
Pertaringa ‘Lakeside’ South Australia Moscato 2016: Tasted March 2017: All one expects of a moscato, fresh grape nose, fruity in the mouth, balanced sweetness across the palate, 91 points OK price at $20
Stockman’s Ridge Central Ranges Savagnin 2014: Tasted March 2017: A peach/vanilla nose deceptive in the mouth as it starts soft and pleasant but gains from the middle onwards where more interesting flavours start to appear, it’s a good well-made wine, just lacking the wow factor 92 points
Mr Riggs ‘Mrs’ McLaren Vale Viognier 2015: Tasted March 2017: Gold with hints of green, light on the nose for viognier but clean and agreeable. It is less full/rich than most viognier’s having a savoury edge, interesting wine 91 points and worth trying at $25
Patritti ‘Pet Nat’ Barossa Valley Trincadeira 2016: Tasted March 2017: What is it? From the website
“The Pét Nat was developed as a result of Patritti’s winemakers, James Mungall and Ben Heide, experimenting with the ancient pétillant naturel winemaking process. This technique involves the wine being bottled before the primary fermentation has finished, creating a simple, rustic, lightly sparkling wine. Cloudy, unfiltered and sealed with a champagne style cork and wire, each bottle is a unique reflection of the winemaking process.
“Trincadeira was selected for its vibrant savoury sweet flavour profile and acid structure; two traits that can counter the ‘funkiness’ this winemaking process can create. This naturally high acid levels provide freshness and lift the sweeter fruit flavours.”
TKR review: Such an intriguing wine, the nose is very slightly medicinal and reminiscent of fruit pastels, it has sweet spots in the mouth but entwined with savoury characters, it didn’t overwhelm me but I think it should be given a chance 91 points and an OK price at $25
Mr Riggs ‘Yacca Paddock’ Adelaide Hills Tempranillo 2015: Tasted March 2017: Strange I know but I got blueberries on the nose with a fresh mixed leaves smell that I encounter at the salad stall in the local farmers market. Sweet fruit on entry (not sugar sweet) which settled down as it travelled and slight savoury characters toyed around the edge, a very enjoyable glass of wine 95 and worth its $30
Angullong ‘Fossil Hill’ Orange Region Barbera 2015: Tasted March 2017: Light nose but faint woodland eithers are there, enters light and continues light on the top level but some interesting flavours are playing around underneath, finish is on the short side but it’s a 93 point wine and value at $26
Mr Riggs ‘Adelaide’ Montepulciano 2015: Tasted March 2017: Earthy slightly dusty (good) nose, all earth and savoury characters rolling and tumbling around the mouth in joyous confusion 94 points worth $30
Angullong ‘Fossil Hill’ Orange Region Sagrantino 2015: Tasted March 2017: Dare I say a very un-Australian style wine, the nose has an edge that could be considered ‘not right’ but it’s not bad, poor or off. Across the palate it also has aspects of ‘not right’ in fact all is right and it is a sound well-made wine, one that works much better at the table than the tasting bench, give it a try one dinner time 93 and worth $26
Berton ‘Metal Label’ Riverina Durif 2016: Tasted March 2017: Full on ripe fruit nose and full on across the palate, bold with added boldness to the rustic charm, lovers of robust wine will love this 91 points and great value at $12
Stockman’s Ridge ‘Handcrafted’ Orange Region Zinfandel 2015: Tasted March 2017: Great nose of pepper and spice, the lively spice taste carries on depositing star bursts of flavours all along the journey lovely, 94 and well worth $30