I was operating in pretty much uncharted territory earlier today when colleague Angela Lloyd opened a range of Australian alternative variety wines, grapes featured being Aglianico, Alicanté Bouschet, Blaufrankisch, Fiano, Lagrein, Mataro, Negro Amaro, Savarro, Tannat and Verduzzo.
Alternative variety wines have a growing following in Australia, so much so that there is even a dedicated wine competition for them (see here). Based on Lloyd’s line-up, quality ranges from the average to the very good – wine of the day for me was the Lalla Rookh Fiano 2011 made by Coriole Vineyards from Adelaide Hills fruit. Fiano originates from the Campania wine region, east of Naples in Southern Italy and was apparently pioneered by Coriole in Australia. This example showed juicy white peach upfront matched by bright acidity, the finish long and saline. Score: 16/20.
Should local producers be adopting a more adventurous attitude towards what they plant? Definitely. I remember fondly the Feiteiras Verdelho 2009. best niche white variety at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show in 2010 and a cracking good match with Lydia Nobrega’s calamari at the Chapmans Peak Hotel.