Other red wine varieties

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Mourvèdre (often called Mataro) is used in precisely the same fashion as Grenache, and enjoyed the same recovery in the late 20th century, plantings increasing from 583 ha/1,440 acres in 1996 to 875 in 2006 but tapering off since, to 729 ha/1,800 acres in 2012. Other red varieties of importance: Tempranillo is the fastest-rising star, its plantings more than doubling between 2006 and 2012 to 712 ha/1,760 acres, and one wonders why it took so long for a variety which seems so well suited to Australian conditions to gain traction. Sangiovese leads the Italian band, with Barbera, Dolcetto, and Nebbiolo well behind and unlikely to close the gap. Enthusiasts have planted Sangiovese here, there, and everywhere, some with more success than others. A clear pattern is yet to emerge, but there seems to be greater potential than for Nebbiolo, although some superb Nebbiolos have been made, especially in the adelaide hills and pyrenees. Of the newer Italian varieties, Montepulciano and Nero d’Avola hold considerable promise. Cabernet Franc is becalmed; whether it is simply an issue of poor clones is not certain, but the wines generally lack focus except perhaps for some minor examples in margaret river and great southern. Malbec has its moments of glory in both langhorne creek and the clare valley, where it has long formed a synergistic blend with Cabernet Sauvignon. Durif has been gaining ground for precisely the same reasons as Petit Verdot, providing wines with abundant colour and flavour from high yields in warm regions. Lesser varieties such as Tannat, Saperavi, Sagrantino, and Lagrein are now also in commercial production.