Top 6 New Wines for Spring 2020
Spring is at our doorstep, and there’s no better time to set your sights on new things: new flavours, new experiences, and maybe even some new favourites!
Australian wine-lovers have never had it so good when it comes to the sheer diversity of styles and varieties on offer to tantalise their tastebuds, particularly in the area of new wave wines.
Many of these so-called ‘alternative’ varieties are grapes that have historically been used in classic blends, and are only now finding favour as single-varietals thanks to a growing preference for lighter-bodied styles. Others have been adopted with gusto by Australian winemakers looking for more resilient vines in the face of warmer conditions or drought.
One thing they all have in common is that they are downright delicious! Here are our top picks to discover this spring.
Hailing from France, Viognier is a spring sensation. In the Rhône Valley you can find it produced as a single varietal wine, blended with other white varieties like Marsanne and Roussanne, or co-fermented with red grapes like Shiraz with delicious results.
It could have easily slipped into extinction had to not been for the love shown by wineries in the USA and Yalumba here in Australia. Viognier makes fully-bodied white wines with peach, apricot, ginger and citrus notes most common in the end result.
Viognier can be high in alcohol, and can have a smooth – and sometimes oily – texture. Chardonnay lovers should find much to love in this lovely white wine, as they each share similar stone fruit character and flavour intensity.
Chenin Blanc has its origins in the Loire Valley in central France, and is one of most versatile white varieties. Like Riesling, it can be made into dry, off dry, very sweet and sparkling styles.
As a variety, it has high levels of natural acidity with characters of apple, pineapple and citrus fruit common, and makes for a superbly refreshing young-drinking wine – very much like Sauvignon Blanc.
Even better, Chenin Blanc has the capability to age with grace, where it can develop secondary characters of honey and beeswax.
Vermentino hails from the Mediterranean, and is known by a number of aliases – Rolle in France, Pigato, and Favorita in Italy. Despite being found all over the Med, the island of Sardinia is considered the heartland of Vermentino.
Classic characters are white stonefruit, citrus pith, saline (sea spray) and herbs are common in this variety, which can be found in two distinctive styles – one lightweight, fresh and vibrant, much like Pinot Grigio – and the other fuller, richer and with a silken texture, more like Pinot Gris.
Needless to say, lovers of Pinot G will find much to appreciate in the velvety charms of Vermentino.
Also known also as Petite Sirah, the Durif grape is a natural crossing between Peloursin and Shiraz, and was named after the discovered of the variety, Dr. Francois Durif.
Durif makes unapologetically powerful wines. Deep in colour, black fruit flavour and in tannin, it has a reputation for its deeply flavoursome, almost brooding nature.
As such, Durif is sure to appeal to all lovers of rich red wines, particularly those who enjoy a big Shiraz.
Hailing from the central part of Italy, most notably the Umbria region, Sagrantino is one of the most tannic red grape varieties to be found anywhere. It is not widely grown here in Australia, but is showing great promise for its hardy, disease-resistant nature and distinctive character.
As a wine, it is known for its core of intense black fruit flavours, which are supported by a spine of robust and muscular tannins. It is this combination of tannin and black fruit flavours that makes it an almost certain bet that Sagrantino would be relished by anyone who enjoys Cabernet Sauvignon.
One of the most famed and well-loved of Italy’s many red grape varieties, Sangiovese was one of the first ‘new wave’ varieties to be planted here in Australia, and derives its name from the Latin term sanguis Jovis – ‘the blood of Jupiter’.
One of the so-called ‘Super Tuscan’ wines, it is a wine defined more by its mouthfeel (tannin and acidity are prominent) rather than its flavour profile, and it can be made into both lighter and fuller-bodied styles. It is these lighter-framed styles that have found a loyal following of late, and with their characters of red cherries, cranberry and black tea notes, we believe any lover of Pinot Noir would enjoy immensely.
If you’re yet to have experienced the magnificence of these emerging varietals, the best place to start would be in our 2020 Spring Catalogue. Try them as a bonus wine to enjoy along with your favourite drops, or as a resplendent spring showcase with our New Wave Awakenings – either way, your wine world has just become a little richer!
What’s your favourite new wine discovery? Tag us on Facebook or Instagram @wineselectors, and remember to #pickaustralianwine!