Span­ish va­ri­eties are mak­ing their mark

Life & Style Weekend - - TASTE - WINE WORDS with Re­gan Drew

MUCH has been said of Aus­tralia’s fond­ness for the Mediter­ranean life­style and how Ital­ian wine va­ri­eties work well with our food. But Span­ish va­ri­eties are just as ver­sa­tile.

While tem­pranillo (main­stay of Rioja and Rib­era Del Duero Span­ish re­gions) has been at the van­guard of “new” Span­ish va­ri­eties (gar­nacha/grenache is no stranger to Aus­tralia), other red va­ri­ety plant­ings such as men­cia and gra­ciano are now bear­ing fruit.

Mar­gan Wines, Al­barino, Hunter Val­ley, 2017

The sec­ond re­lease of this al­barino suits the Hunter Val­ley for the same rea­sons that re­gional hero semil­lon also does: quick ripen­ing, low su­gars and high acid­ity. This wine de­liv­ers lime tart and baked lemon cit­rus, white flo­ral char­ac­ters and a nutty af­ter­note. Fleshy and tex­tu­ral with a min­eral line par­al­lel to brac­ing acid­ity.

RAT­ING: 8.5/10 RRP: $30 ALC: 11.5%

Quartz Hill Wine, Mencía, Rosé, Pyre­nees, 2016

Oliver’s Taranga pro­duced Aus­tralia’s first men­cia in 2014. Quartz Hill planted its vine­yard in 2013 and this is their first re­lease. In­trigu­ing aro­mas of choco­late, lifted wa­ter­melon, pome­gran­ate and chalk. Ripe but dry palate with spiced wa­ter­melon, musk sticks and soft rasp­berry. Per­fect with wal­laby carpac­cio. A bar­gain.

RAT­ING: 9/10 RRP: $23 ALC: 12%

Top­pers Moun­tain, Wild Fer­ment Tem­pranillo, New Eng­land, 2012

This five-year-old Aus­tralian re­lease was aged in old oak to keep the fruit flavours fresh. Smells of earth, cigar bands, leather, rhubarb, vi­o­lets, cof­fee and a “Dr Pep­per” bit­ter­sweet note. The palate has plenty of deep cherry, a mesh of fine tan­nins and some soar­ing acid­ity. De­serves braised beef short rib or lamb shanks.

RAT­ING: 8/10 RRP: $32 ALC: 13.7%

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