What to drink this week Australian reds
Harry Eyres is seduced by a taste of Sicily from farflung shores
I wrote recently about Australia’s embrace of Italian white-grape varieties, mainly from the south and with an emphasis on the estimable Fiano. Italian red grapes, notoriously difficult to transplant, are also doing well in the benign conditions down under. It’s another promising marriage and I urge you to give these a try.
Why you should be drinking them
You could attribute the prevalence of Cabernet Sauvignon in the New World to snobbery: this is the main grape of left-bank Bordeaux, which produces the world’s most prestigious red wines, so it conveys a marketable aura of class. Italian red grapes haven’t had that kind of prestige, but things are changing: in the wine world, at least, we live in more open times.
What to drink
Fox Gordon Dark Prince Nero d’avola Adelaide Hills 2015 (below, £17.15; www.corkingwines.co.uk) takes one of Sicily’s premier red grapes to unfamiliar territory; there’s lots of plummy ripeness, but also a distinctive, suave sensuousness. I was even more impressed by First Drop The Big Blind Adelaide Hills 2012, Nebbiolo/barbera (£18.99; www. cambridgewine.com). Despite the wacky presentation, this is delicious stuff, with a fragrant, smoky and earthy nose (that’s the Nebbiolo), then enticing, sweet damson fruit and decent acidity (the Barbera influence). Some of the vines that make Best’s Great Western Dolcetto 2010 (£18.95; www.winedirect. co.uk) were imported from Piedmont and planted as early as the 1860s—the nose suggests crushed strawberries and tar and the palate is soft and velvety. At only 11%, it’s certainly not over-alcoholic.