What to drink this week Aus­tralian reds

Harry Eyres is se­duced by a taste of Si­cily from farflung shores

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

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.

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