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.
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.
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.
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