Australia tasting highlights Italian potential

30th September, 2015 by Rupert Millar

Wine Australia’s “Premium Australia tasting” threw a spotlight on the growing potential of Italian varieties in the country.

Laura_Jewell MW

Laura Jewell MW praised the Italian varieties present at the tasting (Photo: db)

Head of Wine Australia UK, Laura Jewell MW, told the drinks business there had been a lot of positive comments surrounding the Italian varieties and they’d provided a framework to the wider tasting.

One of the day’s three forums was devoted to the rise of Italian grapes in Australia.

Hosted by Walter Speller, alongside the chance to taste eight wines from across Australia including Nero d’Avola from Barossa and McLaren Vale, Montepulciano from Riverland and Nebbiolo from the Yarra Valley, there was a discussion on the suitability and potential for these wines in Australia.

Speller explained his interest had been piqued on a recent visit where he’d been “extremely taken” not just by the quality of the wines but their clear “varietal characteristics” as well. Further surprised that few of the winemakers making Nero d’Avola, Sangiovese etc had even been to the Italian regions in question, he suggested there was a greater “terroir focus” and less pressure to conform to “Bordeaux formulas” as there is with the French varieties.

He spoke of Italian grapes’ natural “freshness” and heat resistance as advantages and from his own tasting experience commented: “it seems they were naturally adapted [to the Australian climate].”

He added this was not a “new” direction but predicted it would be of more interest “further down the line”.

“People are watching this niche,” he said.

David Gleave MW, head of Liberty Wines, agreed on this last point saying younger winemakers for some years had been aware that the Australian climate was more like Italy and Spain.

Nonetheless, simply planting these varieties doesn’t work either and the topic of careful clonal selection was raised briefly too.

Dave Fletcher, a “Nebbiolo-obsessed” Aussie winemaker spoke of how that variety was evolving in Italy but added that the “most outstanding thing” was the difference in tannic structure between Australian and Italian Nebbiolo, “it’s not the same as Monforte,” he said.

“Pay attention to the right clones and it’s a good starting point but there’s more to discover,” he added.

Speller also postulated that Australia taking slightly overlooked varieties like Montepulciano could reinvigorate them and put renew consumers’ interests in them as has happened with Riesling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

2 x Buying Assistants

Berry Bros. & Rudd
Battersea and Basingstoke, UK

Temporary Christmas Sales Support - Wines & Spirits

Harrods
Knighsbridge, London, UK

Head of Wholesale

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

Sales Manager

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

National Sales Manager

Maverick Drinks
Field based, UK

Regional Sales Executive

EWGA
Gloucestershire, UK

Senior Content Writer

Rude Wines
Ledbury, UK

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition

Amsterdam,Netherlands
20th Nov 2017

The Drinks Business Green Awards 2017

London,United Kingdom
20th Nov 2017

The Global Spirits Masters Lunch

London,United Kingdom
1st Dec 2017
Click to view more

Green Awards 2017

Deadline : 25th October 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 30th October 2017

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more