How to expand your red wine palate

Australian winemakers are known for producing great Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot wines, but lately many have started to experiment with alternative varieties – with great results.

Former Penfolds winemaker and twice Jimmy Watson trophy winner, Mike Farmilo, has just launched Altero with Cellarmasters, a range with Italian and Spanish styles that have been grown and made in South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.

“The Fleurieu Peninsula is surrounded by water, with the Southern Ocean on one side and the Gulf St Vincent on the other, so it’s the Australian region with the closest climate to the Mediterranean,” Mike explains.

For those a bit hesitant to branch out, Mike shares his top tips on the wine you should try based on your current favourite.

If you like Shiraz…

Your wine: Sangiovese. This medium-bodied Italian variety has beautiful juicy, fruit flavours, lovely spiciness and a touch of savoury, just like many cool climate Shirazes. Sangiovese also has great balance and good acid, which makes it the perfect pairing for many dishes. Try it with pizza, and thank us later!

If you like Cabernet Sauvignon…

Your wine: Montepulciano. Montepulciano is widely planted throughout central and southern Italy and tends to have generous fruit weight and flavour with herb notes, complemented by a rustic tannin profile – it’s like a lighter style Cabernet. Enjoy a glass of ‘Monte’ with a classic beef ragu for the ultimate taste sensation!

If you like Pinot Noir…

Your wine: Nero d’Avola. The name means ‘the black of Avola’, which refers to the colour of the grapes and the town of Avola, where this variety originates from in Sicily. Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s most famous red wine, and it certainly deserves the spotlight. This medium-bodied red wine is full of ripe, concentrated red fruit characters, with earthy and meaty flavours – if you like Pinot Noir, you’ll love a Nero. It’s a delicious food-friendly wine, and pairs perfectly with most pasta dishes.

If you like GSM…

Your wine: Tempranillo. Tempranillo is a Spanish black grape, known primarily for its use in Rioja wines. Tempranillo will have notes of plum and cherry but it is mostly known for its savoury, earthy characteristics – very much like a Barossa GSM! Tempranillo is a versatile wine that pairs with many food types, including roast lamb, lasagne or any charred meat that comes off the barbecue.

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