Three Australian wines that dare to be different

Piedmont's famous red grape, nebbiolo.
Piedmont's famous red grape, nebbiolo.  Photo: iStock

Never before have Australians enjoyed such variety of different wine types. The world is shrinking, and what was previously obscure and unknown now appear regularly Down Under. This is a mixed blessing, as those who have been bamboozled by some contemporary restaurant wine lists will attest. The idea of what constitutes wine quality is under challenge in some quarters, too, with profoundly faulty wines sometimes masquerading as top drops. But a spirit of adventure isn't a bad thing. We can all discover new and exciting wines that expand our horizons, especially among modern Australian reds. 

Freeman Altura Vineyard Sangiovese 2017, $28-$30      

Score 90

Much store has been put in the Tuscan sangiovese grape as an Australian red variety of the future. Results have been mixed, but good examples are delicious. From Hilltops, NSW, this wine has classical cherry kernel, spice and nutty characters in a medium-bodied package, that weaves ripe and savoury together in tangy harmony. Screw cap; 14 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink over three years.

Stockists include: Annandale Cellars, Annandale (NSW); freemanvineyards.com.au

Eldorado Road Quasimodo Nero d'Avola Shiraz Durif 2016, $27-$30    

Score 91

A blend from Beechworth of southern Italy's nero d'Avola with north-east Victorian staples shiraz and durif, this ripe, smooth, juicy red has inviting roasted plum, cherry and spice on the nose. A seamless, warm palate has good balance of acidity and ripe tannins. Satisfying red wine that's very easy to drink. Screw cap; 13.4 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink over three years.

Stockists include: City Wine Shop, Spring Street, Melbourne (Vic); Vintage Blue Wine, Kent Street, Sydney (NSW)

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Longview Saturnus Nebbiolo 2017, $47-$50      

Score 92

This Adelaide Hills version has the typically pale colour of Piedmont's famous red grape, nebbiolo. The nose is classically seductive with tar, strawberry, floral and spice aromas showing some development. The palate is elegant, yet pleasantly grainy in texture, and a backbone of firm tannins doesn't detract from its drinkability right now. Diam cork; 13.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink over four years.

Stockists include: Beyond the Label, Miranda (NSW); The Melbourne Wine Store, St Kilda Road (Vic)