Three Italian red varieties to try

Wine drinkers have never been as eager to try new things.
Wine drinkers have never been as eager to try new things. Photo: iStock

The days when people declared themselves a cabernet drinker or "a Penfolds man" are long gone. While we still love our cabernet and shiraz, there is more to life than chocolate and vanilla. Wine drinkers have never been as eager to try new things. We want the world and we want it now!

Italy has literally hundreds of grape varieties that the wider world is only just starting to discover and explore. Barbera and nebbiolo hail from Piedmont in the north-west, nero d'avola from the south – Sicily in particular. And there are many more. These locally grown Italian varietals are just the tip of the iceberg. 

Eldorado Road Comrade Nero D'Avola 2018, north-east Victoria, $37

Score 95

The Dahlenburg family are making some wonderful reds at their vineyard just outside the Beechworth region. Their neros are among the best in Australia. This has a rich, smooth taste of black plum and spices, delivered on a full-bodied palate with velvet texture and ample soft tannins. Soft tannins, elegance and balance. Screw-cap; 13.3 per cent alcohol.

Ageing Drink now to 10+ years.

Stockists include eldoradoroad.com.au  

Grove Estate Sommita Nebbiolo 2018, Hilltops, $60

Score 95

If ever nebbiolo was a pinot noir lookalike, this is. With a purple-tinged medium-light red colour, it has a savoury smoky, raspberry, cherry bouquet tinged with violet and blueberry. The pinot resemblance stops at the structure, which is firmer and more serious. A delicious wine and a classic nebbiolo. Screw-cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to eight+ years.

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Stockists include groveestate.com.au

Tarrawarra Estate Barbera 2018, Yarra Valley, $30

Score 90

The colour is a deep red-purple and it smells sweetly, charmingly cherry-like while the palate is medium-bodied and backed by light but reasonably firm tannins. Straightforward, with a fruit-sweet core and plenty of flavour and presence, it's a lovely wine that will grow on you the more you sip it. Screw-cap; 14 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to seven years.

Stockists include tarrawarra.com.au