Three wines that should not exist

Red wine is now coming from regions previously considered marginal.
Red wine is now coming from regions previously considered marginal. Photo: iStock

Twenty-five years ago people would have laughed in your face if you said Tasmania could grow great shiraz, WA's Frankland River could produce outstanding grenache, England could have a thriving sparkling wine industry and  Denmark could make decent red table wine. But it's all happening, and more. Wine grapes are ripening earlier, which means places that were once considered marginal are now places where grapes can be ripened reliably. Higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, hotter, drier summers and improved viticulture are all contributing to earlier ripening, so stand by for Coonawarra zinfandel and Macedon Ranges petit verdot.

Swinney Grenache 2018, Frankland River, $42

Score 95

A delicious modern-style grenache with no obvious oak, the red-berry, spice and cherry flavours mingling with hints of graphite and ironstone. It's medium-bodied, intense and approachable, with refined tannins and great balance. It contains 15 per cent mourvedre. Screw-cap; 14 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to 15 years.

Stockists include Rathdowne Cellars, Carlton North (Vic); Field Blend Wine Store, Balmain (NSW).

Aphelion The Ardent Sagrantino 2017, McLaren Vale, $40

Score 92

Native to southern Italy, this grape makes notoriously tough wine unless fully ripe. This one has good depth of red-purple colour, the bouquet sweetly perfumed and berry-ish, with bitter Italian herb overtones. It's lush and fruit-sweet, smooth-textured and lasting. The tannins are strong but balanced, adding structure and texture without astringency. Screw-cap; 14.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to 13 years.

Stockists include Different Drop & Bellevue Hill Bottle Shop (NSW);


Riversdale Estate Syrah 2017, Tasmania $40

Score 90

Trophy-winner for best shiraz at the recent 2019 Royal Hobart Wine Show. It's quite a big, ripe style for a Tasmanian, with deep purple-red colour and primary fruit aromas of dark plum and star anise. It's full-bodied, bold and bright with lush fruit melded with soft tannins. Screw-cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to 2030.

Stockists include Barney's Fine Wine, Rosebery (NSW); Purvis Cellars, Surrey Hills (Vic).