Taste and explore the tasty emerging varietals gathering a massive following here in New Zealand. This exciting mix features Tempranillo, Nero d'Avola, Malbec and more from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Argentina.
While many of Italy’s famed red grapes (such as Sangiovese or Nebbiolo) are noted for acidity, which helps ageing, Montepulciano gives a soft, juicy and approachable wine, even when young. The Beaujolais of Italy, perhaps, and exactly the style enjoyed by the locals. Farinelli is made from hand picked, richly concentrated grapes grown on 30 to 40 year old vines high in the Abruzzo hills. What’s more, it’s declassified (without official DOC status), which means that although it cannnot be labelled as fancy DOC, it does come at a particularly pleasing low price. But it’s the flavour in the glass that matters, and we’re impressed by that too. This is a fine match with pesto pasta, a roasted vegetable lasagne or chicken – from roast to pie.
Portugal is a treasure trove of little known native grapes and one of its best is Castelão. The variety is grown throughout the country but particularly excels in the Setúbal Península. That’s where the highly rated winemaker Jaime Quendera sources grapes for our Rainha do Mar – a moreish, easy going red with juicy raspberry fruit and a silky smooth, rounded style. Centuries ago, this region is where Vasco da Gama set sail to discover a sea route to India. Today the plentiful sunshine and coastal breezes are ideal for red grapes and produce wines that are balanced with excellent ripeness. Rainha do Mar (which means ‘Queen of the Sea’) proves the point. This red’s delicious ripe flavours are ideal with rich pasta dishes or grilled meats.
For lovers of big, smooth reds, El Bombero is a top choice. It comes from Cariñena, a hot, arid region of Spain where sun-loving grapes like Garnacha (same as Châteauneuf’s Grenache) achieve amazing ripeness. Ancient vines and a lack of rain means fewer grapes, which in turn means far more flavour intensity. Exhibit A is El Bombero. There are no fancy châteaux around Cariñena, but, as Decanter magazine notes, that doesn’t stop it being home to some of the best value reds in the world. From award winning winemaker Javier Domeque, El Bombero is packed with spicy black fruit power and a warm glow. Delicious on its own and a tasty choice for casseroles, full flavoured pasta dishes, herby roast sausages and mash, and, of course, barbecues.
Great grapes and great skill; this luscious, silky red will win you over. It’s made by Opi (aka Rodolfo) Sadler at Andean Vineyards. He coaxes so much richness and flavour from the fruit, his peers call him ‘the magician’. Yet he’s such a gentle, affable and modest man. On a visit to Opi, we tried to get him to reveal how he makes wines so delicious he has two permanently in our Top 20! He shrugged and said he simply follows the way his family has always made wine. That’s typical Opi, but not quite believable. The truth is he has a gift, even if he doesn’t know it. He crafts this great red from hand picked grapes grown high in Mendoza, then gently ages it in barrel. Enjoy with spicy sausages, pasta or beef casserole or simply on its own.
Save the vines and enjoy a gorgeous, rich red! Poggioreale used to be an important wine village in Sicily. It was where Dino Taschetta grew up, like generations of his family before him. After an earthquake reduced Poggioreale to ruins in 1968, a new town was built further down the hill and the vineyards above the village, more difficult to get to, were then neglected for decades. Now, with many of the island’s oldest Nero d’Avola vines grubbed up, there’s even more reason to treasure what’s left. Dino recently returned to the family estate and began to restore the vineyard. His first vintage was 2017 and our Buyer has been so impressed, he's bought it every year since. A top choice with roast pork or layered aubergine and mozzarella bake.