Australian Wine from
Alternative Grape Varieties

Darby's Best Wines of 2008

My top ten is in the box. What are your favourites? Submit your list and you could receive a gift. See how. The alternative wine scene has made great progress through 2008. With the end of the year coming it's time to see what I (and you dear reader) have enjoyed this year.

My top ten wines of 2008 are

  • Centennial Vineyards Tempranillo
  • Mount Majura Graciano, and their Tempranillo
  • Pikes Sangiovese Rose
  • Eldrege Estate Sangiovese Rose
  • Crittenden's Geppetto Arneis
  • Tahbilk's Roussanne and Marsanne
  • Brown Brothers Vermentino, also Di Lusso's
  • Just about anyone's Barbera (start with Boggy Creek!)
  • Rewine Durif at the Queen Vic Market for value!
  • Irvine's Albarino
Where can you find these wines?

We are treading on shaky ground here. I don't really go for giving points to wines. In fact I'm a member of a group on the Open Wine Consortium called "We don't know what a point even tastes like!"

But we can make some comparisons. But let's not use numbers. Don't get me wrong I love maths. I read maths books for recreation. I just don't think you can adequately describe wine by ascribing some number between 84 and 99 to it. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking it's a 100 point scale. Nobody ever gives a wine 37 points!

Back to the present, or really the past year.

Some new whites are coming through.

I reckon Pinot gris/grigio is now pretty mainstream. That's not to say that Aussie winemakers have now determined how to grow it, what style of wine to make and how to market it. But we are learning.

Four emerging whites on the move. I reckon that Albarino, Arneis, Fiano and Vermentino are all on the verge of taking off. See this article about these varieties.

Red wines coming to the fore.

I think that we now know that Tempranillo can make some fabulous wines, particularly in the inland more continental climates of Australia. In my top 10 wines of 2009 I have included Centennial vineyards, but there are lots of others with similar claim.

Other red varieties to attract my attention include Barbera, Dolcetto and Lagrein. There is plenty of talk about southern Italian varieties such as Aglianico, Nero D'Avola etc but there still isn't enough of then around.

Two of my top 10 wines are Sangiovese roses from the Clare Valley. I just love dry rose with plenty of fruit flavours.

Now What about Your Top 10 Best Wines?

Use the form below to submit your list. Please don't talk about NZ Sauvignon blank. If I wanted to drink that sort of stuff I'd make a cold tea out of lawn clippings and save myself the expense.

But please use the box to tell us about what alternative varietals touched the spot for you this year. Maybe you'd like to upload a pic. Maybe of the label or even of yourself, but keep it nice.

Your list will become a new page, and others can comment on it, so maybe we will get a little conversation going. Best contribution by 31 December 2008 will receive a small gift.

Tell Vinodiversity readers about what you enjoyed in 2008

Wine of course. Alternative varieties. Australian or international.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Carmen Pinot Noir 
This is the best wine to encourage your wife into the world of red wine, because it is sweet for her and will taste great for you as well.

Bob Mutton's Alternative Wine Styles  
Whilst I haven't tried many of the specific examples on Brian's list , I have tried and enjoyed quite a number of alternative varieties, both red and …

Brian Winzor's Best Wines of 2008 
About 2 years ago this website made me realise that for about the last 30 years I had been drinking Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon and blends thereof. …

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