a2zWine

A Directory of Wine Grape Varieties in Australia

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Malbec

Although a native of South West France this variety is now more commonly associated with Argentina where it was the staple of everyday wines. Over recent years more effort and attention have lead to marked improvements in wine quality.

In Australia the variety was much more common twenty years ago. It was used as a minor blending partner for Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Shiraz Blends. This role has now been supplanted by Merlot. More about Malbec...

Malian

Malian is a variety that arose from a sport of Cabernet Sauvignon on the Cleggett vineyard at Langhorne Creek. It is now a registered variety. The berries are bronze coloured, and Cleggetts use it to make both a dry and a late picked rose style.

Malvasia

Malvasia is not really a single variety but it is described in The Oxford Companion to Wine as “a complex web of varieties.” This situation no doubt arose because of Malvasia's origins in ancient Greece and its subsequent spread to most wine countries throughout the Mediterranean. The uses to which Malvasia is put are equally broad. On the Island of Madeira, it is used for the fortified Malmsy. In Italy, white forms are blended with Trebbiano, it adds to the blend of Frascati, and red forms are blended with Sangiovese. Malvasia is aromatic, but not quite as strong as Muscat. In Australia, Ermes Estate on the Mornington Peninsula blend Malvasia with Riesling.

Marsanne

This is a white wine variety from the Rhone Valley. In Australia it has traditionally been associated with Tahbilk winery on the Golburn River in Central Victoria. It is now more widely grown. The wines are very pleasant when young, but a few years aging transforms them into something special. More about Marsanne

Marzemino

An Italian red variety from its northern regions where it is used for dry reds either alone or blended. In Australia it is grown in the King Valley by Chrismont Wines and by Michilini Wines to produce an easy drinking dry reds.

Mataro

An Australian synonym for Mourvedre(see below). The French name is now almost universally preferred, one of those decisions driven by those who think marketing is more important than simplicity of pronunciation and spelling.

Mavrodaphne

A Greek variety noted for producing robust, porty reds. Represented in Australia by Robinvale wines on the Murray River.

Melon de Bourgogne

This is the variety used to make Muscadet in the lower reaches of the Loire Valley. In the 18th Century it was uprooted by decree in its putative home of Burgundy. Musadets are the bargain basement wines of France, dismissed and scorned in a similar way to Australian Riesling. Overlooked in Australia by most but Garry Crittenden has to released a Melon from the Mornington Peninsula. See Newsletter article

Merlot

The workhorse variety of the Bordeaux region, but like Cabernet sauvignon it can now be regarded as an international variety, as it is grown almost everywhere. It is also successful in areas which are too cool for Cabernet. It is often used in blends with Cabernet to give a softer richer style. As a straight varietal it makes wines which are usually best consumed with little age.

Mondeuse

An obscure red wine variety that some believe to be the same as Refosco. The wines produced have good colour and structure. Made in Australia by Bullers Calliope. It is also used in blends by Brown Brothers.

Moscata paradisa

This variety was subject to some sleuthing by prominent Australian viticulturalist Dr Richard Smart. The variety was known in only one planting at Mudgee and was not known anywhere else. However it seems that the same variety was growing in the South Pacific Island of Funtina, under the name of “Saints wine.” Its ultimate origin seems to be from a seedling in Chile. The only known planting in Australia now seems to be at Bago Vineyard in the Hastings River Region. They have produced a wine under the label of “Chanel Paradisa.”

Mourvedre

Also called Mataro in Australia and as Monastrell in its native Spain. It is more highly regarded in the Rhone valley than in Spain. A revival of Mourvedre in Australia has occurred after it lost favour during the 1970s. The variety is now used extensively in blends with Shiraz and Grenache, especially in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale regions.

Muller Thurgau

This variety was bred in Germany as attempt to combine the early ripening of Silvaner with the virtues of Riesling. Its critics say that the result has missed out on the second part of the aim. That said it is a grown in cooler areas such as Germany and Southern England. In Australia its grown in Tasmania and at the Snowy River Winery in Southern New South Wales.

Muscadelle

Muscadelle is used to make sweet or semi sweet table wine in France, but reaches its true glory as the variety behond Australia's unique Liqueur Tokay. More about muscadelle...

Muscat

This is really a family of varieties an a large group of confusing synonyms rather than a single variety. Three main varieties are identified by Oz Clarke. Muscat a Petit Grains is the the star variety which makes those wonderful fortifieds in Rutherglen. Muscat of Alexandria is less perfumed, and Muscat Ottonel less so. With such strong and distinctive aromas and flavours muscats are usually made into sweet wines, often fortified, but they can also be used to make dry wine.

The a2zwine directory has been compiled from a large number of inprint and online resources.
It is a dynamic information resource whose mission is to develop knowledge of and interest in varietal wines produced in Australia.
The wine grape variety scene is changing rapidly. If you are aware of any errors or omissions please email a2zwine@vinodiversity.com
Any suggestions most welcome.

 

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