Australian Wine from
Alternative Grape Varieties
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Carnelian red wine variety

Carnelian is a red wine grape variety bred by specialist breeder Dr H P Olmo. It is based on a crossing of Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon further crossed with Grenache. The intention was to develop a variety that could perform well in hot conditions in California. It is also grown in Texas and Hawaii.

In Australia the variety is present in a few Western Australian vineyards, and it has got there as a result of a mistake in a vine nursery. Several vineyards, including Howard Park, planted Carnelian rootlings that they believed were Sangiovese.

By the time the mistake was discovered some wine had been made and the results were so good that the winemakers decided to persist with the variety.

This story reminds me of Carmenere which was established in Chile in the mistaken belief that it was Merlot, and in more recent times the mixup involving Savagnin

Peos Estate use it to make a pink wine cheekily called Chameleon Rosé.

The following vineyards are making wine using the Carnelian variety

  • Howard Park Wines Margaret River
  • Jylland Vineyard Central Western Australian Zone
  • McCuskers Vineyard Perth Hills
  • Peos Estate Manjimup
  • Western Range Wines Perth Hills
  • Windshaker Ridge Perth Hills

Snooth Wine Search can find wines from unusual varieties like carnelian.


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