Sick of Shiraz? Zoned out by Zinfandel? Why not try these red wine varieties for a change?

It’s all too easy to get stuck in a red wine rut. But being a bit more adventurous pays dividends, so give these grapes a try  –  you won’t be disappointed.


Malbec is a macho kind of wine. Think hard riding, sun-beaten, tough-as-old-boots gauchos galloping across the plains and you get the picture. Cissies need not apply.

While Malbec was originally grown in the Cahors region of France, it is now synonymous with Argentina, where the grape has become wildly popular and been adopted as one of the country’s own.

It’s a big beefy full- bodied wine, deep and inky in colour and just perfect for washing down a juicy rare steak.

Argentina’s best Malbec wines now come from Mendoza’s high altitude regions of Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley in the foothills of the snow-capped Andes.


Nero d’Avola

Sicily may be better known for producing vast quantities of undistinguished “bulk wine” which contributes towards the EU wine lake, but the red wine grape Nero d’Avola is in an entirely different class

Today it is made by the majority of Sicilian producers – not to grow it would be like an Australian producer not bothering with shiraz.

It’s a rich, deeply coloured grape, with some spice and lots of different styles, from soft, juicy and immediate to dense and serious.



For years, Tempranillo was pretty much ignored by the outside world as a rather dodgy, rustic, northern Spanish grape of strictly local appeal.

But now it’s been given a makeover, and is becoming one of the darlings of the wine world.

Tempranillo is best known as the dominant grape of red Rioja, Spain’s most famous wine, and is traditionally used as a blend with other grape varieties, most often Grenache (or Grenacha in Spain). Increasingly however, modern wine makers are producing single varietal Tempranillos.

Wine buffs like to bandy around the descriptors “leather” and “fresh tobacco leaves” when describing this grape, which can be baffling to the novice wine drinker.

But think full-bodied, spicy, vibrantly fruity and ruby red in colour and you’ll be on the right lines.


Hopefully that should give you food for thought and encourage you to venture out of your vinous comfort zone.

Next:  Grape variety of the week – Riesling

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