Following on from the success of the Italian white varieties tasting in our February/March issue this year, our panel decided to investigate the reds. In the same way that pinot grigio – now mainstream – would have made the numbers unwieldy in the earlier tasting, we thought it best to exclude sangiovese and nebbiolo. Besides, both have appeared in dedicated tastings in past GT WINE issues.

The growth in the quality of Italian wines has been phenomenal. I remember tastings where the Italian whites were often thin and reds frequently lean and bitter. That has utterly changed – through the selection of superior clones and sites – increasing the standards of winemaking and, most significantly, recognising the quality in each wine style that the consumer expects. Only recently I tasted my way through eight Chiantis at the Interwine exhibition in Guangzhou, all of them delicious, with good flavours, flesh and fine tannins.

Italian wines have now increased to 14% of our imports by value, trailing France at 20%, while New Zealand, in clear first position, is losing share. I would expect that Italy’s appellation regulations, which have greater clarity than those in France – while still very numerous – may help the gap to close. This increased interest in the wines has rapidly expanded the range of Italian grape varieties available and planted in Australia.

On this occasion Andrea Pritzker MW, educator at Wine InTuition, joined our regular panel, including writer and presenter Mike Bennie, educator and writer Peter Bourne, author and writer Huon Hooke, wine judge and writer Toni Paterson MW and me, winemaking consultant Nick Bulleid MW.

We did our best to cast a wide varietal net, with representation from both Italy and Australia where possible, but unfortunately there were not enough examples forthcoming of nerello mascalese, sagrantino (surprisingly), negroamaro and teroldego. There was nevertheless a good range of grape varieties with representatives from both countries.

We tasted the wines in descending order of vintage, young to older and as always in flights of around 10, to give every wine plenty of time to show its worth. The Italian and local wines were randomised within each vintage, without the identities being revealed until after we had given our points and tasting notes.

As with the white Italian varieties, we found many wines of excellent quality across all grape varieties, the Italians often scoring better than the Australians, although the locals were far from shamed. Remember that these Italian vines have gone through centuries of selection in their regions, so the regional/varietal link is strong. In Australia, we’re still working that out.

How to cut the cake? To gain a comparison between the two countries and also assist navigation for the reader, I’ve arranged the wines alphabetically by, and within, grape variety. We hope you’ll enjoy this examination of new Italians and Australians.

Aglianico

Aglianico is important in the province of Campania, although it’s also the most cultivated red grape in southern Italy. It ripens late so is suited to warm and hot regions. It shows deep colours and firm tannins, often with marked acidity.

2016 Calabria Private Bin Aglianico, Riverina (A$15) shows aromatic red fruits with hints of dried herbs and Campari-like complexity. The tannins are firm and dry, but there’s fruit to match. “An attractive lifted bouquet of sun-warmed red cherry, fennel and spice,” Pritzker said. “Fresh and vibrant showing bright red cherry supported by lively acidity carrying through to the finish. A modern fruit-pure style with lovely fennel notes on the finish.” It’s great value too!

2016 Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianico Irpinia DOC, Campania, Italy (A$41) appealed to Hooke, who told us, “the bouquet has dried herbs, charcoal, ash and a hint of old leather armchair, while the palate has abundant tannins and a dry follow through. It would work well with protein-rich food. The middle is fruit sweet, rich and generous.” I agreed on the tannins, which show no bitterness however, and the savoury flavours are highly complex. Pritzker added, “A great varietal expression!”

2015 Fighting Gully Road Aglianico, Alpine Valleys (A$45) is also distinctly savoury, with development adding to the complexity and its hints of chocolate. There’s good depth of flavour to balance the firm tannins. This also gained approval from Pritzker, who thought the bouquet was “slightly reticent, showing glimpses of red cherry, earth and game. Vibrant and lively on the palate with attractive morello cherry intensity and chalky tannins; the fresh acidity contributing length and persistence.”

2017 Lovable Rogue The Italian Jobs Moon Child Aglianico, Orange (A$30) combines sweet red berries, rosemary scents and oak to give an intriguing nose. There’s good depth on the palate with a hint of leather and dried herbs appearing with development. Hooke noted “a big, rich, ripe bouquet of dark chocolate and blackberry. A trace of eucalyptus mint. The wine is full bodied and savoury with abundant fine but drying tannins. A big, lush, generous wine which is approachable and should take some age well. A very good aglianico, structure wise.”

2017 Purple Hands Aglianico, Barossa Valley (A$30) found Bourne enthusiastic. “Bright red fruits – raspberry, cranberry and lilly pilly with a juicy, linear palate,” he said. “Inherent richness curbed by a swathe of savoury tannins. Simple yet highly enjoyable.” This was one of the fresher, suppler and more approachable examples, with a hint of whole bunches adding to the perfumed nose. The tannins are well balanced and quite sangiovese-like.

2017 Spinifex Aglianico, Adelaide Hills (A$30) impressed Bennie. “Sour and ripe cherry scents, a touch of raspberry lolly, green herbs and faint fennel,” he said. “The palate is juicy, soft in a way, touched by sweet-sour fruit character, a fine sheath of tannins and a tangy acidity. This is great fun to drink, with detail in tow.” I found concentrated dark plum on the nose, too, with rich flavours to follow and matching tannins and acidity. Bennie concluded, “Nicely done!”

Flavours of barbera are often in the red fruits spectrum with dark cherry.
Flavours of barbera are often in the red fruits spectrum with dark cherry.

Barbera

A characteristic of barbera is that it maintains high acidity as it ripens, rather like chenin blanc. As a result, it was initially planted in hot Australian regions like the Riverina, in spite of its home being in the cool hills of Piedmont. It has become the third-most important red grape in Italy after sangiovese and montepulciano and is also significant in California. Barbera is now spreading widely through our regions, but the site needs to be chosen with care as it can overcrop and make dilute wines. The flavours are often in the red fruits spectrum with dark cherry appearing on cooler sites. Expect fresh acidity and mild tannins.

2016 Braida Montebruna Barbera d’Asti DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (A$62) starts with a very deep, red-garnet colour. “The bouquet is smoky, spicy and quite strongly oak-tinged, but it’s balanced and full of character and allure,” Hooke told us. “The acidity is present but balanced, the tannins are fine and supple and all components are in harmony. It finishes with a refreshing touch of chewiness. A delicious drink now and it has the structure to age very well.”

2017 Coriole Barbera, McLaren Vale (A$32) has attractive red fruits on the nose with hints of vanilla. More savoury notes begin to creep in on the palate, which has a plump middle, with the mild tannins and brush of acidity typical of the variety. Hooke saw it a little differently. “Spicy and savoury, with dark cherry and a tight-tannin palate. Deep and linear, savoury and strong. Very good intensity, line and length. Soft tannins. A modern, fresh style, ready to drink young, but would take some age.”

2017 Dal Zotto Barbera, King Valley (A$25) combines sweet with savoury flavours in a seductive way, with red fruits, spices and a hint of Campari mingling. Pritzker found “a lifted bouquet – red cherry, with overtones of eucalypt, dried sage, thyme, mint and lavender. Fresh and vibrant showing crunchy red cherry and attractive cherry blossom overtones supported by ripe tannins. Modern and fruit forward in style.” The palate dances quite lightly, with a supple balance. It’s ready now.

Barbera has become the third-most important red  grape in Italy.
Barbera has become the third-most important red grape in Italy.

2017 Margan Breaking Ground Barbera, Hunter Valley (A$40) appealed to Bennie, who said it “opens with dark cherry, faint plummy notes, some cedar, cumin and woody spice in the mix. Black pepper, too. The palate is peppery, gently sweet-sour and fresh-feeling with brightness still underpinning the wine. A touch dry-bitter and amaro-like to finish but, you could say, characteristic of the variety. Nicely done!” I found the nose distinctly perfumed, with morello cherry and a hint of oak, while the palate has a light, easy balance.

2017 Massolino Barbera d’Alba DOC, Piedmont, Italy (A$46) has the deep purple colour and concentrated nose of dark berries and ripe plum that reminded me of Durif. Any similarity ends there, as the palate has much finer tannins and a refreshing brush of acidity. Bourne loved it. “Blackcurrant and mulberry lead the way with hints of cumin,” he told us. “Soft and generous, yet well structured with plenty of depth and breadth. Just a bloody good drink.” I agreed. The wine’s delicious now but I admit I can’t predict its future.

2016 Poderi Colla Costa Bruna Barbera d'Alba DOC, Piedmont, Italy (A$43) gained high points from Bennie. “Floral notes, cranberry and pomegranate scents, and a whiff of mixed citrus peel and clove,” he began. “The palate has some chew and chomp, crunchy acidity and a light, sour character, in a refreshing sense. Good length of flavour, tightly wound and vibrant in its expression. Fine tannins do a good job of shaping the wine. This feels like quality barbera.” I liked the freshness and balance of the wine and was alone in thinking it lacked fruit.

The Paolo Scavino Dolcetto d'Alba DOC topped the tasting.
The Paolo Scavino Dolcetto d'Alba DOC topped the tasting.

Dolcetto

This grape has a deceptive name. The literal translation – ‘little sweet one’ – prepares you for its very perfumed aroma, often with hints of violet, but the tannins are usually far from sweet. Its ancestral home is Piedmont, where its production has been slowly falling. It ripens early, not long after pinot noir, and so is suited to cool regions and sites.

2017 Bruno Rocca Trifolé Dolcetto d’Alba DOC, Piedmont, Italy (A$33) gained top marks from Paterson, who found, “intense cherry flavours. The palate has an excellent mix of intense fruit and mineral accents. The acidity is perfectly integrated into the fabric of the wine and the framing tannins are papery and measured.” I liked its concentrated dark fruit and sturdy, yet balanced structure. A touch of amaro bitterness doesn’t spoil the finish.

2017 Elio Grasso dei Grassi Dolcetto d’Alba DOC, Piedmont, Italy (A$40) gained all round support. Hooke spoke first, finding “a spicy, more complex style of bouquet showing some subtle barrel influence while the palate is savoury and has some soft, drying tannins. Very ripe fruit. Big, drying savoury tannin finish and aftertaste. Well structured. A wine of some stature and presence. Excellent!” I agreed, noting its depth of sweet, red and dark berries on the nose and good weight in the mouth. The tannins are even and there’s good length.

2017 Paolo Scavino Dolcetto d’Alba DOC, Piedmont, Italy (A$37) was scored well by all. I, for one, loved its concentrated dark fruit on the nose, its depth of flavour and the beautifully balanced finish, both tannins and acidity contributing. Bourne found “pure aromas of fresh blueberry, cranberry and toffee apple. Succulent fruit and decisive acidity with fine graphite-like tannins. Quite an elegant wine.”

2018 Vineyard 28 Dolcetto, Geographe (A$28) appealed to Pritzker, who noted “a fragrant bouquet of just-picked red cherry, warm earth, sage and spice. Fresh and bright, showing notes of pure red cherry, lively acidity coupled with plentiful al dente tannins.” I loved its aromatic raspberry and cherry nose overlaid by violet perfume. It’s supple in the mouth, fresh and finishes with fine tannins. It’s quite a contrast to its Italian companions, as Pritzker summed up, “a lighter, modern, fruit-forward style.”

Lagrein’s success in cooler Australian regions like the Adelaide Hills is  not surprising.
Lagrein’s success in cooler Australian regions like the Adelaide Hills is not surprising.

Lagrein

Lagrein is enigmatic. It is a frequent surprise that its wines have such a deep, purple colour and yet, in Australia at least, have mild, fine tannins. You could think of it as the opposite of nebbiolo and nerello mascalese. It hails from Alto Adige in north-eastern Italy, so its success in cooler Australian regions like the Adelaide Hills is not surprising, although warmer regions don’t seem to worry it.

2016 Bremerton Special Release Lagrein, Langhorne Creek (A$24) is the most structured of the lagreins we tasted, starting with a perfumed nose with red fruits and spices. The palate starts supple and fresh, with good acidity to finish with fine, firm tannins. Bourne reported “aromas of mulberry, dark plum and fresh liquorice lead the way to a bold palate with chewy tannins. Power and persistence define the finish.”

2017 Girlan Lagrein Alto Adige DOC, Trentino, Italy (A$39) scored well with Paterson. “Good concentration with a little earth and spice,” she told us. “The palate is bright and refreshing with good flavours. Medium weight, with framing tannins on the close. Food friendly, too!” I noted plenty of dark cherry on the nose and a typically soft, fleshy palate with very fine, mild tannins. It shows more charm than power.

2017 Serafino Bellissimo Lagrein, McLaren Vale (A$25) has a fragrant nose, with violet adding perfume to red and dark berries. The palate is medium bodied, fleshy and supple, with juicy, fresh fruit and very soft tannins. “Imposing colour here,” began Bennie. “Plum and raisin scents, whiff of floral, dark cherry, aromas of malt and choc-liquorice. Palate is slippery, rich, soft, offering dark fruits and sweet spice with gentle tannins and tart acidity. A good flow, but a little overt, quite dominated by sweetness and lacking shape, though many will like the generosity.”

The Bellwether showed montepulciano's wide reach in Australia.
The Bellwether showed montepulciano's wide reach in Australia.

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is new to Australia in the last 10 years or so, but is rapidly being planted in many regions, from hot to moderately cool. It seems happy in both. Its range in Italy spreads through Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, even Puglia and finally Abruzzo, which appears to be its ancestral home. Expect a deep colour, plenty of berry flavour and distinct tannins.

2015 Artwine Leave Your Hat On Montepulciano, Clare Valley (A$45) found an admirer in Bourne, who noted, “dark plum, mulberry and wild blackberry aromas with similar fruits amply filling the solid frame. There’s plenty of power, depth and some age-derived earthy/beetroot complexity. Needs some hearty food.” I had similar thoughts, noting concentrated, slightly jammy fruit, with Chinese spiced plum overtones. It’s full bodied with firm, balanced tannins. A real mouthful!

2017 Bellwether Ant Series Montepulciano, Riverland (A$30) showed the variety’s wide reach in Australia and appealed to Bennie. “Full and generous bouquet,” he started. “Dark cherry, faint malt, whiffs of sage and mint. The palate is soft and creamy, laden with dark fruit, slightly sappy-sour acidity and a cool mintiness. Mellow. Has an appealing softness and accessibility. A charming though relatively simple wine.” I thought it an attractive, lighter style giving great drinkability, with sweet fruit and forest floor flavours that lingered well over fine, dry tannins. It’s ready now.

2017 Coriole Montepulciano, McLaren Vale (A$32) has sweet red fruits on the nose with suggestions of fresh herbs. There’s plenty of flesh as the palate builds to balanced, dry tannins. Hooke approved. “Bright and youthful, with almond-like notes, raspberry and attractively aromatic fruit,” he wrote. “A little amaro. It's full bodied and firm with lovely drinkability and structure, the tannins in fine balance. Long carry; lovely wine!”

2016 Kasaura Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Abruzzo, Italy (A$22) was for me one of the more structured montepulcianos. It showed youthful, sweet fruit on the nose with a hint of savoury development. While starting quite supple, the tannins grow further, although staying in context. Pritzker found “a subtle bouquet of red cherry, earth and spice. The palate offers vibrant sour red cherry with bright acidity and chalky tannins in a medium-
bodied frame. Mouth-wateringly crisp finish. A real food wine!”

Expect a deep  colour, plenty of berry flavour and distinct tannins in montepulciano.
Expect a deep colour, plenty of berry flavour and distinct tannins in montepulciano.

2018 Kirrihill Piccoli Lotti Montepulciano, Mount Lofty Ranges (A$27) started a bit closed on the nose for me, but opened up with plenty of fresh, ripe berry fruit. The palate’s supple to begin with and then tends drier towards the finish, with balanced tannins. Paterson thought it “a warm and inviting wine. Generous plum and mulberry aromas. A dark, inky palate with fleshy blackberry flavours. Palate tension, bright acidity and soft tannins.”

2017 Poggio Anima Samael Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Abruzzo, Italy (A$22) also got strong support from Paterson. “A taut and structured montepulciano,” she started. “Dark cherry fruit, bright acidity and framing tannins. The wine has great flavour and is pleasantly structured. Lingering dried cherry and faint liquorice flavours on the finish. Lovely!” I liked its concentrated youthful flavours and beautifully succulent tannins. It will age well, but there’s no need.

2016 Purple Hands Montepulciano, Barossa Valley (A$30) has a voluminous nose, with dark chocolate and black plum, which leads to a full-bodied palate and plenty of firm tannins. “Bright floral notes, twiggy-clove aromas, some amaro-like whiffs, too,” Bennie told us. “The palate is quite dry and chewy, with just-ripe cherry. Some mocha character in the mix. Finishes firm and tight pretty quickly. One for later on.” If it’s “now”, it needs rich food.

2017 Umani Ronchi Podere Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Abruzzo, Italy (A$19) combines plums and sweet spices in a richly flavoured, fleshy palate. I thought the tannins quite fine, while Bourne found more grip, writing, “sour cherry, Damson plum and fresh mulberry define the nose with hints of sun-baked bricks. Well structured with plenty of thrust and punchy tannins sustaining the finish.” Whichever way, the flavours carry the day.

Nero d’Avola

Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s most important red variety and has been rapidly successful in Australia, particularly in hot regions like McLaren Vale – judging by this tasting, that is. It likes a warm site and ripens mid season. Dense colours and firm, but accessible tannins are the norm. The wines age well.

2017 Calabria Private Bin Nero d’Avola, Riverina (A$15) is quite a mouthful. It’s full bodied, with plenty of very ripe, dark fruit that just avoids jam and the generous tannins are in balance. “Lots of dark berry fruits (plum, mulberry and blackberry) with a background of vanilla, mocha and chocolate,” Bourne told us. “The palate is quite linear, though there’s plenty of power to drive the finale. Good drinking especially with robust food.”

2018 Coriole Nero, McLaren Vale (A$26) divided the panel somewhat, but was one of my top wines. I thought it started well, with plenty of sweet, dark fruit on the nose, leading to a supple palate with rich flavours and fine tannins. Paterson noted, “an engaging aroma of plum and spice with vanilla bean and chocolate accents. Blackberry pastille flavours. Integrated acidity and soft tannins.” It’s very young but is already drinking beautifully.

2016 Feudo Arancio Nero d’Avola Sicilia DOC, Sicily, Italy (A$19) is another full-bodied example, with Chinese spiced plum aromas and plenty of dark chocolate and plum flavours. “Lush with excellent concentration. Impressive harmony and balance,” said Paterson, while Bourne noted, “lots of earthy complexity, with dark plum, blueberry and cinnamon bark leading to a warm, generous and dangerously drinkable palate. More please!”

2018 Hither & Yon Nero d’Avola, McLaren Vale (A$29) has stacks of rich, ripe sweet fruit on the nose in the dark plum spectrum. The palate matches it with good weight and structure, finishing with firm, balanced tannins. “Deeply coloured with a mulberry hue,” noted Paterson. “A bright, nutty palate with dried cranberry flavours. Moreish blackberry flavours on the length.” It’s delicious now and will age.

2018 Kirrihill Piccoli Lotti Nero d’Avola, McLaren Vale (A$27) appealed to Hooke, who thought “the bouquet attractively spicy, with nice fruit beneath. Chinese five spice aromas. Then good focus and intensity in the middle palate. Bright, fine, tense and firm, with lovely flavour and balance. Long on the follow through.” I liked the wine’s mixture of sweet and savoury flavours. Alcohol adds weight and body, without intruding.

2017 La Prova Nero d'Avola, McLaren Vale (A$27) also left Hooke enthusiastic. “The bouquet is meaty and sulfidic at first,” he noted. “Underlying berries; the flavour fruit sweet, raspberry-ish and bright. The wine is fresh and zippy, elegantly weighted and structured and the reduction is of no major concern.” The fresh fruit aromas shone through for me, and the lively, supple palate was beguiling. Here’s a nero you can enjoy right away.

2017 Lino Ramble Tom Bowler Nero d’Avola, McLaren Vale (A$30) produced slight dissent. I loved the wine, noticing ripe plum and chocolate notes, with plenty of depth on the nose. It’s full bodied, with very ripe fruit in a rich, even sumptuous palate, soft tannins, and alcohol giving weight. Bennie wasn’t impressed, thinking it light-on, slightly bitter and lacking detail. Hooke, however, noted “Maraschino cherry and an earthy Italianate accent. A wine of considerable style and charm. Delicious!”

2016 Mount Horrocks Nero d’Avola, Clare Valley (A$39) gives concentrated dark fruit and spices with a little oak and plenty of firm, balanced tannins. Bennie thought it a “rosy kind of wine, gently sweet, showing ripe black and red cherry. Some sappiness to texture, dusty spice, a touch of malt and chocolate. A nice feel to this wine, with a bit more depth.” This wine comes from one of the first plantings of the variety, and the experience shows.

2017 Poggio Anima Asmodeus Nero d’Avola Terre Siciliane IGP, Sicily, Italy (A$21) pleased Pritzker, who wrote, “very lifted, ripe, black plum and blackberry aromas unfold to reveal a plush, generous palate. Ample plum framed by supple ripe tannins.” I can add that the wine is very youthful, with a hint of chocolate and great depth of flavour. The structure is firm, but balanced.

2018 Unico Zelo Pipe Dream Nero d’Avola, Adelaide Hills (A$50) also gained strong points from Pritzker. “A brooding bouquet of black plum and prune with hints of peppery spice,” she began. “Fresh, vibrant and juicy, showing a generous core of blackberry fruit and plentiful slightly chalky tannins. Finishes flavourful with good persistence. A riper expression.” I thought it a firmer expression, too, as there’s a distinctly dry edge to the finish, but the fruit flavours are impressive. It’ll be best with food.

Primitivo

While new to us under this name, primitivo has been here for many years as zinfandel. Nevertheless, it has been identified as identical with crljenak kaštelanski and tribidrag in Croatia, the last name being given precedence by the grape bible, Wine Grapes (Robinson, Harding and Vouillamoz).

In spite of its great success in California, the grape’s uptake has not been wide in Australia. It often ripens unevenly, giving a mixture of herbal and jammy flavours, although this is not invariably the case. Expect moderate colours that lose their purple early, red fruits with spices and firm tannins. The wines age well.

2016 A.Mano Primitivo IGT, Puglia, Italy (A$25) represents the varietal characteristics well, with a deceptively developed colour, yet the nose has fresh mixed red fruits, spices and herbs and there are vigorous tannins to follow. Paterson loved it, finding, “fragrant cranberry plus hints of chinotto, spice and dried herbs. The palate is luxurious and luscious with cherry liqueur flavours. Despite its richness, the wine has great energy and layers.”

2017 Grove Estate Primitivo, Hilltops (A$30) has a complex, aromatic nose showing raspberry jam and spices. The palate is rich and lush, with noticeable weight from alcohol and soft tannins. Bourne thought it, “a youthful and enticing wine with lots of prune and plum cake aromas and a hint of pencil shavings complexity. The juicy flavours are quite upfront with slinky tannins resolving the finish.”

2016 Irvine Icon Series Zinfandel, Eden Valley (A$45) is quite a savoury wine, with spices like cardamom and cinnamon driving the flavours. Bennie thought it highly complex, writing, “toast and dark berries, plum jam, choc-liquorice and brick dust scents. Similar flavours, albeit a layer of ferrous/iodine character found in the mid palate. The palate is quite dry, dusty, missing a bit of vitality, but the old school, rustic charm is here in good stead. I like it, in its slightly feral, dark fruit ways.”

2016 Kalà Primitivo Salento Rosso IGP, Puglia, Italy (A$30) is in contrast to the previous wine, but Bennie supported it, too. “Choc-berry, mocha powder, twiggy notes and Indian spice to sniff on. The palate is thick set, bold, well balanced despite the heft, and full of dark berries and plummy flavours. Chewy, with choc-mocha tannins but also a molten spice kind of character. Quite lovely in its fuller, choc-nut kind of way, and readily appealing.” Its generous, plum jam flavours are very persuading.

2016 Lowe Zinfandel, Mudgee (A$75) found Hooke enthusiastic. “The bouquet is bitter Italian herb/amaro-like. The palate is plush and supple, with plenty of fine, powdery tannins. Very fruit sweet and rich, ripe and gorgeous. A superb zinfandel!” I saw oak giving further complexity to the flavours without interrupting the tannin balance.

2017 Poggio Anima Lilith Primitivo Salento IGP, Puglia, Italy (A$22) won Pritzker’s heart. She told us, “a beautiful bouquet of sour red cherry, with hints of cherry blossom, jasmine tea and fennel. Fresh and vibrant showing a juicy core of bright morello cherry framed by perfectly ripe tannins. Supple and smooth, with beautiful balance and poise.” I thought the dried herbs lingering on the finish had a Campari-like bitterness, but the
rich flavour and soft tannins were beguiling.

Top Wines Made Using Italian Red Varieties

5 STARS
96 2017 Paolo Scavino Dolcetto d’Alba DOC, Piedmont, Italy, A$37
95 2016 Kalà Primitivo Salento Rosso IGP, Puglia, Italy, A$30

4 STARS
94 2017 Massolino Barbera d’Alba DOC, Piedmont, Italy, A$46
94 2017 Spinifex Aglianico, Adelaide Hills, A$30
93 2016 A.Mano Primitivo IGT, Puglia, Italy, A$25
93 2016 Braida Montebruna Barbera d’Asti DOCG, Piedmont, Italy, A$62
93 2016 Feudo Arancio Nero d’Avola Sicilia DOC, Sicily, Italy, A$19
93 2017 Poggio Anima Lilith Primitivo Salento IGP, Puglia, Italy, A$22
92 2015 Artwine Leave Your Hat On Montepulciano, Clare Valley, A$45
92 2017 Bruno Rocca Trifolé Dolcetto d’Alba DOC, Piedmont, Italy, A$33
92 2017 Elio Grasso dei Grassi Dolcetto d’Alba DOC, Piedmont, Italy, A$40
92 2015 Fighting Gully Road Aglianico, Alpine Valleys, A$45
92 2018 Hither & Yon Nero d’Avola, McLaren Vale, A$29
92 2018 Kirrihill Piccoli Lotti Montepulciano, Mount Lofty Ranges, A$27
92 2017 Lino Ramble Tom Bowler Nero d’Avola, McLaren Vale, A$30
92 2016 Lowe Zinfandel, Mudgee, A$75
92 2016 Mount Horrocks Nero d’Avola, Clare Valley, A$39
92 2016 Poderi Colla Costa Bruna Barbera d'Alba DOC, Piedmont, Italy, A$43
92 2017 Poggio Anima Samael Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Abruzzo, Italy, A$22
92 2018 Unico Zelo Pipe Dream Nero d’Avola, Adelaide Hills, A$50
92 2016 Vietti Tre Vigne Barbera d'Asti DOCG, Piedmont, Italy, A$35
92 2018 Vineyard 28 Dolcetto, Geographe, A$28
91 2017 Purple Hands Aglianico, Barossa Valley, A$30
91 2017 Bellwether Ant Series Montepulciano, Riverland, A$30
91 2016 Calabria Private Bin Aglianico, Riverina, A$15
91 2017 Calabria Private Bin Nero d’Avola, Riverina, A$15
91 2016 Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianico Irpinia DOC, Campania, Italy, A$41
91 2016 Irvine Icon Series Zinfandel, Eden Valley, A$45
91 2016 Kasaura Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Abruzzo, Italy, A$22
91 2017 Lovable Rogue The Italian Jobs Moon Child Aglianico, Orange, A$30
91 2017 Poggio Anima Asmodeus Nero d’Avola Terre Siciliane IGP, Sicily, Italy, A$21
91 2017 Umani Ronchi Podere Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Abruzzo, Italy, A$19
90 2016 Bremerton Special Release Lagrein, Langhorne Creek, A$24
90 2017 Coriole Barbera, McLaren Vale, A$32
90 2017 Coriole Montepulciano, McLaren Vale, A$32
90 2018 Coriole Nero, McLaren Vale, A$26
90 2017 Dal Zotto Barbera, King Valley, A$25
90 2017 Girlan Lagrein Alto Adige DOC, Trentino, Italy, A$39
90 2017 Grove Estate Primitivo, Hilltops, A$30
90 2018 Kirrihill Piccoli Lotti Nero d’Avola, McLaren Vale, A$27
90 2017 La Prova Nero d'Avola, McLaren Vale, A$27
90 2017 Margan Breaking Ground Barbera, Hunter Valley, A$40
90 2016 Purple Hands Montepulciano, Barossa Valley, A$30
90 2017 Serafino Bellissimo Lagrein, McLaren Vale, A$25