By James Atkinson
Kirrihill Wines has revealed an entirely new range of four alternative wine varieties that are currently in production at its Clare Valley winery.
The new varieties – Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Montepulciano and Nebbiolo – were revealed to a small group of journalists in an exclusive tasting at the winery earlier this week.
Kirrihill senior winemaker Donna Stephens (pictured) told TheShout she has worked with most of these varieties before, and has previously judged at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show.
"My mum's Italian and I just love Italian varieties," she said.
"The Australian wine drinker's becoming more knowledgeable and experimental and I think these are the new things that people want to pick up and take to a dinner party.
"There's a savouriness about some of them that goes well with food."
The new varieties are in various stages of advancement and will be coming onto the market in a strictly limited availability through restaurants, mail order and the Kirrihill cellar door.
"We're only making probably 1,500 to 2,000 litres of each – that's not many cases," Stephens said.
She said the new varieties will differentiate Kirrihill in a region that is best known for its Riesling and Shiraz.
"Clare is a conservative region. Not many people do alternative varieties here – there's a couple that do Tempranillo, one that does Nebbiolo now and then," she said.
Stephens, who joined Kirrihill in 2008, said her winemaking philosophy is to layer wines in flavours and textures that give drinkers a "three-dimensional" experience.