The Alternative Grape Varieties that will re-define the Clare Valley

Whether we describe it as global warming, climate change, or just part of a long term natural cycle, the Clare Valley appears to be getting warmer, drier and the vintages earlier in recent decades. As a result viticulturalists and winemakers have been experimenting with varieties other than the five classic varieties that define Clare Valley wine. (See my article on this topic). Most of the inspiration for this work is coming from the warmer climates of Mediterranean Europe, and much of the interpretation is being done by ladies such as Kerrie Thompson, Marnie Roberts, Stephanie O'Toole - or a new guard of young guns led by Colin McBryde, Damon and Jono Koerner. Vermentino. This amazing grape from the Ligurian coast is very versatile. Watervale grower Anthony Koerner sells fruit to Kerrie Thompson which KT makes into her 'Bianca', Marnie Roberts for her Matriarch and Rouge 'Maurie', Colin McBryde, and his sons 'Koerner' who call their's 'Rolle' one of the variety's many synonyms. Each of these wines are completely different expressions. At the Watervale Hotel we have remain faithful to KT's Bianca as a wine that can delight even the most dogmatic lover of Sauvignon Blanc. Fiano. Again not widely grown in the Clare Valley, but one broadly interpreted in the region. This Italian grape originating from Campania or Sicily can be fresh light and easy drinking like the Shut the Gate, more textural like Pikes or even lightly oaked in Chardonnay style as produced by Mocundunda. We stock the Mocundunda for a local alternative for Chardonnay drinkers. Sangiovese. This red variety of Tuscany enjoys the Clare Valley climate. We have the Koerner Sangiovese on our list. It…

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