From Riverland Fiano to McLaren Vale Aglianico, growing numbers of Australian winemakers are experimenting with Italian grape varieties and our expert team has picked out 15 favourites - mostly from the recent Australia Day tastings in London.

Those in-the-know will be aware of Australian winemakers’ experiments with Italian grape varieties over the last several years.

More recently, growing numbers of wines are becoming available – some only at the ‘cellar door’, but others are finding their way overseas – as shown by the tasting lists at the Australia Day tasting organised by Wine Australia in London in January.

Some of the trials started with climate change in mind, but several winemakers have also long held the view that certain Australian climates – Riverland, for example – were already a good natural fit for the sun-loving varieties of southern Italy, in particular.

Some winemakers also have ancestral links to Italian regions.

Below, you’ll see examples of how McLaren Vale and Riverland have been explored as a base for varieties from the south of Italy’s ‘boot’, such as Fiano, Aglianico and Nero d’Avola.

Adelaide Hills and Clare and King valleys have emerged as front-runners for varieties found in central and northern Italy, such as Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Nebbiolo, although it is still early days and so difficult to generalise.

Below, Decanter’s tasting team pick out 15 Italian-inspired highlights that are worth tracking down in 2018. Due to the small quantities, availability may be patchy, so if you come across any of these, snap them up.

Copy and editing by Chris Mercer and Jim Button. Tasting notes below by Tina Gellie, Amy Wislocki and Jim Button. 


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