The rise of Reillys alternate reds
Author: Emma Purvis
One of the joys of wine is that there is always something new to try. From the latest vintage release offering subtle nuanced differences from the previous vintage, to winemakers tantalising palates with new blends and styles, to the emergence of alternate varietals challenging consumers palates as much as their vocabulary.
In the early 2000’s Reillys winemaker Justin Ardill, along with long term viticulturalist, grower and great mate Rob Smyth, made the decision to take a risk and try something a little different by planting Sangiovese and Tempranillo vines at St Clare estate vineyard in Leasingham in the southern Clare Valley.
Following years of patience and plenty of expert TLC, the first vintage of Dry Land Tempranillo was made in 2010 with the inaugural vintage of the Dry Land Sangiovese following 3 years later in 2013.
But the question had to be asked, was it worth the wait? Was their leap of faith 10 years earlier going to pay off?
At the 2011 Winestate Wine of the Year Awards, this question was irrefutably answered when the 2010 Dry Land Tempranillo was announced as one of the Top 5 Alternate Varietal Reds. This prestigious accolade was followed soon after by a Gold Medal at the 2011 Australian Small Winemakers Show and the Karl Seppelt AO Trophy for Best Other Varietal Red at the 2012 Royal Adelaide Wine Show.
Reillys Dry Land Tempranillo had launched with a bang, but what about the Sangiovese?
Not to be outdone, the first release 2013 Dry Land Sangiovese received a Gold Medal at the 2015 RASQ Mediterranean Challenge and a coveted listing in the Adelaide Review Hot 100 Wines of 2015 along with a stream of critical acclaim from wine media.
So after more than 10 years of careful planning and patient preparation, Reillys alternate red varietals were an ‘overnight success’ and all of a sudden wine lovers were asking – Where can I buy them? What do they taste like? What is the best food match?
The best place to try our Sangiovese and Tempranillo is at our Cellar Door in Mintaro in the Clare Valley where both wines are available for tasting and can be enjoyed over a long lunch in our restaurant.
If you love alternate varietals as much as we do and you might be asking ‘what’s next?’ - we’ll let you in on a little secret - Sagrantino!