Angove Alternatus Carignan 2016

The red variety Carignan suffered from a lowly reputation in 1970's and 1980's southern France owing to over-production and poor quality wines. A charmless cash crop if ever there was one. Responsible for the so-called 'European wine lake' Carignan wines inundated the market during that period. The variety has since slowly regained its mojo thanks to an enthusiastic next generation of vignerons who have attempted to restore respect and produce wines of character and complexity.   

Even though the largest plantings are in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, the variety originated in Aragon, northeastern Spain and now plantings grow in Priorat DOQ, Sardinia, California, Chile, Israel as well as Australia. The excellent Vinodiversity site has more information on the variety here.

This varietal comes from the stalwart Angove Family Winemakers in McLaren Vale. The grapes for the Alternatus Carignan are grown at the family's organic and biodynamically certified vineyard in the Vale's Seaview sub-region.

The Alternatus brand is a Mediterranean-inspired range of wines and the Angove Family has bucked the traditional use of Carignan in blends and released it as a stand alone varietal. More power to them I say.

The colour here is bright crimson purple with magenta hues.  
Lifted stewed aromas of spiced plum, dark cherries, cranberries and licorice. A slight meaty, gamey aspect too. 
Rich cherries, dried herbs and gentle mouth-coating tannins. Soft and smooth in the mouth. 
It's light- to- medium-bodied, well-rounded with distinctly soft flavours of dark berry fruit, black olive and earthy herbal notes. A slight spicy bitterness on the finish. 
It's a must with tapas dishes or as something different to match chargrilled barbecued meats.  
The Alternatus Carignan is not a transcendental wine experience but there's certainly a lot to like here. 

Source: Retail. ABV: 13.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $23.00. Rating: 89 Points. 

Spinifex Pinot Noir 2016

From one of the top producers in the Barossa Valley, Spinifex has released a Pinot Noir, a variety that is uncommon in the region.
Despite this, I enjoy Pinots from areas the vines ordinarily don't grow. 
Grown on a single vineyard high in the Barossa Ranges. Wild fermentation, all whole bunches and matured on lees.

A ruby coloured wine with faint hues.
Cherries, red currants, wood smoke predominantly over forest floor earth and mushroom notes.
Palate mirrors the aromatics faithfully with spicy fine-grained tannins on the finish. 
Varietal sweet and sour red berry flavours are quite restrained but it is still a bright, fresh and youthful mid-weight wine that holds its own throughout the journey. 
Works well. There is something I like about this wine and it is a recommendation if you are into trying a different style of Pinot Noir.  

Source: Gift. ABV: 12.5%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $ N/A. Rating: 89 Points. 

Teusner Vin De Plaisir 2013

Here is a wine based upon the French concept of a vin de plaisir - a wine for pleasure - giving the drinker an immediate sense of pleasure and enjoyment.

An eclectic trifecta from Teusner in the Barossa Valley of varieties Montepulciano 50
%, Carignan 30% and Mataro 20%. i like Teusner wines, especially The Riebke Shiraz and this blend from winemakers Kym Teusner and Michael Page ticks boxes for the above criteria.

Bitter chocolate, amaro herb, dark sour cherry, plum and ferrous qualities, Some smoke too from its time in oak.

Give it a time to breathe and the palate offers up blackberry, plum, dried herbs, earth and licorice. 
Fleshy and juicy to the taste with a slight metallic edge, which doesn't derail things. Fine tannins to this medium-bodied blend. 
Better than a quaffer. Interesting wine to drink and a good standby at home for those unexpected moments. 

Source: Retail. ABV: 14.5%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $22.00. Rating: 89 Points.