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Saturday 16 February 2019

A chilled falanghina followed by a Nero di Troia

I enjoyed a delicious glass of falanghina last night; followed by a savoury Nero di Troia and then a piedirosso. 

All three were from the Chalmers vineyard at Merbein outside Mildura, all were from the 2018 vintage and all were first releases of the relative grape varieties in Australia. 

The wines are part of he 2018 Chalmers Project wines, the first Australian wines to be made from a suite of 10 new grape varieties selected in 2011, introduced in 2013 and released from quarantine in 2015.

Five of the 10 varieties are brand new to Australia, the other five are new clones of grapes which already have a small presence on Aussie soil.

So wine lovers might have tried a verdicchio or a teroldego before, but maybe not a ribolla gialli, or an inzolia.

I'm hugely impressed by falanghina (also known as beneventana), a white from Campania, north of Naples, that sits somewhere between soave and muscadet in style and is a fine partner for grilled seafood. 

I can't wait try some more piedirsosso, also from Campania, sometimes called palumbo, and Nero di Troia, a very moreish varietal that is grown alongside negroamaro and primitivo in Puglia.

The Chalmers family has been the forefront of new varietals in Australia since the 1990s when they imported around 70 selections of "new" wine grape varieties and clones into Australia through their nursery business. 

"It was a bold move and took years of hard work and passion to come to fruition," says Kim Chalmers. 

"We enthusiastically promoted those varieties and shared those vines with hundreds of growers across Australia with over two million vines from these original importations now planted in vineyards across Australia.

"Today we are super proud of the contribution these varieties have made. Excited to be responsible for every single Nero d’Avola vineyard and wine in Australia, every single sagrantino or schioppettino vine."

Chalmers began making wines from these varieties in 2003 including vermentino, greco, malvasia istriana, aglianico, Nero d’Avola, sagrantino, negroamaro and more. 

The Chalmers Project is now in its fourth year. 

"The results from these experiments have been an important factor in the decision making for our viticulture and winemaking over the last few years," says Kim Chalmers. 

If you fancy trying a grechetto or a pecorino or any of the other newcomers, they will cost you $32 a bottle. See

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