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Sunday 5 February 2023

Alternative reds match the Australian wine zeitgeist


Calabria Family Wines is one of the big success stories of the Australian wine industry.

From small beginnings in the Riverina, Calabria has become a major player, expanding its footprint to the Barossa and unveiling several new ranges.

The third-generation Italian-Australian brand has just added three new wines to its Alternato range from the Barossa; Calabria Alternato Sangiovese 2020, Calabria Alternato Malbec 2021, and Calabria Alternato Montepulciano/Nero D'Avola 2021.

The wines have been released in response to increasing demand from Australian consumers alternative styles and varietals - particularly food-friendly reds.

The initial release in the range was Alteranto Red Blend (durif, nero d'Avola, montepluciano and shiraz) and it now has three companions.

"Our love for alternative Italian wine varietals has been passed down through the generations, starting with my grandfather Francesco," says Andrew Calabria, the sales and marketing manager.

"These varieties are shining in Australia right now as they pair beautifully with our climate in terms of both growing them, and enjoying them.

"The Barossa Valley has a somewhat Mediterranean climate, making it ideal not only for bold Aussie shiraz, but also for a wealth of alternative grapes and styles."

All three of the new wines come from Barossa vineyards - a region the Calabria family regards as its second home.

You won't miss the eye-catching packaging, or the short, stout bottles.

All three wines are very compatible with food - we tested them with homemade salami and mushroom pizzas. 

My preference was for the immediately approachable montepulciano/nero d'Avola blend, while my wife favoured the savoury malbec outlier, made from a grape originally from Cahors in the south of France that now thrives in Argentina.

The Alternato range retails for $45 from select retailers, or

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