Spanish Varieties at Delatite

This week we are talking about Delatite’s shift toward Spanish and Portuguese varieties. Nothing happens overnight in a winery, especially if you grow your own grapes, but in the last 13 years there has definitely been a shift to the Iberian varieties and their wine styles. 

Partly this is climatic. A recent study by The University of Tasmania, in conjunction with Wine Australia, has found that by 2050 our climate will be pretty similar to the Eden and Clare valleys’ today. 

But winemaker Andy Browing has already seen the change.  “Even in the last 10 years that I've been here, I’ve noticed the vintages have accelerated.” he said.  Spanish varieties, with their ability to make great wines in hotter climates, are a natural source of inspiration. 

The first step was with Tempranillo, a dark black grape grown in Spain since the Phoenicians.  Today it is associated with the world-famous Rioja, is the most popular red variety in Spain and increasingly grown all over the world. 

Originally Delatite sourced it from a vineyard nearby, but soon began planting it ourselves. OurEstate Tempranillohas now become our biggest selling red wine at cellar door and our Estate Tempranillo Rosé sells out annually. 

In 2018 our managing director David Ritchie went on a fact-finding trip to Spain and Portugal and (of course) fell in love with wines from Rioja and the Douro Valley.  On his return he and the vineyard staff plantedGraciano, moreGarnacha(known as Grenache in France) and next year we will be plantingVerdejo, a Spanish white variety. Like Riesling and gewurztraminer, it gets better with age. 

Reassured by the great wines of the Clare and Eden valleys, David feels increasingly confident in Delatite’s ability to make good white wine in the future. “I think with Verdejo in the mix our white wines will be delicious.” 

Tempranillo is currently the only Spanish or Portuguese single variety wine they make, but Andy and David have loved the characteristics and strengths that they bring to the MansField Red Blend. In 2018 it included Shiraz (40%), Graciano (18%), Merlot 18%), Malbec (12%) and Cabernet (12%). Here the Graciano offers a huge amount of colour, tannin and some beautiful fruit characteristics, says Andy.  

This is an exciting journey for Delatite and we hope you will enjoy it with us.