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Spain's answer to Sangiovese is Tempranillo. It is growing in popularity in many Australian wine regions. To a large extent jury is still as many of plantings are still quite new. Among champions of variety are James Halliday and Mark Walpole of Brown Brothers. Tempranillo matures a little earlier than Shiraz or Sangiovese so it can be grown in slightly cooler regions, Indeed Manton Creek Vineyard in Mornington Peninsula is one of more highly regarded producers.
The Durif variety is regarded as a warm climate variety, indeed it seemed as though Rutherglen held a monopoly on variety. But in fact is relatively early ripening, as demonstrated by John Vale at Balnarring on Mornington Peninsula. The outstanding feature of Durif is high level of tannins, but if these can be mastered then
There are a few other varieties attracting attention which will figure in mix over next decade or so. Petit verdot is becoming much more popular in warmer areas. It was pioneered in Australia by Pirramirra in McLaren Vale but it is now grown extensively in Murray Darling and Riverina.
Barbera and Nebbiolo are two other Italian varieties which are highly regarded in Australia. Lagrein is a little known Italian variety, in fact it is from North East of Italy. It is an early ripening variety and as such can be grown in cooler climates. Cobaw Ridge in Macedon Ranges region has a wonderful Lagrein.
So what is verdict? Which red winegrape variety will be next Shiraz? It seems to be a contest between Sangiovese and Tempranillo, with both camps having some firm adherents. My money at this stage goes with Sangiovese, it has runs on board.
Darby Higgs is an expert on varietal wines made from less common grape varieties. He is founder and editor of vinodiversity, an information resource. See http://www.vinodiversity.com