First drop using new Aussie grape

28 Jun, 2000 11:09 AM
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THE first wine from CSIRO's new grape variety, Tyrian, has been released by McWilliam's Wines Pty Ltd. McWilliam's Riverina Tyrian 1999 has been produced from Tyrian, one of four grape varieties specially designed for Australian conditions by CSIRO Plant Industry. "We are predicting big things for this new variety, and we are very proud to be involved in bringing this unique Australian wine to the marketplace," McWilliam's Wines production director Doug McWilliam said. Industry, Science and Resources Minister Nick Minchin said the effort was an example of research being taken up by industry. "Joint ventures such as this are essential for Australia to continue developing leading edge technologies," he said. Peter Clingeleffer, leader of the CSIRO breeding team, said cabernet sauvignon was crossed with a Spanish grape, sumoll, to produce the high quality red wine grapes suitable for Australia. "Cabernet sauvignon is renowned for its quality and, because sumoll originated in a warm, dry climate, the growing characteristics of the new variety are ideal for many of Australia's wine growing regions," he said. Mr Clingeleffer said Tyrian ripened up to one week later than cabernet sauvignon with higher juice titratable acidity and lower juice pH, which made it easier for winemakers to produce stable wines with good colour and flavour. It had slightly larger berries and larger bunches than cabernet sauvignon. The wines produced using Tyrian had very high colour density, high total ionised anthocyanins and phenolics with a bright hue. The grapes were initially evaluated in CSIRO's vineyard and small-scale winery at Merbein, near Mildura. In 1987, the four varieties were planted in two cool climate sites in Coonawarra, South Australia, and Avoca, Victoria. The Riverina Tyrian is described as an intense deep-red coloured wine, with a full-bodied palate, rich berry fragrances, and spicy fruit flavours. It has excellent long-cellaring potential and is an ideal accompaniment for gourmet sausages and pepper steak. The other grapes produced from the same series of crosses are Cienna, Vermilion, and Rubienne. Commercial quantities of these varieties will be available within the next five years. ÿ

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