3 less conventional reds to enjoy this spring

Red wine being poured into a glass

Step aside Pinot. Take a break Cab Sav. See ya later Shiraz.

Here in Australia, it’s a pretty solid bet which red varieties you’ll find on the shelves of your local bottle-o.

If you’re heading out to dinner, it’s likely that you’ll reach for a familiar variety – you don’t want to rock the boat by straying from the standard red path. 

But you’ve also likely noticed some other varieties popping up more and more. These ‘underdogs’ are becoming more commonplace – and for good reason.

They’re highly accessible and very drinkable.

Exactly what we like.


Both France and Spain claim to be the birthplace of Grenache. In Australia, it’s mostly used in a blend – which is why you might be more used to seeing a ‘Shiraz Grenache’ on the shelf than a stand along Grenache.

Grenache is a bit like Goldilocks – not too heavy, not too light. It’s medium bodied and also sits in the mid-range of tannins – not to firm, not too soft. But this doesn’t mean it’s without character. Grenache carries berry flavours like raspberry, black cherry and plum as well as spicier notes, including clove and white pepper.

It’s usually a higher ABV and not very acidic, so it goes well with lighter dishes, like fish or veal.

Our pick

Grab a Paxton AAA Shiraz Grenache for $20 – or two for $36 – as part of our Spring Catalogue. This wine is 100% organic and biodynamic, and has notes of cherry, raspberry, turkish delight and liquorice. 



Spanish wines are making more and more of a mark on Australian palates.

If you enjoy a Sangiovese or Cabernet Sauvignon, then you might like to branch out to a Tempranillo. It’s got a similar weight – but without the kick. It’s typically a slightly lower ABV than other similar red varieties. It also pairs well with most foods. Of course, as a Spanish wine, we think it’s best with Spanish inspired flavours – like a smoky paella.

In Australia, you’ll find Tempranillo vines in places like the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, Heathcote and Margaret River. These wines cellar well for up to 10 years – drink now or stock the cellar.

Our pick

There is a reason that Campo Viejo is Spain’s winery of the year for 2019. The Rioja Tempranillo is the hero of the collection. It’s a great drop to enjoy with a warming meal at home – think roasted lamb shoulder. This wine has hints of berry, mocha, cinnamon and tobacco. Pick up 2 for $35 as part of our Spring Catalogue (or one for $19)



If you enjoy a full-bodied Australian red, you could safely branch out into one of the more rich Zinfandels.

Zinfandel is a very familiar drop to American wine drinkers – it was known as California’s own variety, until a little bit of genetic testing revealed that the variety was identical to Primitivo – an Italian grape.

When you see US -based Instagram influencers and the like proclaiming ‘Rose all day’, it’s likely that they’re sipping on a White Zinfandel. Because of this, people often think of Zinfandel for a lighter, sweeter wine.

In reality, Zinfandels cover a large scope – from lighter reds with lots of berry flavours, to darker, spicer, full-bodied drops – with notes that many people describe as ‘jammy’. So, if you’re more of a strawberry jam lover on your pancakes compared to say, lemon and sugar, this is an option for you.

Are you a wine adventurer? Or do you prefer to stick to your favourites?

No matter what your taste, our team will be able to help you find something you’ll love. That’s their superpower.


All of our stores are open through this challenging time. We are still here to help you find your next drink for take-away dinner at home, a gift for a neighbour who has helped you out or something to sip on as the BBQ sizzles. Red Bottle are a collection of independent bottle-shops in the Sydney CBD and inner city, selling your favourite beers, wines and spirits from around the world.