Our Award-Winning ‘Serata’ Inspired by the Super Tuscan Wine Scene

Our Award-Winning ‘Serata’ Inspired by the Super Tuscan Wine Scene

Creativity & Winemaking

If you’re an international wine enthusiast, you may already be familiar with names like Sassicaia and Tignanello, as well as the term ‘Super Tuscan’, which was first coined almost 50 years ago.

It was then that a number of Italian trailblazers sparked a modern wine revolution, when they began mixing ‘unsanctioned’ wine varieties such as Merlot into their blends, leaving them outside the Italian DOC/DOCG regulations. And yet, these blends were considered to be high quality and commanded high prices.

In essence, these Italian wines came as a result of the frustration that winemakers in Tuscany had towards the bureaucracy who were slow to change the wine laws of Italy during the 1970’s.

In 1992, the legal system eventually yielded with the creation of the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) classification of Toscana, a new designation that gave winemakers the ability to be more creative. Today, Tuscany has five sub-categories of IGT wines.

What Does a Super Tuscan Taste Like?

What makes a ‘Super Tuscan’ wine different from other Tuscan wines, such as Chianti, is the use of wine grapes that are not indigenous to Italy. Particularly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah (Shiraz).

Although a large number of wines claim to be ‘The First Super Tuscan’, most would agree that this credit belongs to Sassicaia, the brainchild of marchese – Mario Incisa della Rocchetta.

He first planted Cabernet Sauvignon at his Tenuta San Guido estate in Bolgheri back in 1944, and for many years it was the marchese’s personal wine, until the 1968 vintage was released commercially in 1971.

Because Super Tuscan wines are blends of indigenous and non-indigenous grape varieties, there is no specific flavour profile or structure.

You can find everything from fruity and racy Sangiovese based wines to deep, opulent Syrah-based wines. What ties them together is the use of the Toscana IGT classification and this notation will always be on the label.

Introducing our own unique blend of Italian and traditional Barossa varieties : ‘After Five Wine Co. – Serata’
In 2011, we decided to plant two southern Italian grape varieties – Montepulciano and Aglianico – in our southern Barossa vineyard.

Part of the reasoning was their ability to thrive in warm dry climates, but there was also the idea to bring to life a unique blend of Shiraz, Montepulciano and Aglianico.

Fast forward to today and we have successfully produced our very own blend with elegance, texture and intrigue. The single vineyard blend – ‘After Five Wine Co. Serata’.

Serata is not a grape variety but rather an Italian word that loosely translates to “have a pleasant evening get together with friends”.

We chose this name reflect its Italian roots, but also as a play on words. Our After Five Co. range is prefect for evening drinking and we’ve blended the Italian and Shiraz varieties – the friends.

Serata has Already Made an Impression

Since the first release of our After Five Wine Co. Serata in 2016, this wine has been well received and been awarded strong ratings and gold medals.

We were also honoured that this single vineyard blend was awarded a prestigious trophy at the 2019 Barossa Wine Show, with our ‘2018 After Five Wine Co. Serata’ being selected from 829 entries to go into the Barossa Cellar.

Our current vintage also received a gold medal at the Barossa Wine Show and was rated highly with James Halliday:

2017 After Five Wine Co. Serata

“Shiraz, Aglianico and Montepulciano, made and matured separately for 17 months prior to blending. All French oak, mostly older. The juicy plumminess of shiraz is evident, but the savoury red cherry character likely coming from its partners. More pertinent is that the blend has worked well, providing a seamless mouthfeel with length and depth of flavour.”

James Halliday Wine Companion - 95 points

Serata tasting notes: intriguing, complex and bold

We think the combination of the Australian and Italian varieties provides a striking and stylish wine.

The Montepulciano and Aglianico deliver complexity, structure and length, making a perfect foil when blended with Shiraz.

Serata has aromas of cherry, rose, liquorice and strawberry. You’ll be intrigued by the palate which shows the depth and body of the Shiraz, along with cherry flavours from the Montepulciano, and the Aglianico provides rose hints and fine long tannin and welcome natural acidity.

Perfect food pairing with After Five Wine Co. Serata

Hearty meats like roasted pork, spicy sausages or grilled steak are all excellent pairings for this complex dry wine.

It can also be served alongside filling seafood dishes like a meaty grilled swordfish steak, or alongside starters such as bold aged cheddar or a rich bruschetta with olive oil and rosemary.

For those who love the simple things in life, Serata is perfect match with meat lover’s pizza.

A last note: now it’s time to taste!

We are lovers of blends that bring to life something that is both unique and different from any of the single varietals that go into the wine.

It is our hope that you continue to enjoy your wine journey and experiment with this amazing blend. It is little bit different, but we are confident you will be rewarded for your intrigue.

 If you’ve already tried our Serata, we’d love to hear from you!


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Montepulciano: The complete guide to our Award-Winning Red

Montepulciano: The complete guide to our Award-Winning Red

Get ready to explore this exciting, new Barossa varietal.

If you love talking about new varietals in Australia and are looking to explore interesting wines that are different, this guide to Montepulciano and what food to match it with is perfect for you.

Montepulciano is Italy’s second most widely planted variety (after Sangiovese) and is found over much of Central and Southern Italy.

We planted the rustic, full-bodied variety in our Southern Barossa vineyard in 2011 amidst great anticipation, with our first vintage bottled in 2015.

We are proud to announce that our Purple Hands Wines 2016 Barossa Valley Montepulciano was awarded a bronze medal at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show in 2018 and recently received 96 points from Wine Showcase Magazine and 93 points from Patrick Eckel.

Not all Montepulciano are what they appear!

But first of all, let’s clear up some confusion about ‘Monte’, as it’s come to be known in Australia.

Yes, Montepulciano is both a grape variety and a medieval town in Tuscany, but interestingly, the two are not related!

You have Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which is the wine made from Montepulciano grapes. Not to be confused with the Tuscan wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is made from predominantly Sangiovese grapes and is named after the village it is produced in.

Pronounced Mon Ta Pull Chee Ah No, this grape variety was named after the Tuscan parish of Montepulciano.  

The most famous Montepulciano wines come from the east coast of Italy, specifically the Abruzzo region. Here, Montepulciano grapes are planted on the low hills and flatlands around the Adriatic coast, and marketed under the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC title.

Montepulciano and the Barossa make a stunning match

Montepulciano is still relatively unknown in Australia, yet is fast growing in popularity with our discerning wine drinkers. But, you may be wondering why it has found its way to the beautiful Barossa Valley in South Australia.

It’s all about climate. This particular red variety thrives in warm dry climates and ripens late in the season, holding it’s natural acid and handling the heat well.  It is not suitable for the cooler northern regions of its home country, Italy, and hence why it is planted in the southern regions of Italy.

So you can see, this is exactly why it’s found its way to the southern Barossa and our Purple Hands Wines vineyard, a warm dry region, and has become an award-winning member of our premium, boutique range.

Montepulciano tasting notes: smooth, rich & intense

Montepulciano wines are characterised by rich layers of black cherry, black pepper and dark plum.

Compared to most Italian varieties, Montepulciano has moderately low acidity and milder tannins.  This grape produces smooth drinkable wines with good acidity, and soft silky tannins that fill the mouth and help it age over 4 -5 years in the bottle.

Montepulciano has a tendency to ripen late in the season in our Southern Barossa vineyard – in mid to late April. It is a high yielding grape variety which leads us to thin the crop each year to achieve the ultimate balance on ripeness, flavour and yields.

The grapes are large and plump with a low skin to juice ratio. However, the skin has a fair amount of pigmented tannins and colour producing phenols that with gentle skin contact during fermentation produce a deep ruby red colour.

Perfect food pairing with Montepulciano

Medium-bodied red wines like Montepulciano generally pair with a wide variety of foods due to their natural elevated acidity and tannin structures.

But Montepulciano is the perfect match to richer and more savoury foods.

Imagine how the rich flavour of the wine will cut through some of the meatiest meats and pair beautifully with caramelised, roasted winter vegetables.

Meat lovers will love to pair it with roasted pork shoulder, beef Bolognese, barbequed beef brisket, braised goat, shepherd’s pie and meat lover’s pizza.

Cheese matches included aged Cheddar, Parmesan, Asiago and Pepper Jack.

For those looking for a vegetarian match, try stuffed baked potato, black bean burgers, roasted mushrooms, pinto beans, wild rice, winter beets, winter farro and sunchokes.

A last note: now it’s time to taste!

If you are intrigued by alternate varieties, and pursue wines that are quite different, we encourage you to sample our 2018 After Five Wine Co. Single Vineayrd Montepulciano and enjoy a modern Australian take on this famous Italian variety.

We’ll leave you with a quote that beautifully summaries how our Montepulciano will excite your nose and liven your palate.

A striking young Italian variety finding a home in the Barossa Valley, and what’s not to like? It strikes a dramatic dense purple pose in the glass, the scent is pure La Dolce Vita with exotic spice, black cherry and enduring anise. It flows beautifully across the tongue, smooth, intense but with lively tannins.

Jenny Port

95 points, Halliday Wine Companion

Have you tried Montepulciano? We’d love to know your thoughts on this premium and striking red.


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Discover Aglianico: an ancient grape thriving in the Barossa

Discover Aglianico: an ancient grape thriving in the Barossa

Have you experienced our award-winning Aglianico?

Whether you’re keen to expand your wine repertoire with a new and exotic varietal, or you’ve stumbled across a bottle of Aglianico and are downright curious, here is a handy guide about this stunning food wine and why you need to add it to your 2019 tasting list!

While Aglianico had ancient beginnings in Greece and then Italy more than 1,000 years ago, it is a variety that thrives in dry climates with generous amounts of sunshine.

This is exactly why it’s found its way to Purple Hands Wines in the beautiful Southern Barossa Valley in South Australia, and has become an award-winning member of our premium, boutique range.

Known as one of Italy’s best kept secrets, we planted the rustic, full-bodied variety in our Southern Barossa vineyard in 2011 amidst great anticipation, and our first vintage was bottled in 2015.

We are proud to announce that our Purple Hands Wines 2017 Barossa Valley Aglianico was awarded a gold medal at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show in 2018 and recently received 95 points from Wine Showcase Magazine and 93 points from Campbell Mattinson (Winefront).


The origins of Aglianico

Pronounced Ah-Lee-An-Iko, the Aglianico varietal originated in Greece but today over 98% of the world’s plantings are noe in southern Italy, namely Basilicata and Campania. In actual fact, Aglianico has been grown in Campania for thousands of years and even graced tables during the Roman empire. 

The grape was called Ellenico (the Italian word for ‘Greek’) until the 15th century, when it acquired its current name of Aglianico. 

It is also sometimes referred to as the “Barolo of the South”, meaning it is Southern Italy’s premium grape variety.

Before phylloxera, Aglianico was one of the most widely planted varieties throughout the South of Italy. After phylloxera, the grape survived in small quantities in more or less isolated areas, principally around Rionero del Vulture in Basilicata, and also around Avellino, Benevento, Caserta and Salerno in Campania.

As we mentioned earlier, it is a grape that thrives in dry, sunny climates, which is exactly why other areas to plant Aglianico in more recent times have included California and Texas, as well as the Barossa Valley and other Australia wine regions, where just 1% of the world’s plantings exist.

Aglianico tasting notes: complex, full-bodied and intense

Wines produced from Aglianico tend to be full-bodied with firm tannins (derived from their thick skins) and high acidity, endowing them with good aging potential.

This fits beautifully with our mission here at Purple Hands Wines – to make balanced wines that can be consumed young, but also become interesting and enjoyable as they age.

Purple Hands Wines’ Aglianico is characterised by a pretty floral perfume of rose petals and Turkish delight, with lovely raspberry, blackcurrant and earthy style flavours with a “lick of liquorice” on the back end of the palate. 

As it ages, the fruit becomes more pronounced and the tannins more balanced with the rest of the wine. The trademark colouring of the wine is a deep garnet which lightens over time.

Even when grown in warmer climates, Aglianico is capable of retaining high levels of acidity, which adds to the length and persistence of flavour on the palate.

The grape has a tendency to ripen late, with harvests as late as the end of April or even early May in our Barossa Valley vineyards. If the grape is picked too early, or with excessive yields, the grape can be aggressively tannic and have ‘green’ flavours so it is important to fully ripen the grapes.

Aglianico vines generally produce a high yield of bunches, so each year we have to conduct bunch thinning where we cut and drop bunches to ensure vine balance this allowing optimal ripeness for the remaining bunches.

Perfect food pairing with Aglianico

Because of the high acidity and soft silky tannins, Aglianico begs for rich meats with high fat content to absorb the astringency. Think thick cuts of steak or luscious lamb dishes. Or, in keeping with its Italian heritage, a rich Lasagne Bolognese is just perfect!

If you’re a vegetarian, hone in on flavours such as black bean sauce, soy sauce, tempeh or dishes that welcome roasted mushrooms or lentils.

You can also enjoy it with a carefully selected cheese platter – it welcomes pairing with Pecorino, Asiago, Grana Padano, Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Provolone.

A last note: now it’s time to taste!

For those intrigued by alternate varieties, and pursue wines that are quite different, yet excite your nose and liven your palate, Aglianico is the variety you should try.

“Along with Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, [Aglianico] is generally believed to be on of Italy’s three best wine grapes, but in my opinion it is far more…” –Ian D’Agata, Native Wine Grapes of Italy

This quote sums up exactly why we were excited to bring Aglianico to the Barossa Valley and introduce more Australian wine lovers to this premium Italian variety.

It is also why we encourage you to sample our award-winning Purple Hands Wines 2017 Barossa Valley Aglianico and enjoy a modern Australian take on this ancient drop. [Note: We now make an After Five Wine Co. Aglianico.

Have you tried Aglianico? We’d love to know your thoughts on this premium and striking red.


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