The German crossbreed grape of the riesling and late-ripening red trollinger varieties is the K of today's Tipple Trivia from A to Z instalment.
K for KERNER was developed in 1929 by scientist August Herold at a plant breeding station in Lauffen in Germany's Wrttemberg Region and once was Germany's third most planted variety after riesling and mller-thurgau.
German regulators accepted it in 1969 and it produced aromatic white wines with high yields and sugar levels.
It was given its name in honour of Weinsberg poet, songwriter and physician Justinus Kerner and today there are significant plantings in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy's South Tyrol Province, Hokkaido in Japan and Michigan, US.
In Australia it has produced wines that cellared well in the manner of Hunter semillons and cool-climate rieslings and show tropical fruit aromatics leading into zingy pear, citrus and lychee flavours.
It's had a chequered story here - beginning with Greek couple George and Stavroula Caracatsanoudis migrating to Australia and in 1976 establishing a winegrowing and dried fruit and table grape operation in the Victoria's Murray River south bank Robinvale area.
In the 1990s, when their sons viticulturist Steve and winemaker Bill and their families had taken over running the business, Robinvale was among winegrowers offered kerner rootlings from the CSIRO nursery in Merbein.
The Caracatsanoudises were the only takers, establishing vines and producing regular vintages of Robinvale label kerner table whites and chardonnay-kerner base-blend sparkling wines.
Enter Richard Glastonbury, who had tasted and enjoyed kerner wines while visiting Germany in 1974. After he and his wife Ingrid had founded Kabminye Wines in the Barossa Valley in 2001, they tried unsuccessfully to add the variety to their plantings.
In 2002, however, Richard learned of the Robinvale vines and was generously given 2000 cuttings by the Caracatsanoudis brothers.
Convinced his Barossa valley-floor vineyard was too warm, Richard got resolution when highly regarded cooler climate Eden Valley growers Michael and Graeme Fechner agreed to plant the cuttings in their vineyard in Moculta and supply the grapes to Kabminye.
Richard in 2008 produced his first Kabminye kerner vintage, a dry-style and subsequently added other variations - a late harvest, a blend with frontignac and a mistelle version by adding grape spirit to unfermented juice.
Ingrid sadly had to shut Kabminye after Richard's death in 2013, leaving the Fechner brothers with what is Australia's lone kerner vineyard - an outcome because in 2017 the Caracatsanoudises sold the Robinvale land planted to kerner.
Robinvale Wines still, however, have back-vintage 2008, 2015 and 2016 table whites and 2009 chardonnay-kerner bubbly for sale. The 2008 sells for $30, the other vintages $20 and the sparkler for $25 on organicwines.com.au.
The Fechner kerner crops now go to the Chaffey Bros brand of brothers-in-law and self-confessed "perfumers, historians and mad scientists" Daniel Chaffey Hartwig and Theo Engela.
Daniel's great-uncle Bill Chaffey founded Seaview Wines in McLaren Vale, and was a descendant of the Chaffey brothers George and William, the Canadian-born water engineers who created the Riverina and Riverland irrigation schemes.
The Chaffey wine portfolio contains numerous wines based on Fechner grapes and Michael Fechner's son Huon works as a Chaffey winemaker.
Initially Chaffey used kerner in blends, but the first 100% kerner has now been released. The Kontrapunkt 2019 Fechner Eden Valley Kerner sells for $29 on chaffeybroswine.com.au. Kontrapunkt is German for counterpoint - the playing of a melody or melodies in conjunction with another or something that forms a pleasing or notable contrast to something else.
L FOR LAMBRUSCO this red Italian wine grape variety is planted and produces wine in a handful of Australian vineyards, but most of the lambrusco on bottle shop shelves comes from Italy and notably the Emilia Romagna Region of north-central Italy.
They are sweet, low-alcohol, frothy reds, mostly with fizz imparted by the bulk charmat process and can be found at Dan Murphy's and other bottle shops at prices ranging from $7 to $16 a bottle.
M FOR MONTEPULCIANO is Italy's second most planted grape variety and has its origins in Central Italy, in the regions of Abruzzo and Marche, with montepulciano d'Abruzzo being the most highly regarded wine of the variety.
Its Australian plantings are still small, but increasing. Cellarmasters has a good-value one as part of its new Altero range focused on wines from Mediterranean varieties. It and $17 2018-vintage sangiovese and nero d'Avola reds have been made from grapes grown on South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula by former top Penfolds winemaker Mike Farmilo and are available on cellarmasters.com.au.
N FOR NERO d'AVOLA this variety originated in the city of Avola on the Italian island of Sicily and its liking for warm climates has seen increased plantings in Australia. In their vineyards on Monkey Place Creek flats at Broke and Gillards Rd, Pokolbin, medicos Eve Tsironis and Aniello Iannuzzi have been Hunter trail-blazers of nero d'avola.
Their $45 Three Ponds 2017 Holman Nero d'Avola is on mounteyre.com. Garden Cellars at the Hunter Valley Gardens, its usual Pokolbin base for tastings and sales, will have Mount Eyre wines available under social distancing rules. Cellarmasters have the Stefano De Pieri 2018 Merbein Vineyard Nero d'Avola selling for $17 on cellarmasters.com.au.
O FOR ORLANDO wasfor about 120 years the brand name of the Australian wine enterprise founded in 1887 by Bavarian settler Johann Gramp. The name was adopted because their winery was at Rowland Creek and Orlando was the German equivalent of Rowland.
The current-day owners, the giant French Pernod-Ricard liquor group, dropped Orlando because it created confusion in the American wine market, where the name was deemed to suggest a connection with the Florida city.
The Gramp family ran Orlando up to 1970 when they sold to the UK-based multi-national Reckitt and Colman corporation. It subsequently sold to a management buyout team, which in 1988 sold to Pernod-Ricard, the world's second biggest wine and spirits producer.
It boasts that 1.7 million glasses of Australian wine from its Jacob's Creek arm are consumed globally each day. The brand is named after the Jacob's Creek tributary of the Para River, where Johann Gramp in 1847 planted Barossa Valley's first wine grapes.
Next instalment - perplexing prosecco
NEBBIOLO IN ROSÉ MODE
THIS lively Adelaide Hills Longview 2019 Nebbiolo Rosato has 12.5% alcohol, pale amber hues and ju-jube aromas. The front palate features brisk strawberry, the middle palate pomegranate, apple peel and flint characters and the finish refreshing slatey acid. It is at longviewvineyard.com.au, the Macclesfield winery and wine shops.
DRINK WITH: antipasto.
AGEING: drink now.
RATING: 4 stars (out of 6)
WENDY'S ZINGY DOLCETTO
FROM Wendy Lawson's Bulga vineyard, the Catherine Vale 2019 Gabrielle Dolcetto has 13.8% alcohol, ruby hues and gamey scents. Zingy raspberry flavour shows on the front palate, bramble jelly, cloves, spice and subtle mocha oak on the middle and minty tannins at the finish. It's at catherinevale.com.au and the cellar door.
DRINK WITH: lasagne.
AGEING: three years.
FINE Pyrenees GSM
FROM Victoria's Pyrenees Region, the Taltarni 2019 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre is bright crimson and has 13.8% alcohol, berry pastille scents and vibrant blackcurrant front-palate flavour. Mulberry, spice, spearmint and savoury oak meld on the middle palate and earthy tannins play at the finish. Get it at taltarni.com.au and bottle shops.
DRINK WITH: roast lamb.
AGEING: six years.
RATING: 4.5 staras