Most of my life, I have been primarily a Shiraz grape drinker, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir when it comes to red wine. I rarely drink Merlot, and only as a comparison test or in a blend with other red grapes.
But recently, I have been falling in love with the secondary red wine grapes Grenache, Malbec and Tempranillo. I also enjoy the occasional Zinfindal and Sangiovese. Just what is it about Grenach, Malbec and Tempranillo I am finding attractive? First, off, like a hearty Shiraz, they can have a chewy texture which lingers on the palate and usually provides a long finish. Secondly, these grapes tend to be a bit sweeter and fruiter than the primary red wine grapes.
Additionally, they easily match a wide variety of food. These wines work well with red sauce pastas, meats, nachos, pizzas, meat loaf, Sheperd's Pie, and a number of other dishes. With Cabernet Sauvignon, in particular, and a number of Shiraz, you need to be a little more careful in matching the wine to the specific sauces and seasoning you are using with your red meats. Therefore, if I want to do something 'easy' in terms of a great meal and matching wine, I can whip up some nachos or pizza and just pull out a bottle made from one of these secondary red grapes and I have a heck of a good meal!
If you want to try a great bottle of each and not spend a lot of money doing so, there are a few great-valued and high quality Australian wines you can try. My suggestions would include the 2006 Cirillo 1850 Grenach, which is absolutely magnificent! If you want to spend more, there are a variety of wines from the region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape you can try.
And the 2009 Audrey Wilkinson Malbec is a great buy for the money when it comes to Australian Malbec. Of course, if you want to try the very best, research and purchase some Malbec from Argentina. And one of the two best-valued Australian Tempranillo I have had is the 2011 Running with the Bulls. This is a very good-valued Tempranillo, and the 2011 vintage is even better than the outstanding 2010 or 2009 vintages. This is because the grapes have been sourced from Wrattonbully instead of the Barossa Valley. Another great Australian Tempranillo from the Hunter Valley is the Glandore TPR Tempranillo. And if you want to try some other great Tempranillo, then research and purchase some from Spain.
These secondary red wine grapes are well textured, bursting in taste and match well with a variety of pedestrian food dishes, so make sure to try some and get some in your cellar! You are then prepared when you need to put together a simple meal with wine that 'needs to impress!'