Friday, October 21, 2016

Bremerton 2016 Betty&Lu Sauvignon Blanc

There is a lot of disdain for sauvignon blanc among wine industry insiders, but it is easy to see why it is such an appealing variety for members of the public. This is a very good example of fresh, zingy and affordable savvy blanc - made by the Willson sisters, Rebecca and Lucy (aka Betty and Lu) at Langhorne Creek in South Australia. If you enjoy wines with bright, tropical fruit salad freshness, lively acidity and plenty of length, then this is an ideal summer quaffer for you. Pure and refreshing, this can be partnered with everything from a chicken sandwich to a seafood platter. Great value, too. $17. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Angove 2015 Long Row Shiraz

You don't get much for a tenner nowadays. Maybe a sandwich and a pack of crisps at the local, or perhaps a glass of something pretty average at the bar. How the Angove family manage to put out a bottle of this drinkability at a bargain basement price is something of a mystery, but also something that wine drinkers on a tight budget should celebrate. This the perfect midweek drink; a clean, bright and fresh fruit-driven red from the Riverland with plenty of flavour. There's red and black fruit, hints of pepper and minimal oak influence. It would be terrific with a grilled sausage sandwich, a cheeseburger and chips, or a slice of pizza. At $20 you'd say it doesn't stand out from the crowd. But at $10 it's a ripper.   

Friday, October 7, 2016

Shottesbrooke 2014 Merlot

There are only a handful of Australian merlots that I consider to be of exemplary quality - and this new release from Hamish Maguire at Shottesbrooke in McLaren Vale is firmly in that top echelon. This is flavoursome and medium-bodied with customary sweet/soft merlot fruit but alongside some texture, fine tannins and black cherry/spice interest. Estate-grown grapes provide a freshness and vibrancy on the plush palate that makes this immediately appealing - while its sub-$20 price tag marks it as a wine that over-delivers when it comes to value. You can find it at Dan Murphy's stores. $20.   

Sunday, October 2, 2016

De Bortoli 2016 Bella Riva Pinot Grigio

Summer is on the way, and many drinkers will be searching for an affordable white wine for warm weather enjoyment and serious thirst quenching. This vivacious King Valley wine from the talented De Bortoli Yarra Valley team ticks a whole lot of boxes. It is made in the Italian grigio style, crisp and fresh and ready to enjoy, lively, aromatic and, to steal a line from the back label, "perky". Think ripe pear fruit flavours, texture and some refreshing acidity. Great with seafoods or seasonal salads, and seriously good value. $16.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Samuel's Gorge 2015 Graciano

I'd been hearing great things about the wines being made by Justin McNamara at Samuel's Gorge in McLaren Vale and lo and behold a box of samples arrived on my doorstep completely unsolicited - and without tasting notes. All four wines were excellent (I now understand why there is such a buzz about Samuel's ) but for me, this juicy, savoury graciano just edged out more familiar varieties in shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. I love the mosaic label, which, just like the wine shows a lot of attention to detail. Graciano is a Spanish red wine grape that is grown primarily in Rioja and it thrives in warm climates. I loved the combination of sweet fruit and earthiness that this wine displays. $40.    

Tahbilk 2016 Marsanne

Tahbilk are the undisputed heavyweight champions of marsanne production in Australia, producing cellar-worthy examples vintage after vintage. What I liked most about this wine, however, was not how well it will age, but how brilliantly floral and appealing it is in its youth. Marsanne is grape from the Northern Rhone in France that is often blended, but here it shines as a stand-alone varietal. The grape was first planted in Victoria in the 1860s and Tahbilk has vines which date back to 1927 and are some of the oldest in the world. This is vibrant, citrusy, herbal and minerally and so drinkable right now that I would defy convention and drink it all this summer. $19.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Claymore 2015 Superstition Reserve Riesling

Claymore might not be one of the big names of the Clare Valley, but it is a rapidly-growing business that regularly over-delivers. This is the first reserve riesling that Claymore has produced and the clever touch of consultant winemaker Kerri Thompson is evident. It is a very attractive wine that shimmers in its youth. Think aromatics of fresh-cut flowers and citrus, fresh lemon, lime and green apple notes with flinty minerality and driving acid. It is a wine of great length, delicious right now but also a good cellaring prospect. A classic Watervale wine with delicacy but a strong core; imagine a vinous ballerina. A wine of this purity would pair well with a Vietnamese salad, or fresh seafood. $28.