Polperro is a Mornington Peninsula producer that takes its pinot gris just as seriously as its pinot noir and chardonnay. The vineyards are managed using organic and biodynamic principles and the fruit is handpicked and whole-bunch pressed. The wine is left at ambient temperatures and transferred to barrel with full solids, with minimal sulphur added. It undergoes wild yeast and malolactic fermentations and is left in barrel for six months. The end result is a wine of terrific textural and palate interest seen at its best when paired with food. Great work from winemaker Sam Coverdale. $45. www.polperrowines.com.au
Monday, May 6, 2019
If you can seek some of this out you will be well rewarded. It used to be that Margaret River and Coonawarra were the "go to" regions for medium-bodied cabernet, but several other regions, including cooler Canberra, have now jumped on the bandwagon. This one is ridiculously good value from an outstanding vintage, very easy to drink given its powerful dark berry and currant fruit flavours, savoury notes and terrific length. Oak from France, the US and Eastern Europe plays a solid but minimal support role. $32. www.shawwines.com.au.
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
The Schild family produces an impressive range of hearty, gutsy and intensely flavoured Barossa red wines. This has power and presence but also some cheeky charm to make it an appealing and affordable option when big is not better (midweek. perhaps). This is all about juicy fruit and is made using three of the varieties that do best in the warmth of the Barossa. The three varieties are blended seamlessly with dark and blue fruits, spice and softness on the palate that makes this an amiable companion for a barbecue or gourmet burger. $24. www.schildestate.com.au
Sunday, April 21, 2019
Hahndorf Hill has been one of the pioneers for Austrian white wine variety gruner veltliner in Australia and as the vines in the Adelaide Hills get older, the wines just get better. This pure and minerally varietal is the most planted variety in Austria and is known for being hugely adaptable when paired with food. Dry and beautifully balanced, this would pair with seafood, white meats or Asian flavours, finishing with citrus and bright acid notes. I like this a lot and it is fabulous value for $29. www.hahndorfhillwinery.com.au.
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Altero is a new range of "alternative variety" wines being made by former Penfolds winemaker Mike Farmilo for the Cellarmasters organisation. The range features spicy and interesting Italian and Spanish varieties grown on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. There is a theme of dark berries and herbal spice running through both the montepulciano and the equally impressive Nero d'Avola. Both offer layers of flavour for under $20. These wines are food friendly and very well priced. $17. www.cellarmasters.com.au/altero
Friday, April 5, 2019
A classic Australian "claret" from veteran wine magician Brian Croser, using grapes from some very special vines in Wrattonbully, South Australia. Planted in 1974, the four-hectare Whalebone vineyard produces cabernets of distinction, with serious presence and minerality. That accounts for 85% of this blend with the remaining fruit comprising shiraz from the adjoining Crayeres vineyard. Seriously good drinking. The wine spent 20 months in 50% new French oak and has superb harmony about it. Think Fred and Ginger, or maybe Scary and Ginger. $55. www.tapanappa.com.au.
Thursday, March 28, 2019
The Yarra Valley range is a new trio of wines from Oakridge, also featuring a rosé (which I have yet to sample) and a very good pinot noir. The fruit is selected from the regular Oakridge vineyards and made in the same way as the more expensive vineyard series wines, being fermented in open-top fermenters with whole berries and then spending a short time in French oak puncheons before being matured on lees. This wine is all about the quality fruit, the skills of winemaker David Bicknell and the price. Classic cool-climate chardonnay in the vein of Chablis for $30.