This may well be the best sub-$20 white wine buy in Australia right now. I tasted this new release from Arnie Pizzini's Chrismont winery in the King Valley of north-east Victoria a couple of weeks ago, just prior to its release. Arnie told me the recommended retail price is $18 but you can often find it cheaper, which is just incredible for a luminescent wine that leaps out of the glass with its youthful exuberance. This has all the very attributes of young riesling; it is floral and fresh with dashing citrus notes, zingy acidity and crisp minerality. It can be enjoyed on its own, or with a wide variety of dishes, and is probably best enjoyed while in the full flush of youth. I reckon if you buy one bottle you'll go back for a case. Seriously good. $18. www.chrismont.com.au.
Friday, December 5, 2014
The Glaetzer family has been making wines in the Barossa Valley dating back to the 1880s, but Nick Glaetzer has taken a very different road, spending the past decade honing his craft making wines in chilly Tasmania. He's picked up a Jimmy Watson Trophy and a Young Winemaker of the Year award along the way and is soon to open an urban winery and cellar door in Hobart. This new-release shiraz from a fine vintage is a blend of fruit from the Coal, Derwent and Tamar valleys; a north-south blend that is simultaneously intense and finely crafted. It's a wine that is all about cool-climate fruit quality with ripe berry, pepper and spice characters to the fore. This is beautiful right now, sweet/savoury and soft, but I'd put a couple of bottles away for a few years. $50. www.gdfwinemakers.com.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Veteran winemaker Tim Adams has the Midas touch with pinot gris; seldom missing a beat and always producing wines that are flavoursome and full of textural interest. Using fruit sourced from two Clare Valley vineyards, this has seen some of the pressings returned to blend to add palate weight. White stone fruit flavours are to the fore (think Nashi pear, Granny Smith apple and white peach flavours) and there are a few grams of residual sugar to counterbalance the crisp natural acidity. This is a wonderfully food-friendly wine that pairs particularly well with lightly-spiced Asian dishes. A great choice for immediate summer enjoyment and something of a bargain when on special. $20. www.timadamswines.com.au.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
The wonderfully atmospheric Sevenhill Cellars in the Clare Valley are one of the classic Australian wine venues that should be on the "to do" list of any wine lover visiting the region. The Jesuits have been making wine here since 1851 but have moved with the times. Today the wines are made by a woman winemaker, Liz Heidenreich. This is a terrific blend of four grapes; cabernet sauvignon, malbec, cabernet franc and merlot from a vintage regarded as arguably the best of the decade in the Clare. It is an intense and powerful wine, weighing in at 15% alcohol, but there is also poise alongside the power. $40. www.sevenhill.com.au.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
If you enjoy your pinot noir young, fresh, juicy and slurpable then you'll almost certainly enjoy this brambly and untamed new release from talented New Zealand winemaker Paddy Borthwick, who is based at Gladstone in the Wairarapa. This is fruit-driven and designed for immediate enjoyment - and I doubt you'll find a better wine in the same style in this price bracket. It is imported into Australia by Single Vineyard Cellars and has a recommended retail price of $25. With its bright, lively red and black fruit flavours (think sweet cranberries) and silky soft finish that makes it an absolute steal.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
I tried a dozen or so wines of different power and weight as a match for veal cutlets and mushroom-infused pasta but nothing came close to being as good a partner as this humble blend from the Rymill family in Coonawarra. A melange of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc that is designed to be particularly food friendly and versatile, it lived up to its role admirably. There is no great complexity here; but there is great drinkability, which is almost certainly what you are looking for at the price point. Soft but structured, fruity but far from frivolous, I enjoyed this immensely. $20. www.rymill.com.au
Friday, October 24, 2014
The Lloyd family were way ahead of the game when they planted the Tuscan grape variety sangiovese in McLaren Vale almost three decades ago. With Italian varietals now all the rage, Coriole has the oldest sangiovese plantings in the country. Fruit quality shines through here in a most attractive medium-bodied red that combines bright red fruit flavours with savoury characters and a lovely structure. This is the style of versatile food wine that is perfect for when friends drop around for a bite, or you need to grab a bottle for a visit to the BYO. Beautifully balanced and very reasonably priced. $25. www.coriole.com.