An empty bottle of merlot is a rare sight at my house. I'm happy to taste merlot but that, generally, is as far as it goes. This, however, is a major step above most Australian merlots, a bit like Arsenal playing Accrington Stanley. For some reason merlot works spectacularly well on dry block 8 at The Lane Vineyard, up in the cool-climate Adelaide Hills. This is a really lovely wine; soft and supple as you'd expect from merlot but also full of brambly flavours and with good length. Compared to most of its rivals its just a little bit cheeky, with some unexpected richness and textural interest. Lovely stuff. $39. www.thelane.com.au.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
This juicy, crunchy, fresh and vibrant Hunter Valley semillon has to be one of Australia's great wine bargains with a ludicrously low RRP. Mike de Iuliis is making some cracking wines right now and his 2014 shirazes are also worth seeking out. This is deliciously crisp and light with lemon and lime notes and lively acid backbone and would be delicious on its own, or paired with any number of seafood dishes over the Christmas holidays. Alternatively you can store it away in the cellar and it will blossom in five or more years. $19. www.dewine.com.au
Friday, December 11, 2015
At last a pinot grigio that is unashamedly grigio in the northern Italian style; crisp, lively and refreshing as a mountain stream. In a world where there are so many grigios masquerading as gris - and vice versa - it is refreshing to find one true to the original prescription, not muddied and homogenised by crazed lees stirring. This Adelaide Hills offering is clean, elegant and lovely with grapefruit and lemon sorbet notes, length and acidity. It is a wine for chilling, a wine for savouring and enjoying with friends. Downright delicious but don't ask; I have no idea who Charlotte is. $24. www.foxgordon.com.au
Saturday, December 5, 2015
When it first debuted, this was an unorthodox blend of Italian varietal and Margaret River staple but this West Australian take on Super Tuscans has now long been a favourite under this label. It comes up trumps in the taste stakes, in this vintage producing a wine that offers both the savoury and undergrowth characters of the Italian variety combined with the sweet dark berry fruit and structured tannins of cabernet. It is a most successful coupling, with the end result a red wine of real personality - and extremely food friendly. $30. www.stellabella.com.au.