Friday, July 30, 2021
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
The new generation of juicy, drink-now grenaches are an ideal choice for winter quaffing with their lively bright fruit and soft, juicy palate. A floral nose leads on to a berry-fuelled palate that finishes with a smoothness that encourages a second glass. And a third. This is made by Shingleback Wines as an exclusive for Dan Murphy's stores. Enjoy while young and pair with a burger with the lot. $25.
Sunday, July 11, 2021
There's a whole lot of juicy vinous pleasure to be found here for under $20. A new release from Languedoc value master Jean-Claude Mas, this has striking packaging to match what is in the bottle. This Pays d'Oc wine is made from quite young vines but speaks with a loud voice with plenty of youthful energy. It is all about the fruit with French and American oak very much in the background behind black fruit flavours and some dark pepper notes. Pair with a steak and kidney casserole or pie for maximum drinking gratification. You'll find it at Dan Murphy stores. $19.95.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Take a vinous trip to Italy with Sam Scott's impressive - and affordable - La Prova range from the Adelaide Hills. I also loved the new-release 2021 Pinot Grigio, but this shines as an all-purpose, food-friendly savoury red choice. Sangiovese is a hugely versatile grape and this is medium-bodied, vibrant, fresh and fragrant with some appealing savoury notes. Think dark cherry flavours and fully integrated older oak. Pair with pizza, pasta or a deli platter. Soft and smooth, wild fermented, unfined and unfiltered. Vegan friendly. $26. www.laprova.com.au/
Sunday, June 20, 2021
Chris Bendle is a young winemaker to watch. He cut his teeth working for the d'Anna family at Hoddles Creek but also makes small-batch Yarra Valley wines under his own DCB Wine label. This is an outstanding cool-climate chardonnay - beautifully balanced, sourced from the Lone Star Creek vineyard at Worri Yallock. Think indigenous yeasts, judicious lees stirring and pure fruit flavours. This begs to be enjoyed with roast pork and crackling. $35. www.dcbwine.com.au/
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Sunday, June 6, 2021
An extremely tasty slice of Spain for a bargain price. What's not to like? This is a certified organic blend of tempranillo and syrah (shiraz) that is also vegan friendly. It's a terrific midweek choice; savoury and bouncy with vibrant black fruit flavours very much to the fore. You could pair this with anything from a cheese platter to a gourmet burger. Imported by Single Vineyard Cellars, who have several impressive imports in their range. This one is under screwcap, too. $20. www.singlevineyards.com/
Saturday, May 29, 2021
If there is a better-value pinot noir to be found anywhere in Australia I would be gobsmacked. Wickhams Road is the entry level label for the brilliant Hoddles Creek wines produced by the d'Anna family of Boccaccio Cellars fame. With mainly cool Upper Yarra fruit and 20% whole bunch adding complexity, this has oodles of pinot personality with fresh dark berry aromas and mixed red berries on the palate. It is vibrant, varietal and very food-friendly. $21. www.hoddlescreekestate.com.au/
Thursday, May 20, 2021
Picpoul (or Piquepoul) de Pinet is a star grape variety in the deep south of France, producing oyster-friendly white wines in the style of Muscadet. This is the upmarket version from Domaine Felines Jourdan, based in the village of Meze on the edge of the Thau Lagoon in the Languedoc. It is perfumed, fresh and vibrant and pairs well with just about any seafood dish. It is unoaked (lees stirring adds palate interest) with tangy lemon zest notes, the merest hint of sea spray and delightful crisp acid on the finish. Well worth sampling. Imported by Red & White, who distribute it nationally. $35 http://www.felines-jourdan.com/
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Wines don't get much more reliable than this one from family owned and operated Clare Valley producer Taylors. Year after year they come up with lively, fresh, vibrant and dry rieslings with lime. lemon and tropical fruit notes - and the estate version can sometimes be found for under $20, which is ridiculous value. This a crisp and refreshing, all-purpose white that finishes with lively balanced acidity. It would pair with anything from fish and chips to Asian dishes. Great work by winemaker Adam Eggins and his team. For those overseas, Taylors is known as Wakefield Estate to avoid confusion with the port producers. $22.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
There are so many colours and labels in the Wolf Blass/Eaglehawk wine range that it is all too easy to become confused. Platinum, Black, Grey, Yellow, Red, Brown. You name it, there is a Wolf Blass range in tat colour. This, however, is where the value sweet spot lies. This Adelaide Hills chardonnay offers all all the pizzaz and excitement of a boutique label for around $30. The fruit for Grey Label Chardonnay is sourced from Piccadilly and Lenswood and this has a real buzz about it; cool-climate purity and lovely balance with French oak providing support without stealing the show. Lees stirring has added complexity to a really lovely drink. 93 points for this one. $32. www.wolfblass.com/
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Sorry Team Yangarra. I cheated a little with this one. I read couple of reviews saying it was a long-term prospect, so put it away for a few months. The wait was well worth it, however, with this organic and biodynamic shiraz from McLaren Vale drinking superbly right now. A portion of whole-bunch fruit adds texture, while aging in a big oak foudres has contributed style to savoury/spicy wine that would grace any dinner party. Plummy fruit is to the fore; there is plenty of length and it would be a brilliant match for a winter casserole. You might find some left in retail outlets. Happy to give 96/100. $55. www.yangarra.com
Monday, April 5, 2021
The Pertaringa range - now part of Bec Hardy Wines - has tended to fly a little under the radar but that won't be the case for much longer with wines of this value on offer from the McLaren Vale operation. As the temperatures start to drop, a few bottles of medium-bodied, soft dry red are essential in every cellar. This is a versatile drink; soft, smooth and pleasingly complex with plum and berry flavours to the fore, a hint of spice and a dash of sass. French and American oak adds to a very pleasing overall package for $25. https://bechardy.com.au/our-wines/pertaringa/undercover-shiraz-2019/
Friday, March 26, 2021
This might already have sold out - but keep your eyes peeled just in case. Just three barrels of this intriguing pinot noir were made by Andries and and Yoko Lüscher-Mostert, rising stars in West Australia's Great Southern. This is made from Porongurup fruit that was whole-bunch picked, indigenously fermented, unfined, unfiltered and is full of sass and attitude. If this was a band it would be early The Clash. I had a glass at Havilah wine bar in Launceston and quickly snaffled the remainder of the bottle.Greedy me! $38.
Sunday, March 21, 2021
Glen Garvald is a new label from Yarra Valley standout Levantine Hill, with winemaker Paul Bridgeman given the opportunity to explore the boundaries of lesser-known grape varieties. This is a striking blend of six varieties that deliver an impressive ensemble performance. The make-up comprises muscadelle, roussanne and viognier paired with smaller amounts of sauvignon blanc, semillon and chardonnay to deliver a textural blend that soars when paired with a dish like roast chicken. Asian aromas and spice notes add to the end result. A lovely wine this. $50. www.levantinehill.com.au/
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Clare Valley producers Mitchell are are one of my RV favourites. R for reliability and V for value. Year in, year out, this is one of the best dry rieslings in Australia, as well as offering formidable value. This is, as always, all about bright, crunchy citrus flavours and tangy acid minerality on the finish. Pair with oysters naturale, or pan-fried King George Whiting. Lovely. An affordable classic. $24. www.mitchellwines.com
Sunday, March 7, 2021
How do they do it? A wine of balance and style for around $20. This is a widely available blend of fruit from the Clare Valley, where the Taylor family planted their first vineyard, and the Limestone Coast region. Classic Australian red flavours of berry, plum and dark currant with a hint of chocolate. This has plenty of presence and personality and is a terrific every drinking red. Versatile, too, with red or white meat dishes. $22. www.taylorswines.com.au.
Sunday, February 21, 2021
The Stein family is fast approaching its half century of making outstanding wines across a range of styles at Mudgee in the Central West of New South Wales. Third-generation winemaker Jacob Stein is now at the helm and quality continues to soar. The 2020 vintage was hugely difficult given the dreadful drought and bush fires of 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic. This was handpicked from a vineyard unaffected by smoke taint and the end result is a fresh and lively young wine with a lovely balance. $35. www.robertstein.com.au/
Sunday, February 14, 2021
It is not that long ago that Marlborough sauvignon blanc was all the rage. But wine fashion can be fickle and other grape varieties are enjoying their day in the sun. What that means, however, is the best Marlborough savvys offer excellent value for money - and this organically farmed wine always among the very best of the region, vintage after vintage. The recent-release 2020 has power and intensity with classic varietal tropical fruit characters, refreshing acidity and a long finish. Absolutely lovely and a perfect excuse to buck the trend. $30. www.dogpoint.co.nz
Saturday, February 6, 2021
From the formidable team of wife and husband Elena and Zar Brooks, the Heirloom Vineyards range features grapes from five different regions of South Australia, all sourced from quality sites and clones. This is a bold, expressive McLaren Vale red, slightly less muscular than its Barossa counterpart but equally delicious. Think dark berries, white pepper, chocolate hints and plenty of length and depth of flavour. Unfined and unfiltered; and just a little raffish. $40. https://heirloomvineyards.com.au/
Friday, January 29, 2021
I knew so little about Marcus Hill that I wasn't sure if he was a person or a place. Now, having worked my way through a pinot noir, a pinot meunier and a riesling I can recommend the Marcus Hill Vineyard on the cool Bellarine Peninsula as a label to watch out for. The vineyard is a short drive from Geelong towards the coastal townships of Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale and was planted in 1999. Richard and Margot Harrison handcraft wines with minimal intervention - and all that I have tried so far have impressed. This is barrel fermented, dry with sweet pear and Fuji apple flavours, hints of caramel and a long, impressively dry finish. Very drinkable. Pair with salt and pepper calamari. $25. www.marcushillvineyard.com.au/
Sunday, January 24, 2021
A powerful, structured cabernet from one of the best producers in Margaret River for under $30? It sounds too good to be true but Filius "son of" delivers in a big way with intensity allied to a supple, easy-drinking framework. This is a classic Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, malbec, petit verdot and merlot, matured in mainly older French oak barriques. Deliciously drinkable with blackcurrant, delicatessen and spicy oak notes. The vinous equivalent of a Phil Spector hit. $29. www.vasssefelix.com.au.
Friday, January 15, 2021
Hay Shed Hill wines are a byword for value for those in the know but can tend to fly a little under the radar in the eastern states. When it comes to price-quality ratio, this chardonnay is outstanding; modern and restrained but with plenty of palate interest. The RRP for this is probably a tenner below what the wine is really worth. Think citrus and white pear notes to the fore, relatively low alcohol at 12.5%, and a fresh, clean palate where French oak merely adds interest but does not intrude on the star attraction, the delicious fruit. Very dry, very bright, very drinkable. $28. https://hayshedhill.com.au/
Thursday, January 7, 2021
This is one of the most impressive Clare Valley rieslings I have seen from 2020 - and it comes at a bargain price, too. Cool-fermented juice was given a dose of natural grape sugar to provide additional flavour and complexity. A floral nose leads on to traditional lime, lemon and grapefruit flavours here, along with some very refreshing crisp acidity and some archetypal Clare slatey minerality. Enjoy a glass or two on the back veranda or pair with some whiting fillets. $22. https://kilikanoon.com.au