Dry rieslings continue to offer some of the best-value wine drinking in Australia and this new release from talented young Jacob Stein in Mudgee is a very good example. For under $20 this is extremely impressive with lime and grapefruit notes to the fore and a crisp, minerally acid finish allied to the merest hint of fruit sweetness. Made from young vines in a stellar vintage, this would pair impressively with Thai and Vietnamese stir fries, or as a refreshing back porch quaffer after a tough day at work. $18. https://robertstein.com.au
Friday, February 15, 2019
The Ashmead family can be relied upon to produce impressive wines at fair prices; often edging towards the more elegant style of Barossa reds. This is a case in point. Traditionally used in fortified wines, regional stalwart grenache has been blended with shiraz and mourvedre from the family estates at Greenock. There is a lot of flavour here, some complexity, too, but most of all there is serious drinkability - think blueberries and violets. Matured in French oak puncheons for 15 months, this speaks quietly but powerfully, and would pair admirably with just about any hearty meat dish from burgers to casseroles. $34. www.eldertonwines.com.au.
Saturday, February 2, 2019
Calling all lovers of Chablis. If you are finding your fresh, citrus/mineral favourite increasingly expensive then here is a very good Australian alternative from Kooyong on the Mornington Peninsula. There is a floral/talcum powder nose leading on to an impressive intensity and acidity on the palate. Think pithy manadarin and grapefruit, hinits of ripe dtone fruits, with just a hint of nuttiness. Wonderfully fresh and beguiling. My bet is you'll empty the bottle quick smart. $34. www.kooyongwines.com.au.
Thursday, January 24, 2019
The Marlborough sauvignon blanc boom appears to be coming to a crunching halt; there are too many generic wines and a whole lot of desperate discounting. There are, however, still several brands still making stellar examples, among them Greywacke and Dog Point (both brands with links to regional pioneer Cloudy Bay). This is hand-picked from vines that are farmed organically and made with serious attention to detail. There is part indigenous ferment but no oak treatment, meaning the palate is fresh and racy. There are citrus, herbal and flinty notes here, plenty of texture and juicy fruit. Great with a seafood platter. $25. www.dogpoint.co.nz/
Thursday, January 17, 2019
It is becoming harder and harder to find affordable entry-level pinot noir. New producers in Tasmania are asking for, and getting, $50 a bottle, big names in the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula command similar price tags. Rabbit Ranch is the intro label of Central Otago star Chard Farm - and this offers all you'd want from a juicy, fruity, uncomplicated but very enjoyable midweek pinot. Think bright red fruit, bramble bush notes and low tannins in a rewarding fruit-forward slurper. $27. www.rabbitranch.co.nz.
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
I'm drinking a lot of rosé at this time of the year. The paler, more savoury versions are crisp, refreshing and food-friendly. This certainly fits the bill: a blend of 70% mourvedre and 30% grenache from Elderton's Greenock vineyard on the western side of the Barossa. Using early picked fruit, this is a delightfully vibrant wine with crisp acid finish. Next time I'm enjoying Lebanese dips and pitta bread I will order a bottle of this and savour it. Bloody good. $25. www.eldertonwines.com.au.
Monday, December 31, 2018
It is hard to go wrong with an Oakridge chardonnay. No matter the price point, winemaker David Bicknell and his team have the Midas touch. Made using fruit from a grower in Woori Yallock, owned by a guy called Henk, this Yarra Valley wine offers whole lot for not a lot of money; it was hand-picked and whole-bunch pressed, fermented in large-format oak and spent 10 months on lees. The end result is a wine that is right in the zone; with plenty of depth and structure, but - more importantly - serious instant drinkability. 96/100. $42. www.oakridgewines.com.au