Sunday, December 9, 2018

Maxwell 2016 Four Roads Old Vine Grenache


Red wine doesn't get any more quintessentially Australian than this juicy, earthy, intense old-vine grenache from McLaren Vale in South Australia. It is made from grenache vines that have grown for 89 years - formerly as bush vines but now trellised to keep them ripening evenly as they grow older. There is a whole lot happening here from spice notes on the nose and palate, dark fruits, savoury undertones and well integrated French oak. If this were human it would come with a broad smile and a cheery G'day. 14.8% alcohol and begging to matched with charred meat on a summer barbecue, and cricket on the telly. $28. www.maxwellwines.com.au

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Singlefile 2018 Great Southern Riesling


An increasing number of Australia's finest rieslings are being made in West Australia's Great Southern region. This is a prime example; crisp and as effortlessly impressive as a Smokey Robinson vocal. From an excellent riesling vintage, this offers fragrant aromas and zippy minerality on a palate with citrusy acidity to the fore. It finishes bone dry with plenty of length. An excellent accompaniment to whiting or crustaceans over the summer. $25. www.singlefilewines.com

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thorn-Clarke 2018 Sandpiper Chardonnay


You don't find many chardonnays this stylish for under $20 a bottle. This is razor-sharp on trend with cool-climate fruit from the Eden Valley producing a wine that has plenty of flavour but is also refined and delicate. It's all about the quality fruit with citrus notes and white stone fruit flavours combining impressively with a small percentage of French oak. Lees contact has added some texture. There is everything you'd want in a modern Aussie chardonnay here; it's well worth snapping up a case for Christmas. $20. www.thornclarkewines.com.      

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Pizzini 2018 Pinot Grigio


This is pinot grigio in the classic northern Italian style from a family of style leaders in the little Italian enclave of the King Valley in Victoria. I've always felt the brisk refreshment of grigio is a better fit for the Australian lifestyle than the oilier gris style and this is a very good choice for summer refreshment. Aromatic, crisp, bright and lively with citrus and lemon sherbet notes along with ripe pear to the fore, this is a wine for enjoying well chilled in its youth. Great with picnics, salads and seafood dishes. $21. www.pizzini.com.au 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Glaetzer-Dixon 2014 La Judith Pinot Noir



Looking for a special bottle of wine from Tasmania? This is made in tiny quantities (literally just a few hundred bottles) by multi-award-winning winemaker Nick Glaetzer as a homage to his mother. It is a serious, beautifully integrated wine with power, persistent and precision and is, as far as know, the most expensive Tasmanian table wine to be released - a real statement. I much prefer this to the inaugural 2013 release. $220.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Mount Horrocks 2018 Watervale Riesling

Riesling is my "go to" grape for spring and summer quaffing - and this new Clare Valley release is right in the grove; fresh, vibrant and citrusy with minerality and crisp acid finish. There is plenty of length to this estate-grown single vineyard riesling from Watervale and all Stephanie Toole's wines are certified organic and are vegan friendly. This is bone dry and would pair brilliantly with fresh oysters, pan-fried King George whiting, or simply on the back deck with some Jason Isbell country rock on the stereo. Damn fine drinking. Drink now or cellar. 
$34. www.mounthorrocks.com/

Monday, October 8, 2018

Jacob's Creek Estate 2017 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon


Much as we would all like to spend our lives sipping Grosset rieslings and Henschke Hill of Grace, the reality is that most of us have wine budgets that are far more modest. That is why many wine lovers have favourite "midweek" bottles that retail for between $12-$20 but still provide satisfying vinous experiences. This is a very good wine indeed at a lower price point; with ripe, dark blackberry characters from Limestone Coast fruit - and impressive structure. The recommended retail price is $17.99 but I've seen it on special for several dollars cheaper. Snap up a bottle, taste it blind alongside something that costs $30ish, and be prepared for a pleasant surprise. $16. www.jacobscreek.com.