Friday, June 24, 2011
Bella Riva is the new label from Leanne de Bortoli and Steve Webber, who are utilising mainly Italian grape varieties grown in Victoria's King Valley to produce easy-drinking, food-friendly wines for under $20. The red wine of the pair is 2009 blend of sangiovese and merlot that is soft, savoury, rustic and very gluggable. Here the addition of vermentino lifts the pinot grigio, resulting in an aromatic wine that has pear and lemon/lime notes, some nuttiness and great chalky acidity on the finish. An impressive debut - and I like the QR code that takes you direct to an informative video. $18. www.bellariva.com.au.
If you are looking for value for money you've come to the right place. I reckon you'd struggle to find a better $20 chardonnay than this one from Franco d'Anna, whose Yarra Valley wines always seem under-priced to me. This one has length, finesse, sensible oak treatment and lovely balance. It is driven by stone fruit and grapefruit flavours and has a crisp acid finish. Thoroughly modern, thoroughly delicious - and it is just 13.2% alcohol, too. The label is minimalist, with no tasting notes or background info, and the website was being constructed when I checked. Not a problem. The wine quality speaks for itself. $20. www.hoddlescreekestate.com.au.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Greg Melick and his team at boutique Coal River Valley producer Pressing Matters make an impreessive array of rieslings with various levels of residual sugar. This is a beautifully developed wine that is indisputably sweet (139 grams per litre of sugar no less), but is not at all cloying and has some lovely crisp finishing acid. There are some intense citrus and floral aromas and marmalade/dried fruit flavours on the palate and the wine paired beautifullly with an old-fashioned steamed pudding. A perfect Tasmanian winter combination. $26 for 375mls. www.pressingmatters.com.au
Monday, June 13, 2011
If you are looking for a wine that will bring back that summer feeling, you won't do much better than this bright, breezy and affordable rosé from the funky Bunkers stable in Margaret River, where wines are named after local surf breaks. Delicate and dangerously drinkable, if this were a pop band it would be Beach Boys - think great harmonies, sweet, high notes and unexpected complexity. Made from shiraz grapes, it's alive with fresh red cherry and ripe strawberry characters, along with hints of Asian spices. It's one for enjoying young and well chilled with Mediterranean or Middle Eastern dishes. And you can't argue about the price. $18. www.bunkerswines.com.au
Saturday, June 4, 2011
This is a Tasmanian wine from the Coal River Valley outside Hobart that has developed beautifully in recent months - an ugly duckling transformed into a beautiful swan. It was one of the stars of the recent Trans Tasman 7s tasting and is quite an elegant style of pinot with some distinguished fruit flavours and great tannin structure. It opens up in the glass, revealing dark cherries and spicy hints along with persistent dryness on the long finish. A really delightful drink and great value, too. $35. www.clemenshill.com.au