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Here is a welcome surprise as we enter the season of barbecues and al fresco dining; a big, bold, typically Australian shiraz that is an ideal partner for anything from gourmet burgers to a sausage sandwich. It features fruit from three states, including parcels from the Murray Darling, Riverina, Padthaway, Gundagai, Coonawarra and Mount Lofty. There is a lot going on here; powerful fruit flavours (blackberry and dark plum to the fore) rule but there is also an inherent drinkability thanks to a soft finish. Nice structure - great value. $13. www.bertonvineyards.com.au/
Calling all lovers of Petit Chablis and Chablis; of wines from the Macon, and St Veran. Seriously good chardonnay here in the style of White Burgundy from one of the best producers on the Mornington Peninsula. Winemaker Glen Hayley doesn't attract a lot of headlines, but he's damn good at his job. Both the Kooyong wines and those under the Port Phillip Estate label are ruthlessly reliable. This is lean, sleek, impeccably balanced and very gluggable with citrus and minerality the key drivers. $34. www.kooyongwines.com.au.
The Yarra Valley is best known for chardonnay and pinot noir, but it is increasingly also producing outstanding medium-bodied shirazes. The Seville Estate 2018 is a case in point;diabolically drinkable. The estate range is made using a combination of old vines planted in 1972 and younger vines planted in 1996. All grapes are handpicked and sorted in the vineyard (50% whole bunch). The end result is floral fruity aromas and very classy red fruit flavours with some some Asian spice input. Seriously good drinking, even in its youth.
Fraser Gallop Estate in Margaret River is renowned for its chardonnays, with the 2018 Parterre Chardonnay awarded "best in show" at the recent Decanter World Wine Awards in London. Both the 2018 and 2019 Parterre chardonnays are standouts, but this less flashy sibling caught my fancy. Bordeaux and Burgundy grape varieties both thrive in the Wilyabrup soils and this hits all the right notes; a wine that is quietly contemplative; wild fermented, matured in new and second-fill oak. It is beautifully composed with freshness and acidity - think tropical notes - but also complexity and texture. Great work from former Vasse Felix winemaker Clive Otto $38. www.frasergallopestate.com.au.
This may well be my favourite Hunter Valley shiraz of the year. If you are in the market for a medium-to-big-bodied red then you've certainly come to the right place. This is the flagship shiraz from the Eather brothers from Meerea Park - made from the best single parcel of shiraz grapes they harvest each vintage. Situated on Palmers Lane in Pokolbin, the ‘Homestead’ vineyard is the fruit source for this wine. The vines are well established and mature, having been planted in the mid 1960s - the decade of love and music. And if this were a piece of music it would be a Ritchie Blackmore guitar solo - a virtuoso performance. It's deep purple in colour (see what I did there) with oak and tannins combining for a plush, flashy virtuoso finish. $110. www.meereapark.com.au