I am so excited about the quality of wines in this summer edition. There were another 20 wines that could have been included. You can guarantee that these wines are exceptional – trophy winners, highly pointed wines and amazingly, all under $20. As our oenologists increasingly understand the complexity of the various terroir in this country, they continue to surprise us with gems like the seductive Rhone like Willunga 100 Shiraz Viognier.
There are more Rieslings than usual in this line up, reflecting the exceptional quality and value from the 2012 vintage (and Clare) and we are still long on the outstanding Shiraz and Cabernets from 2010. There are a couple of serious roses offered for summer consumption, one from Nebbiolo. Only four wines have carried over from the winter edition indicating how quickly good vintages run out, so be quick with these gems!
As with previous posts, links are provided directly to product descriptions and ordering capability at the cheapest known source.
Seppelt Salinger Select Cuvee NV at Kemenys for $17.99
Brown Bros Pinot Chardonnay Pinot Meuniere NV at Kemenys for $18.90
Seppelt the Original Sparkling Shiraz 2007 at Kemenys for $17.90
Back Vintage Chardonnay Cuvee Pinot Brut NV – Back Vintage at $12.99
Castle Rock Great Southern 2012 Chardonnay from Winesnob for $18.95
Flametree Margaret River Chardonnay 2011 from Dan Murphys for $18.95
Hoddles Creek Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2011 from Cloudwine for $19
Stonier Mornington Peninsular Chardonnay 2011 from Dan Murphys at $19.90
Taylors Estate Clare Valley Riesling 2012 from Crackawines at $16.95
O’Leary Walker Polish Hill River Riesling 2012 at Dan Murphys for $19.95
Skillogalee Riesling Clare Valley 2011 from Cloudwine for $19.90
Tim Adams Clare Valley Riesling 2012 from Kemenys for $17.75
Tim Adams Clare Valley Semillon 2010 from Cloudwine for $19
De Bortoli Deen de Bortoli Vat 5 Botrytis Semillon 375ml from Dan Murphys for $10.45 (sticky)
Alkoomi White Label Frankland River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2010 from Crackawines at $18.50
Cooks Lot Orange Sauvignon Blanc 2012 from Boutiquewines for $16
Rolling Pink 2011 (from Orange!) at Cumulus Wines cellar door for $17
Longview Boat Shed Nebbiolo Rose 2012 from Cellardoor for $18.45
Back Vintage Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz 2010 from BackVintage for $19.99
Dandelion Vineyards Lionheart of the Barossa Shiraz 2010 from United Cellars for $19.99
O’Leary Walker Clare Valley Shiraz 2010 from Kemenys for $17.99
Torzi Matthews Schist Rock Barossa Valley Shiraz 2011 from Cloudwine for an amazing $18
Willunga 100 McLaren Vale Shiraz Viognier 2010 from Cloudwine for $19 (trophy winner)
Xanadu Next of Kin Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from Wine Selectors for $15.30
Kemeny’s Hidden Label Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from Kemenys at $17.99
Yalumba the Cigar Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon from Kemenys at $19.75
Longview Creek Pippin Macedon Region Pinot Noir 2010 from Cloudwine at $15.95
Tarrawarra Estate Pinot Noir 2010 from Dan Murphys at $19.95
Zeppelin Barossa Valley Grenache 2010 from Cloudwine at $18
Smallfry Joven Barossa Valley Tempranillo, Garnacha, Monastrell, Carinena and Bastardo direct from Smallfry at $20
NOTE: This post has been superseded by the SUMMER EDITION at http://rebounds.com.au/30-great-australian-wines-under-20-3/ for 2012/13. Wines in this post are now mostly out of stock.
The 2012 winter edition is a little behind schedule. Sorry. This post includes some wines from the amazing 2010 vintage, with Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale featuring heavily.
There is heavy sourcing from Dan Murphy’s, Nicks – retailers with diverse ranges and keen pricing. All wines are hyperlinked to the specific product on the retailer’s website.
- Domain Chandon non-vintage brut. Dan Murphys at $18.90
- Yellowglen Perle non-vintage. Dan Murphys at $17.95. Excellent value.
- Brown Brothers Pinot Chardonnay Mueniere NV. Dan Murphys at $18.95
- Bundaleer sparkling Shiraz NV direct from the winery at $20. An old favourite
- Maritime Estate Pinot Gris 2010. Mornington Peninsula Nicks at $19.99
- Leeuwin Estate Siblings Sauvignon Blanc/Semilllon Margaret River 2010 Vintage Cellars $19.99
- Tim Adams Clare Valley Semillon 2010. Cloudwine at $19
- Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2011. Dan Murphys at $15.90. A bargain.
- Dandelion Vineyards Wishing Clock Sauvignon Blanc 2011. Vintage Cellars $19.99
- Jim Barry Lodge Hill Clare Valley Lodge Hill Riesling 2011. Dan Murphys $18.90
- Heggies Riesling Barossa Valley 2011. Dan Murphys at $16.90
- Stonier Chardonnay Mornington Peninsula 2010. Nicks at $17.99
- Hill Smith Estate Chardonnay Eden Valley 2010. Nicks at $17.99
- Hoddle’s Creek Chardonnay. Yarra Valley 2011. Cloudwine $19
- Pitchfork Chardonnay. Margaret River 2011. Cloudwine $15
- Yering Station Chardonnay Yarra Valley 2008 Kemenys at $19.99
- Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir Yarra Valley 2011 Vintage Cellars at $19.19
- Balnaves of Coonawarra The Blend Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2010. Cloudwine at $20
- Kemenys Hidden Label Merlot. Coonawarra. KHL 5215. 2010 Kemenys at $14.99. Value!
- Cumulus Climbing Merlot. Orange 2010. Dan Murphys $16.15
- Thorn Clarke Shotfire Quartage Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Malbec/Merlot Barossa Valley 2010 Nicks at $16.99
- Mr Riggs Outpost Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Nicks at $19.99
- Journeys End Coonawarra Station Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Nicks at $19.99. Good value from an excellent vintage in Coonawarra
- Kaesler Stonehorse Shiraz Grenache Mouvedre Barossa Valley 2008 Nicks at $16.99
- Taylors Reserve Parcel Shiraz. Clare Valley 2010 Dan Murphys at $19.90
- Robert Oatley Signature Series Shiraz McLaren Vale 2010 Dan Murphys at $16.90
- Wolf Blass Gold Label Shiraz. Barossa Valley 2010. Dan Murphys at $17.90. Brilliant.
- Shottesbrooke Shiraz 2010. McLaren Vale Dan Murphys at $17.90
- O’Leary Walker Shiraz 2010. Clare Valley Nicks at $17.99
- Torbreck Woodcutters Shiraz 2010 Barossa Valley Nicks at $19.99. Wow!!
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS POST HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED BY A NEW ONE – GO TO http://rebounds.com.au/category/wine-review/
• This site is updated quarterly due to vintage changes and new releases
• As the wine lake evaporates, prices are rising and we may not get value like this at $20 or less for much longer.
• Suppliers please note that the author will evaluate products for this price point. Contact by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
• Seppelt 2006 Original Sparkling Shiraz at Wine Star for $20. A classic style
• Croser sparkling brut NV at Kemenys for $20. Great value for quality fizz!
• Spinifex Rose 2011 from North Sydney Cellars at $20 – made from Grenache, Cinsault, Mataro and Carignan in a Rhone style.
• Walter Clappis the Hedonist McLaren Vale Sangiovese Rose 2011 direct from winery for $20
It’s increasingly hard to find good pinot at this price point. These two Yarra Valley wines deliver:
• Oakridge Over the Shoulder Pinot Noir 2010 direct from the winery for $20
• Ingram Road Pinot Noir 2010 from Cloudwine at an amazing $18
• Celestial Bay (Margaret River) Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Cloudwine for $16
• Reschke Vitulus Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from Nicks for $20
• Climbing Cabernet Sauvignon from Orange, Vintage Cellars at $17.60 (case lots)
• Journey’s End Vineyards Coonawarra Station Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. An excellent wine from a great vintage. Nick’s for $20
• Tar and Roses Heathcote Shiraz 2009 at Dan Murphys for $16.15
• Tyrrell’s Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz 2008 at Vintage Cellars for $18.40
• Kurtz Family Boundary Row Barossa Valley Shiraz 2008 at Nicks for $20
• Hardys D641 Shiraz 2007 made for Kemenys at $20. Good value for an older wine.
OTHER RED VARIETALS
• Coriole Sangiovese McLaren Vale 2010 from Vintage Cellars at $20. Best of breed.
• Running with Bulls Tempranillo from wineboxwarehouse.com.au at $18.76
The four rieslings presented are masterpieces:
• Best’s Great Western Riesling 2011 at Cloudwine for $20
• O’Leary Walker Polish Hill River Riesling 2011. Nicks for $20
• Dandelion Wonderland of the Eden Valley Riesling 2011 Cloudwine $20
• Skillogalee Clare Valley Riesling 2011 from Crackawines for $20
• Hoddles Creek Chardonnay 2010 from Cloudwine for $19. Excellent!
• Barwang Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2011 from Kemenys – for a crazy $13.75
• Punt Road Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2010 from Dan Murphys for $20
• Stonier Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay 2010 from Vintage Cellars for $20
• Logan Sauvignon Blanc from Orange 2011 from myshopping.com.au for $20
• Philip Shaw no 19 Sauvignon Blanc from Orange 2011 from Dan Murphys for $20
OTHER WHITE VARIETIES
• Tim Adams Clare Valley Pinot Gris 2011 from Cloudwine at $19
• Stella Bella Maragret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2009 at Dan Murphys for $20
• Mount Pleasant Heritage Collection Elizabeth Semillon 2005 – an aged Semillon for $17 at Kemenys
• Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2010 from Dan Murphys for $17.10
• Buller’s Premium Fine Old Muscat from Cloudwine for $20. An unbelievable gem.
image by katiew
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS POST HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED BY A NEW ONE – GO TO http://rebounds.com.au/category/wine-review/
Here they are – the best value wines in Australia (with a stray NZ pinot). All wines are available at the time of writing, with hyperlinks link to the cheapest source I could find.
- Brown Brothers NV Pinot Noir Chardonnay and Pinot Meuniere. From the King Valley, without doubt the best Australian sparkling under $20. Nicks $19.99
- Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz 2006. A classic – spicy black fruit with length and balance. Perfect for Christmas dinner turkey. Boccacio Cellars at an amazing $18.99
- Pewsey Vale Riesling 2011 – Clean, citrus zest, lime and mineral texture. Amazing value at $13.99 from Kemenys
- Heggies Riesling 2011. A tightly structured Barossan gem. Dan Murphys $17.99.
- Tar and Roses Pinot Grigio 2011. One of the best of this style from Don Lewis, showing crisp pear and nougat. Well priced from Dan Murphys at $16.15
- Montgomerys Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2010. Fresh asparagus and tropical fruit salad – a wine from Albany direct from the winery at $18.00
- Stella Bella Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2010. From Margaret River, a classic blend and easy Christmas drinking. Grays on line at $19.99
- De Iuliis Semillon 2011. A lively, fresh Semillon from the Hunter from Cloudwine at $17
- Bellarmine Estate Chardonnay 2010. A winner from Pemberton. Stone fruit and length, Fantastic buying at Boccacio cellars at $18.99
- Ingram Road 2010 Chardonnay. Another impressive chardonnay from the Yarra Valley. Available from Cloudwine at $16
- Barwang Chardonnay 2011 – outstanding Tumbarumba sourced Chardonnay. $13.75 at Kemenys – not on line but in the latest catalogue
- Dandelion Fairytale of the Barossa Rose 2011. A serious wine better than the competition. Halliday 95 points. Cloudwine $20
- Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir 2010. Brilliant value quality pinot from the Yarra Valley from a great vintage. This is a must buy. $16.99 at Kemenys
- Palliser Estate Pencarrow Pinot Noir 2010. An excellent Martinborough pinot at an unbelievable price from Cloudwine for $18
- Tar and Roses Alpine Valleys Heathcote Tempranillo 2010. The best yet – rich mulberries and hints of blackcurrant with impressive length, balance and structure. Dan Murphys $18.99
- Hidden label Langhorne Creek Cabernet Malbec 2006 KHL 1307. Sells for $33 under its own label. Impressive wine at Kemenys at $17
- Tatachilla Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. From Mclaren Vale, an outstanding wine. Be quick! From Winelistaustralia on line for $19.99
- Majella ‘the Musician” Cabernet Shiraz 2010. A 55/45 blend from the Coonawarra winery. Beautiful wine from Topwineries on line at $17.99
- Plantagenet Omrah 2009 Shiraz. From Mount Barker with ripe fragrant red currant fruit and velvety texture. Go direct to cellar door at Plantagenet Wines $18.00
- Philip Shaw Idiot Shiraz 2010. From the emerging Orange district. A great wine from a globally recognised maker. Topwineries on line at $19.99
The quarterly dozen of goodies came through from Cloudwine a couple of weeks ago. One of my pet aversions is regular dozens that turn up “wine club style” – despatches over which you have no control, and which are often padded with slow sellers. Well, I’ve made one exception, because Chris and his team serve up interesting, quality, value entries that are not found in the big box retailers. Subscribers also have the ability to tailor the styles according to preference.
It was a surprise and a pleasure to open the 2007 Sieber Road Grenache (42%), Shiraz (40%) Mouvedre (18%), as part of the latest pack. The only problem is that it came after I published the latest list of fine Australian wines under $20, because this one would have made it. At $15 by the dozen at cellar door, it’s excellent value and right in the sweet spot for my blog. Check the vintage though as this reviewed wine is a 2007 vintage from Cloudwine for $20.
Sieber Road is in the western Barossa – close to Seppeltsfield – and cropped low by Ben Sieber for more intense flavour. The GSM is a mouthful of exploding fruit. Although the GSM blend is the classic style from the southern Rhone, the French would be astonished at the succulent fruit and power of this little Barossan beauty. At 15% alcohol, it’s a big wine but not unbalanced. It opens with sweet, plummy fruit, fills the palate with spices and mocha, and has sufficient length to make the total experience a drinking pleasure. I’ve given it a weighty 92 points, which at $15 is a true bargain.
Note – just tasted this wine again – day 2, 24 hours breathing. Not as impressed. Brown tinges, fruit more jammy and not as lively. Not a wine to cellar. Tonight 90, night one 92.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS POST HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED BY A NEW ONE – GO TO http://rebounds.com.au/category/wine-review/
In early July, I published 30 great wines under $20. Some of those wines have now sold out so here’s a supplementary list (late August 2011) of 13 reds and 14 whites. Each and every wine represents excellent value for money.
James Halliday’s Wine Companion is normally a good source for value wines at this time of year, however, within days of the book launch, most of his recommendations in the “value list” had sold out or were on to the next vintage. This list provides a direct link to suggested wines at particular retailers – at the cheapest prices I could find. I make no apology for the fact that there is a strong showing from Dan Murphy’s (Woolworths, national), Vintage Cellars (Coles, national) and the privately owned Kemeny’s (Sydney) – serious wine retailers with very competitive pricing; and Cloudwine (Melbourne), a brilliant boutique wine specialist stocking products that don’t show up in mainstream retail. Some other wines have suggested on line distributors. By the way, some of the listed products would not make the $20 cut-off point at recommended retail prices. Don’t you just love competition?
The best two sparklings are the ones on the original list – and still available. Try also
- Dal Zotto “Pucino” King Valley Prosecco Non-Vintage $19.50 Cloudwine
- Hardy’s Limited Cellar Release Yarra Valley Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pinot Meuniere 2008 $17 exclusive to Vintage Cellars. One of Ed Carr’s gems.
- Dandelion “Wonderland of the Eden Valley” Riesling 2010 $20 Cloudwine
- Moppity “Lock and Key” Single Vineyard Hilltops Riesling 2010 $15 topwineries
Chardonnay is still the king of white varieties, with some magnificent entries below:
- Armchair Critic “Under and Over” Tumbarumba Chardonnay $13 Cloudwine – fantastic Chardonnay region
- Plunkett Fowles “Stone Dwellers” Chardonnay 2010 Strathbogie $19.90 Dan Murphy’s
- Moppity Vineyards Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2008. $19 Cloudwine
- Mike Press Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2010 $10 matesrates – almost sold out
- Phillip Shaw “The Architect” Orange Chardonnay 2010 $19 crackawines – great wine from an emerging region
- Catherine Vale Hunter Valley Semillon 2009 $15 cellar door
- Mount Pleasant “Elizabeth” Semillon 2005 $18 Kemeny’s – value!
- Lenton Brae Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2010 $20 Auscellardoor
- Catalina Sounds Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 $20 Vintage Cellars
- Chain of Ponds “Amelia’s Letter” Pinot Grigio 2010 $20 Cloudwine
A big line up of fine, value, Shiraz entries – we are blessed in Australia!
- Maglieri McLaren Vale 09 Shiraz $17 Top Wineries
- Rock Bare McLaren Vale Shiraz 09 $17 Grays on line
- Tar and Roses Heathcote Shiraz 2009 $13.90 Dan Murphy’s
- Dandelion “Lionheart” Barossa Valley Shiraz 2009 $20 Vintage Cellars -( note: showing $23.99 on line but seen at $20 in store).
- Chapman Grove “Dreaming Dog” Margaret River Shiraz $16 Crackawines
- Leasingham Bin 61 Clare Shiraz $18 Dan Murphy’s – an old favourite
- Wynns Black label Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon2008 $19.99 Kemeny’s – smart price
- Celestial Bay Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 $16 Cloudwine – mellow
- McWilliams Mount Pleasant “Jack” Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon $16 Nick’s Wines
- Leasingham Bin 56 Clare Cabernet Malbec 2008 $16.90 Dan Murphy’s
- Hidden Label NZ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008 $20 Kemeny’s (from the 8th state of Australia)
- Kalleske’s “Clarry’s” Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2010 $19 Cloudwine
- Schild Estate Barossa Valley Grenache Mouvedre Shiraz 2010 $15 ANZ wines
Enjoy! Now, what have I missed? Please post other gems known to you.
NOTE: December 2011 – Many people are still visiting this site from search engines. While some of the wines are still available, I have updated the list which is reflected in the latest “best 20 wines under $20 – christmas 2011″ I suggest you use this list first.
Some friends recently asked me to nominate the best Australian wines under $20. Given that my blog targets this segment, I’ve decided to post the list, and to seek support from you to identify other entries. It’s totally subjective and isn’t the product of exhaustive sampling. More like the start of a conversation. I have provided links to the best price I can find, but can’t guarantee that they’re the lowest. If you’re buying, make sure you get the vintage specified. Some of these have almost sold out, so be quick. Here are 30 of the best value Australian (I should say Australasian as there are four NZ entries) wines available today:
- Back Vintage Chardonnay Pinot Cuvee Brut at $12.99 – simply stunning. On line.
- Bundaleer NV Sparkling Shiraz – Southern Flinders Ranges. Decadent! $18 cellar door.
Isn’t it great to see Chardonnay returning to its rightful place at the top of the white varietals? The best value and quality tend to come from Yarra Valley and Margaret River, with Tumbarumba, Tasmania and Adelaide Hills snapping at their heels. Cool climate rules!
- Oakridge 2009 Over the Shoulder Yarra Valley Chardonnay – cheapest of David Bicknall’s many chardonnays, but wow! $18.99 at Randall’s
- Xanadu Next of Kin Margaret River Chardonnay 2009. $16 @ Vintage Cellars.
- Hoddles Creek Estate Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2010. Halliday 95. Sensational. Restrained. Cloudwine at $19
- Madfish Sideways Margaret River Chardonnay 2009. $15.99 at Winerywines
- Barwang Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2010. $13.90 Dan Murphy. Value
As a category, these wines represent outstanding quality and value for money in a global context. It’s hard to go past the Clare and Eden Valleys.
- O’Leary Walker 2010 Polish Hill River Riesling. Fantastic! $16.99 @ Winestar on line
- Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2010. Brilliant. $17 by the case @ Auswine on line
- Jim Barry’s Lodge Hill Dry Riesling 2011. $19 mail order. Excellent. (Find some 2010!)
- Jacob’s Creek Reserve Riesling 2010. A ridiculous $13 @ Grays on line
SEMILLON and SAUVIGNON BLANC
Hunter and Barossa are the two strong Semillon regions, with an occasional gem from Margaret River. Best Sauvignon Blancs from NZ. The big trend now to blends of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc:
- Peter Lehmann Margaret Barossa Semillon 2005. Winner best white wine Sydney Show 2011. $24.75 at Kemeny’s. If this is breaking the rules or too dear, try the straight Peter Lehmann 2009 Semillon @ $13.
- Brokenwood Hunter Semillon 2009. Sydney Gold, Halliday 95. $16.94 @ Mycellars
- Leeuwin Estate MR Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2009 $19.99 at Vintage Cellars
- Rabbit Ranch Central Otago NZ 2009 Sauvignon Blanc @ $19 from Cloudwine
- Astrolabe 2010 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. $19.99 at Nick’s
Good pinot is expensive so there are slim pickings in this segment.
- Pencarrow 2009 Martinborough Pinot Noir. Great value. $17.99 @ Nick’s
- Yeland’s Way Pinot Noir Martinborough and Central Otago blend. Available from boutique retailer, Cloudwine, for $16
- Hoddles Creek Yarra Valley Pinot Noir also from Cloudwine for $19
Typically Barossa and Heathcote are the heroes, however good shiraz is widely grown:
- Leopardwood Reserve Heathcote Shiraz 2009. $15 at Wineboss or Yarran Wines James Halliday 94. Exceptional value.
- Thorn Clarke Shotfire Ridge Barossa Shiraz 2009. Rich. $17.99 at Topwineries
- Hardy’s HRB D641 Shiraz (from several areas) $19.95 at Dan Murphy. Excellent wine
- Innocent Bystander Syrah 2009 from Yarra Valley and Pyrenees. A Rhone style elegant, ethereal wine. $16.99 on line from Topwineries
The two outstanding Cabernet areas in Australia are Coonawarra and Margaret River:
- Kemeny’s Hidden Label Reserve 2008 Coonawarra Cabernet KHL 2518 $17. Value!
- Brand’s Laira Blockers Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. $19.95 Dan Murphy (Watch vintages on this – for example Vintage Cellars have the 2007)
- Ringbolt Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. $17.95 Dan Murphy
- Xanadu Next of Kin Margaret River 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon $16 at Vintage Cellars.
- Flametree Embers Margaret River 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. Member price $15
- Running with Bulls Tempranillo 2010. Great food wine. $16.99 Wineboxwarehouse
- Turkey Flat Barossa Valley Butcher’s Block Shiraz Grenache Mouvedre 2009, a hot price of $16.90 at Dan Murphys.
Maybe you can add to this list. I can only dream about them as I soldier through “Dry July”
I’ve been reluctant to write about the Back Vintage Chardonnay Pinot Cuvee Brut bottle fermented sparkling wine, for fear of affecting the continuous supply. However, I’m assured that there’s plenty for all, so here we go.
We discovered this amazing value wine about 3 years ago and successive batches (suspect they are always a blend of vintages) have been consistently good, despite sourcing fruit from different cool climate areas. The current offer is a blend of chardonnay (56%) and Pinot Noir (49%) – the classical champagne varieties – from the King and Ovens Valleys in north east Victoria.
Back Vintage simply offers great wines at low prices. Julian Todd has developed a business without a middleman that is starting to be a burr under the saddle of Woolworths and Coles, who continue to bolt on liquor businesses (How does this happen ACCC?). One of the smartest moves by Julian was to engage Nick Bullied MW, to select and endorse all wines that are blended, bottled and sold under the Back Vintage brand. Bullied targets the best varietal – regional marriages and works to the target price point of $12.99 a bottle. The results have been stunning. Check the website and browse for yourself.
The current offering is mainly from the 2008 Vintage, Serve this wine masked against Croser, Salinger, Yarra Burn, Brown Brothers and Jansz and you might get a big surprise. Our guests over the years have been astonished by the quality, and many have become regular consumers. Now the secret is out!
My tasting notes include comments like, “clean dry, fresh with some complexity”. The wine rested on yeast lees for 18 months (how can they sell it for $12.99?) with attractive bread on the nose and clean apple and pear fruit towards the finish. My three daughters and wife have become known as the “fizz sisters” because whenever they get together, I need to restock this wine. They love it, as do I. 12.0% alcohol and rated an amazing 92/100. Get some today.
What a surprise it was to open the 2009 Elefante tempranillo – shiraz, from Tierra de Castilla. Castilla is the setting of Miguel de Cervantes novel, Don Quixote, and is the spiritual heart of Spain. Elefante is named in honour of a bull that achieved a unique feat – twice receiving a pardon for exceptional bravery.
Despite favourable exchange rates, it staggers me that such a fine wine can be on sale in Melbourne at – wait for it – $10 a bottle. The wine was purchased from Cloudwine – a specialist retailer with three stores in Melbourne. Cloudwine focuses on small producers and have some gems, which they will deliver anywhere in Australia. Contact details are email@example.com or +613 96996700. Ask for Chris.
Elefante thrills! It is a bold wine and opens with lifted berry/cherry/stewed fruit and some burnt wood (oak chips?) It’s travelled thousands of kilometres, however the wine is in great condition with enticing brick red colour. Elefante delivers, in true tempranillo fashion, a savoury palate that makes it an excellent food wine. It’s full bodied and beautifully balanced and has length to delight to the finish, even though the charred oak hangs around. I’ve never seen this blend before. It works well with the savoury and structured tempranillo complemented by the ripe berry characters of the shiraz.
I have scanned domestic producers for wedding wines – many much more expensive – but have not found anything to match the quality and value of this little gem. Apparently it’s still available so do yourself a favour and get a case. The wine is 14% alcohol; 60% tempranillo and 40% shiraz. I have given it 90/100 – which surely must represent the best value wine on the planet.
A generation ago, sparkling red was considered a frivolous beverage to all but a handful of afficionados. On the one hand there were those who played with (and were often deflowered by) frivolous wines like Cold Duck, and on the other, some lucky souls sipped serious wines like the legendary Seppelts Sparkling Burgundys from 1963, 64, 72 and 82.
We’re not allowed to use that descriptor any more – which is a good thing as many red varieties are now nurtured under methode champenoise. You can buy Sparkling Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, Durif, Pinot and I’m sure soon a Tempranillo or Nebbiolo!
Having been committed to stock one wall of the cellar with sparkling red for many years to achieve marital harmony, there is long family experience in this style. It is therefore with great delight that I can share a secret about a fine example of Sparkling Shiraz with my subscribers.
The wine is a Dorrien Estate Lockwood Smith non-vintage Cuvee Shiraz. Dorrien Estate, described by its marketers as the best kept secret in Australia, makes small volumes that are exclusively distributed by Cellarmasters (which is about to be bought by Woolworths). It might be hard to find, but at $17 it is worth pursuing to the end of the earth.
This wine has rich, ripe, dark brooding fruit in beautiful balance, it is a fine Shiraz in its own right with yet another level of excitement and palate stimulation provided by the fine bead that caresses the taste buds to the very end. Full of full flavoured cherries and plums with a lifted nose, this wine is an exceptional drinking experience. Under crown seal, at 14% alcohol and at $17, I have given this wine 95/100. Find some!!