Posts Tagged ‘semillon’

best 20 wines under $20 - christmas 2011

best 20 wines under $20 – christmas 2011

November 27, 2011  |  main blog, wine review  |  4 Comments


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
fine australian wines under $20

fine australian wines under $20

August 25, 2011  |  wine review  |  1 Comment


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

Other whites

  • 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

Other reds

  • 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.

30 great australian wines under $20

30 great australian wines under $20

July 4, 2011  |  life, wine review  |  3 Comments


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


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”