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Wines We Love

Wines We Love

2011 Ben Haines ‘Flowers’ Flor Marsanne

Yarra Valley

A decade in barrel, first under flor yeast, then on ullage (an oxidative environment), it’s fair to say this is a unique wine for this country. This bristles with briny Sherry notes, roasted nuts and linseed, an explosion of orange-skinned citrus and spice riding the uber-dry and saline palate.

2015 Kangarilla Road ‘The Veil’

McLaren Vale

Savagnin under flor yeast, in the style of the wines from France’s Jura region. This vintage is a stunningly bright affair, layered with waxy, briny umami notes and shot through with citric freshness, whipcrack dry and moreish.

2016 Crittenden Estate ‘Cri de Coeur’ Savagnin

Mornington Peninsula

Matured under flor yeast, this is a Mornington Peninsula version of Vin Jaune, loaded with preserved lemon and nutty sherry-like notes, with explosive power and a dryly saline umami carry.

2016 Mérite Malbec

Wrattonbully

A typical varietal tussle of dark fruit is given a good deal of complexity with spice and herbal notes, a ruggedly tannic grip asserting both variety and a pleasingly classic Australian feel.

2017 Bird on a Wire Syrah

Yarra Valley

This is a fragrant, spicy and complex wine, full of sour cherries and wild berries shot through with dry spices, a twiggy complexity and underpinned by a rugged minerality. Supple and lingering, this is benchmark cool climate syrah.

2017 The Wine Farm Gewürztraminer

Gippsland

A flavour bomb of classic gewürz, with Turkish delight, talc and lychees, but with a dry zip to the palate that keeps it super fresh and vibrant.

2018 Chalmers ‘Dott.’ Schioppettino

Heathcote

A riot of spice, wild berries and floral notes on a slippery but taut midweight frame.

2018 Cobaw Ridge Chardonnay

Macedon Ranges

Flinty, white peach and lemon curd, gently textural – this has all the trappings of complex chardonnay, with generosity of flavour and winemaking detail perfectly poised and pitched.

2018 Cullen Wines ‘Grace Madeline’

Margaret River

A blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon from older vines. Cullen has given the fruit a bit of a luxury Bordeaux treatment with plenty of classy oak, but the vibrant lift of cut herbs and cassis leave the strongest impression, with a textual but brightly fresh palate following up.

2018 Fighting Gully Road Petit Manseng

Beechworth

An expressive nose of dried mango and orchard fruits leads to a palate rich with sugar and intensity buoyed and lightened by vigorous acidity and a gentle grip.

2018 Giaconda ‘Estate Vineyard’ Chardonnay

Beechworth

One of the greats in top form – complex, smoky and nutty, this is chardonnay on a grand and impressive scale.

2018 Grenache Wizardry Grenache

Heathcote

A new wine from a new endeavour led by De Bortoli’s ever-restless Steve Webber, this is an earthy, mineral grenache coloured by the ancient soils of Heathcote.

2018 Ocean Eight ‘Verve’ Chardonnay

Mornington Peninsula

This is laden with stone fruit and grapefruit notes, with textural flex on the palate that is straightened by trademark freshness.

2019 Arfion ‘Full Moon Vineyard’ Chardonnay

Yarra Valley

Perfectly pitched chardonnay from Dave Mackintosh, with flavour and elegance in equal measure.

2019 Arfion ‘Willowlake Vineyard’ Pinot Noir

Yarra Valley

From the Yarra Valley’s legendary Willowlake Vineyard, and the equally legendary Dave Mackintosh, this is a pinot noir of real detail and depth, but you can also ignore all that and just focus on its charming drinkability.

2019 Bertrand Bespoke ‘Field Blend’

Bendigo

A field blend leaning on Rhône white varieties, this is all barrel fermented, then raised on lees to build texture and harmonise the varieties into a seamless whole of orchard fruits, granitic minerals and nutty winemaking notes.

2019 Coriole Montepulciano

McLaren Vale

Lesser known Italian varieties are muscling into the limelight right now, and this wine captures why. Packed full of flavour, this has grip and race to keep things fresh – killer with spicy salami pizza.

2019 Cullen ‘Amber’

Margaret River

Vanya Cullen’s ‘Supernatural’ journey into skin-contact whites continues, with the 2019 ‘Amber’ a spicy, fragrant and gently grippy expression of sauvignon blanc.

2019 Cullen ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ Rosé

Margaret River

This rosé is an expression of all the red varieties in the Cullen vineyard viewed through a deep pink lens. Fragrant, spicy and herbal, with a plump of richness cleaned up with a gentle grip working in concert with the acidity.

2019 Cullen ‘Mangan East Block’

Margaret River

A Malbec-dominant red from the Mangan Vineyard, across the road from Cullen’s home site, this is brim full of spice and dark fruits with a refined finish – it makes a pretty compelling case for the grape.

2019 Dilworth & Allain ‘Cope-Williams Vineyard’ Chardonnay

Macedon Ranges

A savoury, textured and mineral chardonnay from 2020’s Young Gun of Wine.

2019 Gatch Wine & Little Bang Brewing Co. ‘Nero Nouveau’

Riverland

Such a new Australian perspective on Sicily’s most important red grape. Light, vibrant, cherry scented and detailed, pitched to take a chill, or not – this is required drinking.

2019 Giaconda ‘Amphora’ Roussanne

Beechworth

A ‘naturally’ styled skin-contact white from a Beechworth master better known for classic styles.

2019 JC’s Own ‘Angaston Foothills’ Grenache

Barossa Valley

From 150-year-old vines, this is fermented all as whole bunches, resulting in a wine laced with evocative spice, orange peel and floral notes to accent the darkly mineral fruit expression.

2019 La Violetta ‘Penury’ Pinot Noir

Manjimup

Earthy and mineral, bristling with spice, dried flowers and sour cherries, this is supple and savoury in equal measure – an utterly distinctive expression.

2019 Lino Ramble ‘Solitaire’ Grillo

McLaren Vale

One of very few wines made from grillo in the country, this is loaded with orchard fruits and a sea spray tang, with texture and bright freshness defining the palate.

2019 Ocean Eight ‘Verve’ Chardonnay

Mornington Peninsula

The ‘Verve’ Chardonnay has garnered a bit of a cult following for its zippy charms. In the cool stone fruit and citrus zone, the 2019 turns the texture up a little notch.

2019 Place of Changing Winds Marsanne

Heathcote

A textural, flavour-intense but light-footed wine, this is loaded with orchard fruits, smoky minerals and waxy notes.

2019 Place of Changing Winds Syrah

Heathcote

This is bursting with spice and wild fruits, with an underlying signature of regional minerality.

2019 Shaw + Smith ‘Lenswood’ Chardonnay

Adelaide Hills

An Adelaide Hills pioneer at the top of their game. Intense stone fruit, complex smoky barrel notes and minerals take the lead.

2019 Swinney Syrah

Frankland River

A tangle of wild berries, spice and minerals are supported by assertive tannins that are a distinctive signature of the Swinney vineyard site.

2019 The Other Wine Co Grenache

McLaren Vale

Red fruits matched with spicy, earthy complexity – easy to love, but with detail for those that care to look.

2019 Yangarra ‘Ovitelli’ Grenache

McLaren Vale

A great example of why grenache is so hot right now. Savoury, aromatic, refined and with a commanding web of tannin, this is compelling stuff.

2019 Yangarra ‘Roux Beauté’ Roussanne

McLaren Vale

Layers of citrus, spice and orchard fruit, overlaid with chalky, savoury accents.

2019 Yarra Yering ‘New Territories’

Yarra Valley

An exercise in spice and leathery savouriness, buoyed by plump red fruits, which are clutched firmly by assertive grapey tannins through the finish.

2020 Bertrand Bespoke ‘L’Ecume du Jour’

Heathcote

A red-fruited rosé pét-nat, bright and crunchy with a chalky, dry and ultra-refreshing palate.

2020 Brash Higgins ‘FRNC’

McLaren Vale

Supple and silky, this is a seductively delicious take on cabernet franc by Brad Hickey.

2020 Brave New Wine ‘Gewurlitzer’

Great Southern

Cloudy, wildly aromatic and delightfully left-of-centre orange wine – just what you expect from Yoko and Andries Mostert.

2020 Chalmers ‘Dott’ Ribolla Gialla

Heathcote

Picked ultra-fresh, this rendition of the great Friulian grape is alive with citrus, apple and herb flavours borne along an electric rail of acidity.

2020 Cullen ‘Mangan East Block’

Margaret River

Malbec and petit verdot conspire to give this wine a darkly fruited, spicy yet floral and lithe profile, packed with complex fruit flavours stretched over a savoury canvas.

2020 Dune ‘Bonaire’ Rosé

McLaren Vale

A classic dry rosé of bright and pure red fruits, but also with a bit more substance and grip – it doesn’t need food, but it’s built with it in mind.

2020 Eden Hall Reserve Riesling

Eden Valley

A riot of citrus, apple and jasmine, the wine is marked by its powerful intensity allied with poise, and generous texture paired with laser-like acidity, the extremes working in perfect concord.

2020 Edenflo ‘Fresh Prince’

Eden Valley

The ‘Fresh Prince’ marshals a quartet of red varieties with decent crossover on a Venn diagram but are rarely all seen together, offering a fragrantly floral and spicy nose, with earthy notes, red and dark fruits and a palate of chewy, grapey tannins and fresh zip.

2020 Giant Steps ‘Ocarina’

Yarra Valley

A mélange of all the Giant Steps sites fermented in clay eggs, then sealed for maturation, this has all the Giant Steps chardonnay character and precision with a chalky mineral overlay that adds complexity to nose and palate.

2020 Hither & Yon Aglianico Rosé

McLaren Vale

Made from the great southern Italian grape Aglianico, this copper-coloured rosé is laced with wild red berries, tart apple and orange peel, finishing dry, savoury and moreish.

2020 Hither & Yon Carignan

McLaren Vale

Carignan usually gets lost in blends, but a wine like this makes you wonder why – packed with spice and dark-fruited flavour, this finishes ultra-fresh and racy.

2020 Hither & Yon Petit Blanc

McLaren Vale

This has some classic floral and talc notes of the variety, but it’s uber-fresh and savoury, light-bodied, tangy and built for thirst-slaking refreshment.

2020 Koerner ‘Rolle’ Gullyview Vineyard Vermentino

Clare Valley

Subtle orchard fruits and dryly savoury. Light on its feet, with a fine, lightly textural and grippy feel.

2020 La Línea Mencía

Adelaide Hills

From the equal oldest producer of red wine from the grape in this country – this has classic varietal lift of red and blue florals, over succulent red and black fruits, with a palate of silky suppleness matched with crunchy freshness.

2020 Lethbridge ‘Vero’ Tempranillo

Geelong

A departure from the rich styles of tempranillo so often made, this emphasises red fruits and white pepper spice on a midweight frame with grippy tannins and rugged regional mineral notes to close.

2020 Maison Lapalus ‘Upwelling’ Mourvèdre

Heathcote

Light and bright, this is a pure riot of berries and grapey scents, with a fine freshness and gentle spritz – take it as it comes, or chill it down.

2020 Riot Wine Co. ‘The OG’ Grenache

McLaren Vale

Riot Wines turn out a fresh set of quaffable canned wines in their regular series, but things get a little more serious with the Limited Release wines.

2020 Smallfry ‘Electrik Violet’

Barossa Valley

Juicy and dark, but floral and bright at the same time, this is red wine built for drinking not sipping.

2020 Spinifex ‘Esprit’

Barossa Valley

Built from mataro, grenache and cinsault, this illustrates what makes blends so compelling – each component pooling into the gaps left by the others, leaving a seamless whole, laced with ripe red fruits, spice and floral notes, the palate supple, with fine grip and natural freshness.

2020 Spinifex ‘Garçon’ Grenache

Barossa Valley

Sourced from three sites, with vines from 55 to 90 years old, Pete Schell crafts the fruit into a democratically priced everyday wine that over delivers in a major way. Crushed red berries and cherries, spices and florals leading to a palate shot through with rocky and earthy minerality, the balance impeccable.

2020 Swinney Grenache

Frankland River

A complex array of sour red and black fruits are accented with rugged dry herbs and a rocky minerality, with Swinney’s signature assertive tannins tightening through the finish.

2020 Taschini Pinot Gris Graciano Sangiovese

Limestone Coast

This juicy light red is a riot of super-bright red fruits and florals, with a pleasing grip that adds even more refreshment value to the zippy acidity. Drink chilled.

2020 Terra do Rio ‘Red Field Blend’

Riverland

From a vineyard that Ricca Terra’s Ashley Ratcliff planted to focus on heat-loving Iberian grapes in the Riverland. Awash with dark fruits, spices and tarry mineral notes, this still comes in at medium weight with ample freshness.

2021 Alkina Kin Semillon

Barossa Valley

Under Alkina’s exploratory Kin label, this is all old vine semillon, planted in the 1950s, with a whisper of skin contact bringing out some dried ginger and a pleasing drying pucker to the floral, lemon-scented fruit.

2021 Cullen Wines ‘Mangan East Block’

Margaret River

A dark tangle of ripe wild berries, dusky florals and spices are ferried on a palate that has the classic tannic growl of malbec, but with amply generous fruit in support.

2021 Edenflo ‘Lemon Krush’

Eden Valley

With semillon taking the lead, the 2021 ‘Lemon Krush’ is an essay in citrus, from a lemon-scented fragrance to the refreshingly drying pucker of lemon barley water gifted by Wardlaw’s masterly hand with skin contact.

2021 Entropy Wines ‘Willow Grove’ Pinot Noir

Gippsland

Vigneron Ryan Ponsford has made a big impact in short time. This pinot is a savoury splay of wild fruits dusted with spice and herbal notes, grapey tannins providing natural support.

2021 Entropy Wines Riesling

Gippsland

Stepping away from classic Australian riesling, time in oak gives texture to match the ripe fruit weight, but the citric core of the variety slices through in ideal balance, a saline, waxy quality adding depth.

2021 Giant Steps ‘LDR’ Pinot Noir Syrah

Yarra Valley

One of the finest pinot noir and shiraz blends we’ve seen. A lifted nose of wild forest berries and spices gives way to a palate of bright fruits, darker mineral notes and a feel that is equal parts savoury and vibrantly fresh.

2021 Giant Steps ‘Yarra Valley’ Chardonnay

Yarra Valley

White stone fruit is joined by subtle nutty and spicy notes, with a gently textured palate cushioning a line of vibrant acidity.

2021 Giant Steps Pinot Noir

Yarra Valley

Giant Steps have become a true pinot noir star of the Yarra Valley, and their multi-site range is a bellwether for the quality of the vintage. In 2021, that snapshot is a truly exciting one.

2021 La Violetta ‘Patio’ Pét-Nat

Geographe

A joyous mix of muscat and riesling, full of pink grapefruit and rosewater with softly textured generosity matched with exuberant freshness.

2021 Latta ‘Bad Reputation’ Blanc

Pyrenees

Owen Latta’s take on viognier is a world away from the norm of exotically lifted wines, dripping in apricot floral. Instead, his is a wine of orchard fruits creeping to ripeness with pops of honeycomb and nuts, a slip of texture and a gently pithy palate to gnaw on.

2021 Latta ‘Presence’

Pyrenees

This early release wine from Owen Latta captures a fragrant but complexly spicy side to the grape, with amaro/vermouth seasoning the wild red fruits, while a meshing of cool tannins and zippy acidity gives this real pep.

2021 Latta ‘Rouge Deluxe’ Syrah

Pyrenees

This is the first syrah that Owen Latta has made since 2015, and it’s stunning stuff. An incredibly complex and darkly seductive wine, with wild fruits accented by exotic spices and craggy minerals – midweight, chewy and speaking loudly of place.

2021 LS Merchants Chenin Blanc

Margaret River

Ample orchard fruits and citrus notes are accented with chalky minerality on the nose, with a textural, chewy and saline palate stretching long and detailed.

2021 Mandi Friulano

Mildura

Friulano is a variety that is well suited to skin contact – with this version offering a vibrant lift of ginger, herbs and orange peel notes, a gentle grip providing savoury refreshment.

2021 Ocean Eight Pinot Gris

Mornington Peninsula

A prettily fragrant nose of fresh pear, mandarin zest and floral notes, a gently pleasing texture and vibrant freshness sealing the deal.

2021 Oliver’s Taranga Mencía

McLaren Vale

A vibrantly intense wine typical of the region, but with a varietal vibrancy of pristinely ripe cherries, overlaid with dusky florals and spice, the palate silky and compellingly slurpable.

2021 Rieslingfreak No.4 Riesling

Eden Valley

John Hughes’ mastery of the riesling grape has already been amply proven, but in the superb 2021 vintage that dial’s been turned up to new limits. This is an intense play of jasmine and lime, effusive but not overly exotic, with tension and effortless balance through a long finish underlining its pedigree.

2021 Riot Wine Co. ‘Out of the Wood’ Chardonnay

Fleurieu

While a can of wine may seem like it’s a wine for the park, with all the bells and whistles of classic chardonnay making, this effort deserves taking a decent glass along for the ride.

2021 Site Wine Syrah

Benalla

A joyously bright and spicy wine stuffed full of forest berries, cherries and spices, with a bright midweight palate carrying plenty of stemmy grip.

2021 Somos Mencía

Adelaide Hills

This is a super-fragrant take on mencía, matching the classic floral profile with ample but well-knit spice across a splay of cherries, berries and sour plums.

2021 Spinifex Rosé

Barossa

A riot of wild red berries accented with earthy complexity, this is at once bright, juicy and forward while having gently earthy mineral notes, textural across the palate but decidedly dry.

2021 Swinney Riesling

Frankland River

A lemon-scented nose accented with white flowers and talc ushering in a linear and mineral palate of great precision but also gentle texture.

2021 Varney Wines Mencía

McLaren Vale

Sprinkled with spice and florals, this is silky and textured, with cherry and plum flavours carrying through a long finish. Ample proof that the Spanish grape has a bright future in this country.

Crittenden Estate ‘Macvin’ Savagnin NV

Mornington Peninsula

Sweet, but cut through with salted nut and smoky notes, and alcohol spirit lending it shape and line. Crittenden Estate’s take on the Macvin of France’s Jura region, with flor-aged savagnin combined with unfermented new-vintage juice, then fortified.

Gralyn ‘Artizan’ Rare Muscat

Margaret River

A decadent glass of fortified, rippling with raisin, fig, date and coffee notes, this is rich and unctuous, but with the fortifying alcohol lifting the sweetness, leaving endless layers of flavour to linger on the palate.

Nadeson Collis ‘Coda’ Sparkling NV

Henty

A unique sparkling wine drawn solely from a solera started in 2003 – think artisan Champagne, shot through with nutty sherry-like notes, but built on fruit intensity.

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