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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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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 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 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 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.

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.