Wickhams Road 2014 Yarra Valley Chardonnay
There are few wineries that can match Hoddles Creek when it comes to over-delivering on quality. In a world where stellar cool-climate wines fetch extremely high prices, the d’Anna family’s Wickhams Road range stands as a beacon of affordable quality. In 2014 I felt the Yarra chardonnay just edged out its Gippsland counterpart, but both offer exceptional value. This whispers rather than shouts; it has 12.7% alcohol, citrus and hints of nectarine on a fruit-driven palate; nice acid and length, too. Lively, balanced and ridiculously good for $18.
Lock & Key 2013 Hilltops Cabernet Sauvignon
Jason Brown grows some great fruit and makes some very good wines in the Hilltops region of NSW, just outside the town of Young. His business is called Moppity Vineyards and its entry-level wines are labelled Lock & Key, and offer excellent value. I particularly like this award-winning cabernet; a wine with plenty of power and intensity but with everything perfectly in balance. Think dark blackcurrant, plum and chocolate flavours with well-integrated oak. You can drink this now, or cellar it for a few years. $20.
Rocky Gully 2014 Riesling
Frankland Estate makes an outstanding range of individual vineyard rieslings from the Frankland River region of Western Australia; the 2014 Isolation Ridge and Poison Hill are both outstanding, and cellar-worthy, examples. When it comes to immediate drinking pleasure, however, it is hard to go past this ultra-fresh and lively release from the winery’s entry-level brand Rocky Gully. Dry with just a few grams of residual sugar, this is pristine with zingy acid and a fabulous match for Thai-style fishcakes. Fun and affordable. $18.