Classy cabernet – Mount Horrocks 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon
The Clare Valley – and Mount Horrocks – are home to some of Australia’s finest rieslings, but Stephanie Toole also produces hugely impressive Nero d’Avola and this beguiling young cabernet. This is estate-grown and sourced from a single vineyard, deftly crafted to result in a wine that has coiled power and immediate dark appeal. Forest notes, blackcurrant and well-integrated oak are to the fore in a downright delicious red that can confidently be cellared.Share with a loved one, or a fillet steak. $48.
Austrian accent – Hahndorf Hill 2019 GRU Gruner Veltliner
The South African duo behind Adelaide Hills winery Hahndorf Hills have a particular affinity with grape varieties from Austria; and the white gruner veltliner grape is certainly proving a winner in the cool-climate region. This is more mouth-filling than riesling, more interesting than pinot gris but shares the appeal of both those grapes, producing wines that are crisp, fresh and gently spicy and that pair well with seafood and Vietnamese cuisine. One of four Hahndorf Hills gruners; this is made in the classic style. Well worth trying. $30.
Wild at heart – Gundog Estate 2019 Wild Semillon
Matt Burton, the talented young winemaker at Gundog Estate in the Hunter Valley, produces a wide range of semillons – the region’s signature white variety – in various styles. This pushes semillon into new territory with indigenous yeasts, fermentation on skins and an off-dry finish (most Hunter semillons are made bone dry). Intriguingly textural and delicious right now, although designed for cellaring. Aromatic and complex with hints of sweetness, it would pair with spicy Thai stir-fries, or a Portuguese roast chicken. $35.
Value and style – Mandala 2019 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir
Quality pinot can be frighteningly expensive but this is an exception to that rule; made in a lighter style, it has plenty of varietal character and shines with food. It is bright and attractive, smooth and a little feminine with red fruit flavours to the fore and impressive balance. It could be enjoyed chilled on a warm day and is probably best drunk in its youth along with a cheese and cauliflower tart, or a duck pancake. $30.
Ripper Riesling – Inigo 2019 Clare Valley Riesling
The Jesuit brothers of Sevenhill in the Clare Valley go quietly about their business of producing particularly good wines at sensible prices. The Riesling vineyards are planted on gently undulating slopes about 500 metres above sea level and the 2019 vintage produced low yields but high quality. This is a classic Clare reisling; tight with lemon, lime and grapefruit flavours to the fore alongside zingy minerality. Pair with salt and pepper squid. Try Jim’s Cellars. $22.
Mellow Merlot – Altus/Rise 2018 Merlot
Merlot has yet to find a definitive home in Australia as a stand-alone variety, most often being blended with cabernet sauvignon. This Margaret River offering is a good example of medium-bodied merlot; supple and soft from an excellent vintage (most of them are out west). The wine spent 12 months in French oak but is fruit-dominated and would be a very match for a pork terrine. $24.
See Winsor’s work at www.gourmetontheroad.blogspot.com.