The best of the new wine releases as recommended by wine critic Winsor Dobbin.
John Wallace 2021 Maggie White
John Wallace Wines is the newest boutique brand to emerge from the Hunter Valley and is the solo project of Richard Done, who has worked at Scarborough Wines, Thomas Wines, Hunter’s Dream Estate and Bimbadgen Estate, where he is currently chief winemaker. This is an energetic, high-spirited and fun blend of semillon, vermentino, chardonnay and pinot gris that I can highly recommend. The perfect choice for an al fresco lunch on a glorious spring day. $25.
Oakdene 2019 Peta’s Pinot Noir
Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula outside Melbourne are home to several smallish wine producers doing good things that remain off the Sydney radar. Not only does Oakdene offer an impressive cellar door experience, with restaurant, café, accommodation and gardens, its wines are very much on the rise. This is a smooth, versatile and food-friendly single-vineyard pinot noir with a nice balance between fruit and savoury characters that hits the sweet spot. $45.
Treat from the west
Frankland Estate 2020 Chardonnay
Frankland Estate is one of the leading producers in the remote Great Southern region of Western Australia; with fruit grown on a sheep farming property. The brand is probably best known for its stellar dry rieslings, but this chardonnay is very much in the zone with fruit and subtle oak in complete harmony. Still very youthful, this would pair brilliantly with an old-fashioned roast pork and crackling. Certified organic and vegan friendly. $30.
Miles from Nowhere 2019 Best Blocks Shiraz
Miles from Nowhere is the new brand from industry veteran Franklin Tate, formerly of Evans and Tate. This Margaret River shiraz is quite Rhone in style, perhaps no surprise with French winemaker Frederique Perrin (ex-Cape Mentelle) at the helm. Think mixed red berry fruits, classy French oak and smidge of black pepper. Stylish with a little bit of ripe swagger. Look for it on special at Dan Murphy’s stores. $28.
Shaw + Smith 2021 Sauvignon Blanc
Three decades ago, this was the first Australian commercial sauvignon blanc to cut through with consumers. It has since become an Australian icon, renowned for its freshness and vibrancy. The 2021 vintage has just been released – and it remains a market leader. Think grapefruit, citrus and guava notes with very brisk acidity. A wine to be enjoyed in all its youthful playfulness. $29.
Cheap as Chips
Bremerton 2019 Tamblyn
It is hard to go past Langhorne Creek in South Australia for red wines that always deliver great value for money. The all-female team at Bremerton comes up trumps again with this very drinkable blend of cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, malbec and merlot that is an ideal midweek drinking choice. Pair with pizza, pasta, or a barbecue and prepare for a positive reaction when you reveal the RRP is just $18.
Father’s Day special
Josef Chromy 2020 Zweigelt
What, you may well ask, is a zweigelt? It is an Austrian red grape variety that is proving very successful in cooler wine regions of Australia, like the Adelaide Hills and Tasmania. So here we have an Austrian grape, nurtured by South African winemaker Ockie Myburgh for a Czech-born winery owner, just down the road from Launceston Airport. It is an absolutely delightful drink, perhaps close to cabernet franc in style, that would certainly offer an interesting challenge in any blind tasting. $50.
See Winsor’s work at www.gourmetontheroad.com.