There is a wine for everyone, no matter how large or small your budget – and a lot of modern Australian wines drink brilliantly in their youth. Wine writer Winsor Dobbin checks out some recent releases.
Curly Flat 2020 Chardonnay
Is this the best chardonnay for under $50 in Australia? It would certainly be among the top three or four. From a renowned estate in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges, this lights up any table with its poise, precision, and sheer deliciousness. Floral, stone fruit and citrus notes are all to the fore, along with a hint of come-hither brioche. The palate is taut and lively, like a Macon or Chalonnaise chardonnay and there are chalky and mineral hints to complete the picture. Ready for immediate enjoyment with a pork chop, or char-grilled vegetables. $46.
Clandestine Wines 2021 Hearts & Minds Grenache
Grenache, which for so many years was used to make some of Australia’s greatest fortified wines, is an unusual, but successful, choice as the flagship for the new Hearts & Minds premium range. It is an impressively cohesive young red made from a single bush vineyard in Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale, that was planted over 70 years ago. Aromatic, spicy and fleshy, savoury, and textural with room to grow as it matures. Pair this with a roast lamb en croute for maximum pairing impact. $60.
Alkoomi 2021 Collection Riesling
The cool-climate Frankland River region in remote Western Australia is proving fertile ground for top-notch rieslings. Deliciously racy and vital; this dry white is a perfect choice to pair with some fresh shucked oysters, or just about any seafood dish. Made from estate-grown fruit, this is a seriously delicious, enticing wine to enjoy well chilled over the dying days of summer. It strikes a perfect balance between delicacy and liveliness. $30.
Clonakilla 2021 Hilltops Shiraz
Tim Kirk and his team make some benchmark wines in Murrumbateman, just outside Canberra, but also source some quality fruit from outside the cherry capital of Young in the Hilltops region. This is very impressive, medium bodied and coming in at just 14% alcohol. Mainly older French oak has added to dark berry fruit flavours to produce a joyful red that can either be enjoyed right now or cellared for 5-7 years. Very food friendly and good value at $35.
De Iuliis 2021 Pecorino
This is quite a discovery; a brilliantly flavoursome young white designed for enjoying in its youth. The pecorino grape, not to be confused with the Italian cheese of the same name, originates from the Marche and Abruzzo regions of Italy and the de Iuliis family were among the first to plant the grape in the Hunter Valley. The grapes allegedly got their name because the local sheep (pecora) were known to eat them from the vines. This is pale straw in colour, both fragrant and fruity, with plenty of length on the dry palate. Sensible alcohol levels at 12%, too. $25.
Mr Mick 2021 Sangiovese
Sangiovese is the classic red grape variety of Tuscany, used in the great Chianti wines of that region, but it has also become a favourite in Australia because it is so food-friendly, combining particularly well with Mediterranean dishes. This one is made in the Clare Valley by Tim Adams under a label that pays tribute to his winemaking mentor, the late Mick Knappstein. Juicy, fruity, and joyful, this is a perfect pizza, pasta choice and a brilliant buy for $17.
See Winsor’s work at www.gourmetontheroad.com.