Wine with Winsor

Two wine bottles on brown wooden table

Sydneysiders are lucky to be surrounded by several fine wine regions. Wine writer Winsor Dobbin suggests a few fine drops to sample from around New South Wales.

Serious style
Clonakilla 2021 O’Riada Shiraz

Clonakilla is a family-owned and -operated winery at Murrumbateman, outside Canberra, that is famous for its benchmark shiraz viognier blends. You can, however, buy three bottles of this to one shiraz viognier, and it is a darn fine wine dedicated to Sean O’Riada, a leading Irish musician and composer who died in 1971. That was the year Clonakilla was established by John Kirk, who was Sean’s cousin. I think he’d be very proud of this smooth and delicious cool-climate wine, supple and alluring with its red fruit and spice notes. Try Dan Murphy’s or Kent St Cellars. $40.

Charming chardonnay
Hart & Hunter 2021 Twenty Six Rows Chardonnay
The Hunter Valley is best known for its stellar semillons and shirazes but it is also home to alternative varieties and some excellent chardonnays like this one from Damien Stevens and Jodie Belleville at Pokolbin-based Hart & Hunter. The fruit for this was picked early to ensure bright natural acid and vibrant citrus and green apple fruit flavours. Complexity was added through barrel fermentation and lees stirring, and a small portion of unoaked juice was added to the blend. Pair with pork spare ribs, or maybe some Thai fishcakes. $50.

European style
Angullong 2022 Fossil Hill Rosé 
The Angullong vineyards are at Orange, and the winery has a cellar door at Millthorpe. The Fossil Hill range has a definite Italian accent with several impressive reds on offer, and this beguiling vibrant young rosé made from sangiovese grapes also offers a little taste of Tuscan pizazz. It is a lively food-friendly wine best enjoyed in its youth given its unoaked freshness and lip-smacking berries and cream flavours. Best enjoyed served chilled, perhaps with a Lebanese mezze plate from one of the inner west’s many excellent Lebanese restaurants. $26.

Hunter legend
Meerea Park 2012 Alexander Munro Aged Release Semillon
I shared a bottle of this with one of my tasting groups recently and there was widespread acclaim for a traditional aged Hunter Valley semillon that still has elements of freshness alongside its fascinatingly complex palate, which is starting to develop toasty elements. This is the flagship semillon from the Eather brothers at Meerea Park, made from the best individual parcel of fruit in outstanding years – in this case from the acclaimed Braemore vineyard – and then aged for up to decade before release. Classic citrus and straw characters here, and the screw cap has ensured its longevity. I would pair this with some pan-fried whiting. $80.

Orange crush
Mayfield Vineyard 2022 Riesling
Looking for a wine to partner with Thai, Korean or Vietnamese dishes? This fragrant number is right on target with its juicy citrus fruit notes – which contain a hint of residual sugar – that would pair nicely with some spice. There are lemon/lime sorbet and Granny Smith fruit notes on the palate, which is balanced with some crisp acidity at the end. A lovely wine – impressively refreshing – from an Orange region stalwart that is clearly back in top gear. $34.

High-altitude quality
Gundog Estate 2021 Hilltops No.1 Shiraz
So, you like your shiraz with plenty of meat on its bones, but not an ounce of flab. This is the bigger, more assertive, of two impressive Gundog Estate shirazes from the cool Hilltops region outside Young. The fruit for this one is sourced from Brian Freeman’s immaculately tended vineyards at Prunevale, and Gundog winemaker Matt Burton has delivered plenty of drive, but also some bright acidity and poise. It paired very well with a Tomahawk steak and horseradish and offers good value at $35.

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