Wine with Winsor

3 person holding wine glasses

There is a wine for every budget and every taste. Wine writer Winsor Dobbin reveals some of his favourites from around the globe over the past month.

French bargain
Fringe Société 2021 Gamay
There is fair whack of gamay imported from France in our wine stores right now – and this is one of the best-value offerings. The Beaujolais grape produces lighter style, fresh and vibrant reds best enjoyed in their youth, and this fits that profile. It is unwooded with malolactic fermentation taking place in tanks. The fruit is grown in the Comté Tolosan region in the south-west of France and the wine is perfect for casual enjoyment with or without food. You could chill this a little on a warmer day and it would be perfect choice for a backyard barbecue. Try Dan Murphy’s stores. Around $20.  

Hunter hit
Mercer 2023 Vermentino Bianco
The first wines from the 2023 vintage are starting to sneak into bottle shops and Aaron Mercer from the Hunter Valley was among those quickly out of the blocks with this unoaked white that is made from the Italian grape variety vermentino, originally from Sardinia. This one is grown in the Upper Hunter near Denman. Naturally high acid creates a wine that is bright and fresh with citrus notes to the fore. Crisp and lively. Pair this with seafood or poultry dishes. $30.

Taste of Tuscany
I Giusti e Zanza 2020 Nemorino 
This was a standout in a recent trade tasting, offering a taste of Tuscany that would grace any dinner party without causing financial stress. It is a blend of shiraz and the local Tuscan grape sangiovese with red fruit and black cherry flavours to the fore. It is fruit driven with impressive balance and is made from fruit that is certified organically grown just outside the lovely city of Lucca. You could pair this with pizza or pasta dishes but it merits being matched with something a little more serious. Try Amato’s in Leichhardt. $50.

Winter warmer
Woodstock 2016 Vintage Fortified Cabernet Sauvignon
Looking for something to enjoy after dinner by the fire in winter? This small-batch fortified from noted family-owned McLaren Vale producer Woodstock might fit the bill. Woodstock has been making “after dinner” wines since the 1950s and this is deliciously rich and mouth-filling. It is being promoted as a cocktail ingredient, but I would prefer it as a very tasty end to the evening with cheese or chocolate – preferably not both. Made from ripe and partially shrivelled cabernet sauvignon grapes fermented on their skins with pure grape spirit added to “fortify” the alcohol concentration to 18.5%. A bargain for $25.

Road less travelled
Racine 2022 Picpoul de Pinet
There is a delightful purity and freshness to this French import made from a grape called picpoul (or sometimes Piquepoul Blanc). This is fragrant and delicate with floral and citrus notes to the fore alongside crisp minerality and refreshingly brisk acid on the finish. This lively and zesty young wine is from an appellation in the far south of the Languedoc, adjacent to the Mediterranean. Best enjoyed in its youth, it pairs brilliantly with fresh oysters, or pan-fried flathead. Imported by Beaune and Beyond. Try Annandale Cellars. $37.

Pleasurable pinot
Apricus Hill 2022 Pinot Noir
From the James Keliie and his team at West Australia’s Harewood Estate, this is a delightful lighter-style single-vineyard pinot from the cooler Denmark region of the remote Great Southern. It offers a whole lot of varietal pinot flavours for a very reasonable price given the soaring asking prices for some of its rivals from Tasmania and Victoria. Think dark cherry and wild strawberry flavours, with a touch of spice, savoury notes, and some delightful fresh acid. It has been fermented on skins and is unfined and unfiltered. A hint of wildness then, but plenty of pleasure. Distributed by Single Vineyard Sellers. $40.

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