Wine with Winsor

Credit: Stefan Johnson

While we all have our personal favourites, it can be rewarding to try different labels and new grape varieties. Wine writer Winsor Dobbin has some suggestions for taking wine roads less travelled.

Sicilian star
Feudo Arancio 2019 Riserva Rosso
Savoury and food friendly, this is one of the stars of the show from Sicilian winery Feudo Arancio (Orange Grove). Made from 100% local Nero d’Avola grapes, the current release is five years old and ready to enjoy with Italian dishes – I’d recommend a salumi plate. Intensely coloured with violet, dark berry, tobacco leaf and vanilla oak characters in harmony like a barber’s shop quartet. The finish is soft and smooth – and very moreish. Distributed by Single Vineyard Sellers. $40.

Funky white
Wines of Merritt 2023 Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is criminally under-rated as a grape variety, except in South Africa, where it is top of the pops. This is a particularly good Australian example from West Australian producer Wines of Merritt, made from fruit grown organically in Metricup, Margaret River. This is pressed straight into old oak barriques for a wild ferment on full solids. It spends nine months on lees building texture and palate interest and is bottled without fining or filtering to give it some funky appeal. It’s ripe apple characters makes it perfect for pairing with pork dishes, but it is Vegan friendly if that is your thing. $42.

Provencal pink
La Mule 2022 Provence Rosé
From the stable of leading French vigneron/negociant Francois Lurton, this classic pale French rosé is perfect for late afternoon sipping in the dying days of sunshine. Yet another outstanding special from Aldi supermarkets, it is light, fresh and vibrant with red berry flavours and watermelon crispness. There are also some mushroom/figgy notes on the finish, helping make this a perfect pairing for picnics or al fresco evenings. Drink now, well chilled. $13.

Barossa beauty
Schubert Estate 2018 The Gosling Shiraz
This is far from the most expensive wine in the Schubert Estate range, but it delivers a whole lot of flavour – and cellaring potential. The grapes are all estate grown in Marananga and the fruit is hand-picked, destemmed, and fermented in open top fermenters with regular pump -over. The result is a wine in a classic Barossa style that finishes with smoothness and elegance. I rarely manage more than a glass or two of Barossa shiraz, but this was an exception to that rule. Think intense dark, spicy flavours – like liquid Christmas cake. This deserves to be paired with a rich meat dish. $50.

Bargain Buy
Wickhams Road 2023 Yea Valley Chardonnay

Wickhams Road is the entry-level label of Yarra Valley producer Hoddles Creek, a winery with a formidable reputation for wines that offer excellent value. This is made from grower fruit from the Yea Valley, in Victoria’s High Country, and offers excellent drinking at an exceptionally decent price. It is quite delicate but there is plenty going on when you hit the palate, headed by tangy citrus flavours and some crisp chalky minerality and brisk acid. Seriously good in a Chablis style – there are plenty of chardonnays at twice the price that are not half as good. $20.  

Choice pinot
Curly Flat 2022 Pinot Noir
I make no secret of the fact that Curly Flat in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges is one of my favourite pinot and chardonnay producers. The wines made by Matt Harrop are invariably seamless and stylish – and this is an excellent new-release example of varietal cool-climate pinot noir. It has a small whole bunch element for mouthfeel, underwent wild fermentation and post ferment skin contact. This is delightfully complex, but not challengingly so with impressive structure and impressive balance. Unfiltered, and delicious. Pair with Chinese roast duck. $68.

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