White wine rising

by Christy Canterbury MW
Though the “ABC”, or “Anything But Chardonnay” campaign continues to rail against it, Chardonnay remains the favourite white grape of USA wine drinkers. It is also the planet’s most planted,...
91

2018 Co-op Irresistible Australian Shiraz, Mount Benson

( £7, 14%, The Co-operative )

Aussie red wines under £7.50 can be something of a lottery, but this is a brilliant value find from the Co-op, sourced from top Shiraz region, Mount Benson. Richly coloured, spicy and very lightly oaked, it has classic blackberry and wild herb flavours, supple tannins and enough acidity to keep the wine perky, fresh and long on the palate.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-24Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Australia, Red, Syrah/Shiraz
91

Magpie Estate SF2, Barossa Valley

( £13.99, 14.5, Noel Young Wines )

If you want to drink a Barossa red with very little oak but bags of flavour, this unfiltered, co-fermented cuvée of Mataro (Mourvèdre) and 35% Grenache is well worth tracking down. Spicy and peppery, with some stemmy whole bunch flavours, floral top notes, mint, raspberry and bramble fruit and fine-grained tannins.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-24Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Australia, Red, Grenache, Mourvèdre
94

2015 Our Fathers Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia

( £25, 14.5%, Our Fathers Wines )

A wine that tastes as good as it looks, this is made by my fellow Master of Wine, Giles Cooke (we passed in the same year), who donates all of the profits to charity. Sourced from the Ebenezer sub-region of the Barossa Valley, it’s rich, but well balanced, with subtle oak, refreshing acidity, fine-grained tannins and sweet bramble and bluberry fruit. Long and refreshing with a savoury tang. 

BuyDrinking window: 2018-23Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Australia, Red, Syrah/Shiraz

How the other half drinks

by Matt Walls
Is there a quicker way to get to know someone than by flicking through their music collection or browsing their bookshelves? Both feel like a little glimpse into their soul....

The Gold Standard

by Matt Walls
On the first day of the Hunter Valley Wine Show, Major Al Lynch, in full military fatigues, explained to the wine judges what was expected of them: “if you are...

The Art of Comparison

by Andrea Frost
‘Stop comparing yourself to others’ is advice we are given early on in life and, depending how well we heed it, quite often later in life. It’s reasonable counsel, particularly...
93

2007 S.C. Pannell Nebbiolo, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

( £32.09, 14.5%, Liberty Wines )

The list of impressive Nebbiolo producers outside north-west Italy isn’t a long one, but Steve Pannell, who has worked in Piedmont to familiarise himself with the grape, would definitely be on it. Suitably pale in colour, with the variety’s unique combination of austerity and voluptuousness, firm tannins and sweet, savoury autumnal fruit, this wouldn’t look out of place in a line up of Barolos. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-19Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Australia, Red, Nebbiolo
92

2012 S.C. Pannell Grenache, McLaren Vale, South Australia

( £31.99, 14%, Liberty Wines )

Steve Pannell was making great Grenache in McLaren Vale before the variety began to enjoy its modern renaissance as the so-called “Pinot of the south”. This combines plum and raspberry fruit sweetness with a backbone of tannin and refreshing acidity, supporting the concentration of the old vine fruit. The oaking is almost imperceptible here. 

Drinking window: 2016-20Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Australia, Red, Grenache
89

2014 Thistledown Great Escape Cool Climate Textural Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

( £13-15, 12.5%, Alliance Wine )

A fruity, modern Aussie Chardonnay from the cool (well coolish) Adelaide Hills, where the oak is unintrusive and the pure pear and peach fruit is allowed to express itself. The result is one of those whites you want to glugg by the glass in your nearest wine bar. 

Drinking window: NowSimilar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, White, Chardonnay
93

2015 Thistledown Suilven Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

( £20-£30, 13%, Alliance Wine )

One of those wines that tastes every bit as good as it looks, this Scottish/Australian collaboration eschews the leaner, reductive, early picked style that’s favoured by some winemakers Down Under in favour of something a little more substanial and textured. Deftly oaked, oatmealy and refreshing, with a focus and minerality that wouldn’t look out of place in the Côte de Beaune.

Drinking window: 2016-19Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Australia, White, Chardonnay
89

2014 De Bortoli La Bohème Act Three, Pinot Gris & Friends, Yarra Valley, Victoria

( £13.95, 13.5%, Slurp )

One for opera buffs, or possibly just bohemians, this is an Aussie take on an Alsace-style blend, based on Pinot Gris. Aromatic and appealing, with orchard fruit and spring blossom on the nose, it segues into waxy, pear and apple spice flavours and a tangy finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, White, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris/Grigio