91

2019 Vasse Felix Classic Shiraz, Margaret River, Western Australia

( £12, 14.5%, Tesco )

Margaret River isn’t usually listed among Australia’s best sources of Shiraz – it’s Cabernet Sauvignon  and Chardonnay country – but this is a very tasty, well-priced example of the grape from the talented Virginia Willcock. Showing some cool climate white pepper notes as well as flavours of bramble and blackberry, it has a touch of oak spice, fresh acidity and subtle, savoury tannins.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-26Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Australia, Red, Syrah
93

2020 Bugalugs by Tim Smith, Barossa Valley

( £18.95 or £17.95 by the case, 14%, Lea & Sandeman )

If you think Barossa Shiraz is all about power and intensity, this wine from Tim Smith will come as a welcome surprise. Graceful, elegant and refined, it’s deceptively forward and easy to drink with the faintest touch of oak, fine-grained tannins, bramble and red berry fruit and impressive poise and precision. You could tuck some away for a few years and it will reward patience. There’s still some of the very good 2019 on the market, but wait for the 2020 if you can.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-26Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Australia, Red, Shiraz
90

2020 Berton Vineyards Metal Label Vermentino, South East Australia

( £7.99, 12.5%, Waitrose )

Vermentino, or Rolle as its known in France, is one of those grapes that retains acidity in warm climates, like Assyrtiko or Chenin Blanc. So expect to see a lot more of it planted as the impact of climate change is felt around the globe. This crunchy, youthful, white pepper, lime and wild herb-scented Aussie example is bracingly fresh and low in alcohol with a touch of Pinot Grigio and Fiano adding extra weight and perfume.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-23Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Australia, White, Vermentino
90

2019 Yalumba Organic Viognier, South Australia

( £8.49-£10, 13.5%, Ocado, Tesco, Waitrose )

Louisa Rose is the queen of Australian Viognier and probably makes larger volumes of the variety – to a commendably high standard – than anyone else in the world. This unoaked example, made from organically grown grapes, is everything you want from the grape: honeysuckle and stem ginger aromas, lots of creamy, pillowy weight, flavours of peach and apricot and a lively, refreshing finish. The Ocado price is the best right now, but the wine is widely available elsewhere.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-24Similar Wines: £8-10, 90-94, Australia, White, Viognier

Decolonising A Wine List

by Donald Edwards
In June last year Rio Tinto destroyed a cave in the Jukaan gorge in Western Australia. With it went 46,000 years of Aboriginal history and one of the most sacred...

Wine In The Time Of Bushfires

by Sam Owens
Covid-19 may have monopolised the world’s attention since March 2020, but the previous six months in Australia were dominated by the most traumatic bushfire season in memory . The so-called...
91

2018 Gorgeous Grenache Old Vine Small Batch No. 1, South Australia

( £12.99, 14.5% )

It may not be a popular opinion with Shiraz lovers, but Master of Wine Giles Cooke, who made this wine, thinks that “Grenache is Australia’s signature grape”. It’s certainly one of its most versatile and, I think, underrated varieties. This very lightly wooded example combines fruit from two sub-regions of McLaren Vale (Clarendon and Blewitt Springs) and the less glamorous Riverland and it’s a belter of a red. Juicy, floral and peppery, with some spices from partial whole bunch-fermentation with stems and a core of raspberry, red cherry and wild strawberry fruit. Try it ever so slightly chilled.

For local stockists contact giles.cooke@alliancewine.com

BuyDrinking window: 2020-24Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Australia, Red, Grenache

Treasure Island

by Rod Smith MW
As the tragedy of Australia’s 2019/20 bushfires continues to unfold, the most significant impact on the wine industry has been tragedy in the Adelaide Hills. So far, Tasmania has largely...

The Taste of Smoke

by Harry Eyres
I write in a time of ashes. Not only have certain political dreams and projects recently gone up in smoke; the destructive fires have been raging more literally, all across...

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