93

2011 Bird on a Wire Marsanne, Yarra Valley, Victoria

( £32, 14%, Naked Wines )

Caroline Mooney’s wines are some of the most exciting things I’ve tasted from Australia in the last three years. This barrel-fermented Marsanne shows the variety’s classic honeysuckle and aniseed notes, well integrated with oak and sustained by bright acidity. Honey and some white flowers add extra complexity and texture. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Australia, White, Marsanne
88

2010 Hill-Smith Estate Chardonnay, Eden Valley, South Australia

( £11.99, 13.5%, Negociants )

This doesn’t have a stockist in the UK yet, but it surely won’t be long before it does. It’s more immediate than the subtler FDW Chardonnay from the same Yalumba stable, but it’s still a very tasty modern Chardonnay with notes of citrus and honeydew melon, subtle oak and a bright, lemony finish. 

Drinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, White, Chardonnay
90

2012 Pewsey Vale Riesling, Eden Valley, South Australia

( £11.99, 12.5%, Auswinesonline.co.uk, Noel Young Wines, Slurp, Winedirect )

An Eden Valley Riesling that rarely disappoints, this is as reliable as ever, a dry, aromatic, minerally white with notes of apple and pear and an underlying seam of fresh limes. The wine will get toastier with age, if you can keep your hands off it.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, White, Riesling
93

2009 Yalumba Chardonnay FDW, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

( £17.99, 13.5%, Noel Young Wines, Slurp, Winedirect )

Typical (and gratifyingly so) of the top end Chardonnays emerging from Australia’s best cool climate areas at the moment, this is all about structure and acidity rather than easy, up front fruit flavours. Notes of lemongrass, vanilla and citrus fruit are nicely intertwined on the palate, wrapped in a creamy, lees-derived texture.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Australia, White, Chardonnay
93

2009 Yalumba The Virgilius Viognier, Eden Valley, South Australia

( £26.99, 14.5%, Harrods, Selfridges, Slurp )

A candidate for the title of Australia’s best Viognier (and that’s not meant to sound like faint praise), this is true to its varietal, but in a subtler way than many New World examples. White flowers, some cream, a hint of spice, nuanced oak and enough acidity to keep the wine tingling nicely on the palate.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Australia, White, Viognier
90

2010 Yalumba The Strapper Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro, Barossa Valley, South Australia

( £11.99, 14%, AC Gallie, Direct Wines, Noble Green Wines, Noel Young Wines )

Great name (I had to read it twice, too), a smart package and one hell of a glug for under £12. This is judiciously oaked, with the accent on soft, ripe, red fruits flavours. There’s a touch of sweet vanilla, a whisper of liquorice and supple, textured tannins on the palate. Essence of Barossa; essence of GSM.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, Red, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah/Shiraz
88

2010 Porta Velha, Valle Pradinhos, Trás-os-Montes

( £7.50, 13%, The Wine Society )

If you’re looking for a glass of something unusual, yet also uncomplicated, this is for you. It’s a gloriously juicy Portuguese red with bright bramble and raspberry flavours, a smidgeon of tannin and enough acidity to slice its way through lamb or pork. Great value. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Portugal, Red, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional
90

2010 Terrenus, Vinho Regional Alentejano

( £10.95, 13%, The Wine Society )

The oak is fairly prominent on this three-way blend of native Portuguese grape varieties, but there’s enough flavour and texture to cope with it. It’s a spicy, herbal number with notes of fresh bread, aniseed and wild thyme. The acidity is deliciously mouthwatering, giving the wine a sappy, refreshing finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-14Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Portugal, White, Arinto, Fernão Pires, Roupeiro