De Bortoli Vinoque Yarra Valley Sangiovese 2013 $24
De Bortoli's first straight Yarra Valley sangiovese comes from the warm 2013 vintage. Fruit comes from the family's north-facing Art Martin vineyard. Presumably the warm season and good sun exposure accounts for such ripe fruit flavours and tannins in this otherwise quite cool region. Leanne De Bortoli and winemaker husband Steve Webber say they planted the vineyard to "premium sangiovese clones" in 2007. Their irresistible first effort delivers deep, juicy sweet fruit flavours, backed by earthy, soft tannins. The palate is medium bodied and perfectly balanced despite an alcohol content of 13.9 per cent.
Angullong Fossil Hill Central Ranges–Orange Vermentino 2014 $22
The 220-hectare Angullong vineyard rolls in and out of the Orange region: sections of the vineyard at an altitude of 600 metres or more qualify for the Orange appellation, whereas those below 600 metres belong in the Central Ranges region. The variety thrives in hot, dry conditions, says Ben Crossing. "We chose a site on top of a ridge that is exposed to hot, dry, westerly winds during summer", says Crossing. They grafted the variety onto existing vines in 2011 to test the variety and made the first vintage in 2014. The result is a pleasing, full-flavoured, smooth-textured, soft, citrus-and-melon-like dry white.
Ferngrove Frankland River Symbols Cabernet Merlot 2011 $14–$17
With more than 300 hectares of vines in Western Australia's Frankland River region, Ferngrove makes a range of wines including this very good, modestly price blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot. As eastern Australia contended with almost non-stop rain and low temperatures during the 2010–11 growing season, vignerons in the west experienced benign conditions and ultimately harvested outstanding grapes. The high quality shows even in this entry-level wine with its bright, fresh berry characters and lively, fresh palate. The wine's fruity varietal flavours, medium body and soft tannins provide good current drinking.