Smith and Hooper Wrattonbully Cabernet Merlot 2012, $16.15-$21
During the red wine boom of the mid nineties, Australia's large winemakers began broad-acre vine plantings at Wrattonbully, adjoining Coonawarra's north-eastern boundary. Ten years later, the area contributed large volumes of high quality fruit for many popular wine brands. But nobody new for sure how high fruit quality might go in future. And ten years on, we know quality can be about as good as it gets in Australia. The area now contributes to some of our greatest wines, but also produces lovely, elegant reds like this inexpensive Smith and Hooper blend.
Kangarilla McLaren Vale Terzetto 2013, $30
Terzetto, meaning threesome, combines three varieties – sangiovese, primitivo and nebbiolo – all vastly different beasts. Sangiovese and nebbiolo originate in Italy. But primitivo, originally from Croatia (its oldest name there is tribidrag), thrives in southern Italy and in California as zinfandel. Primitivo gives the wine its bold fruit flavour, augmented, says winemaker Kevin O'Brien, by sangiovese. Nebbiolo, the noble grape of Piedmont, gives the wine its firm backbone and savoury complexity. Exotic flavours, medium body and savoury, firm tannins set Terzetto apart. This is our second review of the wine, the first done on the tasting bench and this one over a meal.
Yering Station Little Yering Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2013, $17.10-$18
The Rathbone family's Yering Station produces some of Australia's finest chardonnays, including their estate chardonnay ($38) and reserve chardonnay ($90). Happily, the quality of their craft trickles down to the affordable Little Yering Chardonnay. This is a really gorgeous white, built on mouth-watering, cool-climate varietal flavours, reminiscent of nectarine and citrus. But the fruit comes with extra layers of aroma, flavour and texture derived from oak barrels. You get a lot of wine for a modest price.