Tyrrell's Lost Block Heathcote Shiraz 2013 $18
Tyrrell's Lost Block range presents Australian regional specialties in a drink-now style. This could be a hard ask for Heathcote shiraz, as the wines tend to mouth-puckering in the tannin department. The winemakers soften this one with a small addition of the white variety, viognier – which has the pleasing effect of lifting the aroma and flavour as well. The wine presents the savoury, black cherry varietal aromas and flavours of Heathcote shiraz on a softish medium-bodied palate, which nevertheless retains a touch of the region's bitey tannins.
De Bortoli Sacred Hill Chardonnay 2015 $4.75-$6
The holiday season draws to a close, but not too late to include a delicious and cheap summer quaffer from De Bortoli. It makes the wine from fruit grown near its home base in the Riverina, with a just a splash from Victoria's cooler King Valley. The winemaking aims at capturing varietal nectarine-like flavours. But it also builds in a few extra layers by using oak staves in part of the blend and allowing maturation time on spent yeast cells. The result is a fresh and lively dry white with clear varietal flavour and that little extra texture and richness we expect of chardonnay.
Domaine Chandon Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2014 $25-$32
Cool-climate pinot noir of this calibre suits the hot Australian summer. It's fruity, fresh, comparatively low in alcohol (12.5 per cent), and medium-bodied, with subtle tannins. But the intense flavours and silky texture – boosted by inclusion of whole bunches in the fermentation – mean really satisfying drinking. Grace, elegance, and deep flavour maintain the drinker's interest to the last drop. However, the wine needs to be chilled slightly to capture the delicate perfume and subtle flavours – but not too cold. Around 18 degrees is perfect.