Twelve Signs Hilltops Chardonnay 2014 $10–$14
Enjoy it while you can. Moppity vineyards recently grafted its old chardonnay vines over to the Spanish red variety, tempranillo, with instant success. Owner Jason Brown now relies on his Coppabella vineyard, Tumbarumba, for chardonnay. The higher, cooler region simply suits the variety much better. While the days of Brown's Hilltops chardonnay may be numbered, there's tasty, affordable drinking in the remaining stock. Twelve Signs 2014 offers juicy melon-like varietal flavour on a richly textured, fresh dry palate. It's rich but not heavy, and made for current drinking.
De Bortoli King Valley Prosecco $16.20–$18
Prosecco, a neutral-flavoured northern Italian grape, makes light, pleasantly tart sparkling wines. For most in the market, the flavour might politely be called "subtle". But that appears to be a virtue in a wine loved for its liveliness, tickly bubbles, fresh, cleansing finish and ability to slip down almost unnoticed. The De Bortoli family sources theirs from Victoria's King Valley. They use early picked grapes and make the wine protectively in stainless steel tanks where it undergoes both a primary fermentation then, after blending, the secondary fermentation which produces the bubbles.
Tscharke The Master Barossa Valley Montepulciano 2013 $25
Montepulciano, a red variety that thrives in sunny, warm locations, grows widely in central Italy. Although sometimes confused with sangiovese, partly because of the great sangiovese, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (from the Tuscan village of Montepulciano), it's best known for the solid savoury reds of Abruzzi, under the official name Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Several Australian winemakers now work with the variety, including the Barossa's Damien Tscharke. His 2013 shows red-currant-like fruit flavours with strong, rustic, savoury tannins – a distinguishing feature of the variety and quite endearing when served with savoury or high-protein food.