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Jane Faulkner

UP TO $20

Mandoleto Catarratto 2011, $12

CATARRATTO is one of Sicily's most important white varieties, often blended to make marsala, arguably the island's most complex drink. And yet, on its own as a table wine, it's fresh and zingy. This offering from Mandoleto can be chilled on a hot day without losing any of its zesty appeal - and it's a bargain. More savoury with a touch of dried herbs and pear, tangy with lots of citrus and briny: this catarratto is simple, delicious and very quaffable. A nice match to deep-fried whitebait. From Cloudwine Cellars, South Melbourne.

 

UP TO $25

Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012, $20

WESTERN Australia's Margaret River region excels in several wine varieties, including cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and semillon blends. This '12 is punchy without being overt and while there's a hint of tropical fruit, it's mostly citrus (grapefruit and lemon spectrum). There's plenty of acidity yet this blend has texture, too - chalky on the palate and really moreish. Enjoy with a dish of hot chilli prawns. Recommended retail price $27; available for $20 at several outlets including First Choice.

 

UP TO $25

Chalmers Fiano 2010, $25

THE Chalmers range of Italian varieties always shines after a few years in bottle: this current-release fiano is a 2010 and it looks super-smart now. Fiano hails from Campania, southern Italy, and can handle heat without losing its acidity or becoming flabby, so is great here. Italian whites are never fruity, they're savoury, and this starts with a lightly fragrant pine needle character, sea-salty with a spicy peppery lift that follows on the palate. It also has texture: bitey with snappy acidity before a dry, fresh finish, complex yet not complicated. Aperitif or with fish and chips. From Blackhearts & Sparrows.

 

SPLURGE

Jim Barry The Florita 2011 Riesling, $42

ONE of the Clare Valley's finest rieslings, possibly one of Australia's best, with fruit from the eponymous and historic vineyard in Watervale. But only select parcels of the finest fruit go into The Florita, Jim Barry's top riesling. The result is a wine of extraordinary depth and purity, yet racy when young. There's a backbone of fine, natural, spritely acidity driving to a long, persistent finish. In between are citrus fruit nuances, delicate florals and a juicy, zesty palate. Will age another decade but right now, it's a sterling summer drink. From Boccaccio Cellars, Balwyn.