Pinot noir is brilliant with slow-cooked lamb shanks with Middle Eastern spices. Photo: Marina Oliphant
UP TO $20
Hoddles Creek Pinot Noir 2012, $20
While pinot noir is often the drink of choice with duck, it's also incredibly versatile - brilliant with slow-cooked lamb shanks with Middle Eastern spices. The 2012 Hoddles Creek pinot noir will gain complexity over the next five years or so, while its acidity and restraint make for excellent drinking now. Subtle, with a pretty nose, fragrant with forest-floor, cherries and earthy notes that follow through on the palate. It's medium-weighted, tangy, with fine tannins but plenty of depth. Let it breathe for a few hours and it will unfurl more detail. From Randall the Wine Merchants, Newtown.
UP TO $30
Lo Stesso Fiano 2012, $30
Winemakers Georgia Roberts (wine rep by day) and Emily McNally (of Occam's Razor and Jasper Hill) have collaborated for their second vintage, making fiano with fruit sourced from a well-known Heathcote vineyard, and it's a beauty. This smells of creamed honey, stone fruit and ginger spice with Mediterranean herbs. While it's quite a luscious full-bodied white, it's not overripe or heavy as there's fine acidity driving it. The palate is fantastic: creamy, slick, with loads of texture, incredibly moreish, with just the right savoury appeal. Drink with the Turkish braised eggplant dish, imam bayildi. From Rathdowne Cellars.
Comando G La Bruja Averia 2011, $38
Love the name of this from three young producers who love garnacha, calling themselves Comando G, after a Japanese cartoon. Under that label they just make garnacha, with the top, rare and expensive Rumbo al Norte an astonishingly beautiful wine. Yet the ''village'' La Bruja Averia is delicious, too. The fruit is sourced from vines aged for 30 to 50 years in the Caldalso do los Vidrios region of Madrid. It's perfumed, floral, with cola and liquorice notes; savoury despite bright juicy fruit. Medium-bodied with fine tannins, it's spot-on with braised oxtail. From City Wine Shop.
Thomas Wines Kiss Shiraz 2011, $60
Kiss is one of Andrew Thomas' individual vineyard wines and its flagship shiraz. It's the Hunter Valley at its very best. There's nothing heavy, overextracted or harsh about this shiraz, with its core of beautiful sweet fruit, and it smells of crushed red berries and rosemary. There's spice and tangy good acidity melding with the plump, ripe tannins. Still tight, with an attractive herbal edge, but a poised shiraz with power underneath. Will age for another decade or enjoy now with braised beef cheeks. From thomaswines.com.au