Jane Faulkner

It's a no brainer. Vermentino is simply the right match for sardines.
It's a no brainer. Vermentino is simply the right match for sardines. Photo: Marina Oliphant

UP TO $25

Mitolo Jester Vermentino 2012 $22

It's a no-brainer. Vermentino is simply the right match for sardines, so just crumb and lightly fry the fish then splash some balsamic vinegar on top and serve on toast drizzled with olive oil. And don't forget to chill the wine. There are some terrific Aussie vermentinos, including this from Mitolo in McLaren Vale. It has a subtle bouquet of spice, lemon blossom and Mediterranean herbs, plus a whiff of the distinct sea-salty varietal character that makes it so appealing. Zingy on the palate with citrus zest flavours but some texture, too. mitolowines.com.au

UP TO $25

Andrew Thomas Six Degrees Semillon 2012 $22

I'm a sucker for Hunter Valley semillon - aged or young, although the piercing acidity of the latter can be too much for some folk. If so, try Six Degrees from Andrew Thomas, who makes outstanding semillons anyway but this is off-dry. Thomas stops fermentation at a point where there's some residual sugar left. The result is an uncomplicated wine at a lower alcohol content of 8 per cent. Those who prefer the zingy, more acidic, linear semillons should try Thomas' Braemore, my favourite. thomaswines.com.au

UP TO $30

Wilson Polish Hill River Riesling 2013 $29

Some of the very young 2013 rieslings are starting to appear, and from what I've tasted, the vintage is excellent. While the ageing potential will be very good, young riesling is a brilliant partner to raw fish - sashimi or ceviche. The rieslings from the Wilson family in the Polish Hill River subregion of Clare Valley are exceptional. This is its top riesling and it's pitch-perfect. There is a hint of banana skin plus wet pebbles so indicative of this region, with a touch of florals. A neatly composed riesling with great presence. wilsonvineyard.com.au

SPLURGE

Caoe Mentelle Wallcliffe 2011 $45

Margaret River produces the country's most outstanding sauvignon blanc-semillon blends because there's a synergy between the two varieties grown there. However, Cape Mentelle manages to create a precise, complex blend that's more about texture than varietal fruit character. It's also barrel fermented, which adds a layer of interest. Made from fruit sourced off the Wallcliffe vineyard, it's a special wine very much in the savoury spectrum, with a persistent finish and superbly balanced. Try this with deep-fried flathead tails and aioli. capementelle.com.au