It's fun when visiting friends to take a bottle with their name on the label. There are many wines named after members of the producer's family these days. Women who reach legal drinking age in 2020 were most likely born in 2002, and the most popular girl's names then were Emily, Chloe, Jessica, Isabella, Sarah, Sophie, Georgia, Olivia, Grace and Hannah, in that order. Is it coincidence most can be found on an Australian wine today? Of the top four, think Jasper Hill Emily's Paddock Shiraz, Woodlands Chloe Reserve Chardonnay, Ross Hill Jessica Rosé, Gartelmann Jessica Verdelho, Oakdene Jessica Sauvignon, Wantirna Estate Isabella Chardonnay and Campbell's Isabella Topaque.
Oakdene Jessica Sauvignon 2018, Bellarine Peninsula, $28
A barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc that barely shows oak: it's all about the effect, not the flavour. Fruit does the talking: passionfruit, feijoa varietal fruit aromas with a patina of cashew nut. The taste is delicate, refined and dry, with mouth-watering acidity and subtle grip. Screw cap; 12.4 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to six years
Stockists include: Bonds Corner Fine Wines, Northbridge (NSW); McCoppins Food & Wine, Hawthorn East (Vic)
Woodlands Emily Cabernet Franc Merlot 2017, Margaret River, $47
From the Woodlands Brook vineyard, this is coloured deep purple-red and smells rich and powerfully of dark fruits, violets and spices, plus a hint of cedar. It's fully ripe: herbal notes are minor. Medium-full body, intense as well as elegant. A very smart wine and good value. Screw cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to 12 years
Stockists include: Wine Culture (NSW); Nick's Wine Merchants (Vic)
Wantirna Estate Isabella Chardonnay 2018, Yarra Valley, $77
Mid-yellow colour with some development that shows in the bouquet, which has some biscuity oak and smoky notes neatly dovetailing with stone-fruit nuances. The palate is rich and oatmealy; nutty, toasty and complex. It's well-suited to rich French brie. Screw cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to 2027
Stockists include: Prince Wine Store, Sydney and Melbourne; United Cellars, Sydney