Three affordable wines from top-shelf wineries

You don't have to pay top dollar for a top drop.
You don't have to pay top dollar for a top drop. Photo: iStock

Henschke, Cullen and Hardy's regularly figure in any list of the greatest wineries of Australia, and they field some pricey wines, but they can also deliver great value for money.

Cullen has its flagship red Diana Madeline at $140 and rare Vanya cabernet sauvignon at $500, while Henschke Hill of Grace at $890 is among the most iconic and expensive Australian wines with a pedigree stretching back to 1958. Hardy's has its Eileen Hardy shiraz and chardonnay at $154 and Thomas Hardy cabernet sauvignon at $160.

It's now common for wineries to have an expensive wine to wave at those impressed by expensive things. But do they actually manage to sell them?

Here are three affordable wines from iconic wineries that really overdeliver.

Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2019, Margaret River, $43

Score 93

This stylish wine has a deep red-purple hue with very attractive, lifted aromatics of violets, blue and red fruits, while the palate is full-bodied and firm with abundant tannins. If broached young, it's best served with hearty, protein-rich food. A very impressive wine in its station, and very much like a junior Diana Madeline, albeit not as powerful or detailed. But brilliant value! Screw-cap; 13 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to 13 years.

Stockists include Red Bottle, Elizabeth Street, Sydney; Armadale Cellars, Vic

Hardy's HRB Chardonnay 2018, Yarra Valley & Pemberton, $35

Score 94

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This is a rich, buttery style that will resonate with traditional chardonnay drinkers who lament the general slimming-down of Aussie chardonnays. It has a complex bouquet featuring generous toasty oak and barrel-ferment characters, creamy yeast lees, butterscotch and nougat flavours. Intense and full-bodied, it has a degree of restraint and tautness, the balance dry and savoury, the aftertaste long and super-satisfying. Superb wine; great value. Screw-cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to seven years.

Stockists include Dan Murphy's Australia-wide

Henschke Keyneton Euphonium 2017, Barossa, $62

Score 95

This blend of shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot has a track record of consistency, and ages beautifully. It certainly tastes like a typical Henschke red, with tell-tale raspberry and sage among various dried-herb and spice aromas; floral and earthy nuances too. It's deliciously fruit-sweet, almost lush in the mouth, the masses of fine, subtly drying tannins keeping the finish and aftertaste neat and disciplined. It's already approachable but will reward cellaring. Screw-cap; 14.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Best from 2022-2036.

Stockists include henschke.com.au