Pandemic lockdowns and restrictions have created a boom in wine sales, especially for online retailers. The loss of restaurant sales has meant an equivalent rise in off-premise wine buying. And if we don't have to physically enter a shop, so much the better. Hence the biggest liquor retailers, Woolworths and Coles, have ramped up their online activities. Postal deliveries have gone berserk. Retailers and delivery people say it's like Christmas except that, unlike Christmas, it hasn't stopped.
Most bricks-and-mortar liquor retailers have an online presence, but there are many that are purely online. Some sell only their own labels. An increasing number specialise in natural wine. Here's a selection from some of the stalwarts.
Margan Family Aged Release Semillon 2013, Hunter Valley, $37.99 ($36.99 in a dozen)
The colour is light for its age, the lemon pith bouquet backward and yet to develop appreciable toastiness. The wine is very fresh and youthful, nervy and tight on the palate with abundant acidity. The flavours are all about lemon juice, lemon pith and lemongrass. Full price: $50. Tasted 2018. Screw-cap; 11.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to five years.
Wirra Wirra The Lost Watch Riesling 2019, Adelaide Hills, $26 ($17.99 in a three-bottle buy)
The colour is palish yellow-straw, the bouquet fresh, bright and intense – flowers and dried herbs with background lime and lemon. Light-bodied, restrained and delicate, with refinement and pot-pouri charm. The finish and follow-through are dry and long. Screw-cap; 12.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to nine years.
Riposte The Dagger Pinot Noir 2019, Adelaide Hills, $23 ($19.55 in a mixed dozen)
From veteran Tim Knappstein and son Nick, this has good depth of red-purple hue and smells sweetly ripe with a raspberry high note. It's quite big and bold for its modest price, with some grip. Its "pinosity" is restrained, but it has good weight and volume of flavour. Screw-cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to seven years.