Brookland Valley Verse 1 Margaret River Chardonnay 2012 $13–$15
When a company makes cutting edge top-shelf wine, the quality usually flows down to cheaper wines in its portfolio. We can taste this deliciously in Verse1 Chardonnay, little sibling of the far more expensive Brookland Valley Chardonnay and relative of several other classy chardonnays (including Eileen Hardy Chardonnay) in the Accolade Wine Group. We bought our bottle for just under $13 during a recent visit to Wollongong; and came back for seconds. What a delight it is – crisp, fresh, smoothly textured and packed with juicy nectarine-like varietal flavour. It’s widely distributed, often discounted a safe bet every time.
Two Churches Barossa Valley Shiraz 2010 $12–$17
In the late nineties I created the Two Churches brand for the Coles Liquor Group. Peter Lehmann made the wine and Barbara Harkness, creator of the Yellow Tail label, designed the package. The name came from a fanciful folk tale, archived in the National Library, of a schism that resulted in two Lutheran churches existing within one small Barossa village. About 15 years on, I feel sufficiently removed from the brand to say the 2010 vintage, purchased at a Liquorland store, offers attractive, soft Barossa drinking. When it’s at is full $17 a bottle, you can drink better for the price. But on special at $12–$14, it’s a good buy.
Bussell “Grace” Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012 $20–$22
As the winemakers of Bordeaux and Margaret River demonstrate, semillon makes sauvignon blanc interesting. In this blend – made at Clairault Wines, Margaret River, for Grant Burge – semillon comprises one fifth of the total. This adds savouriness, backbone and length to the fruity, vivacious palate. Fermentation in oak of a small portion of the blend adds to its mid-plate richness and texture, without injecting oak flavour. Barossa winemaker Grant Burge says he created the Margaret River brand, Bussell, and a New Zealand brand, Drift, to meet demand for wine styles he couldn’t make in the Barossa.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 5 May 2013 in The Canberra Times