De Bortoli Yarra Valley Windy Peak Pinot Noir 2014 $9.95–$15
De Bortoli’s Windy Peak offers the juicy, pure varietal flavour of ripe, cool-grown pinot at an amazingly low price. I paid around $15 for it in Broome, where it became our much loved, campsite red, enduring the corrugations and dust of the Gibb River and Cape Leveque roads. Many retailers offer it for about $11, and Dan Murphy sells the previous, marginally better 2013 vintage online for $9.95. Remarkably for a pinot at this price, it provides some of the savour and backbone as well varietal fruit flavour.
Rolling Central Ranges Cabernet Merlot 2013 $12.95–$15
Rolling is a brand of Cumulus Estate Wines of Orange. Variations in the estate’s altitude mean that vines above the 600-metre mark lie within the Orange region boundary, while those below 600 metres fall under the Central Ranges appellation. It’s a fine line to draw as wines from, say, 650 metres bear more resemblance to those from 590 metres than to those at 750, 850 or even over 1,000 metres – all captured in the Orange boundary. But that’s for the locals to worry about. Rolling cabernet merlot, enjoyed in Qantas cattle class recently, provides pleasant berry flavours with cabernet’s herbaceous edge and fine tannins.
Brookland Valley Verse 1 Margaret River Chardonnay 2013 $13.30–$15
The trickle-down effect can never be underestimated for large-company wines. In this instance, Brookland Valley, part of Accolade Wines, produces cutting-edge Margaret River chardonnay, alongside the group’s other fine chardonnays, including Bay of Fires (Tasmania) and the flagship, Eileen Hardy. The group skills trickle down all the way to Brookland’s Verse 1 chardonnay, which provides way above average drinking for the price. Its keynote is pure, fresh peach-and-melon varietal flavour of great freshness, backed by textural richness derived from barrel maturation of some components.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 27 and 28 June 2015 in goodfood.com.au and the Canberra Times