What a stunning wine this is; a real crowd pleaser with fresh, vibrant citrus flavours leaping out of the glass at you. Riesling has been grown in the Great Western region of Victoria since the 1860s with the diurnal variations ideal for the variety. That said, few recent new releases have shone as brightly in their youth as this, which combines both power and finesse. It's the pure, crystaline fruit that shines with floral, zesty lemon and lime aromas and flavours, excellent minerality and delightfully zingy acidity, along with a couple of grams of residual sugar to add interest, and sensible alcohol levels at 11.5%. A brilliant buy for the price. $24. www.bestswines.com.
Glaymond is a second label for Barossa Valley "alternative" varieties specialist Damien Tscharke. While shiraz is king in the Barossa, this rather bolshy cabernet impressed me as the best of the new Glaymond releases. It's extremely concentrated with a range of dark berry and currant flavours on the palate, violets, hints of mint, soft, almost plush, tannins and an extremely long, mouthfilling finish. Big, but very stylish and not to be trifled with, if this wine were an actress it would be Christina Hendricks from Mad Men. $32. www.tscharke.com.au
There is a wide variation in both style and quality among Australian pinot gris/grigio. This Mornington Peninsula wine is undoubtedly one of the best with plenty of stone-fruit flavours to the fore, pears and white peaches, but also impressive textural complexity as a result of barrel fermentation. There’s a good balance between savoury notes and fresh fruit, and a refreshing acid finish. Winemaker Mike Aylward recently won the 2011 Young Guns of Wine award. $38. www.oceaneight.com.au.
Hunter vigneron Andrew Margan has an afinity with the Italian grape variety barbera, even though it comprises only a tiny proportion of his total output. This was made from the first barbera vines planted in the region; from Italian root stock. It's a very aromatic and savoury red, medium-bodied with fine tannins and lots of acid. Very food friendly, I'd pair it with a rich rabbit casserole. $30. www.margan.com.au
Josh Clementsen handcrafts some very good estate-grown wines in tiny quantities using fruit from the Skimstone vineyard at Apple Tree Flat, just outside Mudgee. He has a definite bias towards Italian varieties and this sangiovese rosé is outstanding. Very much made in the new-wave style, it is bright pink and bone dry with with impressive savoury notes along with some assertive cranberry, strawberry and red cherry characters and impressive linear acidity. This outshone several bigger name rosés in a reecent tasting. A terrific food wine and great value for $22. www.skimstone.com.au.
This is the budget shiraz from renowned Grampians winery Mount Langi Ghiran and it gets a capital V for value from me even if the fruit is drawn from three different regions; home soil, Bendigo and Swan Hill. The whole cool-climate shiraz thing is going on here with plenty of pepper and spice on the medium-weight palate with some fine tannin action, but there's also plenty of sweet dark fruit flavours (and 14.5% alcohol). A terrific wine for affordable everyday drinking pleasure.$18. www.langi.com.au.
The aromatic white wines of Alsace are often sadly overlooked but when they shine, like one, they are absolutely outstanding. Mind you, Dopff au Moulin has been making wines in the fairytale village of Riquewihr since 1574 and is still a family business, so they've had a fair bit of practice. Made from fruit grown on a grand cru hillside site, this is a pleasant enough wine on its own, but it blossoms with food (in our case a Thai green chicken curry). It has a lovely floral bouquet and the palate is dry, flinty and minerally with beautiful balance and structure. And the good news is it is bottled under screw cap for the Australian market. Available at Dan Murphy's stores. $30.