NOTE ON PRICES
Wine producers and their distributors are asked to supply the recommended retail price for each wine tasted. Where applicable, we run recommended retail prices for both Australia and New Zealand. Prices may vary depending on the outlet. If a wine is not distributed in one or other of the countries, the local price will not be given. However, it may be possible to order through an overseas distributor.
Best Buy Wines (April/May 2013): $15 and under
Our panel – Max Allen, Peter Bourne, Bob Campbell MW, Peter Forrestal, Huon Hooke and Jeremy Oliver – recommends great-value wines from home and further afield.
2012 Mr. Mick Rosé, Clare Valley, A$15
Since taking over the famous Leasingham winery in South Australia’s Clare Valley a couple of years ago, Tim Adams has launched a new label called Mr. Mick, dedicated to Mick Knappstein, legendary winemaker from Leasingham’s heyday back in the 1960s and 70s. This is my pick of the wines I’ve tried in the well-priced Mr. Mick range which also includes a good, juicy riesling. A blend of tempranillo and pinot gris, it’s a fuller-bodied, off-dry style of rosé, designed for occasions when you prefer your pink wine on the bold and fruity side. MA
2012 Houghton White Classic, West Australia, A$15
Remarkably, this popular white blend is in its 75th vintage. Established in 1937 by long-serving Houghton winemaker Jack Mann as Houghton White Burgundy, it won a trophy at the Melbourne Show for best dry white table wine. Originally it was a varietal chenin blanc. As a blend it is still chenin dominant and it has been one of the country’s best selling whites. It’s regularly one of our top quaffers. The 2012 has a wonderful freshness, it is crisp, clean and lively with tangy tropical flavours and zesty acidity. PF
2012 Angove Nine Vines Grenache Shiraz Rosé, South Australia, A$15
The Angove family have been making wine since 1886 but rather than rest on their laurels they have constantly refreshed their outlook and their wines. Their Nine Vines range offers fresh, bright everyday drinking with a modern twist and includes a moscato and shiraz viognier. The 2012 rosé is a blushing pink, it’s dominant variety grenache bringing raspberry pastille aromas and juicy, red berry fruit flavours The 30 per cent shiraz gives structural backbone and flavour length. Pair with spaghetti vongole. PB
2009 Deen De Bortoli Vat 8 Shiraz, South East Australia, A$14
This has to be one of the best value wines I’ve tasted for a year and one of several excellent reds under this label. Blended from nine regions, including Coonawarra, Mudgee and Heathcote, it’s a tribute to the blender’s art. It has a bright red-purple hue and a stylish bouquet of mixed spices and red fruits, displaying the aromatics of cool-climate fruit. It’s soft, medium-bodied and very approachable with good freshness and fruit sweetness. A lively, fragrant shiraz with real style. Best drunk within four years. HH
2011 Wild River Riesling, Waipara Valley, NZ$15
Wild River is produced by the Waipara winery Mount Brown and is available in New Zealand only. The price to quality ratio of New Zealand riesling makes it this country’s best value wine, thanks to the variety’s moderately unfashionable status. I can’t think of another wine that could deliver this level of quality at the fairly modest price of $15. Medium-dry riesling with an initial honeyed sweetness that leads to an off-dry finish. Fresh and moderately flavoursome wine with typical citrus, lime and mineral flavours. BC
2012 Windy Peak Shiraz, Heathcote, A$14
A bright, punchy varietal shiraz made in typical modern De Bortoli manner with reference points more elegant and savoury than traditionally Australian. It’s musky, spicy perfume of dark berries and plums has a peppery lift above nuances of cedary oak and suggestions of animal hide. It’s long and smooth with pristine shiraz fruit and lingering notes of dark chocolate supported by fine, powdery tannins finishing with soft acidity. Quite a charmer. JO