50 Best Wines of 2021
Wine Selectors’ Head of Wine, Matt White, wraps up the highlights of 2021, including favourites and new finds.
It’s a great pleasure to once again be giving you my overview of the Top 50 wines of the year. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating that the quality and diversity of Australian wine is world class and this is despite the enormous adversity producers have struggled with over the last two years. Rest assured, our winemakers are crafting their best wines ever, with more choice and value than ever before.
In 2021, Wine Selectors assessed over 3000 submissions and our Tasting Panel, ably led by Co-Chairs PJ Charteris and Adam Walls, review all wines blind and independently. The process is professional and is based on the capital city wine show judging system. It is rigorous and all wines are scrutinised to the same high standards. It’s is a very successful model and explains why the business confidently offers its customers a 100% money back guarantee – very few wines are sent back.
The Top 50 wines, therefore, simply represent the very best wines tasted in the last 12 months. So what were the highlights of 2021? How does a wine find itself in the Top 50? What impressed the Panel and why?
The King and Queen
Certainly, the mainstream varieties still lead the way, with Chardonnay and Shiraz dominating. Australia does these varieties really well and it helps that they grow wonderfully in almost all regions across the country. We continue to see terroir playing an important role in shaping the subtle differences with these varieties; but sometimes these differences are significant too, with Shiraz from the Barossa being a world away from the Hunter in terms of varietal aromas and flavours. Importantly, both can be, and often are, great wines that we all love.
This explains why we have four Shiraz in our Top 50, all coming from very distinct geographical regions. The cool climate elegance of the Tumblong Hills from Gundagai seemingly at odds with the robust and voluptuous Pertaringa Yeoman Shiraz from McLaren Vale. Both wines are a treat for different reasons and go some way to explaining why this variety is king in these regions.
If Shiraz is king, Chardonnay must be our queen and what an enormous way we have come with it over the last 25 years. Previously the domain of iconic regions like Margaret River and Yarra Valley, with some good examples in less notable parts, Chardonnay has now proven it does well in many regions, producing gloriously complex (and again very different) wines from Adelaide Hills, Beechworth, Tasmania and, even Orange.
If it’s still available, consider purchasing the 2019 Byrne Family Chardonnay, which is shining a light on this up-and-coming region and displaying classical grapefruit, white peach, apple, and vanilla. Made by the inimitable Canadian Jeff Byrne, this wine has great tension and freshness with tightly wound acidity and a light seasoning of oak. Marvellous!
Elsewhere we are witnessing great strides with the alternative white varieties and we were quite taken with the indigenous French varieties. The 2010 Box Grove Roussanne from the Goulburn Valley defies its age and shows how this variety gets better with a few years in the bottle. Similarly, the Viognier from Soumah was varietally perfect with none of the cloying texture which so often affects the more famous (and expensive) wines of the Northern Rhône. But frankly, there lies a plethora of choice in these hitherto unknown varietals, with Fiano, Arneis and Vermentino all showing how well winemakers are working with these exciting wines.
The best Australian Sparkling wines rate a very close second to the great wines of Champagne. While Tasmania has clearly proven in the last 10 years its number one status as the home of Australia’s finest fizz, the cooler regions of Adelaide Hills and King Valley are making great wines, including the often underrated Prosecco.
I was very impressed with the 2016 Stonier Chardonnay Pinot Noir, which picked up a Trophy at the prestigious Mornington Peninsula wine show – vindicated by our Panel just a few months later. I saw it as terrifically textural with a rich core of peach and nougat, fine mousse and mouthfeel. Very complex, and drinking well at six years old. Who needs French?
Looking at the reds in the list, I’m reminded not just of the fabulous quality, but of the breadth and depth across so many varietals and also of the new regions, which in a short period have started making truly outstanding wines.
Many consumers are trending towards the lighter red styles, be it Pinot Noir, Gamay or Grenache, and we are seeing some lovely wines, particularly with the more widely grown Pinot Noir. Yarra Valley has set the benchmark here and I have to mention the beautifully textural 2019 Hardy’s HRB Pinot Noir with its effortless core of dark fruit, seductive savoury notes and stunning oak handling. Duck confit please!
Alternative red varieties have flourished across Australia in the last two decades. Back in the 90s, the choice was invariably Shiraz or Cabernet – how lucky we are nowadays to have so many different styles to choose from. Mataro, of course, is not a new variety, but winemakers have certainly perfected this grape over the years. Also known as Mourvèdre, it flourishes in the warmer climates such as Barossa Valley. If the budget allows, pick up a bottle of the 2020 Dandelion March Hare of the Barossa Mataro – it is brooding and confident and full of varietal charm.
Of course, no review of the Top 50 would be complete without mentioning our great fortified wines. These severely under-appreciated wines are actually Australia’s most complex. One fortified that captured our attention last year was the Chambers Rosewood Old Vine Muscadelle. Every time I taste a fortified from Chambers I lament the fact I do not have more in my cellar. Rutherglen grown, and matured for decades before release, the wine is a sheer delight - velvety and unctuous, with a creamy mouthfeel, masses of crème brulee, grilled nuts, toffee and Christmas cake. Truly sublime.
For the wine industry, 2021 was, in some respects, a difficult one. Many wineries continue to work around drought conditions, as well as the consequences of the 2020 bushfires and smoke taint issues. The fallout from Chinese-imposed tariffs has also been devastating on our exports. Despite this, wine quality remains a priority for our producers and I believe the Tasting Panel has compiled an amazing list of wines that demonstrate the creativity and dedication of Australia’s winemakers.
50 Best Wines of 2021
Tumblong Hills Premiere Cuvée Syrah 2017
Gundagai, RRP $32
Tumblong Hills’ Shiraz and Cabernet vines have achieved full maturity, producing rich and complex fruit, as this elegant yet flavoursome wine shows. Powerful aromas of blackberry, plum, graphite, leather, pepper and sweet cedar oak introduce a ripe, juicy palate with a riot of red and black fruit, deep and plush tannins, earth and pepper complexity and a decadent finish.
Parishes Shiraz 2019
Langhorne Creek and Barossa, RRP $22
Château Tanunda has access to a wide range of premium Shiraz vineyards from various ‘parishes’, and this one is a blend of two, from Langhorne Creek and the Barossa. Deep red purple in colour, it has a nose of plum, blackberry, liquorice, clove, pepper and vanillin oak. Rich and concentrated with a deep core of black fruit supported by long, fine and supple tannins, juicy acidity, lovely oak and a well-balanced mocha-like finish. |
Pertaringa Yeoman Shiraz 2018
McLaren Vale, RRP $250
Only made in the best vintages, the Yeoman is the pinnacle Shiraz expression from Pertaringa. An absolute iron fist in a velvet glove with masses of flavour. Deep red saturation in the glass with dense, complex aromas of blackberry, liquorice, amaro, mocha and charry oak. Deeply flavoured, with a concentrated core of black and purple fruit, peppery tannins, bright acidity and plenty of bold oak in harmony with the fruit.
Howard Park Leston Shiraz 2016
Margaret River, RRP $40
Margaret River Shiraz tends to be overshadowed by the region’s Cabernet and Chardonnay, however, wines like this make you wonder why. Its appeal begins with its youthful dark red colour, extending to savoury dark berry fruit lift on the nose with vanilla and fresh herb. Medium weight yet intense and flavoursome with sweet dark cherry and mulberry supported by well-judged toasty oak, dried herb and white pepper, fine tannins and fresh acidity.
Lemon Villa Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Orange, RRP $35
The more robust red varieties can do well in warmer vintages in Orange, and this deliciously flavoursome Cabernet is a great example. Struck match, blackcurrant, leather, wood smoke and black pepper aromas introduce a complex palate with a ripe and juicy entry with a rich and full-bodied mix of black fruit, spicy and ferrous tannins, supple acidity and chocolatey oak in support. Delicious.
West Cape Howe Book Ends Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Mount Barker, RRP $30
A beautifully made Cabernet from the cool climate experts at Great Southern’s West Cape Howe. Strongly varietal, well balanced and an each way bet for drinking now or cellaring. Ripe cassis, plum and mocha oak aromas with a hint of spearmint introduce a plush and generous palate with balanced dark berry, cedar and tobacco, and integrated toasty vanillin oak. Well-structured with a tannin texture built for the cellar.
Pepper Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Coonawarra/wrattonbully, RRP $21
A lovely Cabernet crafted from a mix of 55% Coonawarra fruit and 45% from nearby Wrattonbully, that’s more than the sum of its parts. It features pretty aromas of plum, mulberry, black olive and cedar oak. Plummy entry, in a full-flavoured, dry and savoury style with fine yet deep tannins, supple acidity, balanced oak and an earthy finish.
Bell & Gong Pinot Noir 2018
Tasmania, RRP $38
A stunning Tasmanian Pinot Noir produced by Bell and Gong’s winemaker Glen James, from their vineyard in Longford, Tasmania – just 20 minutes out of Launceston. Dark garnet in the glass with aromas of blueberry, dark cherry and strawberry. Vibrant and fresh with terrific red berry fruit depth and stalky complexity, and subtle vanillin oak, herb and earth on the silken finish. A lovely Pinot Noir – seamless and composed.
Small Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021
Adelaide hills, RRP $28
Small Valley Vineyard winemakers Reid Bosward and Stephen Dew have crafted an easy-drinking Pinot from quality Adelaide Hills fruit. It’s a light crimson garnet colour with vibrant cherry and strawberry aromas and light herb and spice notes. A bright, jammy and fresh style with abundant sappy strawberry and cherry flavours, fine velvety tannins and mouth-watering acidity.
Hardys HRB Pinot Noir 2019
Yarra Valley, RRP $35
Normally a multi-regional wine, the 2019 HRB is instead sourced from two vineyards in the Yarra Valley to make the blend. Winner of the Trophy for best Pinot at the 2020 Royal Perth Show, it’s medium density red coloured with aromas of dark cherry, mushroom, forest floor and wood smoke. Bright and seamless, with an effortless core of dark fruit, beautiful savoury notes and stunning oak, velvety mouthfeel and a never-ending peacock’s tail finish.
De Bortoli The Estate Vineyard Gamay 2019
Yarra Valley, RRP $35
De Bortoli’s Estate Vineyard range are fine examples of ideal variety-region synergy, and this delicious Gamay shows the best of the Yarra Valley. The nose displays aromatic cherry and raspberry with notes of white pepper, game and cola. On the palate, it’s sweet, ripe and juicy with clean cherry berry fruit and subtle vanillin oak. Fresh, spicy and supple with loads of umami.
Hentley Farm Villain and Vixen GSM 2020
Barossa Valley, RRP $24
Hentley Farm founder Keith Hentschke, a Roseworthy College graduate, believes careful vineyard selection is key to producing high quality wines, as this lovely blend confirms. Deep red to black in colour with a lifted nose of dark cherry, earth, boiled lollies and kitchen spice. It has a rich, concentrated core of intense dark fruits, chocolate, liquorice and clove complexity, beautifully velvety tannins and a long, seamless finish.
Three Dark Horses Grenache 2020
Mclaren Vale, RRP $24
An absolutely mouth-watering modern Grenache, with all the sweet berry fruit and jubey confectionery characters expected of the best examples of the variety. Youthful mid red in appearance with fragrant red and blue fruit, and notes of raspberry jube and violets. Juicy, jubey and fresh with lovely blueberry and raspberry fruit sweetness, spice, grapey acidity and gentle texture. Delicious!
Elvarado Tempranillo Grenache 2019
Mclaren Vale, RRP $20
An ode to the juicy red wines produced in Rioja in Spain, but also perfect for Australia’s al fresco culture. It presents a deep, dark red colour and a nose bursting with ripe dark berry aromas and savoury herb and cola notes. Deep and fleshy, the palate has juicy mulberry fruit depth, with hints of dark chocolate, earth and tobacco. Sweetly fruited, yet savoury at the same time, finishing with soft acidity.
Erin Eyes Stone of Destiny Shiraz Malbec 2019
Clare Valley, RRP $30
The Clare originally built its reputation on its reds, especially Shiraz, which was often blended with Malbec, like this stunner. It’s an inky dark red colour featuring sweet plummy fruit lift with toasty oak on the nose. Concentrated with ripe, jubey plum and mulberry fruit and chocolatey oak, notes of iodine, espresso and wood smoke, firm tannins and plenty of toasty oak.
Mr Riggs Yacca Paddock Tempranillo 2021
Adelaide Hills, RRP $30
Aussie Temp can range from medium-bodied to rich and dense, and this delicious example sits in the middle.It’s medium red purple in the glass with aromas of violets, blackberry, cherry, clove and vanilla on the nose. The palate features powerful fruit and firm tannins in harmony, creating a muscular foundation, with masses of black and purple fruit, savoury elements and youthful fruit drive. Delicious.
Mitolo Ourea Sagrantino 2019
McLaren Vale, RRP $39
The 2019 vintage was superb for McLaren Vale reds, and this is one of the best Sagrantinos the Panel saw last year. Its appeal begins with its pale to mid purple colour and extends to its aromas of red fruits, cedar, kitchen spices and graphite. Very savoury and mouth-watering flavours of redcurrant and blueberry feature alongside wood smoke and graphite, with al dente tannins and crisp acidity showing its Italian heritage.
Trimboli Family Wines Saverio Family Selection Sangiovese 2021
Mount Lofty Ranges, RRP $26
Sangiovese seems to thrive in the cooler reaches of the Mount Lofty Ranges, and this is a lovely example of the variety with loads of food-friendly appeal. It’s vibrant red purple coloured with dark cherry and earth aromas. The palate is supple and jubey with layers of cherry and blood plum, notes of cola, thyme, milk chocolate and tobacco, deep tannins and a mouth-watering finish. A well made Sangiovese.
Cowra Estate Malbec 2020
Cowra, RRP $22
A tribute to the power of the Malbec grape and a great example of its potential to make a massively flavoursome red wine style. Deep, dense purple coloured with a nose full of blackcurrant, mulberry, black tea and dried herb aromas. It’s a powerful and palate-staining wine with masses of black fruit with green herb and spice notes, meaty tannin foundation and touches of charcuterie on the generous finish.
Signor Vino Nero d’Avola 2021
Riverina, RRP $23
Mino & Co have mastered the art of perfecting the Italian varietal in Australia, and this mouth-watering ‘Nero’ is a great example of the quality they’re achieving. Medium to deep ruby in appearance with dark cherry, blood plum, five spice and black tea aromas. Medium-bodied and juicy with a lovely mix of red and blue fruit, with hints of five spice and tobacco, lively acidity and soft tannins, making it a perfect young-drinking red.
DiGiorgio Family Cabernet
Franc 2020 Coonawarra, RRP $25
Winemaker Peter Douglas is often referred to as ‘Coonawarra’s master of Cabernet’, but this Cabernet Franc also displays his expertise. It opens with beautiful floral, briarberry, redcurrant, lavender and vanilla oak spice aromas. The palate is textbook Cab Franc with lovely mid-weight balance, satiny red fruits over gentle tannins, harmonious oak and a moreish finish.
Alejandro Durif 2020
Riverland, RRP $25
This is a powerful wine with Durif showing its full colours, but as with all wines that Alex Russell produces, it shows poise and refinement as well. Full red to black in the glass, it displays beautiful dark fruit lift on the nose with background cedar. Rich, dense and concentrated, yet with poise and elegance, the palate features lashings of dark berry fruit and cassis, layers of clove and liquorice, and deep yet silken chocolatey tannins.
Driftwood Artifacts Petit Verdot 2019
Margaret River, RRP $33
While Cabernet put Margaret River on the red wine map, this delightfully balanced wine by Driftwood shows that emerging varieties like Petit Verdot can perform just as well. Blackcurrant, plum, leather, black pepper, liquorice and vanillin oak aromas lead to a ripe and full-bodied concentrated palate with graphite-like tannins, bright acidity, cedar oak and a long, generous finish.
Dandelion Vineyards March Hare of the Barossa Mataro 2020
Barossa Valley, RRP $60
Mataro can be a big wine, and this is one of the most generous the Panel has seen, yet it manages to fit all that flavour into a surprisingly elegant frame. Remarkable. The nose is a beautiful mix of rich blackberry, plum, blackcurrant, pepper, mint and charry oak. A glossy monster with inky dark fruit flavour saturation, a massive core of tannins, notes of black olive and dried herb, toasty oak, and an intense finish.
Mountadam Vineyards Chardonnay 2019
Eden Valley, RRP $28
Mountadam High Eden Estate is one of Australia’s oldest cool climate Chardonnay vineyards, and the fruit produced is exceptional, as this wine shows. It has citrus lift, fresh herb, sea spray and light toasty oak on the nose. The palate is rich and creamy yet vibrant and intense with sweet lemon, melon and peach, limey acidity, background charry oak and notes of sourdough.
Robert Oatley Finisterre Chardonnay 2019
Margaret River, RRP $40
The Finisterre range focusses on small-parcel wines with clarity, purity, expression of flavour and texture. This stunning Margaret River Chardonnay delivers in spades. Vibrant lemon in colour, it has a powerful nose of marzipan, pear, tarte tatin and struck match. Concentrated yet refined with oyster shell and saline minerality adding to the elegant and layered mix of fruit, tightly-wound acidity and beautiful oak.
Bleasdale Chardonnay 2020
Adelaide Hills, RRP $30
Although Bleasdale is based in South Australia’s Langhorne Creek, they have sourced fruit from neighbouring Adelaide Hills to craft this fine Chardonnay. It exudes bright and focussed nectarine and peach aromas with beautiful hints of salted cashew. On the palate, there’s positive stonefruit, fig and citrus with great line and length, delicacy and verve, nervous acidity, refined mouthfeel and classy oak.
Byrne Farm Chardonnay 2019
Orange, RRP $35
A beautifully balanced cool climate Chardonnay that’s simmering with latent potential – flavoursome yet refined with all elements in harmony. Pale with a green hue in the glass, it appeals with aromas of grapefruit, white peach, apple, natural yoghurt and vanilla. There’s great tension and freshness on the palate with tightly-wound acidity driving the refined core of white and yellow fruit, creamy textural elements and classy oak.
Rochford Selection de Vignerons Sauvignon Blanc 2021
Yarra Valley, RRP $27
Crafted exclusively for Wine Selectors, the Selection de Vignerons range is the result of skilled winemaking and a tradition of excellence at Rochford. This Sauvignon Blanc is fresh with expressive aromas of tropical fruit, peach and hints of cut grass. The juicy palate shows passionfruit, Tahitian lime, gooseberry and guava, hints of lemongrass and pickled ginger and fresh acid length.
Howard Vineyard 400 Range Sauvignon Blanc 2021
Adelaide Hills, RRP $20
With wines like this, it’s easy to see why Adelaide Hills has such a great reputation for its Sauvignon Blanc. A textbook example of the style from a quality producer, it delivers aromas of grapefruit, passionfruit, capsicum and nettle. Expressive and bright, the palate has a zippy mix of citrus and light tropical characters, nettle and cut grass varietals, silken mouthfeel and a juicy finish.
Leogate Estate Wines Brokenback Vineyard Gewurztraminer 2020
Hunter Valley, RRP $22
Leogate have crafted a beautifully fresh example of this quirky variety, with lovely drinkability and food-friendly appeal – it’s great with spicy food. Fine straw with green luminescence in the glass, it shows lovely varietal aromas of rose petal, Turkish delight and pear juice. Bold yet tightly-held fruits, driven by rose water, ripe apple, fig and fruit tingle. A lovely example of the variety.
Three Ponds Grosser Fiano 2021
Hunter Valley, RRP $43
Three Ponds have mastered this delicious variety, and are making a refined but flavour-packed style. The Grosser is named after the person who planted the vineyard in 1970. Pale with green freshness, it features aromas of lemon, grapefruit, white peach and blanched almonds. Beautifully flavoursome, yet also pure, with a riot of stonefruit, lemon oil, dried herbs and white nuts, bright acidity, fabulous texture, and a complex, persistent finish.
Bracken Ridge Semillon 2011
Hunter Valley, RRP $35
Bracken Ridge is nestled in the valley of the Brokenback Ranges, and has a combination of soils that come together to produce elegant wines, including this vintage Semillon. It’s a mid gold colour with sweet, honeyed fruit lift on the nose. Ripe and juicy lemony fruit flavours show in a still-youthful frame, with creamy textural notes, classic buttered toast complexity, vibrant lime juice acidity, and endless flavour persistence.
Blackbilly Pinot Gris 2021
South Australia, RRP $25
This slightly off-dry style of Pinot Gris by Nick Haselgrove Wines has a lovely texture, and is intended to be consumed as a young wine, served chilled as an aperitif, or with spicy food to offset the heat. It presents as pale and bright in the glass with pear, stonefruit and citrus aromas. The palate has a soft and juicy entry of nashi pear, peach and grapefruit characters, creamy textural elements, beautiful length and a touch of sweetness balanced by tangy acidity.
Tomich Woodside Vineyard
Pinot Grigio 2021 Adelaide Hills, RRP $25
The Adelaide Hills is one of the finest regions in the country for quality Pinot G, and this example from Tomich is testament to that reputation. Opening with aromas of lifted white pear, red apple, lemon zest and white nut, it has a racy, fresh and dry palate with a restrained mix of nashi and white melon, zesty citrussy acidity, some creamy nutty elements, and gentle chalky grip to finish.
Russell & Suitor Son of a Bull Riesling 2021
Tasmania, RRP $29
A lovely example of Tasmanian Riesling that manages to be a mouth-watering wine in its youth but has fantastic ageability and a long life ahead. Pale with a green hue, it shows lemon, green apple and fresh herb aromas. Vibrant and intense lemon-lime varietals with Granny Smith, fresh herb, talc and white pepper complexity. Generous, long and flavoursome with crunchy acidity and a minerally finish.
Gaelic Cemetary White Hut Riesling 2020
Clare Valley, RRP $36
This is a beautifully vibrant and long Riesling with fabulous purity, crystalline poise and a silken texture, making it one of the most complete the Panel tasted in 2021. Delicate citrus, tree and stonefruit, lemongrass and lime blossom aromas introduce an ethereally light and vibrant palate with layers of fresh lime, star fruit and nashi, amazing saline texture and purity, and wet slate minerality.
Box Grove Vineyard Roussanne 2010
Goulburn Valley, RRP $35
Sarah Gough of Box Grove Vineyard is one of the few Australian wine producers to craft Roussanne and she has a huge passion for its long, lingering flavours. Her 2010 vintage exudes aromas of ripe varietal yellow peach and melon with a superb developing note of wild honey adding complexity. It’s a rich style showing ripe yellow fruits, pineapple, peach and melon with velvet umami and honey-like softness.
Soumah viognier 2021
Yarra Valley, RRP $40
Year in, year out, this is one of the best Viognier the Panel sees. It’s made with fruit from Soumah’s Hexham vineyard in the Yarra Valley. Stunning! Pale and bright with aromas of stonefruit, rockmelon, apple and white flowers. A refined powerhouse, with loads of varietal character showing as white peach, dried apricot and lemon zest, touches of vanilla and kitchen spice, fine acidity and a rich, juicy finish.
Carillion Expressions Pinot Rosé 2021 Wrattonbully, RRP $25
Wrattonbully, RRP $25
Carillion have crafted a lovely modern Rosé from Pinot Gris, which has a beautifully delicate minerality. It presents a pale onion skin hue in the glass, while the nose shows a very savoury lift of pear, peach skin and sea spray. The palate is very fine with mouth-watering acidity driving the complex mix of red berry fruit, with delicate umami and oyster shell notes, and a savoury finish.
Vinaceous Salome Tempranillo Rosé 2021
Geographe, RRP $22
This Gold medal-winning Rosé combines the winemaking talents of Gavin Berry and Michael Kerrigan. It’s a clever use of Tempranillo, resulting in delicate strawberry, peach and rose water aromas. The refined palate has excellent balance between fruit and savoury elements, with gamey complexity, white mushroom, lime and alpine strawberry core depth, and a complex, dry finish.
Field Blend 2019 Heathcote, RRP $24
The Chalmers family have been pioneers of new wave varieties in Australia, and their vineyard is a hot-bed for Italian varieties, which are grown and fermented together. Their field blend is beautifully fragrant with peach, pear, lemon zest and blanched almond aromas. Bright and fresh with a savoury mix of white and green fruit, nutty complexity, chalky texture and a satisfying finish. A delicious fruit salad in a glass.
Peter Drayton Anomaly Vermentino 2021
Hunter Valley, RRP $30
Peter Drayton’s Anomaly Series revels in the divergence from the expected, from the vineyard to the glass. This Vermentino shows spicy yellow fruit lift on the nose with notes of lime zest, sea spray, vanilla and fresh herb. Mid-weight, clean, dry and spicy with vibrant lemony fruit and white pepper spice notes, savoury acidity, and saline, oyster shell drive.
Sam Miranda Single Vineyard Arneis 2021
Alpine Valley, RRP $28
Called ‘the little rascal’ in its native Piedmont, Arneis is known for its flavour concentration and low acidity levels, which creates a supple, food-friendly style. Sam Miranda’s expression has vibrant aromas of pear, apple, lemon pith and macadamia. The palate shows real purity and finesse, yet has latent fruit power, with refined layers of white and yellow fruit, slightly creamy mouthfeel and a gentle chalky finish.
La Prova Prosecco 2021
King Valley, RRP $26
This is one of the best Proseccos the Panel has seen in a long time. It perfectly captures the freshness of its high altitude vineyard site in Whitfield, King Valley. Very pale and bright in the glass, it displays gorgeous green pear, green apple and lemon aromas. The palate is light, fine and bone-dry, with tightly-wound acidity driving the core of green and white fruit, zesty yet powder-soft mouthfeel and a fine, refreshing finish.
Stonier Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2016
Mornington Peninsula, RRP $32
The 2016 Stonier Sparkling is made from Chardonnay (92%), with a small amount of Pinot Noir (6%) and Pinot Meunier (2%) added to enhance the flavour profile of the blend. The result is a wine exuding autolysis lift over bread shop and marzipan. Full-bodied and textural with a rich core of peach and nougat, fine mousse and mouthfeel, and a long, savoury finish. Very complex, deeply-flavoured and drinking well.
42 Degrees South Premier Cuvée Sparkling NV
Tasmania, RRP $32
42°S is the latitude where the grapes for this wine are grown. The end result is a fresh, vibrant Sparkling that showcases the very best of Tasmania’s cool climate. Opening with citrus and berry fruit aromas with hints of grilled nuts and brioche. Clean and crisp with a grapefruit-like entry, creamy mouthfeel and lovely texture, yeasty complexity and crisp, refreshing acidity.
Taltarni Cuvée Rosé 2014
Victoria/Tasmania, RRP $26
Established in 1969, Taltarni Vineyards is one of the pioneering wineries of Victoria’s Pyrenees wine region, and their experience shows in wines like this stunning Sparkling. It presents a pale salmon colour and displays aromas of cherry, redcurrant, red grapefruit, strawberry and almond. Dry and savoury with a tight mix of white and red fruit flavours, zesty pink grapefruit acidity, savoury notes of shortbread and grilled nuts, and a creamy mousse.
Chambers Rosewood Vineyards Old Vine Muscadelle NV
Rutherglen, RRP $30
Chambers are masters of fortified wine styles, as one taste of this stunning old vine Muscadelle will reveal. Totally delicious! Vibrant dark bronze with green and orange hues. The nose exudes grilled citrus, dark chocolate, lychee, frangipani, cold tea and new leather. Velvety, rich and sublime with a creamy mouthfeel, and masses of crème brûlée, grilled nuts, toffee and Christmas cake.
Tahbilk Cane Cut Marsanne 2017
Nagambie Lakes, RRP $25
Another fantastic wine from Tahbilk, who are arguably the masters of Marsanne in this country, and this time they’ve delivered a sensational sweet take on the variety. It’s a mid gold colour with aromas of honeysuckle, lime zest, nectarine and baked apple. Intense and full-flavoured with a bright yet sweet mix of citrus and perfumed florals, lively acidity to balance, and a long, sustained finish. Absolutely delicious!