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Discover our Top 12 Reds of 2017

2017 was a super-busy year for our Panel who tasted and rated over 4,000 wines. With so many wines in the running, the Best Wines of the Year is always a hotly contested list and this year was no exception.

From tried and true varietal champions like Hunter Valley and Great Southern Shiraz, to fabulous blends such as Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre from the Barossa, plus magical Margaret River Malbec, here are the Top 12 Reds that really stood out from the crowd and wowed all of our Panellists.

View our Top 12 white wines here.

Howard Park Flint Rock Shiraz 2015, Great Southern

In the glass: Deep purple. 
On the nose: Black plum, blackberry, pepper and vanillin oak. 
On the palate: Black, blue and purple fruits, subtle peppery depth and great balance of tannins and acidity. Rich, flavoursome and intense yet elegant.
RRP $26 or $22.10 per bottle in any dozen.  

Kaesler Stonehorse Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2014, Barossa Valley

In the glass: Medium density red. 
On the nose: Complex lift of dark berry, plum, cedar and earth. 
On the palate: Medium to full bodied with a core of black fruit and layers of cassis and vanilla. Silken with balanced tannins giving a rich, velvety texture. 
RRP $22 or $18.70 per bottle in any dozen. 

Lou Miranda Leone Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Barossa Valley

In the glass: Full red garnet. 
On the nose: Bright plum, currant, cassis, mint and cedar. 
On the palate: Full bodied with a core of black and blue fruit, firm yet ripe tannins and vibrant acidity. Savoury with hints of liquorice, spice and dried herb. 
RRP $22.95 or $19.51 per bottle in any dozen. 

Erin Eyes Gallic Connection Cabernet Malbec 2015, Clare Valley

In the glass: Deep red.      
On the nose: Blackberry, mulberry, bay leaf and vanillin oak. 
On the palate: Powerful yet poised with saturated black fruits, well-judged supporting oak, fine and persistent tannin drive and balancing acidity. 
RRP $30 or $25.50 per bottle in any dozen. 

Leconfield Merlot 2016, Coonawarra

In the glass: Bright red black. 
On the nose: Powerful aromas of black cherry concentrate with flashes of spearmint and eucalypt.  
On the palate: Generous kirsch, mulberry and cassis with dense inky power, a velvety core and deluxe 
oak harmony.  
RRP $26 or $22.10 per bottle in any dozen. 

Helen & Joey Inara Pinot Noir 2016, Yarra Valley

In the glass: Pale to mid ruby. 
On the nose: Pure, fresh red berry, floral perfume. 
On the palate: Vibrant and silken with delicious strawberry and blueberry depth, tea-like notes, fine tannins and a complete finish. Packs so much flavour into a lighter-bodied wine. Gorgeous. 
RRP $23 or $19.55 per bottle in any dozen. 

Tyrrell's Wines Special Release Shiraz 2014, Hunter Valley

In the glass: Brilliant deep purple.
On the nose: Violet, plum, blackberry and black pepper. 
On the palate: Shows power and finesse. Loaded with spicy black fruit depth with on-point acidity and savoury tannins driving the long finish. 
RRP $40 or $34 per bottle in any dozen.

Dandelion Vineyards Red Queen of the Eden Valley Shiraz 2013, Eden Valley

In the glass: Deep purple. 
On the nose: Plum, blackberry, graphite, pepper and clove. 
On the palate: Layered and complex, it opens with savoury black fruits, an alluring spice complexity and fine yet deep tannins.
RRP $100 or $85.00 per bottle in any dozen

David Hook Reserve Barbera 2016, Hunter Valley

In the glass: Medium density red. 
On the nose: Plum, bramble, black olive and tobacco aromas.
On the palate: Medium weight with typical varietal freshness showing vibrant plummy fruit, savoury tannins and a touch of cigar box on the finish. A lovely young Barbera with plenty potential. 
RRP $30 or $25.50 per bottle in any dozen. 

Kimbolton Fig Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Langhorne Creek

In the glass: Full dark red. 
On the nsoe: Classic Cabernet red berry, currant, cassis and cedar lift. 
On the palate: Beautifully textured and deep yet only medium weight with a varietal core of black fruit, cassis and crushed leaf. 
RRP $25 or $21.25 per bottle in any dozen. 

Hay Shed Hill Malbec 2015, Margaret River

In the glass: Intense red black scarlet. On the nose: Hugely concentrated black cherry with interwoven complex notes of black pepper, currant and spicy oak. 
On the palate: A gentle giant with super-ripe, glossy black cherry fruit power, beautiful velvety texture and deluxe spicy oak support. Classy! 
RRP $30 or $25.50 per bottle in any dozen. 

Riorret Lusatia Park Pinot Noir 2016, Yarra Valley

In the glass: Vibrant mid-red. 
On the nose: Sweet cherry and raspberry fruit with notes of stalk and spice. 
On the palate: Vibrant and fresh, supple and juicy with ripe cherry and plum, subtle stalky complexity, warm earthy notes and integrated vanillin oak. 
RRP $50 or $42.50 per bottle in any dozen.

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Words by Paul Diamond on 7 Mar 2016
Mandatory information requirements for labels of Australian wines, mean as a wine lover you can be assured of exactly what is in each wine bottle, who made it and where it came from – there’s no guess work involved. While the label design differs for each wine company to reflect their personality, history and wine styles, all Australian wine labels must include the following: Volume of wine e.g. 750ml Country of origin e.g. Australia Percentage of alcohol e.g. 13.5% ALC/VOL Designation of product e.g. wine Producer e.g. name and address Additives e.g. preservative 220 added Standard drinks e.g. approx. 8 Standard drinks Allergen warnings e.g. this wine has been fined with fish, milk or egg products. There are also a number of rules that apply to the information supplied about where the fruit for the wine came from, what varietal or varietals it’s made from, and also the vintage it was harvested in. If the label states a specific vintage year, it must contain at least 85% of fruit from the stated year. If it states a specific variety it must contain at least 85% of that variety e.g. Chardonnay , Shiraz or Riesling . If the wine contains 15% or more of a second varietal that also must be declared e.g.: Cabernet Merlot or Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. If it states a specific regional origin or geographical indication (GI) it must contain at least 85% fruit from that region. Front of the label Generally a front label will include the following: Producer’s company name Brand name Geographical indication/region Prescribed name of grape variety or blend Vintage Volume statement. Trophy or medal logo if it has any – awarded at Wine Shows, Trophy is the highest award. Wines can also be awarded a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal depending on the score they receive from the judging panel. Back of label Depending on the wine and the wine producer, the back label usually includes a brief blurb about the wine, winery, or winemaker, a tasting note or maybe the story behind the wine. It also includes: Name and description of the wine Alcohol statement Standard drink labelling Allergens declaration Name and address of the wine producer Country of origin On the back labels of Australian biodynamic and organic wines labels, you may also see logos certifying their status. Each wine label tells a story, so next time you pick out a bottle of wine, make sure you take the time to read its label – you’ll be surprised at what you can learn!
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Discover our Top 12 Whites of 2017
In 2017, our Panel tasted and rated over 4,000 wines. The Best Wines of the Year is always a hotly contested list and this year was no exception. From tried and true favourites like Howard Park Margaret River Chardonnay, to fabulous alternative varietals such as Fiano from Chalk Hill’s McLaren Vale vineyard, plus Trophy-winning Tahbilk Roussanne Marsanne Viognier, here (in no particular order) are the Top 12 Whites that really stood out from the crowd and wowed all of our Panellists. View our Top 12 red wines here.
In Dreams Chardonnay 2015, Yarra Valley In the glass: Pale lemon green.  On the nose: Apple, grapefruit, oatmeal and almond aromas.  On the palate: Fine and elegant and yet it has power and drive with a delicious core of white and yellow fruits. A savoury, almost salty layer adds complexity, velvety texture and racy acidity.  RRP $23 or $19.55 per bottle in any dozen.  Chalk Hill Fiano 2016, McLaren Vale In the glass: Bright straw.  On the nose: Opulent white fruit with honeydew, Tahitian lime and guava.  On the palate: Remarkably bright and focussed core of juicy white fruits with satiny, delicate texture and length from start to finish and crunchy, almost salty acidity running to a thrilling finish.  RRP $25 or $21.25 per bottle in any dozen. Tahbilk Roussanne Marsanne Viognier 2015, Nagambie Lakes In the glass: Pale lemon green. On the nose: Stonefruit, florals, ginger.  On the palate: A light to medium weight and fine wine with loads of stonefruit and citrus zest underpinned by zesty acidity, mouth-coating texture and good length.  RRP $27.95 or $23.76 per bottle in any dozen.  Long Rail Gully Riesling 2016, Canberra District   In the glass: Bright pale yellow straw.  On the nose: Lime zest and fresh herb. On the palate: Delicate yet intense and flavoursome with strong citrussy varietals and notes of talc and mineral. Mouth-feel is supple and lightly creamy with vibrant acidity. A really classic Riesling with delicious purity. RRP $22 or $18.70 per bottle in any dozen.  Cape Barren Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Adelaide Hills   In the glass: Vibrant pale lemon.   On the nose: Lime juice, nettle, grapefruit, vanilla.  On the palate: Stylish and intense lime, passionfruit and cut grass varietals, tempered by a light nutty layer with minerally acid dryness on the finish.  RRP $19 or $16.15 per bottle in any dozen.  De Iuliis Special Release Grenache Rosé 2017, Hilltops In the glass: Very fine pink with green and copper flashes.  On the nose: Hints of pink flower and Turkish Delight.  On the palate: Elegant and savoury with juicy fruit and green olive-like astringency creating a dry finish.  RRP $28 or $23.80 per bottle in any dozen.
Howard Park Chardonnay 2016, Margaret River/Great Southern In the glass: Beautifully vibrant lemon with a green hue.  On the nose: Delicate lime juice, light stonefruit, grapefruit and cedary oak.  On the palate: Refined yet intense with juicy layers of stonefruit and citrus with creamy yet poised acidity. RRP $54 or $45.90 per bottle in any dozen. Tinklers Mount Bright Semillon 2017, Hunter Valley In the glass: Pale lemon green.  On the nose: Bright citrus, white melon, mineral and lanolin perfume.  On the palate: Driven by beautiful tingling acidity, it’s deliciously layered with an amazingly vibrant fruit core and quinine-like texture. RRP $22 or $18.70 per bottle in any dozen. Heggies Vineyard Estate Chardonnay 2015, Eden Valley In the glass: Pale lemon, green hue.  On the nose: Fresh yellow fruit lift with spice and grilled nut complexity.  On the palate: Slightly spicy and strongly varietal with nectarine, green melon and marzipan, subtle background vanillin oak, fresh leesy depth and ginger spice.   RRP $30 or $25.50 per bottle in any dozen Gatt High Eden Riesling 2011, Eden Valley In the glass: Pale lemon straw. On the nose: Still vibrant lemon and lime lift with very faint hints of kero development. On the palate: Still so youthful, pristine and precise with a multi-layered, savoury and vibrant core of fruit and just the start of secondary development.  RRP $40 or $25.50 per bottle in any dozen. Umamu Sparkling Chardonnay 2005, Margaret River In the glass: Youthful lemon straw.  On the nose: Buttered toast, preserved lemon and background smokey notes.    On the palate: Full-bodied, layered and rich yet still vibrant with a strong undercurrent of leesy depth under a butterscotch-like core of fruit.   RRP $63 or $53.55 per bottle in any dozen. Bunnamagoo Estate Kids Earth Fund Autumn Semillon 2013 (375ml), Mudgee In the glass: Medium to full gold. On the nose: Lifted toffee, butterscotch and crème brulee.  On the palate: Luscious and viscous, with sweet layers of candied fruit complemented by bright lemony acidity.  RRP $25 or $21.25 per bottle in any dozen. 
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