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Wine

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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Who makes my wine?
Words by Tyson Stelzer on 28 Apr 2016
Walk the aisles of your local Dan Murphy’s or First Choice store and you won’t find a wine labelled “Dan Murphy’s Select” or “First Choice Home Brand”. But lurking on those shelves are more than 100 brands owned by the supermarket chains with no disclosure on the label. In an age in which we are more interested than ever in the origins of our products, how can we distinguish a small family estate from a supermarket brand? The growth in supermarket “Buyer’s Own Brand” wines in Australia has been substantial, estimated to have mushroomed from five percent a decade ago to between 16 and 25 percent of the market today. The wine industry is concerned that this growing category of major retailers could mislead consumers. In February 2016, a Senate Inquiry report into the Australian Wine Industry put forward a proposal from the Winemaker’s Federation of Australia (WFA) “that the Government amend labelling requirements so wine labels must declare whether wine is produced by an entity owned or controlled by a major retailer.” “What we would like to see is that home brands are identified so consumers can make their choice,” WFA Chief Executive Paul Evans told the Inquiry. The enquiry’s report is not binding, but the government is expected to respond within six months. It can choose to accept or reject the recommendations. Not so simple The question of whether it should be the government’s place to legislate on this issue has been widely debated, but even if it is, the dilemma of how it could be defined and regulated is perhaps more pertinent. Buyer’s Own Brand wines have a fully valid and important place in the market, and the major retail chains own perfectly legitimate wineries under which some of their labels are branded. Some retailers’ own brands are even made by small, private estates. Further, many high profile winemakers, including Giaconda, Clonakilla, Oakridge and St Hallett, make exclusive labels for particular retailers under the winemaker’s own brands. Such relationships are of value for all levels of the wine industry. And if retailers are required to declare brand ownership, what of companies like Treasury Wine Estates, Accolade Wines and Pernod Ricard, who together own many more brands and a much greater market share than the supermarket groups? And, for that matter, what of the hundreds of private little “virtual” wine brands who own no vineyards, buy fruit and have it contract made in someone else’s facility? The big issue behind this discussion is the market dominance of Woolworths (who owns BWS, Dan Murphy’s, Cellarmasters and Langton’s) and Wesfarmers (Liquorland, First Choice and Vintage Cellars) and the increasing presence of Metcash (Cellarbrations, IGA Liquor and Bottle-O), Costco, and ALDI stores in the wine market. It is estimated that Woolworths and Wesfarmers together share just under 60 percent of the domestic wine retail market, with some estimates putting this at 70 percent. There is a bigger picture at play here, of which wine is just one small category. Controversy surrounds the supermarket duopoly and its increasing dominance across many categories. Legislative change for wine would not only be fraught with complications surrounding definitions and implementation, but such a precedent would have enormous ramifications for groceries, fuel, hardware, office supplies, insurance, etc.
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Top 50 wines of 2015
Words by Mark Hughes on 16 Jan 2016
The Wine Selectors Tasting Panel, made up of nine highly tuned palates belonging to iconic winemakers and wineshow judges, meet almost every Friday at Wine Selectors HQ to taste and rate wines. Each and every wine that is submitted to Wine Selectors is reviewed in a blind tasting format, meaning their label is masked from the Panel, so as to remove any bias. Therefore, each and every wine is tasted purely on its merit in the glass. On average, the Panel tastes around 60+ wines a week. For 50 weeks a year, that equates to...well, a lot of wines! Up until now, this regimented tasting ritual has had the sole purpose of ensuring that the wines we send out to our Members are top quality, every time. The rule is, if the wine doesn’t score 15.5 out of 20 or above, Wine Selectors won’t buy it. In real terms, this means that every wine that we sell is of medal-winning standard. It has been the golden rule that Wine Selectors has operated on for 40 successful years. As an editor, and as a wine lover, I saw the Panel’s arduous tasting schedule as an opportunity to generate a ‘best wines of the year’ list. More than meets the eye Examining the results makes for some pretty interesting reading. The Top 50 is a mixture of old favourites, recent acquaintances and brand new friends, which is all very exciting. The most popular varietal in the Top 50? Shiraz with 11. To be expected really, with it being our most widely planted and produced grape. Chardonnay with nine listings was next, not totally unexpected, but a pleasant result given the fact it has taken a battering in the white wine world over the past decade or so from other young dames. It must also be noted that two of these were Hunter Valley Chardonnay! Then followed: Cabernet Sauvignon (6), Pinot Noir (4) and three blends involving Shiraz. 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Meet Steve Webber from DeBortoli
The Wine Selectors Wine of the Month for September is the De Bortoli Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2014. So we caught up with winemaker Steve Webber to find out a bit more about the man behind the wine. Can you recall the first wine you tried? Not really. My father enjoyed Pirramimma Shiraz so it was probably something like that. When did you fall in love with wine? I have enjoyed wine since I was 18 (38 years ago) and been fascinated by it, however, I feel I only fell in love with wine about 20 years ago after spending lots of time in France and Italy, breaking out of the wine bubble, enjoying delicious inexpensive wine with friends and secretly enjoying the odd delicious expensive bottle with Leanne (and maybe 1 or 2 friends). Do you have a favourite wine? Pinot Noir . Ridiculously alluring, charming, gracious and great with fatty cuts of pork and duck. What is your favourite wine memory? A bottle of 1996 Salon Champagne that Leanne and I vacuumed after her final cancer treatment. It must be why she is fighting fit today. Other than your own, which wine do you like to drink at home? Pale dry Rosé in carafes from lots of different Australian and French producers. What is your favourite wine and food match? Fine minerally Chardonnay with pan fried John Dory. How do you relax away from winemaking? Hanging out at our beach house on the Mornington Peninsula – good food and the odd bottle. What is your favourite…. Book: McEnroe – talent to burn, had attitude. Movie: The Rock – love the one liners TV show: Rake – too funny Restaurant: France Soir – unfortunately my kids favourite as well Lunch: Dory, Chablis and friends Dinner: Charcoal roasted chicken with the family Time of day/night: Twilight in spring in the Yarra Valley – amazing colours Sporting team: Geelong
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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