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Wine

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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Tasting Panel’s Top 6 Spring Wines
Sunny days cooled by beautiful breezes – spring is here and with it a wealth of opportunities to entertain outdoors with delicious Australian wines. To start your spring collection, our expert Tasting Panel presents their Top 6 Spring Wines. Artwine Prego Pinot Grigio 2017 Supple and fleshy, more of a Gris style, with red apple, pear and white melon, creamy texture, nutty complexity and lemony acidity. RRP: $20 or $17 per bottle in any dozen. West Cape Howe Riesling 2017 Clean and dry with subtle citrus fruits, free-run purity and softness, a juicy fruit core and chalky minerality. A lovely young Riesling drinking well now, but with the structure to cellar. RRP: $22 or $18.70 per bottle in any dozen. Amato Vino Blanc 2017 Mouth-filling and velvety, it's beautifully packed with bright, ripe fruit and creamy softness. Mouth-watering with an even mix of gooseberry, melon and fig with lovely freshness, gentle acidity and vibrant persistence. RRP: $25 or $21.25 per bottle in any dozen. Thorn-Clarke Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut NV Lovely red and yellow fruit depth with a smooth, creamy texture, mouth-watering acidity and toasty notes adding complexity. RRP: $22 or $18.70 per bottle in any dozen. In Dreams Pinot Noir 2016 Juicy and warm with a silken core of blood plum, white strawberry and game, deep, velvety tannins and a mouth-watering finish. Delicious. RRP: $25 or $21.25 per bottle in any dozen. Hewitson Baby Bush Mourvèdre 2015 Varietal and peppery with intense flavours and robust tannins, black fruit depth and dried herb and cocoa powder hints. RRP: $28 or $23.80 per bottle in any dozen. For more great wine selections, including packs featuring those listed above, shop our  spring wine catalogue  now.
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.
Wine
Showcasing Shiraz with Australia's First Families of Wine
Words by Paul Diamond on 14 Oct 2017
A fabulous Wine Selectors dinner with Australia’s first families of wine revealed the bright future of this incredible variety. A red wine dinner in the middle of a chilly Melbourne August seemed like a highly appropriate thing to do and what better variety than Shiraz to chase the cold away. And so a four-course menu by the team at Neale White’s Papa Goose restaurant was devised and 12 great Shiraz from Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) were sourced and the tables set. By the time the Wine Selectors faithful started arriving, it was clear that the dinner was going to be one to remember. Designed to celebrate Shiraz through the expressions of 12 wines from the 12 families that make up the AFFW , the diversity of flavours and expressions from one grape variety was quite remarkable. On paper, the line-up looked simply yummy, but as the wines were being opened and tested before the guests arrived, the reality of what we were pouring and tasting started dawning on us; we were privy to a multiplicity of smells, flavours and textures that were being represented from 10 different regions and 1300+ collective years of winemaking experience. A Family Affair
On hand to help host, pour and manage 1000-odd glasses of Shiraz were Katherine Brown, Brown Brothers winemaker and Chairperson of the AFFW Next Generation, Justine Henschke, PR for Henschke Wines , Justin Taylor, export manager for Taylors Wines, Sally Webber, DeBortoli family ambassador and Jeff McWilliam, CEO of McWilliam’s Wines . The food was awesome and the wine a perfect foil for the cold and wet. And as the family anecdotes from each of the AFFW members were told, the conversation eventually found itself reflecting on the future of Australian Shiraz. “Shiraz is the past and it’s also the future,” Justine Henschke noted emphatically. “It’s the past in that it has established a lot of wine communities and it’s the future in that we now know how Shiraz thrives according to climate.” “So now it’s all about educating people on what style comes from where, so they know where to go for something specific.

Look at tonight, we have tried 12 different wines of the same variety across many different regions, showing small nuances from where they have been sourced and that’s pretty incredible.

- Justine Henschke, Henschke Wines
Sally Webber agreed that diversity is a key and that blends are going to play a big part in strengthening its appeal for future generations. “I love that it’s such a diverse variety and can blend beautifully with so many other varieties.” “The future for Shiraz is in blends,” she added. “It’s such an intense variety, you have pepper and spice and there are some varieties you only need a little of and it brings out all these other great characters. “Rhône varieties like Grenache and Mourvedre, and even varieties like Gamay and Tempranillo really add different expressions to Shiraz and as the Australian consumer becomes less conservative and more experimental, we’ll get to see the variety’s real potential.” A hint of spice
For Katherine Brown and Brown Brothers, fine, spicy cool climate Shiraz is the future and Heathcote is their chosen region. As Katherine described, “We think customers understand that Shiraz doesn’t need to come from a warm climate and we are on the search to make a Shiraz that you can call refreshing.” “Something you can drink at lunch, something that is more about pepper and spice than big jammy fruits. That’s where I see the future of Shiraz, we are starting to see these cooler climates like Heathcote, Eden Valley and Margaret River delivering these flavours.” So what about hot areas, those that built the wines that put us on the map like Barossa , McLaren Vale and the Clare ? Justin Taylor thinks that Shiraz is a variety that can deal with the heat and with careful winemaking, the future for warmer styles is still bright.

“Australia’s getting hotter whether you like it or not, and Shiraz loves heat, so we can keep making more Shiraz for the global market, we can do it with rationality, and we can do it with diversity. Our quality has never been as good as it is right now, it’s a great story for this country.”

- Jeff McWilliam, McWilliams Wines
Jeff McWilliam agrees and is happy that the diversity we are seeing has extended to a place where the expressions of Shiraz that emulate the O’Shea Hunter River Burgundies that the Hunter Valley does so well are gaining popularity again. “We are going back to medium bodied wines, just like the great old wines that came from Mt Pleasant,” said Jeff. “I love McLaren Vale and Barossa Shiraz , but I know the wines we do best are in that style of the old O’Shea wines. “We are talking about vineyards and the special wines they produce, but the Hunter is like that, you can have a great vintage and you can have a really poor vintage and that’s the excitement of it, just like the diversity of Australian Shiraz.”
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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