The Years Best New Wines
Every year, our Tasting Panel tastes and tests thousands of Australian wines in search of the best drops to offer wine lovers – and 2020 was certainly a great year for new discoveries!
From new labels to intriguing new red and white wine blends and enticing new wave varieties, they’ve gathered their top picks together in the Year’s Best Newcomers collection, as featured in our Year’s Best of 2020 summer catalogue.
Get your favourite wine glasses ready – it’s time to explore some great new wines, with the help of our Tasting Panel Co-Chair, Adam Walls!
HART & HUNTER DR B’S FIANO 2019
For those unfamiliar with the charms of Fiano, the Hart & Hunter Dr B’s Fiano 2019 is the perfect introduction. “Fiano is a lovely wine, and this is a top expression from one of the Hunter Valley’s best boutique producers,” says Adam.
With lashings of lime and peach, supple yet mouth-watering acidity and a long, precise finish, it’s a vibrant and juicy wine with delicate minerality. “It’s quite similar to a mid-weight Chardonnay or richer-styled Semillon, making it a must-try for lovers of white wine.”
LIV ZAK PINOT NOIR 2018
“Warramunda Estate is one of the Yarra Valley’s most dynamic wineries, and their recently formed Liv Zak Wines label certainly caught the attention of the Panel in 2020 with this delicious Pinot Noir,” says Adam.
A supple wine with silken tannins driving the red fruit core, it displays touches of black tea and five spice, delivering a slippery texture and fine finish. “This is a wine sure to please the most ardent Pinot lover – plush and silky, with intriguing whole bunch complexity.”
ZINGARI GARGANEGA 2019
“Garganega hails from Northern Italy, near the famous town of Verona, and is a fantastic variety we’re keen to see more of here in Australia,” says Adam. “It’s another instance of the Zingari label doing great things with new wave varieties.”
With a lively palate showing notes of white pear, green apple, lemon and citrus, it’s a fruit-driven wine with a distinctive mineral acid character that goes great with seafood and reasonably spicy Asian cuisine – and a wine that Pinot Grigio drinkers are sure to enjoy.
FARMER’S LEAP SHIRAZ 2016
Our Tasting Panel is always keen to bring attention to great Australian wine producers, and are pleased to have Farmer’s Leap add to the Wine Selectors range with their rich and intense Farmer’s Leap Shiraz 2016.
“This is a full-bodied red packed with dark cherry and blackberry fruits, with hints of dark chocolate and toasted spice adding some lovely complexity,” says Adam. “It’s a ripper of a wine and we think Shiraz lovers will go nuts for this one.”
KARASEK SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019
“An exciting new producer from the iconic Margaret River region, Karasek is redefining the expectations around boutique winemaking with an emphasis on small parcels of regional specialities,” Adam says. The vibrant Karasek Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is a perfect case in point.
Bright and youthful with unmistakeably varietal and regional notes of tropical and citrus fruit, it’s a wine of tight citrussy acidity with a savoury finish that will leave you wanting more – and a wonderful new addition to the Wine Selectors range!
MONTEVECCHIO ROSSO FIELD BLEND 2018
Looking for a new red wine to try in 2021? You can’t go wrong with the Montevecchio Rosso Field Blend 2018! “We’re big fans of blends, and the Panel was unanimous that this blend of five Italian varieties was one of the most interesting wines we’d tasted in 2020,” says Adam.
Fresh, vibrant and delicious in a medium-weight frame with red and black fruits, spice and amaro complexity, mouth-watering tannins and a juicy finish, it’s perfect to enjoy with pizza and a drop we have no doubt will be warmly embraced by all lovers of red wine.
GILBERT BLANC RIESLING BLEND 2019
Speaking of blends, our Tasting Panel also had the pleasure of discovering some fantastic new white blends in 2020, with the Gilbert Blanc Riesling Blend 2019 in particular impressing their palates.
Bright and fresh with a riot of white and yellow fruits, mouth-watering acidity, chalky texture and lingering flavour persistence, it proved an instant hit. “This is a good Aussie take on a classic Alsace blend,” says Adam. “Gilbert are making some really exciting wines.”
ALEJANDRO CARMÉNÈRE 2019
“Alex Russell has played a major part in rejuvenating interest in South Australia’s Riverland region, and this wine is an excellent example why,” says Adam of the Alejandro Carménère 2019, an exciting new wave varietal that won the Panel’s seal of approval in 2020.
A strong, powerful wine with masses of blueberry, plum, clove, white pepper, cola and chocolate, it has surprisingly soft tannins and a beautifully supple acidity on the juicy finish. “Merlot lovers are going to adore this wine,” Adam says. “And with good reason!”
ASHBURNHAM CHARDONNAY 2018
“Printhie have had a huge hand in bringing the Orange wine region of NSW into the spotlight and now their new label, Ashburnham Wines, is further enhancing their legacy,” says Adam of the makers of the Ashburnham Chardonnay 2018.
A classic example of what modern Australian Chardonnay is all about, the Ashburnham delivers a palate of ripe varietal fruit showing as peach, fig, melon and touches of grilled pineapple and hazelnut, light toasty oak, savoury acidity and a dry finish – a real beauty.
MUDDY PUDDLES ALICANTE BOUCHET 2020
Winemaker Alex Russell again shows off his talents with the Muddy Puddles Alicante Bouchet 2020, a bold and beautiful new wave varietal that delighted the Panel. “Alex is having great success with alternative wines, and this one is no exception,” says Adam.
The variety itself is a rare one here in Australia, but one we hope to see more of given its hardy nature. Full-bodied with bright layers of red and black fruit, juicy acidity, mouth-watering tannin finish, lovers of Shiraz or Cabernet should lap this one up.
LONG GULLY ESTATE DRY WHITE 2017
Founded by former electronics entrepreneur Reiner Klapp, Long Gully Estate helped spearhead the Yarra Valley revival of the 1980s. “Reiner is said to have coined the phrase ‘Life is too short to drink bad wine’, and that’s an attitude I can really respect,’ says Adam.
The Long Gully Estate Dry White 2017 certainly impressed the Panel when tasted. A unique blend of Viognier, Chardonnay and Marsanne, this deeply flavoursome wine is full-bodied with lovely toasty notes under the rich mix of apricot, lemon and kaffir lime, grapefruit acidity and a decadent finish – and we’re thrilled to have it among our range.
KIMBOLTON CARIGNAN 2019
Overseen by 5th generation vignerons – descendants of Langhorne Creek pioneer Frank Potts – Kimbolton has true pedigree. The Kimbolton Carignan 2019 superbly demonstrates not only their winemaking chops, but the region’s particular suitability to new wave wines.
“Fruit forward with lashings of delicious, vibrant raspberry and cranberry flavours, dried herbs and grippy tannins, this wine’s spicy, mint-like finish makes this a truly intriguing expression,” says Adam. Fans of full-bodied Pinot Noir take note – this one’s sure to please!
Ring in the new with Wine Selectors!
If you’re like us, you’re probably always on the lookout for new wines to try – and we think the above list is a great place to start.
Our Year’s Best Newcomers Collections bring them all together in superb showcases of some of the most exciting Australian wines available today. Available in mixed, red or white dozens, these packs are the best way to experience the innovation and deep expertise that this country’s winemakers are so renowned for – delivered direct to you.
We hope you enjoy them as much as our Panel enjoyed tasting them!