The name says it all. 12 quality that are ready to go, no need to wait. They’re wines of drinking appeal, whether it’s luxurious textures or even just simple fruit. Indeed some are glorious, others are just solid and good value. The key definer here is about approachable drinking.
Right now, in the midst of another endless Sydney (and now Newcastle), Melbourne and Brisbane lockdown, the idea of ‘just a good drink’ is a winner.
Eldridge Estate Burkitt Blend Pinot Noir 2020
Speaking of good ideas, this lovely Mornington Pinot Noir comes with a good cause. In December 2019, Eldridge Estate winemaker David Lloyd was diagnosed with stage 4 Burkitt Lymphoma. He then underwent months of surgery and chemotherapy, only leaving hospital after harvest was wrapping up in April. As a result, the 2020 vintage at Eldridge was completed by winemaking friends across the Peninsula (this one by George at Paradigm Hill), and there was just one Eldridge Pinot released – this Eldridge Estate Burkitt Blend 2020. David has decided to dedicate this Pinot to his friends and the wonderful staff at Peter McCallum who got the cancer into remission, and is donating $20 from every bottle sold by August 30 (which works out to be $30,000). It’s a wonderful wine too. Lucid red raspberry fruit, a whisper of animale, redcurrant, fine tannin grip. Mornington in its effortlessly generous glory. What a graceful, yet ripe and expressive Pinot. Best drinking: now and for several years yet. 18.5/20, 94/100. 13.5%, $70. Eldridge website. Would I buy it? Forget the charity, this is just a worthy wine.
Attwoods Glenlyon Estate Chardonnay 2019
Troy Walsh’s wines are always complex numbers, and this Chardonnay is no different. The first Macedon wine under the Attwoods label, it’s a nutty, golden, and almost Jura-esque wine that combines waxy lanolin, honey and hay richness with a firm acid tang. It’s a wine of contrasts then, taut and firm, yet still a real mouthful of toasty flavour, complete with caramel edges. It works nicely, although it takes some time in the glass to look composed, then ending up as such a satisfying mouthful of flavour. Best drinking: I like it now. 18/20, 93/100. 13%, $70. Attwoods website. Would I buy it? I’d share a bottle.
Hungerford Hill Shiraz 2020
Hunter Valley Shiraz from 2020? What a rarity, with most of the whole Hunter vintage written off by smoke taint (and especially reds). But the Hungerford Hill Classic Hunter Valley Shiraz 2020 is a clean, juicy, red-fruited, and smoke-free Shiraz of obvious appeal. Just glossy, dark berry/plum fruit in a generous mod Hunter mode. Round and involving. There’s a lovely purpleness here actually, and the tannins shape things nicely. Maybe a little warm and ripe, but that’s it. Revelatory. Best drinking: ready now, but will live for a decade. 18/20, 93/100. 14%, $45, Hungerford Hill website. Would I buy it? I’d share a bottle.
Yangarra Kings Wood Shiraz 2019
These Yangarra Shiraz are so attractively drinkable. This is sourced from Block 12, which is an ironstone sandy outcrop. 25% whole bunches, wild ferment, all larger oak, 30% new for 18 months. TA 6g/l, pH 3.54. Stylistically, it’s a McLaren Vale Shiraz archetype. Plush fruit, generous expressions, nothing obtrusive, just an open embrace of a wine. Indeed, it’s easy to miss this in a large lineup – it’s no flash Shiraz, instead about balance and cohesion between squishy purple fruit and obvious charm. Best drinking: already good, and won’t fall over soon. 18/20, 93/100. 14.5%, $60. Yangarra website. Would I buy it? Worth a bottle.
Jansz Vintage Rosé 2017
Sure, this Tassie fizz doesn’t pack the profundity of the finest Champagne, but the price isn’t the same either. This Tasmanian wine is so attractive too. Clean, frothy and gently strawberried style. Fresh red apple and sherbet, gently creamy. broad mouthfeel but well handled red fruit with some brioche lees for good measure. It’s just a little tart but it’s energetic enough and deadly serious. A bargain (in context). Best drinking: nowish, but it’s hardly going to fall over any time soon. 17.7/20, 92/100. 12.5%, $53. Jansz website. Would I buy it? Two glasses.
Vigna Cantina Prosecco 2021
Can Dom Torzi do no wrong? This is hood Prosecco, from the Eden Valley. Believe it. Has an apple juice fruit varietal character – much more low yielding than your usual Prosecco and it shows. Maybe a little broad on the finish compared to the piercing energy of the best from Valdobbiadene, but the intensity of this is excellent. The finish too is long and varietal. High quality. Best drinking: now. 17.7/20, 92/100. 12%, $28. Torzi Matthews (Vigna Cantina) website. Would I buy it? A few glasses.
Vino Intrepido Straight Jakot Mornington Friulano 2020
I like Friulano, and wish we had more here in Australia. Light yellow colours, as expected, it’s pithy, with varietal honeysuckle and just-ripe, light nectarine and apricot fruit, with a phenolic tang and tight acidity to finish. That texture is ace. It just needs a bit more ripeness as it comes off a bit too clean and light. Still entirely drinkable. Best drinking: now. 17.7/20, 92/100. 12%, $32.99. Vino Intrepido website. Would I buy it? A few glasses.
Kirrihill Regional Series Riesling 2020
Another well priced release from Kirrihill. Pure Clare Riesling unsweetened lime cordial, a little musk and white melon, the acidity is just right, just needing more flavour intensity to be perfect. A bargain, especially at the $15.99 price it can be had for if you look. Best drinking: now. 17.5/20, 91/100. 11.5% $19. Kirrihill website. Would I buy it? A few glasses.
Rameau d’or Rosé 2020
Provence pink in a classic mode. Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, low yielding vines. Finely perfumed, carefully made. It’s a little bit firm and simple to finish, but has some intensity. Good, summery drink with the finesse of better rosé. Best drinking: now. 17.5/20, 91/100. 12.5%, $32. Joval Family Wines (importer). Would I buy it? A glass or so.
Silkwood Estate The Walcott Chardonnay 2019
Pemberton Chardonnay. Nutty milk bottle funk over a lean, but not too mean, palate. A bit of a rinse and repeat from last vintage. That acid is perhaps too firm – chalky and grippy – but it just reinforces the freshness. Good, classy sort of mod Chardonnay, if in need of a bit more ripe fruit. Best drinking: now, but no chance of falling over. 17.5/20, 91/100. 12.5%, $30. Silkwood website. Would I buy it? A glass.
Vino Intrepido Sacred + Profane Sagrantino 2020
Light, bright, juicy, yet brightly tannic young Heathcote Sagrantino. Sourced from the Chalmers family plot, this is a lively joven style with cola nut varietal character, little oak, light bodied fruit, but sticky tannins. Good, approachable take, although a long way from the black wines of Umbria. Best drinking: nowish. 17.5/20, 91/100. 14.5%, $32.99. Vino Intrepido website. Would I buy it? A glass.
Silkwood Estate The Walcott Riesling 2020
Green citrus, lemon grass, chalky green apple acidity, despite the highish alcohol. Fresh and frisky, good fruit intensity through the middle, fresh and appley. It’s a fraction simple, but that just makes this more direct. Easygoing. Best drinking: nowish. 17/20, 90/100. 13%, $30. Silkwood website. Would I buy it? A glass.
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