Do you get bamboozled with terms that you don’t even understand, every time you pick up a wine review?
With all of the wine wankery and focus on higher end wines, we often forget that just one in five people are wine connoisseurs, who understand some of the crap that we critics write – flinty, barnyard, acidic backbone, struck match, and chewy are all terms that make no sense. So its time to look at ten wines, under ten dollars, that we would happily drink. Perhaps this is removing some snobbery or maybe the market needs to know what to buy and which labels are trustworthy. Either way, we sourced ten bottles with a budget of $100.
Here is what we found:
Yarra Burn Premium Cuvee Brut – Made by Ed Carr, one of the finest practitioners of Aussie fizz. It has a lovely citrus and nectarine aroma and a nice bready palate, which is what you want in a sparkling. Pick it up this festive season for $9.95 a bottle.
Houghton Classic White – formerly known as Houghton’s white burgundy (the Burgundians have prevented us from using this regional name), this is one of the most reliable wines on the planet. It’s a blend of white varietals from the aromatic side of the vineyard. A punchy fruit driven nose and plate with some tropical fruit salad flavours to be expected – passionfruit, melon and citrus. Its great value at $8.50
The award winning Jacob’s Creek Resiling has stunned others in its class winning a slew of awards against much more expensive wines. It has all of the elements of a good Aussie Riesling – a flowery smell mixed with lemon and lime and a palate that absolutely reflects the smell with good acid and nice astringency. It is a best in class wine at just $9 a bottle.
Baily and Baily Monkey’s Cousin Pinot Grigio is not going to win any awards against other Aussie Pinot Grigios but at the price point it offers exactly what you want – a crisp, mid dry white wine with oodles of fruit flavour. You can drink this in the summer sun with a bbq or picnic and be confident that it’s going to be good. It has some peach and citrus flavour with a green apple and citrus smell. At just $6.90 it will do the job.
Devils Lair Fifth Leg Crisp Chardonnay from WA is an unoaked wine that is all very fruit driven. Expect a mix of nectarine, peach, melon and some guava flavours on the nose and in the mouth. Its acidic without having too much of that sour green apple taste. Not being matured on oak means it has little of the old world chardonnay woodiness or oily/buttery flavour. This is pure fruit at just $9.50 a bottle and should be savoured with seafood.
Gallo Family White Zinfandel is all strawberries and peaches. Zinfandel is very popular in the US, particularly in northern California, where the Gallo family winery is based. It’s from Modesto and is a great food wine – think chicken salad and other white meats. It won’t get lost on the Christmas table and would well suit the food we eat for Santa’s visit. Drink it chilled of course. At $8 a bottle it’s a steal.
Capel Vale Debut Pinot Noir, from the entry level Debut range is from a wine making venture that is all class. Based in Capel, on the north end of the Margaret River region, this pinot noir is a full-bodied, robust wine that’s not for the faint of heart. It has a definite taste of ripe cherries with a little plum for good measure, and some soft tannins (that strong tea grippy effect in the mouth). It’s a ripper and best in show in this list at just $9.90.
Evans & Tate have been producing fine wine in the Margaret River region for several decades. The 2011 Gnangara Shiraz, at $10 is a good example of what shiraz can be – some mulberries and raspberries on the nose and in the glass, with a little black pepper spiciness on the finish and a nice mid range tannin structure. Shiraz delivers spicy peppery notes everywhere and this is no exception, and at the price, is great value. Have it with some steak on the barbecue.
Yalumba Y Series has a raft of wines at under $10 and their Y Series Cabernet Sauvignon is very good value. It’s also considered suitable for Vegans. The nose has some blackcurrant and vanilla, with some very ripe plum and dark berry notes; all matched in the glass with some French oak. A rich, medium bodied wine with a bit of cinnamon, chocolate and vanilla and some fairly laid back tannins. This is remarkable value for an Aussie Cabernet at $8.95 a bottle.
One for the Spanish lovers to finish – Marques de Olivara Toro Tempranillo is all the way from the Northwest of Spain and is the perfect drop to have with tapas. Its not as full bodied or brutal as some Aussie tempranillo but it certainly fits in this budget at just $7 a bottle. A nose of blackberries and cocoa, this opens up in the glass with cherries, blackberries, chocolate, caramel and a mild balsamic like taste. Aged on some old oak to soften it, it deserves a place in this top ten.
Of our $100, we had 12.30 change which meant we could have another bottle of the Capel Vale Debut Pinot Noir and still walk away with change for the parking.
To make life simple, all the wines in this piece are available at major chain liquor outlets like Dan Murphy’s and First Choice.