Sipping and swirling a glass of rich red wine is the perfect indulgence over winter, and these three bold Aussie reds stave off the chilly doldrums and icy isolation. Here are our tasting notes on wines that will really keep you happy till spring.
When I was growing up in the UK, there used to be a show on the BBC called simply Food and Drink. In one of the sections, host Jilly Goolden would talk wine with her co-host Oz Clarke, and their descriptions of the wine they were sampling became a bit of a running joke.
Hedgerows, pencil shavings, soil and even rubber were all descriptors that I remember laughing at and that were lampooned by many a comedian of the time.
Everyone – perhaps even fellow oenophiles – thought they were taking it a bit far.
And who knows if these seemingly incongruent epithets were truly what Jilly and Oz were tasting in their glasses, the trouble is I think it put a lot of people off.
Rather than encouraging folk to try different wines and explore their flavours, the show highlighted the worst side of wine: the effected, pretentious snobbery that puts people off visiting wineries or even getting enthusiastic about flavours.
Such a shame; such a wasted opportunity.
Since then, fear of ‘getting into’ wine has faded. The reasons why people swirl the wine like a washing machine, why they sniff the wine before they taste, why they stare at the wine through sides of the glass go back to appreciating the best of the wine rather than just looking like a wanker.
But I digress.
These three wines that we’ve tried and tasted are absolutely perfect for dodging the cold months and warming yourself from the inside out.
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Midwinter wine-tasting – 3 reds you can bank on
While these wines aren’t your everyday swiggers – mostly because of the price point – they are great value for their quality and are perfect for a dinner party, special occasion or a birthday gift, or a sign of appreciation for Father’s or Mother’s Day.
Bay of Fires Pinot Noir 2018
Pinot Noir is a wonderful wine style that’s versatile to match with most cuisine and complex enough to drink on its own without food. And this Bay of Fires Pinot is the perfect example of that.
Intense flavours of stone fruit and gentle aniseed notes and cinnamon spices makes this Pinot Noir a refreshing yet exuberant wine. The vibrant scarlet colours and sweet strawberry aromas combine with the flavours of this wine to create a beautifully balanced, well-structured wine that lingers and impresses.
The cool climates of Tasmania create beautifully complex wines anyway, and this winery really shows this off well.
Available at leading retailers nationally at RRP $62.00.
Grant Burge Filsell Shiraz 2018
We’ve been fans of Grant Burge wines for a while now – their sparkling wine is excellent – and this full-bodied, rich Barossa Shiraz does the winery proud.
Even as you pour this wine, the colour captivates. Its dark, dark red colour with a glimmer of ruby gives up the clues of what you’re about to enjoy.
On the nose, this Filsell Shiraz has a chocolatey, warm aroma with a touch of cinnamon and vanilla. Smells of dark fruit we all associate with winter come through too, which is reflected in the taste.
Smooth, rich and dense, this wine coats the mouth luxuriantly and leaves the dark chocolate and coffee notes for you to enjoy long after you’ve finished the first sip.
Good on its own, this wine would also shine next to a hearty roast, a steak or even a good cigar. Keep it (if you can) for up to 20 years, whereby the flavours and texture of this Shiraz will develop exponentially.
Available from all major retailers and independent bottle shops at RRP $44.00.
Brookland Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
A discerning winery in the Margaret River, Brookland Valley doesn’t produce their Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon every year. They wait until the vines give out their best crop of grapes and then carefully hand-pick the harvest and open-ferment the wine – a traditional and more complex technique.
They then mature the wine in the finest French oak barrels to craft what is this winery’s flagship Cab Sauv. The result is extraordinary.
From the moment the wine hits the glass, you know you’re in for something special. Almost black, this bold yet deep wine releases rich aromas of dark chocolate, black cherry and spice.
Flavours in the Brookland Valley Reserve Cabernet are profound. Hints of vanilla and mocha blend with an savoury earthiness that only comes from a superior wine that’s ageing well. If you can hold off, this wine will get even better over the next 10-15 years.
This is a big wine perfect for a big roast or a thick-cut steak. Even a pasta or gnocchi dish with a rich, slow-cooked ragu would be amazing with this wine.
Available at Brookland Valley Cellar Door or online, and from independent retailers at RRP $70.00.
You really can’t go wrong with any of these wines – especially over the winter months. they’re hearty, comforting and warm the very soul.
The only risk with drinking them is you’ll suddenly want to become a wine expert, waxing lyrical about hedgerows, pencil shavings and soil… though hopefully not rubber!