In our search for the very best and most delicious wines, we recently discovered some superb stuff from Australia.
If you like wines that are full of bold flavour and bursting with personality these are for you.
Australian wine is often associated with jammy Shiraz and oaky Chardonnay from big brands. We've chosen wines from smaller producers who try to express the individual character of the region they're from by striving for simplicity and authenticity.
Jeanneret - Clare Valley, South East Australia
Ben Jeanneret is a self taught winemaker whose mission is simply to make generous wines full of flavour, guided by the motto 'naturally perfect.' He and his team have two vineyards in the Clare Valley, both run with an organic philosophy. The continental climate and higher altitude compared with other Australian regions creates great growing conditions for even fruit ripening, giving the wines intense flavours but also structural balance. The results of their approach have been noticed by influential critic James Halliday, who awarded the winery his top score of five stars.
A blend of two of the most popular red grape varieties, this is a sure fire winner. Pour this out and you're immediately met by an impossibly rich nose of cassis and red berries with big spicy notes. The palate is textured and mouth-watering with great firmness and grip from the cabernet and a big fleshy middle thanks to that fantastic, dark, savoury Malbec. It’s very, very approachable and will get along beautifully with roast beef. Ben recommends trying it with a Croque Monsieur (a toasted gruyere cheese and ham sandwich) which is a pairing I can't wait to try
Riesling is the grape variety that is most associated with the Clare Valley. The grapes grown here burst with aromas and flavour yet retain an elegance and poise unlike any other variety. The latest vintage has a beautifully generous nose of apple, apricot, lychee and pear, with the palate following suit with buckets of beautifully fresh, vibrant and zingy fruit; apples, lemons and blackcurrants at their mouth-watering best. And as it warms, you might see a little white peach too. Gorgeous to drink on its own but with a weight of fruit that makes it an excellent match for oysters or chilli prawns.
Ironcloud - Ferguson Valley, Western Australia
Ironcloud Estate (formerly Pepperilly Estate) is situated in the picturesque Ferguson Valley, in the hills of the Geographe Wine Region, overlooking Geographe Bay. Peppermint trees line the Henty Brook, the natural water source for their vineyard and the abundant 'pepper' berries provide a welcome distraction for the local birdlife - who would overwise try to eat the fruit on the vines. Winemaker Kim Houghton has a firm belief that wines are made in the vineyard - the better the understanding of the vineyard and its unique characteristics, the better the wines reflect the soil and the climate. Across their single 28 hectare vineyard they hand-tend up to ten grape varieties on gently sloping hillsides.
This is nod to wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape using a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre grapes matured in French oak for 10 months. Dive into the glass and you'll be met by vibrant and fresh blueberry fruit aromas laced with violet and spice. The palate is juicy and round, medium-bodied bright berry fruits, delicious blackberry and plum intermingled with fine lengthy tannin.
Pair this with a slow-cooked melty lamb shank and you're in heaven.
Touriga Nacional is one of 10 hand-tended varieties grown across one vineyard on their 28 hectare estate. Vibrant deep purple in the glass, this has an aroma of lifted black fruits, dense berry compote and a hint of floral notes. On the palate you get luscious ripe black berry fruits and sweet spice from 16 months in French oak. These are both guided to a lingering finish by an elegant structure and a subtle raspberry acidity.
It's the kind of comforting wine that works well with homely dishes like beef stroganoff and seasonal vegetables.
Want to discover more? Take a look at these other new arrivals.
Sigurd White Blend - Barossa Valley, South Australia
The Sigurd White blend uses four varieties: Semillon (37%), Vermentino (37%), Muscat (12%), Chardonnay (14%.) The resulting wine is oh so easy to drink but also delivers a lot of complex flavour: Stone fruit, a little mango, some herbal notes a bit like white tea and a tickle of spice on a palate that is fruity but layered with gentle yeasty notes, finishing with a zip of grapefruit and orange blossom. A great match for aromatic food like a Sri Lankan fish curry.
Vinteloper Touriga Nacional - Cudlee Creek, South Australia
Known for their superlative Pinot Noir, Vinteloper had to overcome adversity and rebuild their winery after it was destroyed by bush fires in 2019. Now thankfully making wine again, this experiment with the Touriga Nacional grape variety is a triumph. Fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured for 18 months in French Oak, the wine is super smooth in texture with ripe, aromatic plum fruit backed by lavender, clove and five spice. It slides down the throat with alarming ease. You could pair it with some 'slow and low' cooked brisket.