5 in 5 Under $30 Ep 03
This week I went to Liquor Barons Swanbourne (also known as Swanbourne Cellars, both equally correct) an was reunited with some old friends and some great wines.
2019 Clare Wine Co Riesling, Watervale
This has been a wine that has caught my eye on more than one occasion for more than one reason… 1) it looks good – the label has an old-school Germanic vibe, while clearly being from Australia, 2) it’s cheap – sub $20, and 3) I see it on winelists during wine list judging season and for a wine that has such a strong restaurant presence, I’ve never tried it.
A full and frank caveat here: I LOVE Great Southern Riesling. On an Australian scale, it’s my favourite region. There is a linearity to the shape and a laser focus to the acidity that I don’t find in many other places. But I recognise that the Clare Valley is perhaps the region to have stapled ‘quality Riesling’ to ‘Australia’. James Halliday describes the Clare Valley as…
“the monarch of Australia’s riesling regions”.
So in keeping with my life ethics about respecting your elders and those who came before you – I am drinking this exciting little Riesling from Watervale with expectation in my heart. Clare Wine Co is a ‘side project’ by the owners of Kaesler (another source of great value and some great premiums, too) in the Barossa Valley.
Verging on simple, but juicy, bright and plush – the fruit speaks clearly of lime sherbet, lime juice and ripe summer citrus. The acidity has a ripe fullness to it not found in the Great Southern – even in warm years. Fleshy and generous with a dry finish. Lovely.
2018 Woodlands Wilyabrup Chardonnay, Margaret River
This wine has got a serious following. And for good reason. You won’t see too many chardies on this segment, because I like chardonnay (very very much) and I generally find it hard to find great chardonnay for under $30 a bottle. That’s not to say they don’t exist, but they’re rare. This is one of them. Every year, this is a gorgeous wine, at once both perfectly Margaret River and perfectly chardonnay. It has spice and body and texture and life, but it is also silky, plush and dense… making it one of the all-time great value chardonnays in the country at the price point.
Toasted and crushed cashew, yellow and white stone-fruit, curry leaf, red apple skin, brine… yes yes yes: I am aware that I repeat but these are all indicators of high-quality chardonnay from Margaret River. And I find them here in this glass. Name a better chardonnay for the price: I’ll wait. Unassailable value for money. Unbelievable. Yes.
2018 Bodegas y Vinedos, Parajes Des Valle, Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain
[Pronounced: Bodegas y Vin-yay-dos, Pa-ra-hes des Baa-yeh, Ju-mi-yah]
My proclivity for Monastrell (Mourvedre or Mataro as it is also called) is well known. I am a sucker for the dark berry fruits… all things on the purple, mulberry, earth, exotic spice spectrum – I just can’t get enough. As they age they soften and morph into gracefully soft, pliable and generous wines that only know the language of pleasure and no other.
Jumilla is in the South East of Spain, inland west of Alicante. The region is famous for its Mourvedre/Monastrell/Mataro, so it was a no-brainer for me today.
“Jumilla gets my vote as the most underrated wine region in Europe. This large region has some of the oldest and most concentrated Monastrell in Spain.” – Tim Atkin MW
The most expensive in the lineup, but it travelled the furthest to be here, and the packaging is sexy as. So, I’m ok with all of the above.
Juicy, modern, bouncy, delicious. The tannins are gravelly and persistently everywhere… this has charm and spice and deliciousness in spades. Highly recommend. I decanted this before I started, and I think that was a very good idea indeed.
2018 Sittella Tinta Rouge, Swan Valley
40% Shiraz, 33% Tempranillo, 27% Grenache
I love the Swan Valley. I think that’s almost obvious, now. This is the perfect example of a new world red-wine style that the region is championing: medium bodied, fresh, delicious and juicy. The vintage was a cracker in almost all of WA (there were some challenges, but overall quality ranges from extremely good to very excellent) and this wine is no exception to the lineage of wines that call 2018 their birth year. The Shiraz (45yo) and Grenache (73yo) vines have some decent age, while the Temp vines are only teenagers (14yo).
I stumbled over this wine a couple of years ago and was astounded by the sheer value for money and deliciousness on offer. Winemakers Colby Quirk and Yuri Berns (his parents own the property/winery) are doing some fantastic things out there: this wine is only the beginning.
Medium bodied, spicy and pretty, it’s hard to walk past this for sheer value for money in the ‘delicious-drinking’ category. The fruits on display range from the red berry succulence right through to the finely spiced, with everything in between.
2018 Green Door El Toro Tempranillo, Ferguson Valley, Geographe
I spent a fantastic afternoon at the Green Door cellar door in mid-March this year and was introduced to an astoundingly delicious range of wines. My favourite was the Amphora Monastrell (sold out – I tried to buy some – bugger), and Amphora Grenache, but it is the El Toro Temp we are looking at here today. Ferguson Valley has a little more elevation than most other parts of the Geographe wine region, but the circa 200m is enough to preserve wicked natural acidity and finesse, while the warm WA coastal sunshine works its magic during the days. The day I visited was wild and ‘wooly’… standing at the entrance to the cellar door and drinking in the view out to the South West as the sun was setting was one thing but being buffeted by the vigorous afternoon winds was quite another. I stayed in that position long enough to take a few pics and then I was quickly inside, drinking wine, looking at the view through the windows with one arm on the tasting bench. Yes.
Gold Medal at Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show 2019 & Silver Medal at Geographe Wine Show 2019
GORGEOUS. The fruit has a wonderful concentration about it, the tannins are pliant and almost chewy; the fruit throws up a confetti of flavours that includes raspberry, violet, mulberry and blackberry. Love this. The texture is standout.
Liquor Barons Swanbourne: 103 Claremont Cres, Swanbourne WA 6010
PH: (08) 9384 2111