5 in 5 Under $30 – Ep 04
2018 Walsh and Sons Little Poppet White Wine, Margaret River
I fell in love with this wine in the 2014 vintage. Gorgeous stuff. The Semillon lends a searing hand, while the chardonnay fills out the rumbling depths. The sauvignon Blanc is unmistakably wedged between the two There is a very particular character to the nose which I find awakens an insatiable thirst – it’s like ash, or smoke, or charry wood (but it never suggests oak). The wine itself is energetic and alive and full of satisfaction.
This 2018 vintage (rolling from 2017 now – the 2017 is brilliant, I’d put it slightly ahead of the 2018, but both excellent and exciting) features a fair whack of SB – more than it does chardonnay – which takes it into a different drinking space… this is fuller bodied than a SSB blend, but lighter than a chardonnay, which makes it very interesting.
It has to be said that I preferred it when it was only Semillon and chardonnay, but this, from this great and wonderful vintage, is every bit as interesting. It has grassiness and green pea from the SB and Sem,
LS Merchants White Lightning 2019
Marsanne, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Vermentino. Tropical and bright with a mineral salty edge. Fabulous alternative drinking and something that should be on your list if you like to stray from the beaten path. I like it all so I was perfect candidate for this wine.
This is rich and tropical with a wicked acid line that keeps everything in check. Think salted pineapple, saline acidity and crisp crunchy green fruit. Love this, and a definite walk on the wild side if your regular white choice is starting to bore you.
2018 First Drop Mothers Milk Shiraz, Barossa Valley
I first came across First Drop back in 2012. The premium wine, The Cream, is a sub-regional blend of shiraz from the Barossa (although perhaps more accurate to say a ‘regional blend’) and if creamy, full-bodied shiraz really gets your gears churning then that should definitely be on the list. It’s also priced at around $150 so not your average weeknight wine. At the more reasonably priced end of the spectrum is this absolute cracker of a wine: it delivers all the plush concentration that you only get in Barossa shiraz, for a fraction of the price. 2018 was a warm dry vintage in the Barossa, and I’ve certainly spent some money recently, purchasing wines from some of my favourite producers.
This shows some really intriguing and delicious salty red tomato / pomegranate / raspberry characters, alongside the expected black fruits. It is mostly full bodied, but manages to pull back at the last minute and remain in the fuller end of the medium-bodied spectrum. Love this – almost slaty and almost fat. Yes.
$28 on the winery website, $22.40 if you’re a member.
2018 Ad Hoc Avant Gardening Cabernet Malbec, Frankland River
Frankland River is one of the great regions in the country for cabernet – and if you weren’t aware of that fact already, you may accept it as bible.
This is a bright and juicy cab malbec blend made by Larry Cherubino. The Ad Hoc range is his value range of wines and is consistently responsible for some epically overdelivering little gems. I have found this online for sub $20!
The malbec injects a slurpiness to the wine, making it a charming, structured and incredibly compelling argument for your next trip to the local. Big yes – this is one of the ‘no-brainer’ wines: quality fruit, quality winemaking, quality pedigree (add to that a brilliant region and vintage).
2018 Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River
Vasse Felix – where to start. The first winery to plant vines in the modern era of Margaret River. Responsible for some of the greatest wines that the region has produced over that historical period. Consistently producing elegant, high-class expressions of the Margaret River terroir. Responsible for a couple of my all-time favourite chardonnays and cabernets. Check, check, check and check.
This Filius cabernet is their ‘entry-level’ cabernet and a brilliant expression of Margaret River from this glorious vintage. The wine has excellent clarity of fruit and admirable texture and concentration for a wine of its price. It is both silky and structured, elegant and plush and continuing in the theme of contrasts – spicy and yet fruit driven.
This speaks of class and purity on all levels, and next to their 2014 Filius, the best they’ve produced under this label to date. As a little aside, I’ve seen some of the older Filius cabs and they are ageing gracefully… meaning this is not just a ‘mr-right-now’. Freshly released in March 2020 so this is your advance warning: Get familiar with the delicate and fine 2017 and then make room for this one. Cabernet fans: you will be thanking me.
PS: RRP is $28 and well worth the money. You can however find this for as cheap as $20… if you look for it. If you don’t bother searching and you pay full whack – it’s still good value, so don’t be sad.