Class in the glass – two top Australian wines for around £15
This month I reported for Decanter on the most expensive wine (at launch) that I’ve tasted. At £1,000/bottle it’s stratospherically beyond mine and most ordinary mortals’ reach. But I’m glad it confounds the notion that Portugal has to deliver bang for buck to get noticed.
For around £15/bottle, it should not be forgotten that Australia still delivers terrific class in the glass, with wines with terrific expression of variety and region. In this post, I report on two top examples.
Karri Vineyard Semillon 2020 (Margaret River)
Never has the phrase ‘full circle’ been better deployed than my experience tasting this wine. Dear reader, let me tell you I have been super-keen since the first lockdown to return to Granger & Co. in Clerkenwell to order their shrimp burger. Founded by Australian restaurateur and food writer, Bill Granger, it’s as close, close, close I can get at the moment to Australia – the airy, breezy sense of light and space. The Asian-fusion inspired menus. Great service (on it, but without the starch or stuffiness). Said burger comes with a kick of lemongrass dressing, aioli and shaved radish salad [and fries…]. I selected Karri Vineyard Semillon to have with it. Margaret River straight Semillons are few and far between, but I thought it would have the fresh herbal and citrus accents and drive to sing with my dish. And it was flagged “Bio Nat Org.” What’s not to like? I scratched my head over the producer. Who was it. As it transpired, only the producer I’d enjoyed that first shrimp burger with pre-lockdown – Murray McHenry of McHenry Hohnen (my report on a McHenry Hohnen Chardonnay and Rolling Stone vertical for Decanter Premium here). Karri Vineyard is, if you like the diffusion label (and this Semillon is very Asian-fusion). Perfect with the dish for all the reasons I’d anticipated. Plus, the wonderful gravel dust to nose and palate took me back to Margaret River in a heartbeat. Karri Semillon delivers great class for the glass at £13/bottle at Bottle Apostle (and 10% off when you buy 6 bottles).
Distant Noises Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (Yarra Valley)
It would seem that September was the vinous equivalent of ‘Name that tune’ – name the producer behind the label. In this case, Tom Carson, best known for Yabby Lake (Mornington Peninsula). His own Serrat label is based in the Yarra Valley and, prior to working at Yabby Lake, Carson made wine at Yering Station for a dozen years. Unsurprisingly given that C.V., this modestly priced Cab Sav ticks all the boxes, with the Yarra’s soft sustained tannin structure and soft velvety fruit. Distinctly medium-bodied, with gently spicy, cedar-edged red and black berry and currant fruit and a touch of tobacco pouch. Mellow yet elegant. Super-smart winemaking. £16.50 at Swig.