Central Victorian bargains
Pricing is a complex thing. Business owners must do what they need to do to keep their businesses afloat, and profitable. However, I have a strong aversion to paying through the nose for average wine. Conversely, I do not like being insulted by cheap wine that assumes that I, the customer, won’t notice bad oak or green fruit.
Which is why I want to highlight these three producers, Tahbilk, Sutton Grange and Bress, all from Central Victoria, who have, within their portfolio, a selection of excellent affordable wines that, above all, have integrity.
These are five ‘must-buy’ wines, for around $25 per bottle, which have balance, personality and class. They over-deliver on quality and represent some of the best value wines available in the market.
2016 Sutton Grange Winery Fairbank Rosé
Classic, dry rosé, with a gorgeous salmon pink hue and dancing savoury aromatics. The palate is lemony and bright, and I adore the trajectory of the flavours. It has presence, extreme freshness, gentle texture and length, a result of skilful winemaking involving barrel fermentation and lees ageing. Drink young to capture the youthful vibrancy. (AUD $22 – 92 points)
2016 Bress Harcourt Valley Cabernet Franc
Oh, this is a gorgeous wine. Divine in fact. Lilting varietal aromatics. Juicy red fruits. Some florals. Crushed raspberries. Lip-smackingly delicious. Medium-bodied. Moderate alcohol. Soft tannins and well-priced. (AUD $25 – 92 points)
2014 Tahbilk Shiraz
Classically tailored and very well-made. I enjoy the energy and brightness of this wine. Medium-bodied, with chocolate, sweet fruit and lively integrated acidity. Despite its richness, it has lovely reserve. (AUD $26 – 90 points)
2016 Sutton Grange Winery Fairbank Sangiovese
I wish there were more Australian reds that had this type of inherent savouriness. Gorgeous varietal aromas of meat and earth, plus ethereal cherries. The palate is light to medium-weight with an open texture, restrained fruit and gentle mouth coating tannins. A classic ‘food wine’, perfect for casual dining. (AUD $25 – 91 points)
2015 Bress Heathcote and Bendigo Shiraz
I adore the vibrancy of the fruit in this wine. Perfectly ripe cherries and mulberries. Plush and opulent. The tannins are so fine, soft and perfectly knitted into the wine. Savouriness is present yet discreet. An easy-to-love, handcrafted wine. (AUD $25 – 91 points)