Sommelier Chris Morrison offers up his picks of the best wines for $20 or less. Just in time to get into the spirit of the festive season.
1. Dal Zotto Pucino Prosecco NV, King Valley, Vic, $20 Prosecco, the fruity, fun and invigorating sparkling wine that originated in Italy's north-east, has inspired a wave of similarly styled wines in Australia. The Dal Zotto family's Pucino prosecco is a cracker, with a blast of pear and lemony refreshment laced with the signature cool-climate acidity of the King Valley. 2. Innocent Bystander Sparkling Moscato NV, Yarra Valley, $20 A sweet, perfumed sparkling wine that still retains the necessary refreshment to be a great option on those stifling hot days to come this summer. Break the rules here a little and serve this over loads of ice and with red and blue berry fruits. 3. Taltarni Brut Tache Sparkling Rosé 2013, Tas, S20 With bright red-berry fruits and a creamy mouth-filling texture, this rosé showcases the near-unlimited potential of Tasmania's sparkling wines. It punches well above its weight division in flavour concentration, but still retains a fun, fizzy mouthfeel.
4. Corte Giara Pinot Grigio 2017, Delle Venezie, $19 With its cool climate and almost subalpine position, the region of Venizia is well known for producing wiry, light-framed white wines made from pinot grigio. Its citrus-infused flavours, low alcohol and tongue-tingling acidity make it the perfect aperitivo wine. 5. Debussy 'Reverie' Chardonnay 2016, Languedoc-Roussillon, $18 A chardonnay that celebrates the marriage of freshness, fruit flavour and well-judged oak. A palate with more curves than edges, its peachy, rockmelon flavours and toasty oak create a wine that blends the purity and freshness of France with the richness and generosity of Australia. 6. De !urns Semilion, Hunter Valley 2010, NSW, $20 When you talk about the future direction of the Hunter Valley, Michael De luliis is part of a new generation of the region's winemakers blending the past and the future and who now have both hands
firmly on the wheel. You can see it in his new sémillon release – steely frame, pitch-perfect flavour concentration and utterly smashable.
7. Jim Barry Watervale Riesling 2018, SA, $16
With a name that goes with riesling like fish goes with chips, Jim Barry wines has produced another classic from the Watervale subregion in South Australia’s Clare Valley. This version is loaded with piercing lemon and sweet-citrus flavours and bound by a mouth-watering acidity. It’s the wine oysters were made for.
8. Monte Tondo Mito Soave 2017, Veneto, $17
Soave is a district in Italy’s north-eastern Veneto region whose dry white wines easily win the award for most improved Italian wine. What were once dull, brassy coloured and lifeless wines are now fresh-flavoured, mouth-filling and vibrant. This hits a home run with grilled white fish.
9. Tahbilk Marsanne 2017, Goulburn Valley, Vic, $14
Despite having a long and revered history as a leading Australian winery it still feels like the white wines of Chateau Tahbilk remain one of Australia’s secret wine treasures. This is a beauty, with lemony, honey-edged flavours that build into beautifully proportioned mid-weight white wine.
ROSÉ 10. Freeman ‘Rondo’ Rosé 2017, Hilltops, NSW, $20
Made from rondinella, one of the key red grape varieties used in the red wine
“NEVER BEFORE HAS THERE BEEN A MORE DIVERSE ARRAY OF WINES OF SUCH HIGH QUALITY AT THESE PRICES.”
of Italy’s Veneto region, this is a rosé that offers eye-catching colour and thirst-quenching flavours of red berry fruit. Substantial enough to match up with cured meats and paella.
11. Le Fou ‘The Madman’ Rosé 2017, Vallée de l’Aude, $20
At the top of your summer wine shopping list should be the dry rosé’s of France, in particular the southern regions that hug the Mediterranean coast. Pale, bone-dry with a tongue-tingling freshness, Le Fou is perfect with the casual food served at barbecues or picnics.
12. The Pawn ‘El Desperado’ Rosé 2017, Adelaide Hills, $20
Potent and perfumed, El Desperado is a rosé with layers of flavour and texture that slowly reveal themselves with time in the glass. Aromas of wild red-berry fruits, rosewater and musk open for a palate packed with flavour and the slightest touch of drying tannin. Superb. For more on drinks of the moment head to delicious.com.au.