Time to dig out your thermals, winter is here and temperatures across Australia are plummeting.
While the cool weather and short days may hinder your ability to soak up that much needed vitamin D while refreshing yourself with truckloads of your favorite crisp white wine, or delicious Aussie sparkling, these winter months have something even more exciting in store for you and your love for wine-drinking.
To help you on your way, The Wine Pig has put together a list of wines which we think you should be drinking this winter.
Mayfield Vineyard, Orange – 2009 Pinot Noir Chardonnay sparkling
There is no season, time or occasion that a glass of fantastic bubbles is anything other than entirely appropriate. And this one is up there with the best! Mayfield Vineyard’s 2009 Pinot Noir Chardonnay is delicate and light with tiny bubbles and soft berry notes which give it a slight pink-orange tinge. This is one not to miss.
Petersons, Hunter Valley – 2004 Sparkling Durif Zinfandel
While Aussie sparkling wine has a place in every winter wine collection, so too does a brilliant sparkling red. This sparkling Durif Zinfandel is a perfect compromise on a light sparkling and a big heavy red. It’s inky black with fine little bubbles and lashings of full and rich dark berries with hints of savory spice and chocolate. As Petersons say themselves... "life is flat without bubbles"!
Lou Miranda Estate, Barossa Valley – 2015 Leone Pinot Grigio
For those among us who are looking for something fresh and zesty, even though its already fresh enough outside, Lou Miranda’s 2015 Pinot Grigio is an excellent example of fresh and vibrant white wine with plenty of green apple acidity and a slight floral note. Refreshing enough to knock back curled up on the sofa but not so acidic that it’s impossible to drink if the sun isn’t beaming!
Mount Pleasant, Hunter Valley – 2007 Elizabeth Semillon
Semillon is an excellent winter wine for those who aren’t quite ready to move into a wintery red. Mount Pleasant’s golden version is packed full of fresh citrus and finished with a little bit of pineapple sweetness. It’s lively with a fine acidity but also rich enough to complement those big hearty meals on chilly nights.
Kaesler, Barossa Valley – 2012 ‘The Bogan’ Shiraz
One of our absolute favorites, it’ll be difficult for everyone not to fall in love with this Shiraz! It’s full and ripe with a deep red colour from the plum and cherry notes and hints for savory spice. But it’s so unbelievable smooth and velvety that it’s like drinking the wine world’s equivalent of silk. If you haven’t already had the pleasure, find ‘The Bogan’ and drink it now! And the best bit, how on earth could you ever forget that hilariously quirky name?! It’ll stay with you for a lifetime, for more reason that one.
Robert Stein, Mudgee – 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
No winter meal is complete without a juicy Cabernet Sauvignon to wet your whistle. Robert Stein’s version is a classic example of excellent Mudgee wines can be. Its hints of savory French oak is perfectly complemented by spicy berry and cassis making it into a fantastically rich and elegantly full bodied wine which is hard to put down.
Pieter van Gent, Mudgee – 2010 Durif
There is no better time that these chilly winter months to kick back with a hearty stew great big goblet of a big juicy Durif! It’s intense, it’s rich and with a colour to match. Pieter van Gent’s version is big and full bodied giving a huge round mouthful of cherry and blackberry. It’s like being slapped round the face with a wet shoe, and loving it. A Durif wine demands respect and its hard not to comply.
Patina Wines, Orange – Old Tawny Liqueur
Patina Wines’ amazing Old Tawny Liqueur is to die for. It’s had many years of aging in small oak barrels and the outcome is fantastic. A wonderfully fruity and complex post-winter dinner wine which is offset by luscious nutty and sweet toffee notes. There is no way you’ll get away with having just one little sip!
Who doesn’t love an amazing glass of Aussie Cabernet Sauvignon?!
Often considered one of the finest red grapes, Australian-made Cabernet Sauvignon is incredibly diverse given the extreme differences in climates across the vast country, which is just a massive win for all of us that call this wonderful country ‘home’.
We’ve got the medium to cool regions like Margaret River and Coonawarra where, the wines are usually powerfully flavored with lashings of dark berries. Down in the cool climate Yarra Valley this wine resembles a more elegant and refined version while over in the drier McLaren Vale and Orange wine regions. the Cabernet Sauvignon has a dark, deep berry flavor complemented by chocolate.
In short, there are so many varieties of this wine, from so many different areas that any wine lover could spend years solely dedicated to exploring and comparing them all.
But here are our top five favorites – for which The Wine Pig offers the wines and their producers a big hearty congratulations.
For the Cabernet Sauvignon lover in all of us.
Patina, Orange – 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
This is a fine example of how fantastic a great Cabernet Sauvignon can be. It’s rich and deliciously smooth with elegant ripe blackberry and blackcurrant notes finely balanced with hints of chocolate and tobacco thanks to the complexities from barrel ageing.
Eagles Rest, Margaret River – 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Yet another desperately delicious wine, Eagles Rest’s Cabernet Sauvignon is extremely difficult not to fall in love with. Packed full with red berries, leafy tobacco notes and a hint of floral aromatics, this wine is powerful and intense while still maintaining its dignified elegance. And it demands respect.
Ross Hill, Orange – 2013 Tom + Harry Cabernet Sauvignon
The grapes for Ross Hill’s version of this wonderful varietal grow at a 750 metre altitude and benefit from time spent in French oak barrels to bring out their woody cedar notes. It has a fantastic balance between fruitiness and spiciness with plenty of bright berries and hints of spice. Utterly delicious.
Train Trak/Zonzo Estate, Yarra Valley – 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
A standout from the recently halted Train Trak range. The medium-bodied wine is very deep crimson in colour and is packed full to the brim with deep juicy berry flavours which are balanced on an elegant and silky finish with fine grained tannins. It is exceptional and we’re excited to see, and taste, how Zonzo Estate’s new offerings compare.
Talavera Grove, Orange – 2011 Carillion Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon
Located on the slopes of Mt Canobolas in Orange, these Cabernet Sauvignon grapes benefit hugely from the volcanic soil, giving it a subtle smoky oak flavour complemented by plenty of juicy blackcurrant which makes it smooth and so amazingly wonderful to sip on glass, after glass, after glass…. after glass…
Chardonnay has had a bad reputation in recent years, with the grape tarnished by a trend for big, bold and aggressively oaked version of the wine which was sought after back in the 80s.
Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before demand for bigger, punchier and excessive Chardonnays reached its peak and wine lovers grew tired of feeling like they were chewing on a dirty wet log.
But good news – the grape is back, it’s been revamped and it’s better than ever! Is Australia to thank for that? We think so!
The Wine Pig has been banging on the Chardonnay drum for a while now, sometimes, its seems, to an empty audience. But what’s not to love about the crisp, elegant, modern style of this wine which we’re confident will take the world by storm.
Our love for all things Chardy starts in the cold climate Victorian region of Yarra Valley, where The Wine Pig offers a huge congratulations to our top five Chardonnays and their producers.
For the Chardonnay lover in all of us.
Clonakilla, Canberra District – 2014 Tumbarumba ChardonnayIt’s no secret that The Wine Pig has fully embraced its new and growing love for all things Chardonnay and Clonakilla now has raised the bar for Chardonnay producers Australia-wide. It has the classic cream and oak textures while also dishing some melon, pear and spice characters. Truly wonderful.
Coldstream Hills, Yarra Valley – 2011 Reserve ChardonnayThis fine and beautifully balanced Chardonnay by Coldstream Hills has the classic Yarra Valley notes of white peach and citrus, finished off with hints of French oak which add a little punchiness to an otherwise fresh and vibrant wine. It’s elegant, seamless and incredibly sophisticated.
MountAdam Vineyards, Eden Valley – 2013 High Eden Estate ChardonnayThis is a superb 2013 High Eden Chardonnay by Mount Adam Vineyards in Eden Valley, South Australia. An amazingly deep flavoured wine with fantastic body. Packed full of stonefruit notes with an additional hint of nuttyness. A wonderful elegant Chardonnay! Thank you Mount Adam!
Fox Gordon, Adelaide Hills – 2015 The Empress ChardonnayThe 2015 vintage of Fox Gordon’s ‘The Empress’ Chardonnay has lashings of the classic stonefruit and French oak but with the added perk of these classic flavours being complemented by delicious blood orange and toasted nut notes. It’s acidic, it’s oaky. It’s fresh and it’s creamy. In all, it’s seamlessly balanced and deliciously quaffable.
TarraWarra Estate, Yarra Valley – 2013 Reserve ChardonnayObviously, being in the Yarra Valley, you don’t have to go far before bumping into a delicious cold climate Chardonnay. Creamy, buttery and fantastically smooth, this Chardonnay mixes its hints of oak with beautiful stone fruit aromas leaving you wanting more and more with every sip.
De Salis, Orange – 2013 Lofty ChardonnayDe Salis's 2013 Lofty Range Chardonnay sits right at home in The Wine Pig's favorite Aussie Chardonnays. Located on the edge of Mt Canobolas in Orange, NSW, the cool climate helps create a perfect fullbodied wine. In keeping with the De Salis style, this Chardonnay is complex, rich and has great big flavour while at the same time managing to maintain the perfect balance. It truly needs to be tasted to be believed!
Punt Road Wines, Yarra Valley – 2014 Chemin ChardonnayThis is up there as one of our favorite Chardonnays from the region. A perfect example of a cold climate version of this beautiful wine. The Wine Pig just can’t get enough of the buttery, creamy texture which is perfectly balanced with some light acidity and a hint of zing.
Seppelt, Victoria – 2013 Jaluka ChardonnayAgain from the Yarra Valley, as one of the country’s most iconic producers, Seppelt certainly didn’t disappoint with this deliciously lively and fresh wine. It’s fruity and crisp without the sharp acidity sometimes found in other varietals, while keeping the creaminess of a traditional Chardonnay on the lower end. You are guaranteed to impress your friends with a bottle or several of this over the weekend.
Grant Burge, Barossa Valley – 2012 Summers ChardonnayMeanwhile, this Chardonnay is a little different. Although based in the warmer climate of Barossa Valley, the grapes are actually collected from Grant Burge’s cool climate Adelaide Hills and Eden Valley vineyards. Grant Burge has actually created a very soft and naturally acidic Chardonnay wine which could even rival the Yarra Valley! This is definitely a winner for the dinner table.
Evans & Tate, Margaret River – 2015 Butterball ChardonnayThe Wine Pig tops of this list with a Chardonnay for fans who yearn for more of the qualities in the old days – its packed full of extremely rich, butter flavours with a touch of stonefruit and melon characters all encased in a smooth, luscious wine. It leave you yearning for more!
The lamb is in the oven, the Easter egg hunt has been set up, and now onto the most important part of the day: what to drink.
To help you on your way, The Wine Pig has put together a list of wines which should be gracing your dinner table this Easter weekend.
Mayfield Vineyard, Orange – 2009 Pinot Noir Chardonnay sparkling We should all start off the Easter weekend with a glass of bubbles.
And this one is up there with the best.
It has a soft berry-ish taste, which probably explains the slight pink-orange tinge. YUM. It’s a wonder they have any stock left! Petersons House, Hunter Valley – pink blush rose If pink is more your flavour, look no further than the Petersons Blush.
The soft bubbles and pale pink colour, combined with the slightly sweet but very fresh finish makes this wine a perfect pre-dinner celebration drink to share with friends, if you are feeling generous enough to share that is.
LOWE Wines, Mudgee – ‘Bobby Lowe’ organic sparkling merlot For something a little different, definitely look for a great deep red sparkling to compliment all that lamb.
This is a perfect smooth and earthy sparkling red wine, also with the added benefit of being organic.
LOWE has made sure the wine has a low sugar level, meaning it’s really quite dry and fruity and lovers of ‘big’ reds will be excited to have a red sparkling with a bit more umpf.
Voyager Estate, Margaret River – 2014 Chenin Blanc
We all know lamb is the Easter dish of choice, so for those who aren’t ready to tackle a rich and bold red wine, a great Chenin Blanc should be on your list.
Voyager Estate have done a great job with this very easy drinking, early Chenin Blanc.
It’s got all the succulent and juicy tropical flavours with a hint of great sweetness while also being a fine full bodied white wine which is robust enough to stand up against all that meat.
Mount Pleasant, Hunter Valley – Singing in the Rain Rose
Picked early, specifically to make a rose, rather than using the juice that has been run off reds as an afterthought gives this wine a lot of its character. The Shiraz-based wine is pale salmon pink in colour has earthy and slightly floral undertones but with a powerfully juicy red berry finish. Perfect to enjoy with your Easter seafood entrée.
Two Hands, Barossa – Gnarly Dudes 2013 Shiraz For those looking for something a little more traditional to go with your Easter feast, definitely keep an eye out for this Two Hands wine.
This bold wine has a lovely medium but rich density and weight, which is full of flavour with ripe with berries, chocolate notes and a hint of smokiness.
This spiciness of this wine makes it worryingly and perfectly quaffable meaning we just can’t get enough of it in our mouths at once! Oink oink.
Pieter Van Gent, Mudgee – White Port
The original white port made in NSW’s Mudgee region, by the wonderful Pieter Van Gent, is smooth, silky and luscious with tinges of nectar notes. It is a fantastic accompaniment to your Easter chocolate desert feast, or simply with a hot cross bun on the side. It’s not too sticky, it’s not too sweet, it’s just right.
Josef Chromy, Tasmania – Ruby Pinot NV (Fortified)
If you’re looking to enjoy your Easter eggs with a more traditional style of port, then Josef Chromy’s Ruby Pinot is a great place to head to. It screams rich fruit cake with ripe and juicy dark cherry and plums. It’s silky, it’s vibrant and it’s delicious. Make sure to pour yourself a generous portion!
Petersons, Mudgee – Cellar Port NV
If something a little heavier is more to your taste, Petersons of Mudgee make a spectacular Tawny Port which can really truly be described as Christmas in a glass. Ok, so we’re nine months out from the silly season, but you can’t have Easter without an amazing port, and you wouldn’t find The Wine Pig’s dinner table without a bottle, and healthy glass, of this one. Heaven in a bottle.