An award-winning shiraz and two white wines are well-priced and primed for drinking as the weather warms.
Rising interest rates, inflation barely under control, wars that never end and oil prices that turn up the pain at the bowser.
It’s enough to make you depressed.
It’s made managing the household budget very tough.
Some things just must go.
But unless you’re a person of pure steel, the one thing that must remain is your weekly wine purchase.
As you scan the shelves of your liquor store, you might look longingly at those expensive wines knowing that, in the current economic climate, they are simply a bridge too far.
They are good wines.
In some cases, they are great wines.
But you simply don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good bottle of wine, whether it be at home on the dinner table, or heading out to your local BYO.
To give you an idea of what is available, I recently assessed more than 700 red wines selling for less than $40, and the standard was remarkable, with many wines of gold medal standard.
I am confident that if I tasted the same number of white wines, the results would be equally impressive.
I am in the final stages of tasting for my WA Wine Review 2024, to be released later this year.
Of course, there are the usual suspects that sell for $100 and more but I have been both pleased and excited by the number of outstanding wines selling for $30 and less.
In some cases, $15 and less.
It’s not surprising so much wine is still available at realistic prices.
With the elimination of the China market, a lot of wine that was destined for there is still sitting in tanks or in bottles, with nowhere to go.
And many vineyards were planted just to feed the growing China market.
For the consumer it has been good news; for the producers, not so much.
The rising costs of just about everything associated with making and selling wine has shrunk margins.
For many producers, both big and small, the next 12 months might be crunch time on whether they can continue to operate.
That is a sad fact.
So, this week I searched through my notes on recently tasted WA wines to find three I considered outstanding based on their scores and prices.
In this case, the minimum score I wanted was 95 points, which in the show circuit equates to a gold medal.
I then look at the prices and decided to balance that score with wines selling for $30 or more.
Just recently, the Millbrook Regional Range grenache shiraz mourvedre 2022 won a trophy for the best vale wine at the Sydney Wine Show.
I was pleased my scores reflected what the judges saw in that wine.
With the weather warming I decided to include two white wines, the Nikola Estate chenin blanc 2023 and the Flametree chardonnay 2022.
Both are fabulous wines and perfect for spring and summer drinking.
Millbrook Regional Range Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2022 ($25)
Come on guys, you have to love this wonderful blend of these three Rhone varieties sourced from Geographe. It’s soft and supple but still with a chalky core of tannin and oak providing its poise and direction. It’s really about the fruit with only a small amount of oak influence. Super wine for current drinking while all that vibrant youthful fruit is doing its thing.
Cellar: 6 years
Nikola Estate chenin blanc 2023 ($20)
A wonderful example of the fruit purity and flavours that have most in the valley saying this might be the best year yet for chenin. No argument from me; it has the melon and citrus honeysuckle mix that is quintessential chenin. The flavour is endless, with that crisp natural fine acidity providing energy and lift. A super wine at a nutty price.
Cellar: 6 years
Flametree chardonnay 2022 ($30)
One of the most powerful and generous of the Flametree chardonnays yet released. You start with the grapefruit and vanilla pod, light stone fruit crème brulee on the nose. Then the palate delivers with its powerful wave of intense fruit supported by excellent fine oak. A little tick of saline acidity and lemon on the finish completes a very good wine.
Cellar: 6 years
- Ray Jordan is one of Australia’s most experienced and respected wine journalists, contributing to newspapers and magazines over more than 40 years. In 2017 he co-authored The Way it Was: The History of the early years of the Margaret River Wine Region