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Top 10 Wines to Try

Wine Writer Katie Spain of The Advertiser and Wine Business Magazine shares some of her top drops. There’s a vast spectrum of flavours and varieties in McLaren Vale. From full-bodied reds to bright young whites, here are some ‘must-trys’ while exploring the McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast region.

Kay Brothers, 2018 Reserve Nero d’Avola

Winemaker Duncan Kennedy has done the Sicilian variety proud. This reserve drop is dangerously moreish. Earthy cherry and five-spice aromas beckon, followed by a juicy mouthful of red cherries and chalky tannins. This traditional basket pressed drop is a juicy, bright addition to the dinner table. There’s a maximum purchase limit of six bottles so make it last.

Coriole, 2018 Fiano

The Coriole team planted their first Fiano vineyard in 2001 and have been steadily mastering the variety since. This creation pushes the style to rich, complex heights. On the nose, it’s freshly baked apple pie and, on the palate, there’s citrus, beeswax, honey, and lashings of natural acidity. It’s as smooth as Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah. A steal at this price.

Smidge Wines, 2017 Uno Momento Montepulciano

Close your eyes and dream of Italy. This modern take on the Italian variety is as close as you’ll get to Abruzzo without splashing out on a plane ticket. Winemaker Matt Wenk has created a fruit-forward, juicy red that begs for a convivial gathering. Also try his Pedra Branca – 2018 Pét-Nat (short for pétillant naturel). It’s savoury, fizzy, and at $45 a bottle, a lot of fun. Embrace the sediment!

Chapel Hill, 2014 Chapel Hill Reserve 

Splash out on something special. This drop is a commemorative release made to honour the 150th birthday of the beautiful building Chapel Hill calls home. The shiraz/cabernet sauvignon blend is full-bodied, voluptuous and best popped in the cellar for a worthy occasion.

Mollydooker Wines, 2017 Velvet Glove Shiraz

Winemaker Sarah Marquis has created a lush shiraz with panther-black wow-factor and spicy plum and nutmeg aromas. It’s elegant, fruity, and seductive. If you’re feeling really fancy, the Velvet Glove also comes in a large format 1.5-litre bottle ($400) or whopping three-litre ($1,600). Take a bow Sarah, it’s fit for a queen.

Mitolo, 2016 Small Batch Vermentino

Sometimes you want a crisp white wine you can drink in the sun…right now! This elegant little beauty sings in the glass. Swirl, sniff... yes, that’s the delicate aroma of citrus and apples in the air. It’s the kind of drop that stays with you well beyond the last sip. Great with sea views and fresh-caught seafood.

SC Pannell, 2017 SC Pannell Cabernet Malbec

When winemaker Stephen Pannell and Fiona Lindquist were crowned 2018 Bushing Monarchs at the McLaren Vale Wine Show, it was for their smashing 2016 SC Pannell Cabernet Malbec. Their new release Cab Mac is a ripper too. Think cherry ripe, smokey flavours, and long walks through the forest. Delicious.

Yangarra Estate Vineyard, 2017 Roux Beaute Roussanne

Ooh, la, la. This French variety has been handled beautifully by the Yangarra team. The fruit was handpicked from 14-year-old vines and fermented in ceramic eggs (a mix of skin contact and non-skin contact was later blended). The result is lush, textured and extravagant. Think stewed apple and coconut aromas, and it is also certified organic/biodynamic.

Bekkers Wine, 2016 McLaren Vale Syrah

Viticulturist Toby Bekkers and his French-born wife and winemaker Emmanuelle create drinkable things of beauty. This flagship wine is among the best of them. The 100 per cent Syrah (Shiraz) is a sublime work of art; soft, silky, with a touch of spice. Wow. There’s a limit of 12 bottles (due to limited production).

Shingleback, 2016 Unedited Shiraz

History and geology in a bottle. Shingleback’s Unedited Shiraz began as part of the regional “McLaren Vale Scarce Earth” initiative. The fruit was plucked from Block K, The Davey Estate Vineyard. It’s a bold drop. Think plush blackberries, mulberries, violets and cloves, and earthy notes. A whole lot of yum. Cellar it to see how the grand dame develops.

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