Whether you love or loathe it, before you know it, winter has rolled around! To dust off any thought of winter blues, we’ve put together a selection of delights that will save you from leaving the warmth of your place, in search of delicious drinks. We’ve boldy left out the whites, with this box fielding an array of styles and weights from near and far, in all things red (and a sneaky stout, of course!). Nestle into the season with a longneck of the aforementioned dark matter. Then Mornington and Marlborough give us two New World pinot noirs. From the Yarra Valley we have a playful ‘clarete’ blend, a shiraz/marsanne and a cabernet number. More structure follows with a Barossa sangiovese, a Margaret River cabernet blend and a Frankland River shiraz. If you’d rather be in Europe’s warmer northern climes, they’re representing with a French grenache blend, tempranillo from Spain, and an Italian Montepulciano.
Coopers Stout, South Australia (750mL), $8
Winter hasn’t officially started until the top of a Coopers Stout is cracked. Driven by its savoury complexity and converse ratio of power to elegance, it’s a beer that’s perfect by itself, in a boilermaker, or matched with some blue cheese; say some quality salty Roquefort from the Spring Street Cheese Cellar.
2017 Allies Assemblage Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula $30
Winemaker Dave ‘Chappy’ Chapman had a run being a chef, then sommelier (he is a former engineer of the wine list at The European) before turning his hand, to great success, with making pinot noir from different sites around Mornington. Assemblage is a blend of three sites and expresses its maritime climate beautifully. Ripe, dense red-berry fruit is a lovely partner alongside a dish of some freshly picked, wild mushrooms.
2017 Greenhouse Knight Clarete, Yarra Valley $24
Left of centre, witty and eccentric – here maker mimicks wine. Crafted from cabernet, that’s been soaked in chardonnay juice, this is very fruit driven, and offers great contrast when paired with smoky beef skewers. So go ahead and heat up the BBQ.
2016 Barone di Valforte Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy $27
Perfumed by the use of whole bunches, this offers lots of herbal top notes, anchoring this wine to its core of beautiful, juicy dark berried fruit. Made by an old Abruzzese estate, this should be cracked to accompany a rich winter casserole.
2016 Raymond Usseglio Les Amandiers VDP, Rhône Valley, France $26
Like an old friend, there is nothing like good grenache to put some warmth into your life. This savoury, spicy blend from the Southern Rhône is an outstanding introduction to the great Usseglio estate, now into their third generation. Drink while you assemble your lamb shank soup.
2016 The Brad Cabernet, Margaret River WA $21
Made by Margaret River outfit Amato Vino, this junior label is intended for early and easy drinking. Inspired by their love of 1960’s retro pop-art, this is a cabernet not to be taken seriously – so enjoy with your ugg boots on and relax like nobody’s watching!
2017 Nobody’s Hero Pinot Noir, Marlborough, NZ $26
This pinot issues from the renowned riesling tragics at Framingham. Sourced from the Marlborough sub-region of Wairau Valley which is known for its gravelly soils and intense, rich fruit. Showing loads of bright red fruit and subtle French oak complement, this is the wine to BYO to Smith Street’s Old Kingdom Street to have with the whole carved duck. N.B Ducks are limited – ensure you call ahead!
2015 Mediterrane Sangiovese, Barossa Valley, SA $24
From a single vineyard in Lyndoch, Barossa, this is bright with redfruits and lifted with herbal undertones – how very Italian! The lovely ripe and underlying tannin structure makes it perfect for your mid-week pizza. Trick of the trade? Add your own can of anchovies for an extra flavour kick!
2016 Ben Haines B-Minor Shiraz/Marsanne, Yarra Valley, VIC $29
With previous postings making wine at Mitchelton, Yering Station and Mount Langhi, winemaker Ben Haines’ name is now really up in lights, as he’s gone to issuing bottles only under his own label – as well as taking the plunge to study for the Master of Wine! Like him, this bottle is young, charming and very bright. On the lighter side for a shiraz, thanks to a deft splash of marsanne, playing up a silky and perfumed role.
2016 Nestares Eguizabal Segares Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain $21
Bodegas Nestares Eguizábal is located in the east of Rioja in the Baja subzone, a part of the region known for its intensity and structure. 100% tempranillo, without any use of oak, results in a wine that’s fresh and mighty fine. This would easily stand up to some grilled morsels of spicy chorizo – get yours from the famed Casa Iberica deli on Johnston Street.
2015 Rocky Gully Road Shiraz, Frankland River, WA $21
There’s nothing quite like a spicy dark Australian shiraz in the midst of winter, while you potter away and prepare something slow cooked in the comfort of your kitchen. Frankland River is a sleeping giant for great shiraz and this is a perfectly poised little number. Chuck this in a decanter, add a splash to your bolognese and invite your friends over to prove once and for all that your recipe is the best there is!
2017 Dominique Portet Fontaine Cabernet, Yarra Valley, VIC $24
The Portets being a tenth generation wine making family with origins in Bordeaux, this is aptly, a structured, dark, Bordeaux-inspired blend. The Fontaine vineyard is a slightly warmer site, expressing richness with silky tannins. This is the wine to have and save to share with your clan, for a hearty winter Sunday roast.
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