With Richard Slater & Grant Foulkes
2018 Wirra Wirra Church Block, McLaren Vale, South Australia 14.5%, RRP $22
Cabernet blended with Shiraz is the “traditional” Oz blend – where Shiraz helps flesh out the middle; Merlot is a twist added by Wirra Wirra. This winery’s years of successful practice ensures the wine is widely available, and is a safe bet chosen from wine lists, on your table or maturing in your cellar.
Visitors can’t overlook the impressive redgum “woodhenge” fence at the winery entrance. Vivid crimson in colour, this wine flaunts creamy milk chocolate, cocoa, ripe dark cherry and blood plums. It tastes lively and fresh, with fruit dominating – the way wine should be! It’s a food-friendly red that fits the weekday budget. It holds an attractive combination of blackcurrant, red liquorice, and blueberry, with supportive background oak.
Conclusion: No foodie drama – simple chops or steak with mash and some steamed veggies; relax, appreciate your astute purchase and revel in comfort. Splash it into a decanter or a large glass and swirl to unleash its charms.
Sidewood Estate NV Sparkling, Adelaide Hills, South Australia 12%, RRP $22
Sidewood Estate has set itself the lofty challenge to become the cornerstone of excellence in sparkling wine-making throughout Australia. We often gravitate to Tasmania or the Yarra Valley when we want to experience the best in ozzie sparkling, but a small sip of this Adelaide Hills fizz will have you shifting your focus. As hard as I try and as far n’ wide as I search, I’m yet to find a better bubbles at a cheaper price than this. It seems the critics agree; with a 95 point score in the latest Halliday Wine Companion and a swath of gold medals, quality is assured. It has a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir and sees partial malolactic fermentation and extended time on lees to build bountiful notes of fruit complexity (think ripe fuji apples, fresh picked strawberries and citrusy lemons) saddled up nicely alongside a more-ish, rich texture and surprising nougat finish. This is their entry level sparkling. Once you’ve tried this, dare to invest in their premium bubbles which, in my opinion, offer far better value and quality to a similarly priced Champagne.
Conclusion: Pair with roast pork with crackling, apple sauce and a cheesy potato gratin.