Wine vs wine



    2023 Jim Barry Watervale Riesling 12.0%
    Clare Valley, South Australia. RRP $22

    Riesling continues to offer outrageous value for its quality, its amazing versatility with food, and its bonus ability to flourish in the cellar for decades. With no need for oak, Riesling can fully represent its site, with winemakers striving to allow the pristine fruit expression to thrive. Germany, Alsace and Austria are European exemplars, but Oz also has many excellent Riesling areas. Western Australia’s Great Southern region, Macedon and Henty in Victoria, plus Canberra. And South Australia’s Clare and Eden Valley have stacks of Riesling exponents; Jim Barry is expert (my very first Westsider column was about their 2018 version). 

    Jim Barry also makes more expensive Rieslings, but this youthful fresh dry wine is a charming winner. There is lime, passionfruit, apple and bath talc. Zingy, refreshing, supple texture too. Thrilling quality all the way. Another glass is easily called for.

    Value alert –Very widely available for under $20 (I paid $17). Silly pricing for such memorable, generous, flavour indulgence. Chicken in many guises (roast, schnitzel, stir-fry) is a winning partner, plus there’s white meats, and a plethora of seafood, or vegetarian options. 


    Best’s Great Western Blanc De Noir 2023
    ABV 12% RRP $30

    Situated at the foot of the Grampians, just south of Stawell, lies a winery that boasts some of the oldest vineyards in the world; planted as far back as the 1860’s. Best’s cellar door experience is full of charm, warmth, great wine (obvs…) and even a tour through their ancient underground cellar. For $10 you can enjoy a tasting of their more ‘mid tier’ range which includes a white field blend, a bunch of shiraz made from different vineyards and this extremely unique bubbles. Best’s had a surplus of shiraz fruit from the 23′ vintage so the winemaker decided to experiment and created this Blanc De Noir from 100% Shiraz fruit. Juice taken immediately from the skins and the addition of ‘carbon’ during the process to remove the colour, it looks just like a sparkling white! Fruit is hand picked, cold soaked and aged in seasoned French oak puncheons. It has a fluffy texture thanks to its fine bead, clean and crisp aromatics and a full flavour of red apple, apricot, pear and soft herbs for balance. A bottle of this could disappear rather quickly so be sure to enjoy with a friend or two. Definitely pop into the cellar door for a visit if you ever find yourself in this very underrated pocket of Victoria’s incredible wine regions!

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