Wine vs wine



    2022 Wynns (white label) Shiraz 13.3%
    Coonawarra, South Australia. RRP $25

    Overseas, France’s Rhone Valley can make ripping Shiraz. Most wine regions of Australia grow Shiraz – yes, even Tasmania. Different styles here range from the ‘trad’, ripe fruit and oak to cooler-climate, more ethereal ‘Syrah-like’ spice-buckets. Add the Oz blends of Cabernet and Shiraz (and GSM blends). There is quality to admire across all these efforts. Wynns and Coonawarra make a great pair (I earlier wrote about the consistent, cellar-worthy ‘Black Label’ Cabernet), but this entry-level Shiraz also over-delivers in the quality, and VFM equation.

    Bang! A rich, deep purple colour is the first highlight, followed by scents of mulberry, plum, cocoa, clove, and pepper spices. The palate has succulent, lingering fine tannins, and exuberant freshness, making every glass a winner. It’s flavoursome without being oppressively heavy. This wine will even surprise and appeal to wine snobs, so it’s no surprise at how quickly the bottle empties. 

    Bargain ahoy. Readily available for under $20 (I paid $15), it’s a perennial safe harbour on a wine list. Plus, it will merrily improve for a few years. At this price, try pasta with a meaty sauce, casseroles, or schnitzel in its many guises. 


    Pauletts Semillon 2021 Clare Valley
    ABV 12.5% RRP $32

    My wife and I chose to pop into Pauletts cellar door in Polish Hill River, as it was in between three other cellar doors we were visiting as part of our Saturday Clare Valley winery jaunt. I’d never heard of Pauletts before but gee I’m glad we found ourselves there. Our comprehensive tasting session showcased just how versatile Clare is; much more to investigate than just Riesling and Shiraz. This 2021 Semillon is dry grown and sourced from a single vineyard in Watervale. It showcases that classic ‘waxy’ characteristic that I always look for in a Semillon but it has a far softer acid line than your typical ‘Hunter Sem’. There’s a mealiness to the aromatics that sit alongside smart lemongrass and ripe lemon notes. These carry over to the palate and give a fresh, almost minty finish. Unlike most Semillon, this has spent some time in oak before going to bottle, which would explain that softness and pillowyness that just keeps you coming back for more. I’m really loving exploring the huge varietal range coming out of Clare. Next time you’re at the bottle-O, go for something a little left of centre from Clare, I reckon you’ll be very chuffed!

    Pair with: Bun Bo Hue from Pho Tam in Footscray. It’s BYO and so very very delicious and cheap! 

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