With Richard Slater & Grant Foulkes


2017 Best’s Bin 1 Shiraz

13.5% Great Western, Victoria
RRP $27

Victoria can produce Shiraz with a distinctive array of exotic pepper and spices. Best’s is adept, and with the handsome 2017 vintage has excelled with an entry-level wine that most producers would happily claim as a flagship. It’s an astonishingly vibrant crimson colour; it’s excitingly packed with varied fragrant spices, clove and pepper scents mingled with blueberry, mulberry, dark cherry and blackberry. Medium-bodied, it’s mouthfillingly rich with all the mixed fruits backgrounded by dusty oak notes, It provides enormous, quality, complex, fleshy flavour volume at a bargain price. It will improve for at least 5 years, but right now it’s fresh, clean and entirely lip-smackingly irresistible. Enjoyment is assured with premium sausages, pan-fried meats, duck breasts or a charcuterie platter.

Conclusion: outstanding value for a distinctive, stylish, plush, fruit-driven wine. Hugely recommended.



Blackjack Wines “Chortle’s Edge”

Shiraz 2015 14.5% Harcourt, Victoria
RRP $22

Bendigo’s wine region is an absolute surprise packet full of down to earth wine-makers, gorgeous drop’s that attract far more affordability than that of Yarra or Mornington and still well within driving distance for a day trip! Blackjack wines ticked all the boxes and we had such a pleasant cellar door experience as the wine-maker took a break from fixing up his shed to run us through his current range.

Now I’m doing ‘Dry July’ so I did have to use the spittoon for this one but my wife definitely helped herself to seconds; a very good sign. The nose displayed fresh black forest berries with a lick of spiced plums and liquorice. The palate was all about the texture, which filled out nicely after an hour or two opened. The years have been kind with fine grained, chalky tannins. A powerful finish of soft cloves, orange zest and black pepper lingers. It’s not ‘jammy’ or ‘oaky’, it retains some restraint yet the strong flavour profile counteracts that. It seems this wine has nailed the dance between power and finesse.

Conclusion: Pair with char grilled steak with peppercorn sauce with roasted beetroot and parsnip.

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