best buy wines

$35 & under

2019 Architects Of Wine Lambrusco Maestri, Adelaide Hills, A$30
An unusual take on the lambrusco maestri, this is a table wine that’s wild-ferment, barrel-fermented and matured in older French oak. Half of the fruit is carbonic macerated, which elevates perfume and fruitiness. It smells like sour cherries, sarsaparilla and alpine herbs, with similar flavours and soft, silky texture. The finish is fresh and tinged with blood orange notes, and an almost amaro-like, tang that resonates nicely. Lively and pure to drink, and best done so with a light chill.  MB

2017 Huntington Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Mudgee, A$32
It’s hard to believe it’s been more than 15 years since Tim Stevens took the reins at Huntington. A lot has changed since then but some things remain the same. Tim’s respect for the style of Huntington reds is one – as evidenced by this cabernet sauvignon. Deep purple, bold bouquet of blackcurrant and mulberries with a lift of sweet vanillin oak. Mouth-filling flavours of the same dark fruits rollick with the lip-smacking tannins. Enjoy with a rare steak or keep for a decade.  PB

2020 Neudorf Rosie’s Block Moutere Dry Riesling, Nelson, NZ$29
Despite being complicated by Covid-19, this was a fairlytale vintage with a very happy ending. This concentrated, mouth-wateringly dry riesling with citrus/lime, apple blossom and oyster shell mineral characters has the intensity and balance that is the product of near-perfect harvest conditions. Subtle sweetness and crisp acidity builds pleasing tension and promotes a lengthy finish.  BC

2020 The Pawn The Sicilian Defence Fiano, Langhorne Creek, A$26
Tom Keelan is the public face of The Pawn and his Sicilian Defence is one of a suite of wines themed after chess strategies. It’s a lovely wine, with more detail than most young fianos. Nutty and floral notes abound, augmented by the understated effects of barrel fermentation. Soft, round and delicate on the tongue, with a touch of mid-palate richness. Pepper, spices and tropical flowers. An exemplary fiano, best drunk within five years.  HH

2017 Barossa Boy Double Trouble Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley, A$30
A juicy, approachable red blend of medium to fullish weight, with a pristine, faintly herbal and floral bouquet of black and red berries, cedar/chocolate oak plus a whiff of pepper. Gently oaked, it’s smooth and approachable, with a long, gentle presence of redcurrant and blueberry flavour underpinned by a crunchy, powdery backbone of loose-knit tannins. It’s wrapped in lively acids and is made to enjoy over the next 3-4 years.  JO

2019 Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, A$25
An aromatically engaging wine with a strong varietal signature and a multilayered palate. A mix of red and dark berries, gentle spice, a whisper of sweet oak and excellent concentration. The extensive blending components give this wine the edge: a blend of upper Yarra and valley floor grapes, 10% whole bunch ferment, a mix of inoculated and wild yeast ferments (exclusively hand-plunged) and French oak maturation (10% new). Medium-bodied, easy-drinking and deliciously flavoursome.  TP