best buy wines

imports $35 & under

NV Umberto Luigi Domenico Cosmo Prosecco, Veneto, Italy, A$19
There’s a sea of affordable Italian prosecco out there so when one sticks out, it sticks in the mind. This is an elevated experience for its freshness, the fruit character and detail, the touch of light, salty-nutty savouriness and the persistence of bubbles that fizz with scintillating energy. It shows scents of tropical fruits with citrus and honeysuckle as a backdrop. Flavours tend to tropical fruity, but this is framed by dryness and a light, chalky pucker in texture. It’s a ripper for the price.  MB

2014 Château Oumsiyat Jaspe Red, Mount Lebanon, Lebanon, A$28
There’s a new energy to the wines coming out of Lebanon, with Sydney-based Nicole Burfitt-Williams importing a bunch of them under the Vins du Liban banner. Château Oumsiyat dates back a century and their Jaspe Red is a judicious blend of cabernet sauvignon, syrah, carignan and cinsault. It’s an impressive wine with plenty of flavour (raspberry, plum and mulberries) and silken tannins. Oak is in the background, fruit to the fore. Enjoy with lamb kafta (aka, kofta).  PB

2019 Montsable Chardonnay, IGP Pays d’Oc, France, NZ$20
From the plains and foothills in the Haute Vallée of Limoux in the south of France where cooler sites favour chardonnay. Rich, creamy wine with good weight and an appealing silken texture. Peach and tree fruits with ginger and hazelnut. An attractive drop made in a Burgundian look-alike style, but at a very down-to-earth price.  BC

2019 Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio, Trentino, Italy, A$20
Mezzacorona is a large co-operative in Trentino, part of a group of Italian wineries ranging as far south as Sicily. The wine has the lightness and easy-drinking simplicity that typifies all the best Italian grigios. The colour is light, bright yellow and it has a shy, restrained aroma that suggests lime cordial, beeswax and lemon juice - and a note of tonic water. The palate is light-bodied, delicate and uncomplicated, the finish crisp and refreshing. An easy drinking dry white for any occasion.  HH

2018 Paolo Petrilli Motta del Lupo Cacc´e Mmitte di Lucera, Puglia, Italy, A$27
A blend of four local grapes – 50% nero di troia, 20% montepulciano, 15% sangiovese and 15% bombino – here is a pizza red par excellence. Its intense bouquet of redcurrants, raspberries and blood plums reveals notes of cinnamon, musk and underbrush. Framed by drying, crunchy tannins, the wine is gravelly but medium in weight, with emphatic, concentrated flavours of stone fruit, melon and red berries finishing lime and cola-like with a refreshing acidity.  JO

2018 Les Vignerons de l’Enclave La Resistance Côtes du Rhône, Rhône Valley, France, A$30
Easy-drinking Côtes du Rhône doesn’t get a lot of airplay in Australia, so if you haven’t tried one in a while, this is an excellent place to start. This deeply coloured wine is clean and approachable with succulent satsuma plum, cranberry and pomegranate flavours. Soft, integrated acidity heightens the bright fruit flavours, and the balanced, papery tannins provide a supportive frame. It has good depth, flecks of spice and a gently warming finish. Subtle umami notes add to its charm.  TP