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By Matt Skinner
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Great Southern Land

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Twenty-five years ago, Australia rocketed its way into the hearts of wine lovers right around the globe. It did so through clean and well-made wines, through straight-talking labels, intelligent branding and even more intelligent marketing.

 

Local producers could escape the regional red tape that continues to govern the production of many European wines, and, for the consumer, it largely signalled the democratisation of wine. The Australian wine industry was busy selling the dream, and seemingly living it at the same time. International markets lapped it up. They were good times. But times changed. Developing countries developed, followers become leaders, and the international consumer palate quickly moved away from the sun-soaked flavours of Aussie wine.

 

Fast forward and, as the rest of the world is slowly rediscovering, Australia circa 2018 is home to an astonishingly diverse range of wine producers – big and small – who are far from complacent about the success of their predecessors. New varieties, new styles, new regions and new ways of doing things, that by traditional Australian standards fall outside the square. Simply put, Australia has never made better wine. With that in mind, we’ve assembled twelve producers that we think best represent the modern and changing face of Australian wine. We hope you love them.

 

Happy Drinking

 

 

The Drinks List Team

Large Pack (12 Bottles) - Great Southern Land
$275 inc GST
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  • 1. ARRAS Brut Elite Cuvee 901
    TASMANIA

    Tasmania is the place for great sparkling and Arras has been the one pushing the boundaries with the confidence to put their wines up against some of the biggest and best-known Champagne houses. This is their ready to go non-vintage wine, but it incorporates many of the textural elements of the flagship vintage cuvee, a serious bottle of Australian bubbles that can stand alongside the best in the world.

  • 2. AMEN BREAK Chardonnay 2017
    MCEDON RANGES

    TROPHY BEST WINE BY A SMALL PRODUCER, ROYAL SYDNEY WINE SHOW 2017
    Made by brothers Matt and Steve Harrop (AKA the Clonal Brothers) this is one banging Aussie chardonnay from up in the Central Victorian hills at Kilmore. A nice core of stone and citrus fruit has a draping of vanillin and spice while a little lees work has added a nicely textural element to the wine. You can see why this relative newcomer took out Best Wine by a Small Producer at the Royal Sydney Show last year. That was with the 2015 vintage but the 2016 hasn’t missed a beat.

  • 3. SIMAO & CO WINES White 2015
    NORTHERN VICTORIA

    Simao is Simon Killeen of the famed Rutherglen family, Stanton & Killeen. He is one of a pack of young and super talented winemakers not afraid to explore new blends, edgy styling and packaging. Nothing is off limits and the best of their number (like Simon) have the winemaking talent to pull it off and, when that happens, the wines are exciting! This little guy is a 60% riesling, 21% sauvignon blanc, 15% ugni blanc, 4% gewürztraminer blend. It’s a wine to smash with fish and chips. Crisp bright fruit with a nice textual weight it is not something to ruminate on, just drink it and enjoy.

  • 4. TIM ADAMS Riesling 2017
    CLAIR VALLEY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

    There’s something to be said for a label like Tim Adams. They seem to have been a feature of our collective wine lives forever and there’s a simple reason why: they deliver honest and delicious Riesling almost without fail. Drink this 2017 now and love the fresh lime flecked fruit and racy styling or put it in the cellar and give it 5 years to develop some toast and richness.

  • 5. OCEAN EIGHT Pinot Gris 2017
    MORNINGTON PENINSULA, VICTORIA

    Amongst the seemingly endless parade of new labels coming off the Mornington Peninsula it’s hard to stand out. The way Ocean Eight owners, the Aylward family, decided to do it was by delivering sensational wines that rely on the quality of the fruit and a very clear idea of the styling they’re chasing.

    In their stable of wines there’s a good argument that their Pinot Gris is the best to come off the Peninsula. It combines spiced pear aromas with follow up flavours that are presented with a creamy and textural palate. There’s just a touch of residual sweetness which elevates the profile of the fruit just that little bit more. An antidote to all the neutral “missionary-position” Gris’s on the market.

  • 6. LA PROVA Bianco 2016
    FLEURIEU PENINSULA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

    Sam Scott cut his teeth working in the Adelaide retail trade before taking the jump into producing his own wines under the Scott and La Prova labels. Most of the fruit is sourced from his Adelaide Hills base and the wines reflect his personal passion for Italian varieties and their textured and savoury profiles.

    The Pinot Bianco is a brilliant example of this low-profile variety. The wine is all pears and apple on the nose and then stony minerality creates a great backdrop for the fruit in the mouth. It’s the ideal foil for calamari and seafood but also a little lingering skinsy twang means it could handle some salami.

  • 7. APHELION The Confluence Grenache 2017
    MCLAREN VALE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

    Aphelion is one of the hottest new producers to emerge onto the Aussie wine scene in some time. Headed by the recently crowned Young Gun of Wine, Rob Mack, and based in McLaren Vale Aphelion wines champion the beauty of Grenache…and friends. So long maligned or made into high octane reds, the “new model” of Grenache of the type Aphelion turns out is back-to-the-future fragrant, pliant and full of energy.

    That’s what you get in this wine It’s deeeelicious and exactly what you need for a little lamb number.

  • 8. VINEA MARSON Pinot Noir 2017
    HEATHCOTE, VICTORIA

    Vinea Marson is Mario Marson; the one-time assistant and then winemaker at the famed Mount Mary who has since started his own eponymous label out of Victoria’s Heathcote region. The packaging and the wines are all on point and have, up to now, concentrated on the region’s strong suits of Shiraz, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, so it’s surprising to see a Pinot Noir from here. But there is one (maybe this is the only one) and it’s very smart!
    Good colour and density it has a nice Pinot Noir softness but is still fresh. This is a difficult grape to grow, and the success of it comes down to low yield and good growing conditions. Then a subtle hand in the winery to let the grape speak. Mario has done that with this wine and it’s a lovely rendering of the variety.

  • 9. MORROODUC ESTATE Devil Bend Creek Pinot Noir 2017
    MORNINGTON PENINSULA, VICTORIA

    Long before the corporate winemaking outfits started to discover they could make a few bucks on the Mornington Peninsula, the McIntyre family were already well into their journey as winemakers at Moorooduc Estate. The early years saw cabernet, shiraz and sauvignon blanc get a run before the family eventually settled on the region’s strong suits of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay…for the most part.

    The entry to their Pinot style is the mighty Devil Bend Creek Pinot Noir. It’s ever reliable and always over- delivers at the price point and the 2017 is possibly the best to date. Ripe and approachable with a nice regional blood orange, Campari herb thing going on, its juicy strawberry and spice fruit plays nicely across the palate and finishes with a good vigour and a stabilizing lick of oak.

  • 10. WHISTLER Shock Vale Red Blned 20415
    MCLAREN VALE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

    The Pfeiffer family have been growing grapes and making wine for a century or more starting up in the Riverland and now firmly ensconced in the heart of Barossa Valley. The newest member of the family into the trade in Josh and his influence on the viticulture (where he has converted much of the holdings to biodynamic) and his birthing of a new range of wines under the “Next Gen” labels has been profound.

    This little number (Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro) holds all the warm embrace of the Barossa with mulberry and blackberry fruits, delicate spice and a refreshing energy that characterizes the new breed of Barossa reds of this ilk. Perfect BBQ wine, great on a cold winters night and an exciting example of modern Barossa

  • 11. LINO RAMBLE Pee Wee Nero d'Avola 2017
    McLAREN VALE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

    The Lino Ramble crew (Andy Coppard and Angela Townsend) epitomize an exciting new genre of producers appearing on the Aussie wine scene. An iconoclastic outlook coupled with a clear view on the kind of fresh and textured wines they want to make alongside some quirky packaging and you’ve got the idea. Fruit is sourced from sympathetic growers particularly those working with Italian and Mediterranean varieties so prevalent in the “New McLaren Vale”.

    Part of what they do is take varieties like Nero d’Avola – a traditionally fairly robust and muscular red variety from Sicily – and put a different spin on them. The Pee Wee is a good example where the vibrancy and integrity of the fruit is preserved but the structure is more pliant and the wine more playful. There’s no lack of red fruit and mild spice and the wine is juicy and textured on the palate. It’s ideal for cool nights or warm days by the barbie!

  • 12. JERICO MCLAren Vale GSM 2017
    MCLAREN VALE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

    Jericho is a family affair which covers a couple of generations and boasts a decades of experience in the wine trade. The most recent incarnation of what they do is an affordable, beautifully made and packed set of wines that eschew robust structural styles for more food-friendly and energy riven wines to consumed in the near to medium term.

    The GSM is the classic southern Rhone blend off a mixture of bush-vine Grenache (mainly) as well as some Mouvedre and Shiraz. Partial carbonic maceration gives the wine an immediacy and nice generous but lithe mouth-play. Red berry, spice and a slippery mid texture dissolves into some finishing power. Perfectly balanced and pitched for drinking now and over the next 5 years.

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12 Cracking bottles for $275 inc GST
Medium Pack (6 Bottles) - Great Southern Land
$145 inc GST
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  • 1. AMEN BREAK Chardonnay 2016
    MACEDON RANGES, VICTORIA

    TROPHY BEST WINE BY A SMALL PRODUCER, ROYAL SYDNEY WINE SHOW 2017
    Made by brothers Matt and Steve Harrop (AKA the Clonal Brothers) this is one banging Aussie chardonnay from up in the Central Victorian hills at Kilmore. A nice core of stone and citrus fruit has a draping of vanillin and spice while a little lees work has added a nicely textural element to the wine. You can see why this relative newcomer took out Best Wine by a Small Producer at the Royal Sydney Show last year. That was with the 2015 vintage but the 2016 hasn’t missed a beat.

  • 2. VINEA MARSON Pinot Noir 2017
    HEATHCOTE, VICTORIA

    Vinea Marson is Mario Marson; the one-time assistant and then winemaker at the famed Mount Mary who has since started his own eponymous label out of Victoria’s Heathcote region. The packaging and the wines are all on point and have, up to now, concentrated on the region’s strong suits of Shiraz, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, so it’s surprising to see a Pinot Noir from here. But there is one (maybe this is the only one) and it’s very smart!
    Good colour and density it has a nice Pinot Noir softness but is still fresh. This is a difficult grape to grow, and the success of it comes down to low yield and good growing conditions. Then a subtle hand in the winery to let the grape speak. Mario has done that with this wine and it’s a lovely rendering of the variety.

  • 3. JERICO McLaren Vale GSM 2017
    MCLAREN VALE GSM 2017

    Jericho is a family affair which covers a couple of generations and boasts a decades of experience in the wine trade. The most recent incarnation of what they do is an affordable, beautifully made and packed set of wines that eschew robust structural styles for more food-friendly and energy riven wines to consumed in the near to medium term.

    The GSM is the classic southern Rhone blend off a mixture of bush-vine Grenache (mainly) as well as some Mouvedre and Shiraz. Partial carbonic maceration gives the wine an immediacy and nice generous but lithe mouth-play. Red berry, spice and a slippery mid texture dissolves into some finishing power. Perfectly balanced and pitched for drinking now and over the next 5 years.

  • 4. LA PROVA Bianco 2016
    FLEURIEU PENINSULA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

    Sam Scott cut his teeth working in the Adelaide retail trade before taking the jump into producing his own wines under the Scott and La Prova labels. Most of the fruit is sourced from his Adelaide Hills base and the wines reflect his personal passion for Italian varieties and their textured and savoury profiles.

    The Pinot Bianco is a brilliant example of this low-profile variety. The wine is all pears and apple on the nose and then stony minerality creates a great backdrop for the fruit in the mouth. It’s the ideal foil for calamari and seafood but also a little lingering skinsy twang means it could handle some salami.

  • 5. WHISTLER Shock Value Red Blend 2017
    BAROSSA VALLEY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

    The Pfeiffer family have been growing grapes and making wine for a century or more starting up in the Riverland and now firmly ensconced in the heart of Barossa Valley. The newest member of the family into the trade in Josh and his influence on the viticulture (where he has converted much of the holdings to biodynamic) and his birthing of a new range of wines under the “Next Gen” labels has been profound.

    This little number (Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro) holds all the warm embrace of the Barossa with mulberry and blackberry fruits, delicate spice and a refreshing energy that characterizes the new breed of Barossa reds of this ilk. Perfect BBQ wine, great on a cold winters night and an exciting example of modern Barossa.

  • 6. ARRAS Brut Elite Cuvee 901
    TASMANIAN

    Tasmania is the place for great sparkling and Arras has been the one pushing the boundaries with the confidence to put their wines up against some of the biggest and best-known Champagne houses. This is their ready to go non-vintage wine, but it incorporates many of the textural elements of the flagship vintage cuvee, a serious bottle of Australian bubbles that can stand alongside the best in the world.

Show all profiles
6 Cracking bottles for $145 inc GST
Small Pack (3 Bottles) - Great Southern Land
$75 inc GST
Add to cart sml
  • 1. AMEN BREAK Chardonnay 2016
    Macedon Ranges, Victoria

    TROPHY BEST WINE BY A SMALL PRODUCER, ROYAL SYDNEY WINE SHOW 2017
    Made by brothers Matt and Steve Harrop (AKA the Clonal Brothers) this is one banging Aussie chardonnay from up in the Central Victorian hills at Kilmore. A nice core of stone and citrus fruit has a draping of vanillin and spice while a little lees work has added a nicely textural element to the wine. You can see why this relative newcomer took out Best Wine by a Small Producer at the Royal Sydney Show last year. That was with the 2015 vintage but the 2016 hasn’t missed a beat.

  • 2. VINEA MARSON Pinot Noir 2017
    HEATHCOTE, VICTORIA

    Vinea Marson is Mario Marson; the one-time assistant and then winemaker at the famed Mount Mary who has since started his own eponymous label out of Victoria’s Heathcote region. The packaging and the wines are all on point and have, up to now, concentrated on the region’s strong suits of Shiraz, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, so it’s surprising to see a Pinot Noir from here. But there is one (maybe this is the only one) and it’s very smart!
    Good colour and density it has a nice Pinot Noir softness but is still fresh. This is a difficult grape to grow, and the success of it comes down to low yield and good growing conditions. Then a subtle hand in the winery to let the grape speak. Mario has done that with this wine and it’s a lovely rendering of the variety.

  • 3. JERICO mcLaren Vale GSM 2017
    MCLAREN VALE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

    Jericho is a family affair which covers a couple of generations and boasts a decades of experience in the wine trade. The most recent incarnation of what they do is an affordable, beautifully made and packed set of wines that eschew robust structural styles for more food-friendly and energy riven wines to consumed in the near to medium term.

    The GSM is the classic southern Rhone blend off a mixture of bush-vine Grenache (mainly) as well as some Mouvedre and Shiraz. Partial carbonic maceration gives the wine an immediacy and nice generous but lithe mouth-play. Red berry, spice and a slippery mid texture dissolves into some finishing power. Perfectly balanced and pitched for drinking now and over the next 5 years.

Show all profiles
3 Cracking bottles for $75 inc GST