Greatest Hits 2017
What a year! As we hurtle towards 2018, we’ve decided to take a moment to reflect on the past 12 months. While curating this year’s packs, we’ve covered a lot of ground and had a huge amount of fun in the process…
We kicked 2017 off with the holiday-inspired Camp Awesome, before rolling into the annual behemoths that are Here Comes Pinot Noir and The Tour Survival Kit. There were a cast of newcomers, too, in the form of The Big Chill, Cooler Shades of Shiraz and NZPN. Good times.
Taken from our most popular packs, Greatest Hits 2017 brings together a dozen of our favourite wines of the year in one ‘best of’ pack. And so, without any further ado, here are the wines that pushed our buttons for one reason, or in some cases many reasons, in 2017. We hope you love them!
The Drinks List Team
1. VINEA MARSON Prosecco 2015
Vinea Marson (est. 2000) draws heavily on Mario Marson’s Northern Italian heritage. The Prosecco, which undergoes secondary fermentation in bottle, boasts a level of detail rarely seen in this category. From its bright & foamy appearance, expect smells of waxy Meyer lemons, white peach & talc stone, while broad stone & citrus fruit flavour & a charge of tiny bubbles define the palate. Drink it pre-dinner with fried green olives.
2. MAC FORBES ‘Spring’ Riesling 2017
STRATHBOGIE RANGES, VICTORIA
Pinot Noir maestro Mac Forbes also crafts an equally brilliant line-up of Riesling. Sourced from the Strathbogie Ranges, they are multi-dimensional white wines where tannin, old oak & time on gross lees all play vital roles. ‘Spring’ is the latest member of the Forbes Riesling family. Drawn from younger vines, expect a floral & spicy nose where smells of lemon sherbet, slate & talc dominate, while the palate is citrus-charged, steely, long & dry. Drink it with snap-fried school prawns.
3. ROCKY GULLY Riesling 2017
FRANKLAND RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Frankland Estate winemaker Hunter Smith has long been regarded as one of the standout Riesling producers in Australia. Consistently ranking as one of the best value examples of its kind produced anywhere, the latest instalment of the Rocky Gully Riesling boasts smells of ripe citrus fruit, slate & mineral, while the palate is broad, limey, pure & dry. Take a bottle to Sunday yum cha.
4. HODDLES CREEK ESTATE Pinot Blanc 2016
YARRA VALLEY, VICTORIA
Franco D’Anna & team continue to turn out wines of frightening detail at prices that will drop your jaw. Here, estate-grown Pinot Blanc is gently handled: hand-picked, de-stemmed, gently pressed, fermented wild & lightly filtered prior to bottling. The results are delicious. Expect a tightly wound & subdued nose of green apple, citrus, beeswax & mineral, while the palate is pure & racy – almost Chablis-like in its feel – before landing clean & dry. Drink it alongside spaghetti with broad beans, peas, mint, basil & lemon.
5. KUMEU RIVER ‘Village’ Chardonnay 2016
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Kumeu River has long been regarded as one of the finest Chardonnay producers outside of Burgundy. The entry-level ‘Village’
Chardonnay is a jaw-dropping introduction to the estate, with fruit drawn from multiple vineyards around Kumeu. Focused & intense citrus fruit provide the foundation upon which you’ll find layers of spice & cashew, while the palate is finely textured, savoury & long. Drink it with chargrilled squid & salsa verde.
6. AMEN BREAK Pinot Noir 2015
Amen Break Pinot Noir is the music & wine obsessed Harrop brothers’ liquid homage to one of the most sampled drum beats of all time, the ‘Amen Break’. Drawn from the foot of the Pisa Range, fruit is hand harvested & fermented naturally, with 50% whole bunches adding significant aromatic lift. Expect layers of red & black cherry-like fruit, game, sap & sweet spice, while the palate is silky, plush & drinking beautifully now. Drink it with cumin-spiced lamb ribs.
7. CHARTERIS Pinot Noir 2014
Founded by PJ Charteris & partner Chrissi Pattison in 2008, Charteris Wines has steadily grown to rank among the top producers in Central Otago. Following in the footsteps of the brilliant 2013, the 2014 Pinot is every bit as good. Record high temperatures & almost no rain have produced a wine layered with sour cherry & blackberry-like fruit, beautifully knit oak & a line of nervy acidity. Drink it with chicken & mushroom pie.
8. DOMINIQUE PIRON Beaujolais-Villages 2014
Fourteenth generation Beaujolais grower Dominique Piron produces a range of wines that balance trademark Beaujolais brightness & intensity with a level of depth & structure rarely seen in the region’s entry-level wines. Drawn from 50yo Gamay vines, & screw-capped exclusively for Australia, expect layers of black cherry, wild raspberry & cool earth, while the palate is mid-weight, mineral-textured & balanced by a wash of dry chalky tannins to end. Drink it with cassoulet.
9. IZWAY Aglianico 2016
BAROSSA VALLEY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Destined to be one of the most seductive wines you’ll put your nose into this year, here Aglianico swaps the warmth of Italy’s south for the warmth of Australia’s Barossa Valley. Expect smells of black cherry, musk, orange rind & cardamom, while the palate is dense & tightly structured with a wave of firm grippy tannins to finish. Drink it with osso bucco.
10. HERSEY ‘Tunnel Vision’ Syrah 2015
ADELAIDE HILLS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Jono Hersey’s ‘Tunnel Vision’ Syrah is seriously good. Drawn from a tiny plot in the Adelaide Hills, the good news is that it’s all hand-picked, wild fermented (including 30% whole bunches), matured in old French oak for 18 months & bottled minus fining or filtration, but the bad news is that Jono made all of two barrels. Expect a barrage of forest fruits, citrus peel, juniper, spice & dried leaf, while the palate is mid-weight, mineral textured, long & savoury. Drink it with coq au vin.
11. S.C. PANNELL ‘Field St’ Shiraz 2015
MCLAREN VALE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Ever the innovator, there’s an almost retro sensibility to S.C. Pannell’s latest ‘Field St’ Shiraz, & it’s utterly delicious. Drawn from McLaren Vale vineyards first planted in 1970, expect a cool, dark & super-tightly wound nose of blue & black fruit & pretty spice, while in your mouth it’s full, intense & –as with all of Steve Pannell’s red wines – balanced by the judicious use of oak & a wash of fine, grippy tannins to finish. Drink it with flat iron steak, béarnaise & fries.
12. BURNS & FULLER Shiraz 2015
LANGHORNE CREEK, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Assembled by McLaren Vale grower Jim Zarella, & drawn from low-yielding, dry-grown vineyards in South Australia’s Langhorne Creek (85%) & McLaren Vale (15%), expect to find plenty of dark & juicy fruit here alongside smells of well-worn leather & nicely handled French oak (30% of which is new). Hide it in the cellar for the next decade, or drink it now with chargrilled lamb chops & salsa verde.