A guide to the top tipples of the year.

The best wine of 2015


Unico Zelo “Chopsticks”, 2015 Riverland and Adelaide Hills ($23)

Laura and Brendan Carter are two of the most exciting young winemakers in Australia at the moment, and this wine is a case in point. Old vine muscat gives lift and fragrance, with a nutty, waxy counterpoint from oxidatively handled pinot grigio, fiano and sauvignon blanc. Style with substance. – Leanne Altmann, wine buyer, Supernormal and Meatsmith  

Collector “Rose Red City”, 2012 sangiovese, Canberra District ($23)

I’m a little in love with newer examples of Canberra sangiovese, particularly those from Collector’s Alex McKay. Rose Red City has Italianate structure – supple tannins and bright acidity – surrounding a juicy core of morello cherry fruit that’s purely Australian. – Leanne Altmann, wine buyer, Supernormal and Meatsmith  

Holyman, 2014 chardonnay, Tamar Valley ($50)

This is chardonnay with impact. An anything-but-lean wine that has incredible balance, intensity and drive. Silky texture and slinky acidity. It is layered, complex, worthy of lingering over – and disappears all too easily from the glass. – Leanne Altmann, wine buyer, Supernormal and Meatsmith 

David Franz “Eden Edge”, 2014 riesling/semillon blend, Eden Valley ($18)

Starts out all typical Eden riesling, with thirst-quenching freshness, delicious stone fruit, citrus, and a hint of blossom. Then the semillon throws the needle across the record with some skin-derived texture and fuzzy grip. – Liam O’Brien, sommelier, Cutler & Co

Cherubino “Laissez Faire”, 2015 field blend, Pemberton ($25)

A field blend denotes a single vineyard wine of multiple varieties, with the whole exceeding the parts – mostly pinot grigio (crunchy pear notes), with gewürz (florals and unctuousness), riesling (perfume and zip) and sauvignon gris (zesty herbal edge). Together they contribute their own identity without overriding the main show. – Liam O’Brien, sommelier, Cutler & Co

Nicolas Carmarans “Mauvais Temps” Vin de Pays de l’Aveyron, 2014 France ($58)

From a not-well-known region and made from not-well-known varieties – mostly negret de banhars and fer servadou – this thoroughly engaging wine is easy to bond with. A touch of juicy carbonic influence, with light, bright red fruits, it then goes on to be medium weight, dark, elusive and seductive. – Liam O’Brien, sommelier, Cutler & Co

Rieslingfreak “No. 3”, 2015 riesling, Clare Valley ($23) 

Nothing sums up the warmer summer months better than snappy, crisp riesling. As the name suggests, John Hughes’s Rieslingfreak label is all about producing rieslings with character and purity. Energetic and exciting. – Mark Williamson, wine buyer, Cumulus Inc and Cumulus Up

Ochota Barrels “Surfer Rosa”, 2015 rosé, McLaren Vale ($27) 

Sunshine and rosé definitely go hand in hand, and this sumptuous grenache rosé is such a winner. Organically farmed and made by the very talented Taras Ochota, this wine is packed full of red fruit with fine crunchy acid that makes it very drinkable during summer days. – Mark Williamson, wine buyer, Cumulus Inc and Cumulus Up

Mayer, 2014 pinot noir, Yarra Valley ($58) 

One of the real champions of the Yarra Valley, Timo Mayer, delivers with this great pinot noir from a slightly challenging vintage. Bright fruits and stalky undertones lift out of the glass and deliver a wine to savour over a long lunch.

– Mark Williamson, wine buyer, Cumulus Inc and Cumulus Up

NV Umberto Luigi Domenico Cosmo prosecco, Veneto, Italy ($21)

This wine is named after and made by three brothers from the Veneto region in Italy. It is testament to the flavoursome yet bright style that is true of prosecco. Break with tradition and use this for everyday drinking, not just celebration. Deglaze some scallops with a splash and finish the bottle in the sun. – Andrew Joy, manager, Marion

Thick as Thieves “Driftwood”, 2015 pinot noir/gamay, Yarra Valley ($31)

Syd Bradford makes smart wines, true to place and also his own stylistic approach. If you see his wines, grab them. This wine pays homage to Burgundian passe-tout-grains, and highlights just how good lighter red wines work with our style of eating. – Andrew Joy, manager, Marion

Jean Bourdy Côtes du Jura Blanc, 2009 Jura, France ($48)

The Jura lies in the Franche-Comté region near the border of Switzerland. It is cold and steep, making the wines extremely complex and rewarding. This chardonnay-based wine has a nutty depth that is astounding, and if I were stuck on a desert island surrounded by crayfish with only a yakitori grill, this is the wine I would want. – Andrew Joy, manager, Marion

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Dec 19, 2015 as "The best wine of 2015". Subscribe here.