Food

A guide to the season's top wines, from the buyers at Cutler & Co, Supernormal, Cumulus Inc, the Builders Arms Hotel and Meatsmith. By Various.

The best wines of winter

Credit: Earl Carter

Passopisciaro ‘Passorosso’, 2014 nerello mascalese, Sicily ($65)

Fragrant, ethereal nerello mascalese at its finest. It’s not just the purity of fruit that impresses, but also the supreme balance of juicy morello cherry fruit, sandy tannins and a savoury undercurrent of briar and stones.

– Leanne Altmann, wine buyer, Supernormal and Meatsmith

 

Nocturne, 2015 cabernet sauvignon, Margaret River ($45)

A persuasive argument for drinking more cabernet. Julian Langworthy’s cabernet sauvignon pedigree shines here, a sleek and elegant expression of pure cassis and bay laurel, deft oak spice and wonderful persistence.

– Leanne Altmann, wine buyer, Supernormal and Meatsmith

 

Casa Rojo Musso, 2015 syrah, Jumilla, Spain ($19)

This organic shiraz is hand-picked and low in sulphur. It’s also crazy good for this much money. It has a fruit-driven style, although a line of tannin runs through it to straighten it up.

– Liam O’Brien, head sommelier, Cutler & Co

 

Champ des Murailles Nature, 2015 Corbières carignan blend, south-west France ($31)

This carignan-based wine was presented to its Australian importer as a parcel that would go into a larger volume wine, and he liked it so much he asked to buy the lot. Just the sort of drink you need for slow-cooked meals in winter – complex, spicy, deep and warming.

– Liam O’Brien, head sommelier, Cutler & Co

 

Sevenhill ‘Four Buckets’, 2014 Touriga Nacional blend, Clare Valley ($18)

A classic Aussie red, with a bright, high-toned Iberian edge to it. I particularly love Clare Valley reds at this time of year – they have typically South Australian rich and sumptuous fruit weight with just enough freshness to keep you going back for more.

– Liam O’Brien, head sommelier, Cutler & Co

  

Konpira Maru ‘Gymkata’, 2016 shiraz, Kilmore ($20)

New-wave styling gives Gymkata liveliness aplenty, but there’s peppery spice and a joyous jumble of midweight blueberry, mulberry, raspberry fruit too. Smashable? Absolutely.

– Leanne Altmann, wine buyer, Supernormal and Meatsmith

 

Thousand Candles ‘Gathering Field’, 2016 pinot noir, Yarra Valley ($34)

Thousand Candles has had an interesting time in the Australian wine scene, with viticulturist now winemaker Stu Proud taking over and making some real beauties. This pinot is not just your typical Yarra Valley pinot fruit and light tannin, it’s also quite structured and super savoury and loves to be matched with slow-cooked meats.

– Mark Williamson, wine buyer for Cumulus Inc,
Cumulus Up and the Builders Arms Hotel

 

Somos by Juguette, 2016 rosé, McLaren Vale ($32)

Is this the perfect winter rosé? Not the pale rosé of warm summer days, but a vibrant, glowing jewel of a wine. Crunchy cranberry and Campari, chalky texture and loads of versatility with spice.

– Leanne Altmann, wine buyer, Supernormal and Meatsmith

 

Some Young Punks ‘Monsters attack’, 2015 riesling, Clare Valley ($24)

Even though it’s cold there, the Clare Valley is still a place for texture-rich, zingy riesling. Perfect as a midweek drink, it pairs well with hearty soups to soothe the soul and keep you refreshed.

– Mark Williamson, wine buyer for Cumulus Inc,
Cumulus Up and the Builders Arms Hotel

 

Badenhorst ‘Secateurs’, 2016 chenin blanc blend, Swartland, South Africa ($26)

Some really great South African wines are starting to wash up on our doorstep and they offer great drinking and value. South Africa is well known for making chenin blanc, or Steen, as it is known over there. It features deep yellow stone fruit with crunchy minerality that makes me want to eat roast chicken.

– Mark Williamson, wine buyer for Cumulus Inc,
Cumulus Up and the Builders Arms Hotel

 

The Other Right ‘Fawn’, 2016 chardonnay, Adelaide Hills ($37)

Really excited about this wine from the minimal-intervention crew The Other Right, based in the Adelaide Hills. It’s up there with one of the best chardies I have seen this year, generous with fruit but still very savoury. A truly delicious and inspirational wine with no excuses made for being natural. Crank the fire and delve in.

– Mark Williamson, wine buyer for Cumulus Inc,
Cumulus Up and the Builders Arms Hotel

 

Strenua, 2016 chardonnay, Yarra Valley ($28)

Mates Rhen Dodd and Dale Wheeler took over an unloved vineyard in 2013 and have slowly nursed it back to health, focusing on sustainable viticultural practices. This chardonnay is a natural beauty, one with effortless style. It boasts gentle yellow fruits, cashew and ripe, tangy acidity.

 – Liam O’Brien, head sommelier, Cutler & Co

 

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jul 8, 2017 as "The best of winter". Subscribe here.

Various