Life Eat & Drink A toast to James Halliday’s top drops under $20
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A toast to James Halliday’s top drops under $20

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Australia′s most respected wine critic and vigneron, James Halliday, has released his latest Wine Companion guide this week, with a range of great wines for all budgets. Here are the top 10 wines for the cold weather for under $20.

• AWARDS: Halliday’s wines of the year
• Ripper reds that won’t break the budget
• Why we’re mad about Italian sparkling

Who says good taste has to be expensive? There’s no excuse not to start expanding your wine repertoire this season.

 

West Cape Howe Cabernet MerlotWest Cape Howe Cabernet Merlot 2012

Rating: 94
Drink by: 2022
Price $17

While badged Western Australia for simplicity, the wine in fact comes entirely from Great Southern; it’s a wine with good colour, aroma and flavour, and – above all else – plenty of attitude, the red blackcurrant fruit drives energetically through to the finish, there sustained by fine-grained tannins. Bargain.

 

 

Richard Hamilton Hut Block McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 20122 Richard Hamilton Hut Block McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Rating: 94
Drink by: 2025
Price: $19.95

Bright crimson-purple; there is abundant blackcurrant, redcurrant and a little choc-mint fruit on the fragrant bouquet and medium-bodied palate alike; fine-grained tannins and integrated oak (courtesy of some barrel ferment in new French barrels) enliven and lengthen the finish of a very good wine.

 

Hoddles-Creek-Chardonnay-2012

Hoddles Creek Estate Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2012

Rating: 94
Drink by: 2019
Price: $18.99

Bright straw-green; has the immaculate balance and length that are the markers of Hoddles Creek Estate’s chardonnays, white peach, melon, apple and citrussy acidity all contributing; the French oak is not lacking, but it is even less assertive.

 

 

Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Clare Valley Shiraz 2012 Kilikanoon Killerman’s Run Clare Valley Shiraz 2012

Rating: 94
Drink by: 2027
Price: $18.00

Bright crimson-purple; the palate is crammed to the gills with the luscious black and red fruits promised by the bouquet, expertly executed oak and tannin management the icing on the cake. Its value for money is a reflection of the quality of the two Kilikanoon tiers of super-premium wines above it.

 

Chapel Hill Parson's Nose McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Chapel Hill Parson’s Nose McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Rating: 94
Drink by: 2027
Price: $18

Strong crimson-purple; a great example of the vintage, with a deep wellspring of rich red and blackcurrant fruits, supple tannins and good length and balance. Great value.

 

 

hoursafterAfter Hours Oliver Margaret River Shiraz 2012

Rating: 95
Drink by: 2027
Price: $19

Bright, full, clear colour; the bouquet sends enough scents to turn a beagle into a frenzy: cinnamon, white and black pepper, plum cake, licorice, mocha, and the palate does not let up. 18 months in French and American barriques, and estate-grown.

 

Willow Bridge Estate Dragonfly Shiraz

 

Willow Bridge Estate Dragonfly Geographe Shiraz 2012

Rating: 94
Drink by: 2020
Price: $18

Bright crimson-purple; the bouquet is immediately appealing, both in its complexity and varietal expression; the medium-bodied palate takes it into another dimension, with a totally seductive array of juicy blood plum, blackberry and licorice flavours, then a garland of finely balanced and integrated French oak.

 

Kurtz Family Vineyards Seven Sleepers

 

Kurtz Family Vineyards Seven Sleepers Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon Petit Verdot Shiraz Malbec 2012

Rating: 94
Drink by: 2032
Price: $18

Full purple-crimson; from the family vineyards in both the Barossa and Eden Valleys, and a stunning achievement at $18. It is brimful with luscious, yet lively and perfectly balanced, red and black berry fruits, the tannins fine and ripe, the finish long.

 

warrenmang

 

Warrenmang Vineyard and Resort Bazzani Pyrenees Shiraz Cabernet 2010

Rating: 95
Drink by: 2022
Price: $15

An 85/15% blend with a vibrant purple-crimson colour; it has an attractive dark berry bouquet, red berries joining in on the medium-bodied palate; the tannins are positive, oak largely incidental, and the wine has the balance to justify long-term cellaring. Outstanding value.

 

Nannup Ridge Estate Chardonnay 2012

 

Nannup Ridge Estate Chardonnay 2012

Rating: 95
Drink by: 2018
Price: $19

Made entirely from an estate block of the distinguished Dijon clone 95, and the wine shows it. It has a particular flavour of white peach and pear, oak lurking in the background, but not competing with the fruit expression, which lingers long after the wine is swallowed.

 

Each tasting note in this article is courtesy of Wine Companion

 

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