Tasting Notes - the sub $10 red dozen

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Choose the right wine every time - Taste Food and Wine 2008 by Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer

Choose the right wine every time - Taste Food and Wine 2008 by Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer

You don't need to spend a fortune to get a great drop of red. The lads from Taste Food and Wine 2008 pull together a great dozen of 2005 and 2006 vintages which all retail under $10.

Hardy’s Voyage Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot 2006 $5
Well done again, Hardy’s. No one else can do it at this price. Voyage is dedicated to my (Tyson’s) parents-in-law, who were single-handedly responsible for decimating the QLD supply of the 2005 after they discovered it in our book last year. I know you’re listening, and now that your stash has disappeared, you’ll be delighted to learn that the new vintage is every bit as fresh, fruity and clean – and it’s even better. Rebuild your supplies with the 2006 and judge for yourselves! Oh, and save us a glass. We’ll be over for dinner on Tuesday night. 

Mike Press Wines Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2006 $6.70
Hang on a minute, this wine has jumped the queue! If our list of reds were in order of quality, it would land about forty pages further on, somewhere between Taltarni Pyrenees and Paradigm Hill Col’s. And this is exactly how you must regard this wine. As soon as your credit card has been charged you must wipe from your memory any recollection of what you paid for it and from that moment, treat it as if you paid five times as much, because this is the true value of MPWAHS. This is a premium, cool climate Shiraz in every way, contemplative and intellectual, with a spicy, peppery palate that will trip up anyone expecting a simple quaffer. Serving it alongside sausages, burgers, pizzas or spag bog would be totally disrespectful of the wine, of Mike and of your guests. Instead, leave it in your cellar for at least five years, give it a good swirl in a decanter and then serve it with your finest roast beef. We bought an entire pallet of the previous vintage to share with our friends, and it was all gone in two weeks. The 2006 is his best Shiraz yet and you’d better get on to Mike quick smart, before we place our next order! When you do, get a load of his Mike Press Wines Adelaide Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 ($6.70) as well. Its brilliant core of fruit intensity makes it the perfect thing to drink while you’re waiting for the Shiraz to finish its magical work in the cellar.

Angoves Butterfly Ridge Shiraz Cabernet 2006 $8
A fabulous introduction to our favourite red blend, Butterfly Ridge takes you by the hand and leads you effortlessly into the Shiraz Cabernet thing. You can climb the ladder as you work your way through this book, but for a starter this wine will go with everything from cold meats to heartier carnivorous dishes. Give it a once-over through a decanter to rid it of those hard edges and then sit back and take in its fresh berry and cherry flavours. The price is, frankly, laughable, and you’ll find it for $6 if you search – any cheaper and they’d be paying you!

Yalumba Oxford Landing South GSM Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre 2005 $8.50
Rumbustious fruit marks this out as a knock about, not too serious glugger from the impeccable Yalumba stable. But underneath the sprightly façade this is a brilliant GSM with masses of classy, strawberry and raspberry-kissed Grenache, supporting its darker play pals. Slow down and concentrate, this is the best red wine under $10 that you will drink this year.

Banrock Station Shiraz Cabernet 2006 $9
Good on yer Banrock – this is easily the best of your cheap reds and surprise, surprise it is made from our favourite recipe – again! There is lovely ripe, sweet fruit here with attractive, almost refreshing, herbal complexity. A great quaffer, the plummy, mulberry and squashed blackberry notes make this a sure-fire winner.

Yalumba Oxford Landing Shiraz
2006 $9
Last year you met Oxford Landing Sauvignon Blanc, but her little red brother missed the cut. After going away and sulking for a while, he cleaned himself up, got some attitude and presented himself for tryouts this year. He’s spicy, plummy and tastes like Shiraz – and this in itself puts him leagues ahead of every other little Shiraz in the 9 buck class (and he often sneaks in for $7).

Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Merlot 2005 $9.50
This wine would scare the living daylights out of Bordeaux producers, and they can’t use the “pumped up Aussie wines are not elegant” excuse this time, because this beauty is as elegant and defined as it gets. Blackcurrants lead the way (as they should) and the leafy spice and sharpish acidity mean that this is one ten dollar wine that will age wonderfully for two or three years!

Jacob’s Creek Grenache Shiraz 2006 $9.50
Grenache blends are multitalented performers that cheerily sidle up alongside virtually anything, especially when they’re as vibrant and extroverted as this. When you’re after a quaffer to enjoy around the BBQ over summer lunch, JC will please the cohorts and not trouble the credit card too much (especially when you pick it up for $8 – and you will).

Jacob’s Creek Merlot 2006 $9.50
JC Merlot is joyous party wine with a cheeky wink and a devilish air. Slip a few bottles in and watch ‘em work the room. This is fresh, lively wine in a lighter style, which makes it just as happy in the middle of the day as the middle of the night. It is also VERY Merlot-y, which immediately gives it a leg up into this hallowed rollcall of the finest wines on the shelves today.

Jacob’s Creek Shiraz 2005 $9.50
This is a spanking wine for under $10 (and frequently under $8!). It sat in a lengthy line up with Grange and Stonewell at my (Matthew’s) 100 Best Australian Wines launch in London and all three wines received high praise from the tasters. JC looked fabulous, glossy, varietally exact and downright delicious. It is a study in vino-tropism. This wine grows towards more and more people every day as we grow closer to it. Here endeth the lesson.

Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Cabernet 2005 $9.50
With five JC reds in a row (winemaker Sir Phil Laffer must be laffing right now), and every one a spankingly good wine, how do you pick a favourite? Easy – this one. Useful tasting note? Buy a bottle and write your own – it will include this expression – ‘…I don’t believe it!’

McWilliams Hanwood Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 $9.50
Hanwood Cab is one of the most reliable red wines on the shelves today and it is in superb distribution allowing everyone a chance to taste this company’s commitment to style, quality and Australia. It sneaks into our list a little earlier than last year, because everyone is discounting it (and frequently to $8). If you are an avid follower of this wine, as we are, you will be delighted to learn that the 2006 has an extra dose of gorgeous fruit above anything that this wine has ever seen before. McW does us all a flavour, by selflessly delivering stylish Aussie Cabernet to the world.


Reproduced with permission. © Copyright Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer 20087

VisitVineyards.com Members can purchase Taste Food and Wine 2009 from our online partner Seekbooks at a 12.5% discount, postage and handling extra.



  • Adelaide Hills (SA)
  • South Eastern Australia (SA)

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February 10th, 2009
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