TASTING NOTES: Emergency reds under $20

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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

Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer, authors of Taste Food and Wine

You have exactly 29 seconds to nail the perfect bottle of red. What do you do? Taste Food & Wine 2008 authors Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzier have the answer in these 10 emergency reds under $20.

Hardy's Voyage Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot 2006
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.

Banrock Station Shiraz Cabernet 2006
Good on yer Banrock - this is easily the best of your cheap reds and suprise, suprise 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.

Jacob's Creek Grenache Shiraz 2006
Grenache blends are multi-talented 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).

Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz 2006
The latest rendition of Bin 50 has got a lot more 'oomph' than you would expect for a blend of this volume at this price. A massive wave of glossy blueberry fruit rides a smooth lick of vanillin oak right up the middle of your tongue. This Shiraz carries its flavour on like nothing else for $10.

Pillar Box Red Shiraz Cabernet Merlot 2006
Downright delicious honesty in a glass, Pillar Box is a great advert for clever, inexpensive Aussie reds, but only for the brave 'cos there's no clue on the label what you can expect inside the bottle! Once you get into it you'll find lots of interesting, spicy berry flavours and a lingering, grippy aftertaste. The team behind this wine are to congratulated (all except the overpaid designer, one assumes!).

Petaringa P Label Shiraz Cabernet 2005
Yummy black liquorice flavours are the spikes on this echidna while the berry fruit, spice and find tannins are the body. This is a cheeky, cherry, red wine with a low price point and a generous air. Feel free to run this one over.

Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards Grenache 2006
The Kay brothers are responsible for one of the most sought-after cult wines made in this country (read on) and it is nothing short of a joke that you can line up for a share of this trickery for just $15 a bottle. This is senior, senior Grenache. If you calculated what it was really worth compared with everything else, you could drive your car to McLaren Vale from anywhere in Australia, fill your boot and still end up ahead. Or you could just get on their mailing list and order a pallet.

Zilzie Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Wow, this is a glossy, chic, highly polished Cabernet with immensely attractive, perfumed fruit and nice, crisp acidity on the finish. Drink a bottle of this at lunch and you'll ve Zzzing deeply while dreaming of unnaturally athletic carnal exploits for the rest of the day.

O'Leary Walker Blue Cutting Road Clare Valley Cabernet Merlot 2004
Lean in a little closer and listen carefully. This is a brand new wine from a switched-on team with a truck load of street cred at the premium end of Clare Valley winemaking. No one has heard of this label yet so nobody has any idea that it only costs $16. If you are so cruel, it will fox even the most astute wine bore when served blind.  Take a look at the label, taste the wine again and you still won't believe it. You'll be running back to the shop to buy the entire stock.

Rex Watson Three Sons Shiraz 2005
Coonawarra gets more of a rap for its Cabernet than its Shiraz, but your wine diet would be incomplete without a wine like this. The reason is that this wine is a totally different shape and size to every other Shiraz in our list under $20 simply because it's from Coonawarra. It's friendlier, more relaxed and desperately easy to get along with but if you sit it down for a while you'll discover that it's up for quite a serious conversation too. Well done to Rex and his Three Sons.



Reproduced with permission. © Copyright Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer 2007

Taste Food & Wine 2008 is available from book retailers, department stores and wine outlets. Taste 2009 is available from October 3, 2008. 


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