I’ll never tell you that I’m a wine connoisseur but I enjoy cracking a great bottle of vino. Here’s a list of some that I recommend – just in case you are at the bottle-o and not sure what to grab.
The “champagne” and ”sparkling wine” differentiation is due to where the grapes were grown. All champagne is produced within the Champagne district in France, whereas sparkling wine is made with similar grapes, however the location of the vineyards are anywhere but the Champagne district. There are different blends of grapes that subsequently lead to different types of sparkling, i.e. Blanc de Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and so on. Easily, “Blanc de Blanc” means white grapes are only used, whereas Pinot Noir wines are made with red wine grapes. Rosé sparkling is typically a blend of the grapes and to be honest, I like them all. Below is a list of my favourite sparkling wines and one of my favourite champagnes, which I was lucky enough to taste in its birthplace, Reims in France, earlier this year.
Bay of Fires Cuvee Pinot Chardonnay Brut NV (12.5%, 750ml) (Tasmania) (Approx. $35)
A lovely bubbly that is light and has hints of stonefruit flavours.
Cloudy Bay Pelorus Brut NV (13.5%, 750ml) (Marlborough, New Zealand) (Approx. $40)
This is hands-down my favourite sparkling wine. It’s quite crisp and it’s not as yeasty flavoured as the others. It’s also quite citrusy.
Taittinger Brut Reserve NV (12%, 750ml) (Reims, France) (Approx. $75)
There’s also a tinge of sweetness, which adds a lovely, subtle flavour and it’s less yeasty than other champagnes. I find that all Taittinger champagnes are above par and worthy of the price tag.
White wines contain little or no red pigmentation. White wines can range from being sweet or dry, however primarily they are seen as a ‘lighter’ wine. Mainly, white wines are made from white grapes, however other grapes can be used as the colour of the liquid inside a grape is normally white, regardless of the colour outside. A chardonnay is typically very subtle, whereas a Sauvignon Blanc is more commonly acidy. Living in WA, we are lucky enough to have the most prolific growing area of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, which makes me a happy lady, as it is definitely a clear favourite of mine if I was looking for a white wine. The SSB is zesty and a bit sweeter than the other two. There are numerous other types of white wines but we could be here for a while… Below are my current favourites. This list is still growing, so please feel free to give me a suggestion (especially of white).
Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc (12.5%, 750ml)(Marlborough, New Zealand) (Approx. $18)
Tropical and passionfruit flavours.
2011 Soumah Chardonnay (13%, 750ml)(Yarra Valley, Australia) (Approx. $35)
A light white with an oaky undertone.
2011 Twin Islands Sauvignon Blanc (13%, 750ml)(Marlborough, New Zealand) (Approx. $20)
Light, crisp passionfruit undertones. Seriously delicious!
2010 Brookland Valley ‘Verse 1’ Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (12.5%, 750ml)(W.A.) (Approx. $13)
Perfect on a hot, summer day.
2010 Moss Wood Semillon (14%, 750ml) (WA) (Approx. $35)
Dry, yet sweet. I sampled this at Rockpool and found it extraordinary.
2010 Leeuwin Estate Prelude Vineyards Chardonnay (14.5%, 750ml) (W.A) (Approx. $35)
Light and fruity white wine.
2011 Craggy Range Te Muna Road Sauvignon Blanc (13.5%, 750ml) (Malborough, New Zealand) (Approx. $30)
Citrus and passionfruit flavours. Easy to drink!
Red wine is all about the black grapes and how long the process of fermentation last. Red wine is typically quite more acidic than the others, however if I were to drink wine with dinner, I’d most probably pick a red. My favourite red wine is Cabernet Merlot, as I find it light and smoother than the rest. A shiraz is perfect if you are after a spicy, full-bodied red. A Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied as well and is hard to match with food, as it can be overpowering. Pinot Noir are velvety in taste and are quite nice even on their own.
2010 Dogajolo Toscano Rosso I.G.T. (Tuscany, Italy) (750ml) (Approx. $15)
Perfect for pasta dishes. Fruity and fragrant. Mix of Sangiovese, Cabernet and other grape varieties.
2011 Santa Julia Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina) (750ml) (Approx $8)
A bargain bottle of red for $8. Full-bodied red that is a bit spicy.
2005 Treehouse Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot (W.A.) (750ml) (Approx. $25)
Light to medium bodied. Sweet undertones.
2010 Carpe Diem Sangiovese (W.A.) (750ml) (Approx. $25)
Perfect accompaniment for light, small dishes.
2007 Woodlands ‘Nicholas’ Cabernet Sauvignon (13.5%, 750ml)(W.A.) (Approx. $110)
Very rich and oaky.
2009 Voyager Estate Girt by Sea Cabernet Merlot (14%, 750ml)(W.A) (Approx. $20)
Soft, subtle and really good value for the price.
2010 Pepperjack Shiraz (15%, 750ml)(VIC) (Approx. $22)
Spicy and rich, just how a Shiraz should be. Cult favourite as well.
2008 Cullen Margaret River Red (12% , 750ml) (W.A) (Approx. $25)
A fruity red which isn’t too heavy on the palate. Made with a variety of grapes.
2010 Carpe Diem Malbec (Platinum Selection) (14.3%, 750ml) (W.A) (Approx. $40)
A very rich red which is purple-ish in colour, with black fruit flavours. It is recommended to let it breathe for 30 minutes before drinking it or decanting beforehand.
2008 Babo Sangiovese (13.5%, 750ml) (Tuscany, Italy) (Approx. $25)
A very easy bottle of red to drink. Yes, it is Italian however it is imported and can be found for a reasonable price. Worth a try if you enjoy medium bodied, full flavour red wine.
2008 The Alchemists Cabernet Merlot (750ml) (W.A) (Approx. $20)
A light-bodied red wine that is also light in taste. An excellent selection for the affordable price.
Dessert wines don’t only add value to desserts; they also accompany fruit and cheeses nicely as well. Think of mixing a fuji apple with cheddar cheese – the sweet, freshness of the dessert wine with the full bodied, strong flavours of the cheese match perfectly. These are my personal favourites, as I am currently sampling quite a few. I’ve added sellers here as well, as many shops are now not stocking many dessert wines as they are going out of fashion. A tragedy in my opinion…
2005 Le Tertre du Lys d’or (14%, 375ml)(Sauternes, France) (Approx. $30)
Tastes: Flowers, pear, citrus, hint of toffee.
Accompaniment: I found this worked well with cheesecake or a fruit pudding.
2010 Larry Cherubino ‘The Yard’ Riversdale Botrytis Riesling (9%, 375ml) (Frankland River, WA) (Approx. $25)
Tastes: Pineapple, apple and honey flavours.
Accompaniment: Passionfruit Pavlova (as accompanied at Rockpool), or a heavy cheese such as blue cheese.
Coto de Hayas Moscatel. (14%, 500ml) Campo de Borja, Spain. (Approx. $30)
Tastes: Peach and floral flavours
Accompaniment: This wine is fullbodied, so a perfect accompaniment to something light, like fruit salad. Also very tasty on its own.
2007 Bortoli ‘Noble One’ Botrytis Semillon (10%, 375ml) (Riverina, NSW) (Approx. $30)
Tastes: Honey, apricot & citrus
Accompaniment: Eton mess or meringue.
Interestingly, Port is only made in the Douro Valley in Portugal. Fortified wine, however, is the equivalent and some of the best are made in Australia. Fortified wine is typically reddish-brown and is quite sweet, so great for an after dinner drink or a substitute for dessert. A have a bottle in the pantry, for the nights I want something sweet after dinner but don’t have any chocolate. My favourites are:
Lamont’s Tawny Port (W.A)
Talijancich Liqueur Verdelho (W.A)
Penfolds Grandfather Rare Tawny (VIC)
Updated on 26062013