Three Australian wines that give you more bang for your buck
Parker Favourite Son Coonawarra, Australia 2014 (£7.49, Waitrose) Part of the reason the British first fell in love with Australian wine was its price. It wasn’t always the cheapest on the shelf, but you frequently got more fruit and easy, soft charm for your money than in, say, France or Italy. That hasn’t really been the case more recently. Generally speaking, Australian wine has got much better – more diverse, interesting, balanced – but largely, if not exclusively thanks to the strong Aussie dollar, many retailers I speak to say they find it harder to score genuine bargains. Harder, but not impossible. There is a great deal of ripe blackcurrant-juicy pleasure to be found, for example, in this succulent red from the classic South Australian cabernet sauvignon district of Coonawarra.
Berton Vineyards The Black Shiraz, Australia 2016 (£7.99, The Co-op) A lot of modern Australian winemakers bristle at a persistent cliché about their industry: that all they really do is make simple, oaky chardonnay and brawny fruit-bomb shiraz. Of course, it’s possible to find cool, sappy beaujolais-like gamay, elegant pinot noir and all manner of exotic Spanish-, Italian-, Greek- and Portuguese-inspired styles in the country now. But it has to be said the country’s pre-eminent position in the UK’s wine shops (where it sells more than twice the amount of wine of its nearest rivals, Italy) is largely down to those traditional strengths. Still, when they are as well put-together as Berton’s rich, rippling, broad-shouldered but, crucially, fresh-finishing shiraz, I see no reason to complain.