Good-value wines offer benchmark

Mark Henderson
Mark Henderson

The erratic spring weather means that this week's stroll along the supermarket shelves covers a mixed assortment of reds.

I am fortunate to sample a wide range of wine in my professional and private life, some of which can be super serious and with a price tag to match.

It is, however, fascinating to regularly taste value-for-money bottlings, which certainly provide a form of benchmarking.

There is a lot of flavour packed into each and every one of today's wines.

I'm often amazed how they can do it for the price, which is regularly less on promo.



2015 Brancott Hawkes Bay Merlot
Rating: Very good to excellent

Attractive nose with dustiness, plum and cedar; an earthy hint with time. Youthful and bright palate with plum and fruitcake, fine tannins and bright acidity leading to a lovely coolness on the close with a hint of leaf. Surprising structure and backbone at its price and marvellous drinkability.

Great value.



2015 Robert Oatley McLaren Vale GSM
Rating: Very good to excellent

Perfumed nose with raspberry, red fruits, spice and light oak scents. Sweetly fruited palate, supple and rounded that continues the raspberry and red fruit theme before finishing with a crunchy, almost fruit pith element and a freshening lick of acidity.

Clean as a whistle, mellow, rounded and eminently quaffable.



2014 Kumala Pinotage Shiraz
Price: $12
Rating: Very good

Gently aromatic nose with raspberry jam, spice and attractive smoky and earthy touches, fleshing out with time. Supple and cuddly entry, a tingly sweet and sour note to the mixed berry fruits, developing tilled earth and rather tasty savoury notes: a little warm glow on the close.

A savoury rather than fruit-bomb style and very good value.



2014 Banrock Station Shiraz Cabernet
Price: $11
Rating: Good to very good

Lifted and sweetly fruited nose with charry touches. Sweet juicy, red fruits, spice and black pepper with hints of vanilla: that fruit core running through the wine and finishing with sweetly spicy notes. Medium weight; absolutely no rough edges, making very easy drinking, built to enjoy now.

Very good value.



2015 Three Corner Jack by Mr Riggs Shiraz Cab Merlot
Price: $23
Rating: Very good to excellent

Powerful nose, warm and inviting, adding notes of menthol and tilled earth with aeration. The palate leads with spicy, sweet richness, moving into blackcurrant jam and leaf: drier than the nose would suggest. Mouthfilling with good richness leading to a long finish with some tasty chewiness.

Would be great with a steak.



2015 Taylors Cabernet Sauvignon
Rating:  Excellent

Blackcurrant and fruit syrup; initially fairly sweet then evolves nicely into pencil shavings, leaf and cigar box. Rich on entry and classically cabernet with that intense blackcurrant and crushed leaf. Juiciness and good drive through the palate: structure and grip underpinning it, menthol evolving on the close.

Nicely done.

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