Our Picks: Top Drawer Classics
For those seeking elegant, food-friendly fine wines for that special occasion, look no further! We've selected six new and old world classics, from Barossa to Bolgheri...
Established by cousins Michael Hill Smith MW and Martin Shaw, Shaw + Smith have been making wines in the cool climate Adelaide Hills since 1990. The Lenswood vineyard, where the majority of M3’s Chardonnay comes from, is planted on clay loam soils at elevations of 500m, and produces fruit with intensity and complexity. Whole bunch pressed, vinified and aged in French oak, this Chardonnay has attractive flinty aromas and flavours of citrus, stone fruits and roasted hazelnuts on the elegant palate that is framed by bright acidity.
Turn the bottle sideways and you will see the ‘Tres Naris’ or ‘three noses’ of the three generations of winemakers depicted on the label. Grapes for this bone-dry Riesling were harvested from the steeply-sloping blue slate vineyard in Lieser, in the heart of the Mosel. The striking citrus fruit profile and taut, mineral backbone pack an intensity that belies its 11.5% alcohol. This is a delicious, modern example of Germany’s most lauded grape variety.
Named after the medieval Galician poet and musician, Martín Códax continues to have strong links to the local art and music scene, reflected here by both the label and name ‘Organistrum’ – a Medieval string instrument. Harmonious and complex, this wine has been fermented and aged in 300 to 500 litre oak barrels and allowed to go through malolactic fermentation, which is rare for Albariño. This has imparted a fuller body and delicate vanilla and smoky aromas to the more typical lemon, grapefruit and peach notes.
Despite being established over 100 years ago, this family-run estate is considered a pioneer of the ‘New Vienna’ wine movement that marries modern techniques with the traditions of the region. The sandy limestone soils of the Bisamberg vineyards (producing most of the fruit for this Pinot Noir) imbue the wine with an appealing freshness and vibrancy. The influence of oak is subtle, imparting a delicate spicy undertone and softer tannins that complement the ripe cherry, plum and orange notes. Burgundian in style, this is an elegant, complex wine.
‘Il Seggio’ is the name of a creek that runs through Bolgheri. The wine that bears its name is a Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot blend aged in 225 litre barriques for 15 months. Intensely coloured, with fresh, crunchy red berry fruit, blackberries and layers of tobacco and spice imparted by the 15 months in oak barrels. The 2016 vintage promises elegant, structured wines with great ageing potential.
Legendary Australian winemaker, John Duval is a believer in low-intervention techniques in the winery. Here, the use of mainly neutral oak hogsheads (300 litre) during ageing has ensured a true expression of the aromatic qualities of the fruit. This Rhône-style blend has lovely dark berries and brambles and a dusting of liquorice spice on the nose. Redolent of ripe red and black fruit, it has fine grained tannins and a long spicy finish.