Bit o' Heaven Think Outside the Circle Chardonnay 2016, $20
This wine comes from Brian Mullany's Bit o' Heaven vineyard in the Hilltops district, near Young, NSW. Mullany tends the vineyard, but sends the grapes to Cumulus Wines, Orange, for winemaking. The blend comprises 90 per cent chardonnay and 5 per cent each of viognier and muscadelle. The viognier component, though small, plays a big role in the wine's texture and flavour. What would otherwise be a good, full-bodied, fresh young chardonnay, gains exotic apricot-like viognier varietal flavour and a slippery, smooth texture.
Pizzini King Valley Nonna Gisella Sangiovese 2015, $21.50
Fred Pizzini released his first sangiovese in 1996. Twenty years later, the family produces a range of wines from the variety along with many other Italian-inspired wines. Winemaking includes cold maceration ahead of a hot fermentation - a combination that captures rich, bright fruit flavours and introduces more savoury characters to the wine. The wine has a light to medium colour and a mouth-watering, medium-bodied palate suggestive of plums, with a light dusting of herbs and fine tannins drying out the finish.
Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014, $28.50-$30
Variations in growing season temperatures largely account for the diversity of Australian shiraz styles. The big influences on temperature (including intra-day variations) are latitude, altitude and proximity (or not) to large bodies of water, especially the sea. Broadly, cooler areas produce more fragrant, spicy, lighter bodied wines than warmer ones. On that spectrum, McLaren Vale occupies its own special place, reflecting its warm climate, tempered by the cooling influence of St Vincent's Gulf on its western boundary. The 2014 provides ripe, full drinking, with cherry-like fruit flavour and the Vale's distinctive savoury tannins.