10 wines under $15 even the critics drink
Do you get bamboozled with terms that you don’t understand, every time you pick up a wine review? With all of the wine wankery and focus on higher end wines, we often forget that just one in five people are wine connoisseurs, who understand some of the crap that wine critics (like this self appointed example) write – flinty, barnyard, acidic backbone, struck match, and chewy are all terms that make no sense. The rest of the wine drinkers just want a wine that's drinkable, affordable and is not going to offend a dinner party host.
We decided to look at ten wines, under fifteen dollars, we would happily drink. Perhaps this is removing some snobbery or maybe the market needs to know what to buy and which labels are trustworthy. Heaven forfend some will judge this but either way, we went out to source and taste ten bottles with a budget of $150.
Here is what we found:
Yarra Burn Premium Cuvee Brut – Made by Ed Carr, one of our finest practitioners of Aussie fizz. It has a lovely citrus and nectarine aroma and a nice bready palate, which is what you want in a sparkling. Pick it up for around $13.00 a bottle.
Houghton Classic White – formerly known as Houghton’s white burgundy (the Burgundians have prevented us from using this regional name), this is one of the most reliable wines on the planet. It’s a blend of white varietals from the aromatic side of the vineyard. A punchy fruit driven nose and plate with some tropical fruit salad flavours to be expected – passionfruit, melon and citrus. Its great value at $8.50.
The award winning Jacob’s Creek Classic Riesling has stunned others in its class winning a slew of awards against much more expensive wines. It has all of the elements of a good Aussie Riesling – a flowery smell mixed with lemon and lime and a palate that absolutely reflects the nose with good acid and nice astringency. It is a best in class wine at just $8 a bottle.
Aldi Freya and Jules Watervale Riesling - yes Aldi... I was alerted to their wines from a mate who lives in the middle fo wine country who encouraged me to try their Beaujolais. I found this as well - at $8.99 its bright, with a sweet floral nose, and a zippy citrusy palate, well balanced enough to drink two bottles and at this price, why not?
Seppelt The Great Entertainer Chardonnay from central Victoria has white peach and cashews on the nose, has a creamy texture with stone fruit, pear and citrus, with a hint of oak on the palate. An easy to drink Chardonnay with nothing overly complex, and at $13.50 a bottle.
Cumulus Rolling Single Vineyard Pinot Grigio from the Central Ranges of NSW is a light, fresh wine with lots of peach and citrus notes on the nose, while the palate is crisp, dry and has a lingering finish. It is a light bodied wine for a spring day with some citrus like acidity to keep it all nice and crisp and fresh. Find it around $14.50
Tasmanian Hill Pinot Noir, made from grapes from the the Tamar Valley and East Coast regions is a medium bodied pinot with loads of fruit character, and medium bodied This has some nice tannins about it with a mid palate of sweet cherry and plum. Nicely structured and with a long finish, it is great value at $14.50
Evans & Tate have been producing fine wine in the Margaret River region for several decades. The Gnangara Shiraz, at $13.99 is a good example of what shiraz can be – some mulberries and raspberries on the nose and in the glass, with a little black pepper spiciness on the finish and a nice mid range tannin structure. Shiraz delivers spicy peppery notes everywhere and this is no exception, and at the price, is great value. Have it with some steak on the barbecue.
Tolley 2020 Cellar Reserve Cabernet is from a century old wine label, so you know they're safe drinking. It has loads of juicy dark berries on the palate - think blackberry and mulberry with some soft tannins in a medium bodied dry red. It has a touch of alcohol heat but some time with the cap off or in the glass gets rid of that. Soft, well rounded finish and something to have with a winter warmer, comfort food. Pick it up at BWS for a lazy tenner ($10).
One for the Spanish lovers to finish – Tempus Two Tempranillo is produced in Victoria from a number of different vineyards and is the perfect drop to have with tapas. A well balanced and bright wine showing rich raspberry, plum and black cherry with a long, savoury finish. It has some plum and cherry characters and some spice like vanilla and nutmeg on the nose. And it is $11-$12
Of our $150, we had $33.50 change which meant we could have a bottle of something different. We grabbed a bottle of d'Arenberg The Peppermint Paddock Sparkling Red, a Chambourcin Shiraz Graciano blend from McLaren Vale, and we had change to get out of the car park.
To make life simple, all the wines in this piece are available at major chain liquor outlets including BWS, Dan Murphy’s, Aldi, Liquorland and First Choice.