5 Wines For Autumn
Five seasonal standouts – including some fine French autumnal champagne.
Vasse Felix ‘Heytesbury’ Chardonnay 2021, Margaret River
The fact much of the wine world proclaims Australia as the source of the most exciting chardonnay being made today is due in no small part to the brilliant Virginia Willcock at Vasse Felix. This wine is the ultimate expression of her innate understanding of the variety and how it responds in Margaret River. It’s an incredibly compelling wine, an essay in controlled complexity. It’s flinty and gently funky on the nose, yielding to beautifully pitched palate of white peaches hovering on the precipice of ripeness, tingling citrus and crushed quartz.
It is, without question, as good as Australian chardonnay gets. $110; vassefelix.com.au;
Louis Roederer Rosé 2015, France
Roederer is a Champagne House that sets standards many others would be wise to aim at, but few could hope to achieve. Their golden run of vintage releases continues with this expressive and energetic rosé. It’s a wine shaped by the ideal conditions of the 2015 vintage, given power and drive by the warmth of a golden summer and freshened by cooling light rains just before harvest. It’s a wine of fleshy generosity but not an ounce of flab, a wine of aromatic abundance and layered flavours. It’s explosive up front and incredibly long, fine and tapered through a gently saline and minerally finish. $150; louis-roederer.com
Domaine A Merlot 2018, Coal River Valley, Tasmania
Merlot would not suffer under the misguided misapprehensions that bedevil it if more people made wines like this. This is merlot at its svelte and detailed best, a wine where obsessive viticulture and intuitive winemaking combine to coax the real beauty and intrigue that resides in the best examples of the variety. It’s a silky, supple wine with deep set dark plum and mulberry characters at the fore, with underlying notes of cedar and fennel frond woven beneath.
It’s got a graceful, rolling momentum across the palate and is shaped by a lattice of filigreed tannin. Merlot as it should be. $85; domaine-a.com.au
Taittinger Brut Vintage 2015, France
A chiselled monument to a classic season, this finely sculpted and striking wine is Champagne drawn straight from the pages of textbooks. Free from the quirks that define more volatile seasons, the calm and classic conditions of 2015, a cool Winter, a mild Spring, a warm but never savage Summer freshened by modest rain at the onset of Autumn, have delivered a wine of great precision and balance. An equal blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, all drawn from Grand Cru and Premier Cru sites, delivers a wine rippling with jasmine florals, citrus zest, ripe stone fruit and nutty nougat. $150; taittinger.com
Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2021, Murrumbateman
Simply put, this is one of Australia’s most significant wines. It’s the wine that showed the rest of the world that commonly held notions about Australian shiraz didn’t tell the full story, that grace and elegance, finesse and detail could be found on these shores.
The Kirk family pioneered the cool country around Canberra and their deep understanding of the site and its capacity echoes profoundly through this wine. It’s fragrance sings the song of Sirens, draws your inexorably in to a place you want to stay. It’s brambly fruit, liberally scattered spice and satiny texture will make you glad you did. $110; clonakilla.com.au
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