Here are a few widely available, good quality red wines for under $20 a bottle (medium-full bodied reds):
WYNNS – CABERNET SHIRAZ MERLOT: With so many wineries in Australia, sometimes it is easy to overlook the old favourites. So if you have not had a bottle of Wynns in a while, it would be great to revisit the brand as a reliable and traditional wine, such as their Cab Shiraz Merlot – three classic grape varieties. Great body, flavour and length – Typical elegant Coonawarra character, Cabernet provides the flavour, spice, length and structure, with shiraz imparting a spicy complexity and richness, and the Merlot adds softness! It is a finely structured and supple wine, smelling of crushed leaves and a touch of mint, then showing ripe plum and spicy fruit flavours combined with soft, understated oak. It has a traditional structure and the gently drying tannins make it a great partner to roast lamb, beef or any red meat dishes, and even to a creamy earthy-style mushroom risotto. They can be consumed when relatively young, as well as ageing well up to 5-7 years – I usually buy these and cellar them for a few years, and it’s great value and worth it to see the extra flavours develop and whole mouthfeel soften.Coonawarra. RRP: $19.00http://www.wynns.com.au/
YALUMBA – Y SERIES SHIRAZ VIOGNIER:
Good shiraz viognier blends are very hard to find under $12. Medium body but on the light side, good plush fruit flavour, oak and tannins. Good pairing with game meats, even stretched to accompanying tapas. Try to find the older years, 2004 vintage was outstanding value for money.
Southeast Australia. RRP $11.95
HARDYS – OOMOO SHIRAZ:
Being under $15 a bot, this represents more value than the De Bortoli Shiraz.The wine has exceptionally rich and luscious red and black fruits, the tannins ripe, and well-balanced and integrated. Can be consumed soon, but I prefer cellaring as it really has a lot to develop over the next 2 years from the current release. If consuming soon at least let the wine “breathe” for 1/2 hr or longer.
Southeast Australia. RRP $12.95
GEOFF MERRIL – McLAREN VALE SHIRAZ GRENACHE MOURVEDRE:
Lovely texture, with the full flavoured body of the shiraz, with spicey notes from Grenache and underlying deepth of flavours from the Mourvedre (pron: moo-verh-druh). Plush and supple but focused palate; spicy/savoury components to the fore, and impressive length. Drinks very well for 5 more years from current vintage.
McLaren Vale. RRP $19.99
INNOCENT BYSTANDER – SANGIOVESE (+MERLOT):
Innocent Bystander is a successful contemporary producer of wine who is not afraid of doing things a little differently. Their Sangiovese Merlot blend is impressive and good value. The Sangiovese component gives the blend its bold character where as the Merlot adds flesh and depth to the mid palate. On the nose, earthy character and spice with hints of cinnamon. Vibrant ripe fruit flavours and tannin on the palette, sour cherries and blueberries, but with spicy and oaky complexity, and underlying tones of dark chocolate. The wine had a pleasant dry finish making it an excellent partner to food – Authentic Italian Osso bucco or braised wild boar, Spaghetti bolognaise or calabrese pizza.
McLaren Vale. RRP: $20.00
Happy drinking! Cheers