Phil's top ten. August '18.

There’s no one definitive wine list for all preferences and purses, so we change ours every month. This time of year we’re looking for fruity deliciousness and bright, bold freshness. These wines are to be paired with seafood, salad, sunshine, barbecues and all of the above. Drink these right now.

Tahbilk

Marsanne Museum Release 2010.

This superb quality Marsanne comes from the oldest family producer in Victoria. This Rhone grape variety does really well with age, and the 2010 release gives notes of caramel and richer, fuller flavours, that almost feel oaked. It isn't - the grape variety naturally matures to form that flavour. Expect honeysuckle, pear-drops, citrus and marmalade.

Feudi di San Gregorio

Serrocielo Falanghina 2016.

Feudi di San Gregorio are true pioneers of winemaking in Campania, the area around Naples. Pushing single-vineyard wines made with modern techniques, This area produces some of Italy's finest whites. Think freshness and quality, very little oak, summertime drinking. Perfect with seafood and salads with crisp citrus and tropical fruit notes.

Mount Horrocks

Watervale Riesling 2017.

Organic Riesling produced by two-time Australian winemaker of the year. Razor-sharp acidity and herbal notes that defy all preconceptions of Riesling. Notes of lime on the nose but bone-dry on the palate. Delicious and fascinating.

Hiruzta Txakolina Hondarrabi Zuri

Hondarriba - Getariako Txakolina 2017.

Stunning rare variety from the Basque Country. Think warm climate, lemon, slight spritz on the tongue, finishing dry and crisp. Low alcohol, perfect for a summertime session.

Rosa Dei Frati

Ca dei Frati 2016.

Fruity. Strawberries on the nose, cream on the palate. This wine is Lees stirred, giving an amazing texture without being oaked. Lake Garda in a glass.

Pietradolce.

Etna Rosso 2016.

This wine comes from a small boutique producer with vineyards situated on the side of Mount Etna, Sicily. The charcoal-black volcanic soil absorbs heat throughout the day, then retains it so the grapes can continue ripening at night-time. The high altitude and cold night-temperatures make for an impeccably unique wine. Smoky, sulphuric and volcanic on the nose, yet the wine is soft, smooth and delicate like a Pinot Noir on the palate. Perfect with barbecued meat.

Tandem, Valle De Yerra, Navarra

Ars Nova 2013.

These young winemakers with state-of-the-art techniques are trying to produce something that's a bit more relevant to a modern audience. Situated near the Rioja heartlands, and produced from the all-too-familiar Tempranillo grape, blended with a little Cabernet and Merlot, then aged in stainless steel - not oak. This makes for a slightly more refreshing wine, with bright, eucalyptus notes, rather than the heavy, heady, Traditional Rioja that you may be used to. Drink with some Manchego and Serrano ham.

Montessu

Isola dei Nuraghi 2015.

This gorgeous wine from Sardinia is a joint venture between Tuscan heavyweight Sassicaia and Santadi, the most revered Sardinian producer. Indigenous Carignano blended with Merlot and a little Cabernet Sauvignon. Modern expression, with bright red fruit from the Carignano and finesse, structure and smooth tannins from the Merlot and Cabernet. Pairs seriously well with Gorgonzola.

San Marzano, Malvasia Nera

Talo 2016.

This producer pioneered the modern style of winemaking in Puglia, and the Talo 2016 is the definitive Pugliese wine, bursting with sweet fruit, soft smooth tannins and finishing with a little oak for texture and structure. Notes of molasses on the nose.
Number 1.

Ken Forrester Wines, Stellenbosch. The FMC, 2016.

F*cking Marvellous Chenin. That’s what FMC stands for, and that’s what it is. Before Ken Forrester made Chenin in South Africa, Chenin was bland wine, with a bland history. Ken started controlling the yield, meaning better quality, healthier grapes giving higher flavour. He’s not a ‘natural’ wine producer per se, but his philosophy with the FMC is simple – The better the grape, the less you have to mess with it. If you drink one wine this month, make it this one.

Tasting notes.
  • Wild yeast ferment
  • Expressive and clean
  • Stunning quality
  • High purity
  • Notes of marmalade
  • Dense-rich toasty oak
  • Tropical-fruit sweetness
  • Oaky and complex