The latest drinks news

By J'aime Cardillo

17 Aug, 2023

Here's your latest drinks news.

From a NOLO shiraz and an ansonica from Lowe to new releases from some of Australia's most iconic wineries – put these drinks on your radar.

Pepperjack's Mid-Strength Shiraz

Pepperjack's Mid-Strength Shiraz

In a first for the Barossa Valley winery, Pepperjack has released its Mid-Strength Shiraz. In a bid to be more dynamic and innovative, the team at Pepperjack has halved its usual alcohol content. A traditional Pepperjack shiraz usually has an ABV of about 14 per cent, whereas the NOLO option has an ABV of just seven per cent.

Winemaker Richard Mattner says the Mid-Strength balances the traditional winemaking Pepperjack is known for, with the science of de-alcoholisation and flavour retention technology.

"Still bursting with quintessential Pepperjack character, this mid-strength wine displays aromas of blackberries and plums with hints of pepper and spice. The palate is rich, round and soft with concentrated berry fruits and soft velvety tannins. All the best bits of Pepperjack but is 50 per cent lighter in alcohol compared to the original Pepperjack Shiraz."

2021 Pepperjack Mid-Strength Barossa Shiraz
Rich, dark red with a dark purple rim. The nose shows rich concentration of bright red and blue fruits, dark chocolate and rich mocha notes. Hints of spice and integrated oak. The palate is rich and plush with good structure. There are concentrated layers of blackberries and blue fruits and oak which are balanced with soft layers of tannins to give length and finesse while finishing soft and full of flavour.

RRP $25 |

Fuschia rosé

40 years of Fuchsia

Margaret River's Happs is celebrating 40 years of its spritzy, sweet rosé, Fuchsia. The sweet rosé first launched in 1983 and was developed by winemaker and owner, Erl Happ.

“On the palate, Fuchsia indulges the taste buds with a perfect balance of sweetness and refreshing acidity. The hallmark of this popular drop is its enchanting and perfumed aroma, akin to a fragrant bouquet of roses, sweet strawberries and delectable fruit salad. With each swirl of the glass, the air is filled with the scents of fairy floss and subtle hints of lychee, pear and fruit tingles. Its refreshing and easy-drinking nature keeps you coming back for more,” says Erl.

2021 Happs Fuchsia
Pale pink/salmon pink maturing to a light onion skin colour with age. The wine has a perfumed, floral aroma reminiscent of roses, strawberry, fairy floss and fruit salad with hints of rockmelon, pear and fruit tingles. A quite delicious balance between berry flavours, soft acidity, sweetness and the inevitable slight astringency that is to be expected from red grape varieties. The entirely natural effervescence cleanses the palate and lifts the aromas.

Find out how you could win a year's supply of Fuchsia.

RRP $20 |

Riddoch range

Riddoch Coonawarra’s new vintage release

Riddoch's 2023 vintage collection, which features the 2021 Pastoralist Cabernet Sauvignon is now available. The Pastoralist – awarded the Australian and International Cabernet Sauvignon Trophy at the 2023 International Wine Challenge – is joined by four other Riddoch wines including 2019 The Author Cabernet Sauvignon, 2019 The Author Shiraz, 2021 The Winegrower Shiraz, and 2021 The Representative Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot.

“We are excited to introduce the first annual release of our Riddoch Coonawarra Collection that marks the launch of our new tier, The Author range from the 2019 vintage, as well as our Vocation Series range from the 2021 vintage in Coonawarra,” says chief winemaker Tim Heath.

The Author Shiraz boasts a dark red colour, lifted red berry aromas, and a palate filled with red fruit flavours and gentle integrated oak. This wine's full yet elegant nature makes it a perfect match for slow-roasted lamb shoulder and chargrilled broccoli. RRP $64.99.

The Author Cabernet Sauvignon with its dark red colour, lifted dark berry aromatics, and flavours of red fruits with hints of plums and bramble, represents the epitome of Coonawarra's varietal diversity. It pairs exceptionally well with ossobuco or chargrilled rib eye steak. RRP $64.99.

The Winegrower Shiraz showcases lifted dark berry aromatics and integrated cedar oak, complementing its full-flavoured palate with boysenberry and plum notes. This wine is a great choice for pairing with chargrilled red meats. RRP $39.99.

The Representative Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot is an iconic red wine blend that offers lifted blackberry and blueberry aromatics, fleshy characters on the palate and long fine tannins. It’s an excellent match for venison. RRP $39.99.

Château Tanunda's 2023 Collection

Château Tanunda's 2023 Collection

Barossa icon winery, Château Tanunda has released its 2023 collection. The collection includes six collectable wines under the Old Vines Expressions range. The wines span vineyards that are 50, 100 and 150 years old.

“Our 2023 Collection release is a testament to the history of wine growing in the Barossa. These wines reflect what the Barossa is world famous for – wines of generosity, flavour, character and elegance, influenced by our modern approach. We're incredibly proud to continue the 130 year legacy of Château Tanunda with the release of these exceptional wines," says Michelle Geber – Château Tanunda generational family member and managing director.

2019 Château Tanunda 50 Year Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep magenta in colour with a vibrant nose of dark fruit, chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon aromas. An exotic and full-bodied palate driven by flavours of fruits of the forest, blackcurrant and a hint of savoury spice bound together by succulent fine-grained tannins. A wine of great length which will reward many years in the cellar. RRP $80.

2019 Château Tanunda 50 Year Old Vines Shiraz
Medium to deep crimson/purple. Powerfully intense aniseed, blackberry, mulberry and blueberry fruit aromas, with ginger, mint notes. Vigorous and fleshy with generous blueberry, blackberry flavours, excellent mid-palate richness and plentiful brambly chocolatey tannins. RRP $80.

2019 Château Tanunda 100 Year Old Vines Shiraz
The low-yielding Centenarian vines, noted for their intensity of flavour, were planted more than a century ago around the time construction of the Château itself began. The select parcels are hand-picked and fermented in small open fermenters with hand plunging four times daily before careful basket pressing to more gently extract tannin and colour. RRP $180.

2021 Château Tanunda 150 Year Old Vines Semillon
Honey, lemon, grapefruit and hints of pineapple on the nose. Lively, fresh citrus and stonefruit on the fleshy palate with clean, fresh acidity on a long lingering finish. A seamless wine of fine acid structure and intense varietal flavours driving the length on the palate. RRP $70.

2018 Château Tanunda 150 Year Old Vines 1858 Field Blend
The 150 Year Old Vines 1858 Field Blend is from one of the oldest field blends in the world of grenache, mourvèdre and malbec planted in 1858. This small block in Springton in the Eden Valley is home to classified ancestor vines, dry grown as bush vines on their original rootstock. Seamless floral and spicy complexities, with hints of fruits of forest, pepper and ginger snap. The palate displays the full range of dark berries and Mediterranean herbs with perfect balance between tannin texture and length. RRP $500.

2019 Château Tanunda The Everest Shiraz 
An intense, enticing nose of rich, red berry fruits and subtle French oak. The wine is incredibly dense and focused with a richness and purity that simply exudes top class Barossa shiraz. Rich dark chocolate, mocha and cedar spice are all to the fore but the central core is highly focused. RRP $330.

Briar Ridge vineyard

Briar Ridge Vineyard unveils its Single Vineyard red wines

The Hunter Valley's Briar Ridge has released its Single Vineyard range of wines under the guide of winemaker Alex Beckett. The Single Vineyard Shiraz and Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon hail from strong vintages across the Wrattonbully, the Hunter Valley and the Hilltops.

"With the region seeing some of the coldest growing seasons in recent history, with record levels of rainfall leading to vigorous vineyard growth, the wines produced are a true expression of terroir, combining elegance with excellent concentration of flavour, with long cellaring potential," says Alex. 

2021 Briar Ridge Vineyard Single Vineyard Dairy Hill Shiraz 
The pinnacle of the Mountain View estate, grown in optimal weather conditions for exceptional flavour development, the 2021 Single Vineyard Dairy Hill Shiraz is elegant with a lovely floral lift. The medium-bodied shiraz reveals an intense red fruit palate complemented by savoury and spiced characters in classic Hunter Valley style, typical of the Dairy Hill block. This exquisite bottle is sublime for consuming in its youth, or carefully cellaring for up to 10 years. RRP $65. 

2021 Briar Ridge Vineyard Single Vineyard Big Bully Cabernet Sauvignon 
A very memorable vintage for all the right reasons, the 2021 Single Vineyard Big Bully Cabernet Sauvignon boasts intense colour, flavour and tannin due to the optimal ripening conditions following the season’s recent cool nights and warm days. Bigger and better than ever, the Big Bully is a first-class contender in the world of cabernet with its deep ruby-purple hue, intense blackcurrant and varietal herbal aromas, concentrated blackberry jam and cassis carrying through for a linear crisp finish. RRP $65. 

2022 Briar Ridge Vineyard Single Vineyard Hillrose Shiraz
The first cool-climate shiraz for the Briar Ridge Vineyard, the 2022 Single Vineyard Hillrose Shiraz benefited from a long growing season in the Hilltops region, which lead to rich ripe berry fruit flavours and tannins. A medium-bodied red with freshness and complexity, this shiraz features a deep ruby hue and reveals lovely, concentrated blueberry and blackberry cherry fruits, with earthy notes and smooth crisp acidity. RRP $65.

Lowe biological range

Lowe Wines introduces a rare white to its Bio-Logical range

Lowe Wines, Mudgee’s only certified organic and biodynamic winery, has added to its preservative-free wine range with two new vintages and the introduction of Italian white grape, ansonica.

The three new releases include the 2023 Bio-Logical Rosé, 2023 Bio-Logical Shiraz, and the new-release Bio-Logical Ansonica 2023.

2023 Lowe Wines Bio-Logical Preservative Free Ansonica
The Ansonica fruit was sourced from Merbein and hand-picked in April. The grapes were cold-stored overnight before being picked up and stored at two degrees at the winery in Mudgee. Grapes were whole-bunch pressed under gas and then with cultured yeast fermented to dryness. The wine was prepared for bottling by keeping cold at between two and six degrees and filtered one day prior to bottling 10 degrees. The wine was sealed by Diam cork to minimise oxygen reaching the wine during and after bottling. RRP $45.

2023 Lowe Wines Bio-Logical Organic and Preservative Free Rosé
Shiraz and cabernet were sourced locally in Mudgee from a certified organic vineyard, handpicked and cold stored overnight. The two varietals were handpicked together (at a ratio of 50/50) to avoid any back blending. Grapes were whole bunch pressed with cultured yeast added, then left in the press for four hours to create the coral pink colour. The wines were stored cold, then filtered and bottled cold. RRP $45.

2023 Lowe Wines Bio-Logical Organic and Preservative-Free Shiraz
Locally sourced shiraz from Mudgee was combined with shiraz from Lowe Wines’ Vineyard Block 8. Fruit was crushed only partially and fermented in a static 4-tonne stainless fermenter for 10 days at cold temperatures of 15 degrees. The grapes were pressed cold and kept in the same tank at 16 degrees to complete malolactic fermentation, then stored fully in a cold vessel at between two and four degrees until bottling. Bottled at 10 degrees. RRP $45.

Howard Park’s Arbor Novae

Howard Park’s Arbor Novae expands

WA's Howard Park is continuing its commitment to sustainability with the release of two new varieties in its Arbor Novae collection. Howard Park donates $1.50 from each wine sold in the Arbor Novae (which translates to ‘new trees’ in Latin) range to Carbon Positive Australia. Since its launch in 2022, the Arbor Novae collection has raised enough money to sequester 160 tonnes of carbon through local tree-planting initiatives.

2022 Arbor Novae Chenin Blanc
Two targeted picks – one early for good acid retention and one later for bright varietal flavours – were brought into the winery in the cool of the morning and crushed, with some portions held on skins for 24 hours. After cool settling, the juices were allowed to naturally ferment in a combination of stainless steel tanks and large-format oak. Post ferment wines were allowed to remain on yeast lees for three months with regular stirring promoting creaminess and integration. Blending brought all the components together to create a wine with vibrant varietal characters, complex oak and minerality. RRP $35.

Arbor Novae Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (from vintages 2016, 2017 and 2018)
Fruit was bunch selected from Block 29 of the Leston Vineyard, located in the Wilyabrup district of the Margaret River region. This area is renowned for soil profiles considered ideal for cabernet sauvignon and benefits from its balanced climatic location in the middle of the region, yet still close to the Indian Ocean. Block 29 is a dry-grown block of cabernet sauvignon planted with a Massale Selection of Houghton clone vines procured from the Abercrombie vineyard in Mount Barker. Identical winemaking techniques were employed for each vintage so that the bottled wines reflect the prevailing conditions of each growing season. Each bottle is individually numbered, and the harvest and bottling dates are noted on the bottle. RRP $90.

Holm Oak

Top of the game wine tasting experience at Holm Oak

Holm Oak in Tasmania's Tamar Valley has launched a new cellar door tasting experience that pairs Tasmanian wines with local tennis history. The tasting honours Australian tennis player Jack Crawford, who won the Wimbledon title in 1933. The tasting experience incorporates the story of Launceston’s Alexander Patent Racket Co. who made Crawford’s iconic racket and is where the name of the chardonnay and pinot noir comes from – The Cressy Wizard. In the 1930s Holm Oak's estate was owned by Alexander North, the director of Alexander Patent Racket Co. The wines included in the tasting experience are:

The Hot Shot Pinot Noir 
The Hot Shot Pinot Noir is Holm Oak’s flagship wine. It is only made in exceptional vintages and is a blend of two barrels. Stalky and savoury in style and loaded with cherry fruit flavours, the wine offers both richness and purity.

The Wizard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir 
The Wizard range is synonymous with quality, and is made with single vineyard fruit. Pure and complex, there is a chardonnay and a pinot noir carrying The Wizard name. Available in limited quantities, these two wines are made from the finest parcels of fruit from Holm Oak’s single vineyard site. 

The Protégé Pinot Noir 
This wine was originally named the Ilex (Quercus ilex) after the magnificent trees planted by Alexander North that still grace the property. However, from the 2018 vintage, this pinot noir was renamed as The Protégé – paying tribute to the Cressy Junior tennis racquet, the understudy of the world-famous Wizard. The lettering on The Protégé is taken from this racquet. The wine is classically Tasmanian – approachable and full of flavour.

Tastings are $40 per person and bookings are essential.

Tokar Estate

Tokar Estate's new releases

The Yarra Valley's Tokar Estate has released its 2021 Black Label Coldstream Vineyard Shiraz, 2022 Black Label Coldstream Vineyard Chardonnay, and its 2021 Special Release Amphora Tempranillo, which is made from a distinct parcel of the tempranillo block and is fermented in hand-made clay amphora.

2021 Black Label Coldstream Vineyard Shiraz
There is an attractive blue edge to the deep ruby colour, hinting at the wine’s vibrancy. Warm spices lift from the glass, cracked pepper, cardamon and cinnamon, along with pancetta and black olives. Whilst full-flavoured, the palate shows balance and elegance and is very much a nod to Northern Rhône syrah. Flavours of roasted sesame, bay leaves and liquorice. The wine finishes with fine, cocoa powder like tannins coating the mouth. RRP $60.

2022 Black Label Coldstream Vineyard Chardonnay
The wine has a slight green tinge to the pale gold colour that hints at the wine’s vibrancy. A cloud of apple pie, cinnamon and white peach aromas lift from the glass. The palate has impressive balance, being full flavoured yet elegant and shows flavours of grilled cashews, nectarine and white chocolate. There’s an acid backbone that gives the wine a long, limey finish. This wine has been released whilst tightly wound (and delicious) in its youth, it will evolve over the next 10+ years and develop further layers of complexity. RRP $60.

2021 Tokar Estate Amphora Tempranillo
The colour is a beautiful deep ruby with a tinge of purple, looking particularly youthful. The nose smells of glazed cherries, black tea and brick dust from the amphora. There is a purity to the palate with a sweet core of blueberry and cranberry before the more savoury ironstone finish. This wine is refreshingly unmasked from any oak influence and I love the texture of this wine. The extra long time on grape skins has knitted the tannins together to make a wine that feels mouth filling and classy. Whilst the wine is approachable now, it also has the concentration and structure for cellaring up to 20 years. RRP $75.

Taylors flagship release

Taylors 2023 Family Flagship Release

Taylors has released its 2023 collection, which includes releases across Taylors’ St Andrews and Masterstroke ranges, along with the unveiling of the 2016 vintages of The Pioneer Shiraz, The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon and the family’s pinnacle release wine – The Legacy.

“We’re incredibly proud to celebrate the second annual release of our Family Flagship wines. These wines best represent my grandfather’s vision when he established our family winery in the late 1960s. Our philosophy has always been to honour the remarkable fruit produced by our vineyards and the established grower partners we work with. I’m honoured to present this stunning collection of wines on behalf of the Taylor family,” says third-generation winemaker and managing director Mitchell Taylor.

2016 Taylors The Pioneer Clare Valley Shiraz
A deep, dark ruby red colour. A complex evolution of sweet red plum and cherry fruit characters, interwoven with cinnamon spice and vanilla, along with hints of violet lift that effortlessly from the glass. These are underscored by creamy, rich chocolate notes. The palate shows considerable richness and at the same time, superb suppleness. There is much to enjoy with rich, ripe plum and cherry flavours in abundance through the mid-palate, layering beautifully with silky, delicate tannins onto the back-palate and finish, reinforcing the sense that this wine will develop exceptionally well in the cellar. RRP $220.

2016 Taylors The Visionary Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
A deep, dark red framed by crimson at the rim. The wine is attractively scented with wild mulberry and hints of cassis and mint, alongside subtle tobacco leaf and cinnamon spice from extended premium oak maturation. The wine displays luscious blackberry and mulberry flavours counterbalanced by fresh minty characters. There is a well-defined and highly integrated tannin and oak firmness to the distinctively long finish. This wine has lovely dimensions, and a poised elegance and depth that reflects its carefully selected provenance, vinification and cellaring. RRP $220.

2016 Taylors The Legacy
A deep red with some brick red development to the hue. The wine has bold, lifted varietal aromas of cassis, mint, ripe black cherry, roast coffee beans and subtle aniseed. French oak maturation is evident with characters of cedar, nutmeg, cinnamon and cigar box adding to the wine’s overall allure. The wine has a long and generous palate with fleshy, concentrated varietal flavours. The palate delivers the elegance and interest that the aroma promises. It displays classic cabernet sauvignon varietal structure, a mouth-filling front palate and long, elegant tannins to finish. The merlot adds suppleness and roundness to the mid-palate, while the cabernet franc adds varietal intensity of mint and brooding, dark berry fruit notes. The wine has black cherry and cassis fruit characters throughout. RRP $1000.

Drink New Zealand pinot noir

In celebration of International Pinot Noir Day this week, here are three pinot noir wines from New Zealand.

2020 Dublin St Wairarapa Pinot Noir

2020 Dublin St Wairarapa Pinot Noir
Medium dark red hue with youthful purple tint. Lifted aromatics of toasted hazelnuts and spice. The palate is fresh and restrained with a mineral and fresh spice focus, underlaid with a gentle sweet fruit finish. RRP $38.

2020 Forager Wine North Canterbury Pinot Noir

2020 Forager Wine North Canterbury Pinot Noir
This is the ninth release of Forager Pinot Noir. The 2020 vintage was a season providing both good crop levels and wonderful pure fruit. A season beginning with good soil moisture led to a period of mixed weather through late spring and early summer. The late season was exceptional allowing for good ripening and healthy fruit condition. The fruit was hand-picked in late March and left outside in the vines to ferment with a full 26 days on skins, before bringing to the winery for a gentle pressing to French oak barrels. The wine was aged for 14 months before bottling without fining or filtration. RRP $55.

2021 Felton Road Central Otago Pinot Noir Calvert

2021 Felton Road Central Otago Pinot Noir Calvert
Perfumed floral notes abound amongst a background of dark fruits, Indian spice and a savoury earthiness. The vines, now 20 years old, are deeply settled in the silt soils of this remarkable site – providing a distinctive and consistent vineyard expression. Florality, subtlety and harmony, with finely chiseled tannins, are the hallmarks of Calvert. This 2021 is as fine as it gets.