(2021) Barrossa-grown Tempranillo is fermented with wild yeasts and aged in oak for this red wine from the Hill-Smith family, who own Yalumba and Jansz among other brands. Though it weighs in with 14% alcohol, the colour is medium to pale, suggesting a lighter touch on the winemaking, and the nose has cherry cola aromas, a touch of wild strawberry and spice. In the mouth the fruit is super sweet, a creamy fruit coulis style, with barely perceptible tannins and ripe, generous acidity barely ruffling the flow. Easy-drinking with a captial Easy.
(2021) Crimson with a distinctly pink hue, this has a buouyant nose, lifted with confiture raspberry and plenty of floral and herbal nuances. It's 12.5% alcohol ensures it is light and energetic on the palate, and although there is plenty of ripeness and sweetness to the red and black berry fruits, a stripe of drying tannin and cherry-pit acidity gives savouriness to the finish.
(2021) Vibrant crimson in colour, there's a lightly vegetal character to cherry fruit, maybe a hint of tobacco in there. Sweet fruited on the palate, it is medium bodied and has good freshness thanks to the slightly prominent acidity and that little vegetal/herbal character. Straighforward, finishing with a chalky dryness and a typically Italiante bitter twist.
(2021) Family-owned Yalumba are big on sustainability, and now have a small range of organically certified wines, including this Bordeaux blend. Very deep in colour, some mint and eucalypt, some of the Cabernet leafiness is there, but also a strawberry and plum softness of fruit from the Merlot. In the mouth it tastes relatively sweet, but there is depth of flavour, cassis and cream, and creaminess of texture too, the tannins very soft and the acidity quite cherry-like to give an easy-drinking picture. It's a bit of a barbecue banker this with it's attractive charm but a bit of intensity. Watch the video for more information.
(2020) With a bright, primary character, the subtle use of oak here just adds a smoothing character, letting the firm black plum and blackberry do its stuff. There is a nice little lift of violet and black pepper, the combination of Limestone Coast and Barossa fruit seeming to give this depth and a bit of brightness. Fruity, dry, with some spice on the palate, look out for deals on this as a reduction to £8 finished recently.
(2019) A Coonawarra Cabernet, so an absolutely classic combination of site and variety for South Australia, this is arguably the star of the selection tasted here, from its intense youthful colour to its expressive aromatic lift of green pepper, blackcurrant and spice. On the palate it has a rich black fruit character, lots of cassis-like sweet brightness, a rasp of plummy acidity and some smooth tannins gives a bit of tension, and whilst there's evidence of a slightly dilute character, the fruit giving way to lip-tingly spice in the finish, it is very good at the price and authentic.
(2018) A robust and chunky Shiraz from the vineyards of Willunga winery in McLaren Vale, just outside Adelaide. A proportion was aged in French oak and that gives a nice touch of cedar and smokiness on the nose, but it's more about bold, confident black fruit and a wisp of freshly-cracked pepper. In the mouth there's a big, rumbling layer of tannin on which sits some of that pleasing oak-toast quality and good fruit, sweet and ripe but with a savoury edge. It's the sort of straightforward, big-hearted red that makes a good burger or barbecue go down rather nicely.
(2018) Sourced from the Limestone Coast of South Australia, the back label peels off to reveal a recipe for an Aussie beef barbecue which is a neat touch. In the bottle, a fairly deeply-coloured crimson wine with nicely buoyant aromas of white pepper and cherry, and a gamy and earthy background which is pleasing. On the palate it is a very juicy style, the 14.5% alcohol adding a touch of heat to the finish, but the peppery and spicy black fruit pushing through to the finish, which is roughened nicely by a plum-skin rasp of tannin.
(2018) From the Thistledown Wines team, a Grenache (well, with around 10% Mourvèdre) that marches to a different beat from it beer-bottle style 50cl container to its crown cap. Inside is a heart-warming an gluggable red, perfumed with violet, raspberry and blackcurrant, and filling the mouth with sweet and easy-going fruit. The perfect barbecue companion. Watch the video for more information.
(2018) If you catch up with winemaker Giles Cook at my Glasgow or Edinburgh Festivals of Wine where Thistledown are pouring their wines, he might well be sporting his 'Gorgeous Grenache' tee-shirt. A zealous advocate for the quality of old vine Grenache in Australia, Giles has sourced old vine fruit from across South Australia for this entry-level bottling. It's a truly lovely wine, brimming with ripe black fruit, spices and a chocolate depth, soft tannins and a hint of gingery heat, finishing with pert cherry acidity. That all adds up to an easy-drinking but deep and soulful red, heaven sent for summer barbecues. Even better, buy two six-packs from M&S at time of review and the price falls to a bargaintastic £7.50 per bottle. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.