What better way to compile our annual top 10 wine list? 2019 Tasting Assembly alumni of course! Such a broad range of palates, and varietal preferences but tastings are there to open up a world of new flavours and styles. However, there was a commonality amongst the alumni with an appreciation of a winemaker’s hard working efforts in producing wine that is better for the environment and consumer. The final payoff? A wine that tastes better too.
These wines reflect all the elements that we hold as essential to the wine-making process. They are naturally inclined with minimal handling, and they are all about the fruit and terroir. What does this mean? It means you know what you are drinking – wine free from nasty chemicals, wines that are good for you and the environment and wines that are a product of wonderful viticulturalists getting their hands dirty growing fabulously natural grapes and skilled and passionate winemakers, also getting their hands dirty (or at least dyed!), creating delicious and unique wines with a strong sense of place.
Based on sales and feedback from over 200 Tasting Assembly alumni here is our winning 2019 top 10 wine list.
Number 1: Smallfry Riesling
Even alumni in the ‘I don’t like Riesling camp’ were converts. A wine bursting with lime and intense citrus, dry and refreshing. We got the last of the 2018’s which is drinking superbly. Read more about Smallfry Wines here >
Number 2: See Saw Prosecco
The only prosecco to be produced in Orange and See Saw’s history and commitment to the environment is a great story to share. This prosecco was a crowd pleaser. Honeydew and fresh pear characters with clean sherbet like refreshing acidity. Perfect way to kick off a Tasting Assembly event! Want to become a sparkling wine pro? Read this >
Number 3: Dormilona Rosé
Rosé made from Tempranillo by the very talented and cool surfer-come-award-winning-winemaker, Josephine Perry. Low intervention winemaking (organically grown grapes, no additions, unfined, unfiltered), Dormilona means ‘lazy bones’ in Spanish, representing the laid-back style of winemaking. You’ll be seeing more of her wines next year. Read more about Josephine Perry in our Women in Wine blog here >.
Number 4: Fairbank Sangiovese
You’ll be seeing a lot more Mediterranean grape varieties on the market as producers start planting varieties better suited to warmer climates. Fairbank Sangiovese is a best seller, so easy to drink, medium in style, fruit forward and balanced. Winemaker is Melanie Chester, a rising star and happy to give you a few hours of her time in the winery for barrel tastings. Read more about Melanie Chester in our Women in Wine blog here >.
Number 5: Dune Paliomera Shiraz
We love the Paliomera for its robust and gutsy flavours as well as being Preservative Free. From McLaren Vale winemaking family, Coriole, the brothers have launched their own label and are currently converting their vineyards to organics. They know this is the future. Read more about Dune here >.
Number 6: Greystone Sandstone Pinot Gris
An exceptional Pinot Gris from North Canterbury, NZ. There’s a reason why Decanter magazine ranked the 2016 as 3rd best Pinot Gris in the world. Layers of flavours, textural and lush. We are on to the 2018 vintage and it’s delicious too.
This wine is what I call ‘clean drinking’. Super fresh, clean flavours and with zero preservatives. Tamburlaine wines are all fantastic, great value for money and great tasting. Crowd pleaser every time! Daytime drinking, anyone? Want to become a sparkling wine pro? Read this >
Number 8: Paxton Tempranillo
Winemaker Richard Freebairn certainly knew he was making a style that most palates would enjoy. Light bodied and spice driven mouthfeel with juicy plum, a lovely hint of oak and integrated tannins. Drink now style and with minimal preservatives added. It’s a win-win!
Number 9: Blind Corner Shiraz Nouveau
Lighter style reds were a hit at our tastings (and in the wine shop), and this wine was something different for our alumni. Bright, young and bursting with freshness., winemaker Ben Gould uses a cement egg for fermentation to trap extra fruity flavours without the tannins. Makes for great story telling too!
Number 10: Heroes Anti-Hero Pinot Noir
Our tastings at the start of year included one of our favourite producers “Heroes”, but these wines sold out, so we have to wait until next vintage release. Winemaker James is passionate about his vineyard which is sustainably grown (zero synthetic pesticides used) and his wines are produced without compromise using non-interventionist techniques: no irrigation, no additions, no fining or filtering (reds), natural yeasts, with minimal sulphur additions at bottling only. His mission is to make the world’s best pinot noir. Read more about “Heroes” here.
We’ll be putting together a General’s Choice pack from this list in January. Thank you to all our 2019 Tasting Assembly alumni. It’s an awesome top 10!