I’m keeping a promise. Excited by a bargain white wine a few weeks back I promised to find a red bargain. I didn’t find one, I found three.
Looking for a big juicy red at a deal, three words spring to mind Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Their climate readily ripens full-flavoured reds that pour out of lucky country in such volumes that there is a one at every price. Volume means availability is easy too.
A stand out red on surely every wine shop shelf is Taylors Clare Valley Shiraz and I got it for just $15 at a little neighbourhood bottle shop, the kind that in Auckland pops up between schools and medical centers. As usual when bargain hunting I looked at the back of shelf, found a 2015, 2016 is current release. That extra year softens out the power a shade and gives it enough manners for white meat, maybe a veggie risotto and the expected muscle to freshen up the meatiest meal.
Taylors have been widespread in Aotearoa for so long it can be easy to overlook them – don’t. There are wines twice this price that don’t match up. Part of the appeal is the subtlety that so often comes from Clare Valley and its near neighbour the McLaren Vale, not as known as the Barossa, but in my opinion, a better bet for balanced wines.
Having promised you a red bargain, I looked at a few new wines and happily uncovered Kirrihill Regional Selection Clare Valley Shiraz 2016. A bit more robust than the Taylors it still holds all that ripe fruit sugar in a pleasing form, big and cuddly red. For $16, I finally found my new winter quaffer. I’ll try my best to hide some away till the weather turns again. I’ll look for more by Kirrihill; wine of such excellent value can’t be a fluke.
If you’d prefer to buy New Zealand made, then try this familiar name. Vidal Estate in Hawkes Bay have a winner in the robust red class that too, should have been pricier. I paid $15.75 for a Vidal Estate Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2015. This is superb, more savoury, more refined and taut in comparison to the Aussie heft. It shows why Kiwi red turns tongues across the wine world, but usually at a higher cost than this. It is the pay-off from Vidal’s investment in their truly astonishing (and top-end) Legacy wines. Their commitment to quality has lifted every Vidal boat.
Promise kept, three superb buys that can match wines at twice the price. You have your tips, South Australia for big, Hawkes Bay’s most established producers for finery, (I almost picked an Esk Valley wine too, maybe I’ll detail them in a week or two).
As with that ripper viognier a few weeks back, I found the older wine after shuffling the front few bottles on the shelf aside. Happy bargain hunting.
Glass half full by Timothy Giles
Timothy Giles lives a healthy life, balanced out by his love of wine, especially organic, biodynamic and well-priced wines. He’s here to share his favourite finds with other Grown Ups in a new weekly column called Glass Half Full.