Last minute Australian/NZ wine recommendations, please
November 7, 2016 11:57 PM   Subscribe

We're finishing up our lengthy vacation Down Under; tomorrow is our last day in Sydney before flying back to Toronto, and one of our planned stops is the Oak Barrel, a really great and well stocked independent bottle shop. We've already bought a few very nice New Zealand wines (thanks to a few days on Waiheke Island) but we'd also like to bring home some good Aussie wines that aren't so easily obtainable overseas (IE no Yellow Tail or Jacob's Creek or other widely distributed wines).

Any recommendations would be appreciated. We'll consider any type of wine, just so long as it's a great (and not too expensive) bottle; of its something you think needs a few years' cellaring that's fine too.

Oh, and if anybody has a good recommendation for an excellent Aussie or NZ gin, or a good high end bottle of port, we want to give our hosts a nice gift to thank them (they especially love port).
posted by mightygodking to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Leeuwin Estate (WA Cab Sauv, Riesling), Farr (pinot), Sorrenberg (Chard, Pinot N), Gianconda (Chard), d'Arenberg (SA Shiraz, red blends), Foxey's Hangout (VIC - Pinot N, Sparklng Shiraz).

Oak Barrel also has lots of good beer - Boatrocker, La Sirene, Bridge Rd being good places to start.
posted by hawthorne at 12:18 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Aus wine: you'll have an overwhelming choice at Oak Barrel. I'd go for a variety of regions. Go for some of the newer regions such as Orange (I'm really enjoying Tamburlaine's Organic Merlot @$17); Mudgee, and New England (Blickings is good, their 2006 Shiraz is very nice today, if you can find it for under $20, grab it).

A cellar assistant could assist you with purchasing. If not, check the lables and look for wines 'Produced by' the actual vineyard on the lable, not a larger lable masquerading as a boutique brand.

Australian wine is so competitive that it's hard to go wrong in the $30-$50 range. But don't take price as a condition of quality. Some great wines can be had for $20-$25, even less.
posted by Thella at 1:51 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding a bottle of anything Tamburlaine Organic.

Shiraz from the Barossa will cellar well, aim for something $30-50 and you'll do well. I've really enjoyed Cat Amongst the Pigeons. Kellermeister Wild Witch can be costly depending on where you pick it up, but I tried it for the first time last week at a wine show and it punches far above its weight.

Jim Barry Riesling.

If you haven't already been told: don't be put off by the fact that most Aus wine is sold in screw caps. Not a sign of cheapness.
posted by chronic sublime at 4:00 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I am from the Margaret River wine region in Western Australia so I definitely agree with hawthorne about Leeuwin Estate wines. I love the Art Series chardonnays. Last weekend I was at Wise Winery and loved the Leaf Series and Lot 80 Series, and ended up ordering a mixed dozen. Really lovely wines.

I also love Juniper Estate wines - especially their Tempranillo [Juniper Small Batch Tempranillo 2015] and some lovely Shiraz.
posted by honey-barbara at 4:01 AM on November 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz is one of my favourites, pretty widely available here, but not at all overseas, and is about $30. Some years are better than others but it's always good. Clonakilla has fancier ones too at about twice the price, but I haven't tried those.
posted by lollusc at 4:19 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

There are many fine Australian fortified wines (we're not allowed to call them port). Just get something from Rutherglen with some age in it and in your price range. Gin, I have no idea, it's all niche.
posted by wilful at 4:20 AM on November 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

You will never regret buying anything from Tahbilk.
posted by flabdablet at 5:34 AM on November 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Of the Australian gins they have in stock, Applewood is great and as far as I can tell pretty much everyone likes it - if I lived in Australia it would probably be my go-to gin for gifts. I really enjoy the KIS Wild but it's not to everyone's tastes, West Wind gins are lovely but easier to find in supermarkets etc so less good as presents. Blind Tiger is also really lovely but apparently from a bigger company - I didn't personally see it in a supermarket or a chain bottle shop last time I was over, but if you're looking for something at the obscure "made 50 bottles at a time by grumpy people in hills" end of things then it's maybe not such a good match.
posted by severalbees at 6:13 AM on November 8, 2016

Archie Rose is a fab Aussie gin. I also highly recommend Four Pillars.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:08 PM on November 8, 2016

Margaret River chardonnays are just lovely. Verdelho seems to be a grape not widely used in the US, there's many from the Hunter Valley area. The shops assistants there are terrific, they won't steer you wrong, have fun!
posted by smoke at 2:51 PM on November 8, 2016

Four Pillars do a Shiraz infused gin. Seriously delicious!
posted by WayOutWest at 4:13 AM on November 9, 2016

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