25 September 2023

Falling for reds that aren’t the biggest

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By John Rozentals.

Big is not necessarily beautiful or best. Hence the huge reds from South Australia’s Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale aren’t necessarily the easiest wines to match food with, and maybe we’re better off seeking out more elegant European styles.

Andrew Higgins … “The geographical location of vineyards and the landscape where the grapes are grown significantly shape the taste of the wine.”

Crafted by McWilliam’s, the McW range is a celebration of the regional diversity and elegance of Australian-style cool-climate, high-altitude wines.

The McW 660 Reserve Syrah and McW 660 Reserve Hilltops Cabernet Sauvignon are harvested from vineyards at an average altitude of 600 metres from sea level in the New South Wales wine regions of Canberra and Hilltops.

“More and more people are gravitating towards cool-climate wines like the McWilliam’s McW range because they are better suited to enjoy with a wide range of foods. The aromas and flavours in these wines are designed to complement a dish rather than overpower it,” said Andrew Higgins, McWilliam’s Chief Winemaker.

“The geographical location of vineyards and the landscape where the grapes are grown significantly shape the taste of the wine.

“High-altitude areas provide the grapes with intense sunshine during the day and cooler climates at night, which means prolonged ripening periods.

“This in turn produces well-balanced wines that are delicious with a variety of cuisines — whether it’s a hearty home-cooked roast or fresh meatball spaghetti, or simply a glass on its own.”


Logan Weemala 2018 Riesling ($20) — Made from cool-climate fruit grown at about 1000 metres altitude just outside of Orange on the slopes of Mt Canobolas, from where the birds have an exceptional view that certainly lives up to the Weemala moniker. This is a lean, crisp, flavoursome dry white that will sit well next to freshly grilled white fish and salad.

Sandalford 2017 Estate Reserve Wilyabrup Shiraz ($35) — A rich, smooth, soft red with plenty of appeal and years in front of it, though I don’t know why you’d bother. The young wine features a bright cherry-red colour, spicy cinnamon-like aromas, and a richly layered palate. Match with a hearty osso bucco and relish the result. Simply a great Margaret River red.


McWilliams 2017 McW Canberra Syrah ($25) — This fine, softer-style shiraz was harvested after one of the wettest winters in the district’s history, followed up by a cool spring and a warm summer. Violets and spicy red fruits highlight the bouquet, while the palate is long and the tannins soft. Cellar until the mid-2020s or enjoy now with a hearty wintery stew with lots of root vegies.

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