One doesn’t look to Australian wines for meekness – especially when they’re named Yard Dog.
RedHeads Wine produces small-batch wines from tiny parcels of vines “liberated” from big producers, and one of their recent bottlings is the lush and deeply coloured Yard Dog ($20.70), a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Smooth and almost unctuous, this has a yummy core of black cherry and raspberry with notes of pepper, spice, and vanilla. Add in the impressively long finish and this is a wine you’ll want at any dinner party.
If Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier had a baby, it would taste quite a bit like Torrontés, a little-known varietal rarely grown outside Argentina. Designed for easy drinking, this clean and fresh quaffer from Finca Los Primos combines floral and fruity aromas with flavours of green melon, apple, and citrus. Pairs well with shellfish or as a complement to spicy Indian or Thai dishes. Well priced at $15.
The Okanagan’s venerable Quails’ Gate has been making fine wine for a quarter-century, and have a notable winner with their Dry Riesling 2017 ($19.60). Well deserving of its “dry” designation, this cellar-worthy wine balances generously ripe fruit with a vivid acidity. Lush aromatics and lively flavours of lemon, apple and orchard fruit dominate the glass, while a silky mouthfeel adds extra charm. As well as being good value this is also a versatile food wine.
It’s always gratifying to discover a new Rioja at the LDB and the Pata Negra Reserva 2013 ($23) was worth waiting for. Predominantly Tempranillo with some Garnacha (Grenache) blended in, the medium-bodied Pata has lots happening on the nose, while the palate gets treated to mostly cherry and red-berry flavours and a lick of vanilla from resting on oak. Smooth and supple, this new-style Rioja lacks the tannins for serious cellaring but is drinking well right now. Decant and leave for an hour.
(All prices include tax.)