Around the Wine World for $20 and Less: Welcome to Australia!

03 Feb

As promised, I am kicking off my ‘world tour’ in finding wonderfully inexpensive deals on REALLY good wine. Our first stop is Australia, where I will drown you in a whole host of tastes from down under…all without breaking the bank.

When you think of Australia, most often you’ll think of those big, fruity Shiraz blends, as there are a ton of them being produced. The hard part is to know which ones to pick. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised to find some really good white wines and dessert wines there as well.

I managed to stumble quite luckily on to a winery that happens to make some INCREDIBLE reds AND whites…and they’re a BARGAIN!

So, let’s introduce you to Australia with a trip to Barossa in South Australia with the wines of St Hallett Winery.

I had the good fortune of meeting Stuart Blackwell, senior winemaker at St Hallett at my favorite ‘wine haunt’ in the Kansas City area: Wine Flights in Leawood, KS. Stuart was promoting the ‘old vine’ Shiraz grown in Barossa Valley that has earned the winery some serious acclaim, as well as the delicious whites from just up the road in Eden Valley.

The first wine was a ‘whimsical’ white called “Poacher’s Blend”, a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Reisling, that got it’s name because Stuart originally STOLE THE GRAPES! Stuart is a bit of a heathen…and a bit of a kindred spirit.

Back to the wine: this one is the perfect party wine! Doesn’t matter if you’ve got friends that like sweet wines and friends that like dry whites…they will ALL love this semi-dry darling. Pale straw color, tropical fruit on the nose, and luscious melon, lime, ripe mango, and pineapple on the tongue. It’s not a thick, heavy wine. It’s light, refreshing, and low in alcohol so you can drink this one all night long! If you decide not to just drink the whole thing by itself, and NEED to eat something, I’d pair it up with seafood…crab in particular…but any light fish or shrimp would be good. Actually, I’d probably pair it up with spicy Thai food. The sweet, light taste would balance out the fire of the spice. Best part of this wine? It’ll only set you back $11-12. Stock up!

The second white I tried was the 2009 Eden Valley Riesling. Let me warn you right now…this is NOT a SWEET Riesling like you’d find out of Germany. It’s drier, but wonderfully refreshing and unlike any other Riesling you will ever try. This one has a pale straw color as well, but the nose is going to knock you for a loop. Strong scent of lime and…well, rocks. Wet rocks. And it’s the same thing when you take that first sip…shocking minerality and a HUGE punch of lime. It’s like putting a rock in one cheek and half a fresh lime in the other, and mixing it up. I know that doesn’t sound terribly good, but for whatever reason, it’s FANTASTIC! Pair it up with fresh oysters or, much like the other, with shellfish or even Pad Thai. This would totally rock with Pad Thai! Also like the ‘Poacher’s Blend’, this one won’t break the bank either. Expect to pay around $15.

For more info on Poacher’s Blend, check out Stuart in this video:

Or, for a more laid-back, Corked Cowgirl type of approach, watch my interview with Stuart himself on my YouTube channel:

Next up: the Amazing Reds of St Hallett as we continue our ‘walkabout’ in Australia for $20 and under.




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