We’re in Australia this week, South Australia to be precise, for two superb value wines with origins over a century apart. Bob and Cherie Berton established their winery in 1996 with 75 acres of land on gently rolling hills in a sub-region of the beautiful Eden Valley, a short drive north-east of Adelaide. In 2007 Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state of the art facility has the capacity to process 10,000 tonnes, and allows Berton Vineyards to produce value for money wines which sit alongside the premium, single vineyard offerings. This vibrant and fruity white from the 2011 vintage is an unusual blend of four grape varieties – semillon 49%, chardonnay 40%, chenin blanc 10% and verdelho 1%. It is completely unwooded, fermented in stainless steel to retain its freshness and the result is a ripe, generous wine showing tangy passionfruit, juicy citrus flavours and supple honeydew melon that leads to a clean, fresh finish. Despite the chancellor’s best efforts in last month’s budget this remains a great deal at just £6.39.
Just down the road in the equally picturesque McLaren Vale the Kay brothers, Herbert and Frederick bought their first vineyard back in 1890; “The oldest family-owned winery in McLaren Vale still producing traditional red wines”, the current generation will proudly tell you. As in so many of the premium wine-growing districts of Australia shiraz was the backbone of the industry for much of the last century. Further east are found the peppery, spicy examples of New South Wales – here though you will find plusher, more velvety examples of the style that used to be labelled ‘Burgundy’ in bygone days. The 2003 Amery Vineyard Shiraz has some of that all-important bottle age that a great red wine demands and this is a terrific effort from winemaker Colin Kay; abundant flavours of chocolate and mocha, liquorice, coconut, vanilla (from American oak aging), with a light sprinkling of spice – a red with tremendous mouth feel and great length. Be prepared to spend at least £20 on this elsewhere if you can find it. Available from Fintry Wines at £14.50 for a limited time only.