Hurrah..Back to School


You may not know this, but I write this column from home, surrounded by our children and mountains of cardboard boxes of wine and beer that the Minister for War and Finance says that “I must simply stop buying”. And it’s been kind of hard to write over the last few weeks with the kids running around , wanting you to play with them, stop fights, clean up paint off the walls, bury dead fish and do the general run to the doctor to have stitches put in their little noggins.  So you can imagine how much I am looking forward to them going back to school.

In fact by the time you read this, the kids should be back at school and I should be doing joy dances as we wave them off at the school gate. I reckon as you drive past the schools this week, you might just about be able to hear the weight lifting off the parent’s shoulders and being dumped, rather awkwardly on the shoulders of the poor unsuspecting teachers.

So with all those thoughts in mind I wanted to sit down this week and look at a few bottles of wine for the Friday night, all of them super affordable. So much so that you can choose to have two if the mood so strikes you….one for you, one for your child’s new teacher. We’ll call it looking after their mental health too.

De Bortoli Sacred Hill Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012 –  James Halliday gave this a score of 89 in his 2013 year ending Top 100, which I think might be a little too high, but who am I to argue?  One thing he was spot on with though was when he said “you don’t expect this level of varietal expression and mouthfeel at this price”. You will be hard pressed to find a white that drinks as well as this at $7.50bottle, and consider that’s the RRP; it could be less in store. Great tropical fruits, with citrus and a touch of herbs in there too. Will probably never win any awards, and definitely not built to age, but is just a simple easy drinking white

McGuigan Bin Series No 9000 Hunter Valley Semillon 2012 – again, another bottle that costs less than a steak dinner at your local. Year after year the team at McGuigan push out a show stopper with this label. In the glass it looks like it will be quite plain, and lacking any oomph because it is so pale. It’s got a great lively taste as it hits your tongue, full of fruit with a good lick of acid. And don’t let the $12.50RRP fool you this will actually hold a little bottle age too, holding till about 2018 or so.

Tahbilk Marsanne 2012 – another vintage, another hit for Tahbilk with their marsanne. In fact the whole range of marsanne from Tahbilk are great drinking, but it’s this label that comes in at just under $12RRP, that gets the nod here. Lemon and citrus right at the fore, with a tingle of honey that comes through on the aftertaste.  When I tried this again recently a friend reminded me about how well this particular label can age, he thought that the honey tastes would develop in time to give this a great edge. Drinking well now though. 

Jacobs Creek Pinot Grigio 2012 – I found this the other day and walked away with change from a ten. It’s simple and restrained yet shows everything that you would expect from a bottle three times the price. Green apples, pear and lemon with a superb crisp acidity. Not meant for ageing, purely a drink now bottle. I actually had this with some sticky pork ribs, a throbbing headache, a broken new pot plant and two kids that were complaining about when mum was going to be home,  and it was amazing how well it matched. 

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