Cheap, cheerful and everything in between: Luxurious wines for $25 or less are helping Aussies survive the cost-of-living crisis in style

The team at the venerable Tahbilk Estate in Victoria have triumphed again, releasing a set of elegant wines that may well be the best buys of the year.

Tahbilk, Victoria’s oldest family winery based in the Nagambie Lakes region north of Melbourne, has released four lovely whites and a rose each for $21.40.

These are not just cheap and cheerful offerings, but wines of a certain complexity.

The same could be said for a bright red from the magical McLaren Vale that retails at outlets for $20, well below the recommended retail price.

It’s the 2021 Hardy’s Tintara McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon that shows surprising depth of flavor with spicy notes of cassis and chocolate.

Elderton Wines of the Barossa Valley also weighed in with a surprise bargain. Elderton makes some of the nation’s most sought-after $30 to $130 wines, often drawing fruit from vines planted more than a century ago.

Now he’s offering classic Barossa ripe fruit, spice and chocolate flavors in Elderton 2020 Bullet Shiraz for $22 for cellar and website sales.

In Western Australia, Deep Woods Estate in Margaret River offers a set of wines for $25 and under.

Deep Woods is a five-star winery that was recently named the nation’s best winery in the James Halliday Wine Companion Awards.

Halliday sang the praises of Deep Woods Shiraz et al 2020, which he said had “layer upon layer of red and dark fruit”. Its $20 price tag “defies belief,” he said.

Deep Woods is selling its large and prized selection of Yallingup Cabernet Sauvignon for $130 alongside a $20 Sauvignon Blanc.

Deep Woods Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 ($25) was also listed as a bargain.

I don’t think there is a better summer white wine for the price than Tahbilk 2022 Marsanne. It’s a stunner.

And what a welcome challenger to the monotonous New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that has flooded the Australian market.

Tahbilk is a Marsanne specialist and this vintage has exotic floral aromas – leading to flavors of citrus, stone fruit, honeysuckle and brioche. And there’s a cleansing mineral riff.

“Time in the cellar will undoubtedly bring a richness and complexity of toast, honeysuckle and orange marmalade,” winemaker Alister Purbrick said in his tasting notes.

It was Purbrick’s last vintage as he headed towards retirement. He passed the reins to Joanne Nash, who became not only head winemaker, but also general manager of Tahbilk.

Nash, a mother of four aged 10 to 16, studied business and accounting at La Trobe University and was working for a Japanese investment bank in London when she took a serious interest in wine.

Nash said it was an honor to work alongside “old master” Purbrick in his final vintage.

They made Marsanne, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Rosé with fellow Tahbilk winemakers Brendan Freeman and Alan George, Purbrick’s brother-in-law.

The 2022 Tahbilk Grenache et Mourvèdre Rose was made in steel tanks in the “Provençale” style focusing on dried fruits with aromas of cherry, musk and raspberry. Mourvèdre brings savory nuances.

More bargains: The Potts family’s fearsome Bleasdale winery in Langhorne Creek, an hour south of Adelaide, offers a dozen different wines for $22 a bottle or less.

They include red and white wines and sparkling wines and a tawny.

About Michael Brafford

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