Reviewed by Jim McMahon

It was great to get along to the Sydney Cellar Door, held recently in Hyde Park, and taste some wines from NSW. A good time was had by all and I enjoyed catching up with some fellow teachers.

Orange-based Angullong Wines which had a presence at the Sydney Cellar Door has recently released its 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. Bright lemon in colour with green tinges around the rim of the glass, the nose is grassy and herbaceous with tropical grapefruit flavours coming through. The palate is crisp and refreshing with vibrant tropical fruits and herbal, grassy undertones. The finish is dry with lots of lingering fruit (rrp $20). Another Angullong stablemate is the 2013 Pinot Grigio. Pale straw in colour with green highlights on the rim, the nose offers citrus by the bucket-load. The palate shows mouth-watering acidity with those same pineapple, green apple flavours more than evident. This dry-style wine is very vivacious and racy (rrp $20).

Along comes Mr Mick, a wine named in honour of legendary Clare Valley winemaker Mick Knappstein. Today Tim Adams applies some of the winemaking skills that he learnt in the 1970s under the tutelage of Knappstein. Here, I offer you the 2013 Tim Adams Mr Mick Riesling: pale lemon with green tinges, a nose that is fragrantly perfumed with limey/zesty citrus notes with those same flavours found on the palate, and a palate that is crisp and refreshing with a slight touch of sweetness (or should that be ripe fruit?) with lashings of acidity. For $15 (rrp) a bottle it’s a steal.

I ask myself, where on earth can you get a quality pinot noir (Tasmanian at that) for $20? Well, the Berton Vineyards 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir is a see-through purple with a lovely bright pink rim. The wild berries, coffee and cinnamon spice on the nose draws you in. The palate is flavoursome and fruity, with cherry flavours and earthy savoury notes. The oak/acid tannin structure is nicely balanced and the fruit is allowed to shine and dominate this medium-bodied dry wine. Outstanding for the price and especially for us lovers of pinot noir (rrp $20). Also from Berton Vineyards comes the 2013 Reserve Chardonnay from the cool Eden Valley in South Australia. The pale lemon colour and green highlights are an indication of the wine’s youth. Toastiness and vanilla spice on the nose come from the French oak, which is evident, and grapefruit, melon and white peach add to the allure. The palate is crisp with citrus, honeydew melon flavours which dominate. The oak is nicely balanced as is the acidity (rrp $20).

The President of the NSW Wine Industry Association, Mudgee-based David Lowe, presents two wines in the Lowe Wines portfolio — 2013 Lowe Tinja Pinot Grigio and 2013 Tinja Riesling — which both retail for $22 (rrp). The pinot grigio is pale white/straw in colour with a nose offering bright fruit such as citrus and white pear. The palate is fresh and vibrant with minerally pear and lemon. The fruit on the palate lingers together with a ripe acid finish. The riesling is green/straw coloured with lemon and lime dominating the nose. The same flavours fall down onto the palate and add a touch of sweetness. Balanced acidity and a ripe fruit-driven finish appear to come naturally.

Tyrrell’s winery (5-star rated by James Halliday) is synonymous with the Hunter Valley, having been established in 1858. Here I offer you the 2013 Tyrrell’s Brookdale Semillon. A young wine, the nose offers flavours such as cut grass, lemon curd and flinty lime flavours. The palate is crisp and dry with the flavours found on the nose cascading down onto the palate. A dry-as-a-bone style with crisp acidity to match. Find the right food to accompany this wine, such as oysters and salami, and you’re on a winner (rrp $20).

The St Macaire red grape variety was once common in the south-west of France and is named after the town of St Macaire (appellation Cotes de Bordeaux) situated 40km south of Bordeaux. This grape seems to have found a place to call home with the Calabria Family winery (formerly Westend Estate) in the Riverina region of NSW. Deep red with a purple/pink hue, the 2013 Calabria Family St Macaire is rich and perfumed with violets and blackberry spice more than evident. The palate offers blackberries, plums, mulberries with vanilla oak and firm tannins on a lingering, fruit-driven, full-bodied finish. (rrp $15)

Talking pinot at a price, here’s another one to tantalise the tastebuds — Calabria Family 2013 Richland Pinot Noir. Light see-through purple in colour with a vibrant pink rim, the nose is nicely perfumed with Cherry Ripe-like flavours and spicy notes. The palate is soft and juicy with strawberry/raspberry notes. Nothing too complex, just lots of ripe fruits on a silky dry, medium-bodied finish (rrp $11). Wow!

Jim McMahon teaches hospitality at Sutherland TAFE.