Reviewed by Jim McMahon

Orange-based Printhie has delivered a nice little number in its 2013 Mountain Range Merlot. Deep crimson in colour with an inviting pink hue, the nose offers mulberry and blackcurrant with herbal overtones. The palate is soft and fruity with layers of fruitcake and cinnamon flavours. The well-balanced tannins and firm acidity are rounded and the vanilla plum on the finish is enticing (rrp $20). The 2013 vintage is considered to be one of the best in years.

Those of you who know and like your Mudgee reds won’t be disappointed in Queen’s Pinch 2009 Select Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep red/purple with a fading pink rim, the perfumed blackberry fruit on the nose stands out, accompanied by plum and violet; these fruit cascade onto the palate. Bold and dense, the wine’s oak/tannin/acid structure will carry it for many years yet (rrp $28).

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling comes from one of the best names in the Australian wine industry, Yalumba, and is made by a leading female winemaker, Louisa Rose. The 2014 riesling is a crisp, clean minerally wine with citrus intensity, firm acidity and a dry finish (rrp $22).

The 2013 Pig in the House shiraz shows ruby/purple with a bright pink rim. The nose is awash with spicy blackberry, black olive and aniseed flavours. There is fleshy chewy fruit on the palate — blackberry, raspberry and redcurrant. The acid/oak/tannin structure is nicely balanced and the finish is long and flavoursome (rrp $25).

You can always rely on Upper Hunter-based Catherine Vale to offer something different in grape varieties. The Catherine Vale Winifred Barbera 2012 is see-through red with spicy, red/black berry aromas that follow on to a light to medium-bodied palate. Oak/tannins are nowhere to be seen, and the fruit shines in the glass. Verdelho is a grape variety that is unique to the Hunter and a white style they do well. Catherine Vale’s 2013 verdelho is coloured bright lemon in colour. Apricot, citrus and guava flavours on the nose really stand out (rrp $18 and $16 respectively).

A very nice wine from NZ-based Trout Valley is the 2013 pinot gris. I’ve tasted some magnificent aromatic off-dry wines, as the Kiwis like to call them, and this is one more to add to the list. The lemon/green colour is inviting while the nose offers lifted pineapple, white pear and spice. The palate is awash with generous amounts of the same fruits which are overripe more than sweet. The acidity is firm and the lasting impression on the palate is one of continuing fruit and vanilla spice. An exceptional wine at a great price (rrp $22).

From De Bortoli in Victoria’s Yarra Valley comes La Boheme Act Two Pinot Noir Rosé, pale salmon-pink with a nose showing ripe strawberry, raspberry and spice. The palate is dry and fruity with a mixture of strawberry, raspberry and plummy spices. The dry finish and balanced acidity together with fruit concentration leaves an indelible dry fruit-driven taste on the palate. A spring-summer wine that punches above its weight for a rosé (rrp $20).

Interesting to note that Audrey Wilkinson — a man, in fact — planted one of the first vineyards in the NSW Hunter Valley in 1866. The red muscat grapes that go into making the Audrey Wilkinson Winemakers Selection Moscato 2014 are sourced predominantly from Swan Hill in Victoria and the rest from the Hunter Valley. Copper/salmon-pink in colour, the ripe pomegranate nose with hints of grapy spice is sweet and inviting. The palate follows on from this and is light and flavoursome with a ripe, dry acid finish and exceedingly low alcohol standing at 5.5 per cent. Just the go for spring and summer (rrp $26.50).

The Tarrawarra Estate Pinot Noir comes from one of the best makers of pinot noir in Victoria’s Yarra Valley and the 2012 vintage will not disappoint. Deep see-through purple, the wine has a lovely pink hue around the rim. The nose offers a mixture of red and dark cherry fruits with black peppery spice. The fruit lingers on the palate (rrp $28).

Hunter Valley Uncorked will be held at Balmoral Beach, Sydney, on November 2, 10am - 4.30pm. Free shuttle buses will operate every 15 minutes from Mosman and Spit Junction to Balmoral Beach. Wine glasses and vouchers can be purchased upon arrival. No BYO alcohol and no pets allowed as per council food safety requirements!

Jim McMahon teaches hospitality at Sutherland TAFE.