Reviewed by Jim McMahon

Here are two great quaffers from Riverina-based Berton Vineyards. The 2013 sauvignon blanc with fruit taken from South Australian cool climate regions offers a pale straw colour with young and vibrant green hues. The nose is more in the green grassy herbaceous style of Marlborough sauvignon. The palate is crisp and refreshing with mouth-watering acidity complemented by green grassy citrus and herbaceous flavours and crisp acidity. Its stablemate, the 2012 Berton Vineyards cabernet sauvignon, is purple with a violet rim. Flavours on the nose range from intense red and blackberry to hints of spearmint and spice. The oak is nowhere to be seen and the velvety mouth-feel is soft and silky with ripe blackberry and plummy fruit flavours on a soft silky finish. Both wines retail for $12 (rrp).

These two wines from Clare Valley-based Tim Adams are heavy hitters in price and quality. First is the 2008 cabernet malbec which is deep purple with a fading pink rim. The nose offers ripe blackcurrant fruits with plummy, rhubarb overtones combined with cinnamon spice and more than a whiff of French oak. The palate is intense with ripe plum and blackcurrant fruit wrapped round the French oak with firm oak-acid-tannin structure giving this wine some punch. Tim Adams 2010 shiraz is another wine of quality with purple, red colours and a light pink rim. The nose is infused with mulberry red currant and spicy vanilla flavours. The palate is firm and offers a myriad of red-black fruits which are juicy and silky with persistence and length of palate. A firm dry finish for this medium-bodied wine with good balance in oak-acid-tannin structure. Both retail for $29 (rrp).

Waipara Hills 2012 pinot noir is see-through red, crimson, the nose is lively and expressive with strawberry, raspberry notes. Hints of liquorice, spice and French oak add to its complexity. The palate is soft with ripe varietal fruit flavours such as plum and blackcurrants, the French oak is nicely balanced and adds nuanced smoky vanilla flavours with everything in balance. Typical of what New Zealand does well. $22 (rrp)

Retired teachers Bill and Wendy Lawson of the Broke-Fordwich region of NSW’s Hunter Valley have a brand called Catherine Vale and here I offer you their 2012 arneis and 2011 barbera. I’m a sucker for alternative grape varieties. I like to see what they can do if made well and the people at Catherine Vale are in the minority in the Hunter when it comes to this. The white arneis grape originates from Piedmont in north west Italy. White pear and dry scented on the nose it has a clear dryness on the palate. The fruit is minimal with white pear and light almond notes taking centre stage. The finish is dry with crisp acidity. $18 (rrp). The barbera, also originally from Piedmont, is a light, see-through purple. The fruit on the nose has wild strawberry and raspberry notes and these flavours carry through to the palate. The oak appears to be minimal with firm acidity and little tannin extract. A light style of wine and something that would go well with a meze plate or light cheeses. $18 (rrp). If you’re roaming around this neck of the woods drop in and try the rest of the wine styles in the Catherine Vale portfolio.

Rosnay Organic Wines, from Canowindra in NSW’s central west, has recently released a trio of wines under the Freedom Preservative Free portfolio (all 2013). There is a rosé which is 75 per cent shiraz and 25 per cent mourvedre, a chardonnay with 40 per cent semillon added and a shiraz combining 75 per cent shiraz and 25 per cent mourvedre. The rosé is a very light pink with ripe blackberry and red berry fruits on the nose that come through on the palate. It is an easy-drinking style with soft acidity. The white displays a straw colour with peach, melon and apricots on the nose. The palate is crisp and dry with mineral flavours together with peach, melon and passionfruit, balanced by firm acidity. The Freedom Red is see-through red-purple. The nose offers expressive varietal fruit flavours. The palate is soft and dry with minimal oak and tannins evident. All are $19 (rrp)

Jim McMahon teaches hospitality at Sutherland TAFE.