WINE: 12 AUGUST 2016

Chapel Hill 2016 Chardonnay ($16): This really is classic middle-of-the-road chardonnay — and there sure isn’t anything wrong with that. It isn’t loaded with winemaking sophistication, even though it has been made with some barrel fermentation and some contact with yeast lees. Most importantly, though, winemakers Michael Fragos and Bryn Richards have delivered a real mouthful of solid fruit flavour — mostly in the stonefruit segment but with touches of citrus and melon as well. It’s a good match for grilled white-fleshed fish, but would also sit comfortably in a bistro with a bowl of carbonara. Visit

Cassegrain 2015 Edition Noir Durif ($28): The Edition Noir range allows John Cassegrain and his son Alex to work with relatively small quantities and hence to fashion wines that are quite individual. Australian durif used to be a signature red of Victoria’s Rutherglen district, where it is proclaimed as a wine ‘fit for heroes’. This version comes from northern NSW’s New England region and the altitude-influenced cooler climate has restrained the wine. Plummy notes are the most obvious character of this medium-bodied dry red, which shows some lovely oak and fine-grained tannin. John sees a touch of pepper on the finish and I can easily taste what he’s getting at. Visit

Toolangi 2014 Pinot Noir ($28): You’re not going to get genuine Burgundian pinot at this price point — indeed you might be paying ten-fold for the genuine article — but you do expect a damned fine drink with some complexity attached. And that is exactly what you get from this pinot, which was harvested at Toolangi’s Dixons Creek vineyard in the Yarra Valley. As you’d expect from this coolish climate, the wine is of medium weight on the palate and shows delightful, delicate flavours reminiscent of red berries and dark cherries. A very good wine for the money. Visit

Willow Creek 2014 Vineyard Pinot Noir ($40): Winemaker Geraldine McFaul allowed the wild yeast indigenous to the vineyard and winery to ferment this dry red and allow it to develop some quite funky flavours. As with the Toolangi, this Mornington Peninsula wine is distinguished by cherry flavours but comes with an extra layer of complexity. Gentle oak and a year’s maturation in bottle add up to a very impressive package. Ideally, drink with roast duck. Visit