best buys

imports $25 & under

2013 Suvla Blush Karasakiz, Gallipoli Peninsula, A$25

I’ve never tasted a wine made from the karasakiz grape variety before, and I’m glad to have tasted one now. This fine savoury rosé comes from the Gallipoli Peninsula, where karasakiz vines have grown for centuries. The Suvla winery mainly focuses on international varieties (cabernet, shiraz, etc) but also produces wines from indigenous grapes: as well as this gently grippy rosé, look for the dry, fish-friendly 2013 Suvla white made from the kinali yapincak grape.  MA

2014 Pipoli Zero Aglianico del Vulture, Italy, A$19

It’s rare to find a sulphur free wine at sub $20 that drinks so well, let alone one from a sizeable Italian producer. This is brilliant value, chock full of fresh fruit, amaro herb, crunchy acidity and cherry-pip tang. It’s all red fruits and piquant spice in perfume, crisp red cherry, pomegranate and cranberry to taste. Tannins firm up the wine to a distant pumice-like pucker. The charisma is huge here.  MB

2013 Maretti Langhe Rosso Barbera Nebbiolo, Piedmont, Italy, A$23/NZ$25

There’s a plethora of good drinking imports at bargain basement prices on our retail shelves. A number of them have been discovered by the canny palate of Nicholas Crampton and imported by his Fourth Wave Wine Partners enterprise. This delicious Piedmontese red is typical; made from 70 per cent barbera and 30 per cent nebbiolo. Its aromas are all about berries – blue, red and black with savoury spices in the background. The palate is lively with acid and tannin playing equal roles.  PB

2015 Bodega Cuarto Surco ‘Tipo’ Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, NZ$21.90

While Argentinean malbec is frequently impressively concentrated I often find that these generously proportioned wines discourage me from pouring a second glass. This light, soft and very slightly sweet wine is an exception. It’s subtle plum, spice and earthy flavours offer good varietal definition while gentle tannins promote drinkability. Easy-drinking, affordable red that’s full of character.  BC

2014 Vignobles Paul Mas Pays d’Oc IGP Cabernet Sauvignon, Languedoc, France, A$7.30

Jean-Claude Mas is the dynamic Frenchman behind the Arrogant Frog label. This cabernet presents as a more serious, mainstream wine with quite traditional labelling, but the wine inside is a revelation. The colour is youthful and deep, the bouquet has attractively lifted raspberry-like fruit and it’s medium-bodied on the palate, elegantly weighted and structured, with fine, supple tannins and lovely balance. It’s deliciously drinkable and incredible value for money. Ready now and for 6-8 years.  HH

2015 Mazzei Belguardo Rosé, Tuscany, Italy, A$25

As summer finally arrives, we might open with more confidence a refreshing clean, savoury rosé from the sangiovese variety. This example has a delicate, faintly spicy and floral, red-fruited perfume and a restrained, dusty palate whose light red berry flavours are appropriately backed by dusty tannins and wrapped in a refreshing acidity. Gentle, uncomplicated but fun, it finishes nutty and savoury.  JO