New Top Drop for Under $20: MW Shiraz

2015 Most Wanted Shiraz South Australia $16.99, 14.5%

Talk about good value for money… 

This cheekily named MW Shiraz is a newcomer to New Zealand and is imported by another MW – Master of Wine Stephen Bennett, who has carved a niche for bringing surprisingly high quality and low priced wines to this country. It’s an equation that strikes the right chord with wine drinkers looking for smooth, ripe red wines, such as this big bodied Shiraz. It’s a must have on hand for summer barbecues, but delivers more than that too, thanks to ripe fruit flavours and great balance between power (ripe flavours) and approachability (soft tannins). Tasty.

Available from specialist stores, such as Fine Wine Delivery Company in Auckland or find out about stockists near you by calling, 09 378 9463.

Real wine bargains under $20

Alastair Picton-Warlow is the owner of a New Zealand wine brand called Supper Club and this year he added a new string to his professional bow by importing three new Shiraz from Australia. You could say he is keeping it real when it comes to the price. Two of this trio cost less than $20 to buy.

The wines are called Reillys (sic) and come from the Clare Valley in South Australia.

This means there is a Riesling and Grenache (both well known from the Clare Valley) in the range, but, for now, Picton-Warlow is focussing solely on Shiraz.

The new wines he is importing tick two important boxes for wine drinkers; they are affordable and they deliver impressively in terms of intensity of taste (dry, full bodied reds with rich fruit flavours and earthy complexity). They cost, respectively, $17.99, $19.99 and $34.99.

Reillys Clare Valley wines are named after an early settler in the valley whose name was Hugh Reilly. His slate cottage is now the cellar door for the wines, which were founded by Justin and Julie Ardill 1993.

The couple bought 12 acres of vines in Watervale that year and began producing wine in 1994, focussing on the region’s historic strengths of Grenache, Riesling and Shiraz, all of which are made at a newish winery (it was new back then) at Leasingham. Production expanded beyond the volume of grapes they were able to grow themselves, hence they now buy in a substantial proportion of grapes to supplement production.

“I found Reillys when I was looking for an Australian brand that had an X-factor, so I searched high and low and eventually came across this range from  Australian wine writer James Halliday’s up and coming brands. He rates these wines highly, so it’s great to get similar feedback from respected palates in this country,” says Picton-Warlow, who plans to add to his Australian wine portfolio in early 2017. Except next time round, he hopes to bring in wines from the Barossa Valley or the McLaren Vale.

Tasting Reillys Clare Valley wines


2014 Barking Mad $17.99, 15.5% ABV

Deep purple, dry and full bodied with high acid and big smooth tannins with  spicy flavours of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon, held in check with ripe smooth big black plum flavours and a lingering finish – no mean feat in a wine of this price – very good value for $17.99. This is a top drop for under $20.

2014 Reilly Clare Valley Shiraz $19.99, 15.5% ABV

Big dark purple colour with big soft smooth tannins, bone dry, shiraz as it should be; cloves, cedar, dark plums and big but beautiful. Shiraz as it should be.

2013 Dry Land Shiraz $34.99, 15.5% ABV

Outstanding, smooth, dry full bodied, big smooth tannins and a long soft, spicy finish give this opaque coloured Australian Shiraz the X-factor.

Fast facts on Reillys in New Zealand

For more information, contact Alastair Picton-Warlow at Supper Club Wines, phone 0064 275799463, email:  

North Island NZ orders from: 

Brent Hawkins:

Ian Isaacs:


Cellar it or drink it?

Five top wines to cellar

For more on cellaring wine, go to

The man behind Jacob’s Creek has retired after 40 years of turning one of the world’s biggest wine brands into a household name. And in his wake, Bernard Hickin has made a wine that he hopes will last  another 40 years.

Wine 1

The 2010 Jacob’s Creek Limited Edition Shiraz Cabernet costs  $75 and with fewer than 900 bottles made, it’s in short supply. Does the wine live up to the words?

Here’s my review on a wine I think is worth cellaring.

The 2010 Jacob’s Creek Limited Edition Shiraz Cabernet is an unconventional blend of two deeply coloured black grapes, unless you’re in Australia where Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon regularly rub shoulders in full bodied wines, such as this big, bold red. For every powerful aspect to this full bodied, high tannin, high acid red, there is a balancing smooth (soft tannins), velvety (mellow nature due to oak aging) and and juicy character (vibrant acidity), all of which suggest that this wine will stand the test of time and age for up to 20 years, potentially longer.

I was one of 12 New Zealanders to receive a bottle of this wine to taste. The limited bottles of 2010 Jacob’s Creek Limited Edition Shiraz Cabernet are available for purchase solely at the Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre in the Barossa Valley.


Bernard Hickin studied grape growing and winemaking at a degree at the Roseworthy Agricultural College in Adelaide in the mid 1970s and began work for Pernod Ricard Winemakers (then G Gramp & Sons) in 1976 – the same year Jacob’s Creek was officially launched. He was appointed chief winemaker of Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ Australia in 2006 and was succeeded this year by winemaker Ben Bryant, who began making wine in the small Australian town of Mudgee in New South Wales.

Wine 2

2015 Vidal’s Legacy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay $59.99

In many wine drinkers minds, Chardonnay is a white to drink now, as in, right now, but that is to forget the great aging potential of top Chablis and other cool climate wines, such as this one from Hawke’s Bay. It was released this month in Wellington and its full body, noticeable zesty acidity and intense stone fruit flavours all give it the power and backbone (the acidity) to last and improve in the bottle for 8-9 years, in a cool, dark cellar.

Wine 3

2014 Vidal’s Legacy Hawkes Bay Syrah $79.99

Now we’re talking about a wine that seems to say ‘cellar me rather than drink me right now’ because its deep purple colour, dry, full body, powerful but smooth tannins and intense black fruit flavours all bode well for a wine which will gain in complexity with time in the bottle. How long is ideal to age this wine? I suggest a decade. It’s high priced but also high quality.

Wine 4

2014 Vidal’s Legacy Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon $69.99

Cabernet Sauvignon has shrunk in New Zealand to less than 300 hectares today, despite being more than double that as recent as 11 years ago. This may seem a sad state of affairs for fans of powerful French reds from Bordeaux (the home of the Cab’ Sauv’ grape), but it means that the few New Zealand wines made from this grape are better than ever before. It’s one of the world’s latest ripening grapes and even with climate change now apparent, Cabernet Sauvignon usually demands more warmth than New Zealand can deliver, with a few recent exceptions – such as the 2013 and 2014 vintages. This is my pick of the new Vidal’s Legacy trio for its powerful style and firm, youthful, dry flavours, which will, I believe, transform into complex dried herb and black olive flavours with up to a decade and beyond in the bottle.

Wine 5

2015 Sileni Estate Selection Springstone Pinot Noir 14.5% ABV

Hawke’s Bay has more than one white wine string to its bow, so why not allow it the leeway with red wine too, provided it is made from grapes grown (as this Pinot Noir is) from suitable climate zones. While you’re pondering that question, pour yourself a glass of this outstanding new Sileni Pinot Noir, made from grapes grown on a vineyard on elevated river terraces, 150 metres above sea level at Mangatahi. This is inland Hawke’s Bay so the climate is significantly cooler than many other areas in the region. The grapes were divided when picked into two different portions, 30% were fermented as whole bunches while 70% were completely destemmed. The wine stayed on skins four weeks to maximise colour from a relatively light coloured grape and the wine was then matured for nine months in 225 litre French oak barriques; in the final blend only 5% of the wine has had new oak. This refreshing, silky smooth, medium bodied red drinks well now and can further improve for up to 5 years in the bottle.