I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to the McWilliams Wines media dinner at Hawksworth Restaurant where a small group of media were invited to taste six wines from one of Australia’s First Families of Wine who in 2009 alone was awarded 40 trophies and 889 medals at wine shows across Australia and was named the best winery of 2014 by Mathew Jukes, a highly regarded wine writer whose column in the Daily Mail reaches over 9 million readers every weekend.


We started our tasting with Lovedale Semillon 2007 which was my favorite wine at this tasting as it was crisp with well-balanced minerality. I found it paired so well with my spotted prawn as it didn’t overpower the sweetness of the spotted prawn with its delicate structure. This wine apparently can be cellared for up to 30 years and develops more buttery overtones as it matures.  It’s bottled after three months  and then sits in a warehouse for five years before being sold. The aroma is citrus with notes of lemon meringue pie and on the palate, intense lemon and lime. Because this wine is low in sugar and alcohol, it would be great on a hot summer day.


Next up, McWilliams Appellation Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2013:  This is a Gold Medal winner as it comes from vines that are 30 years old. With a aroma of white peaches, nectarine and fig and green apple, it’s a Chardonnay that delivers.  On the palate, it has a fine structure with stone fruits, honey dew melon and oak and has well balanced minerality with racy acidity and can be cellared up to 8 years.  It’s a dry wine that isn’t too sweet, although I’m not a big fan of the grassy undertones that Chardonnays tend to have.



Now onto the reds:  Mount Pheasant Philip Shiraz 2011 is a medium bodied complex wine with mulberry, plum oaks and fine tannins, chocolate and leather with a long finish. With a little more time in the cellar, the tannins of this wine will open up and become more silky but in the meantime, it’s still a nice Shiraz to start with before sipping on the more complex reds.


Scott McWilliams, the sixth generation winemaker of the McWilliams family, talks about pairing wine with food.  “Eat whatever you want and drink whatever you want”. Bravo, my sentiments exactly.

James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion named 2011 Maurice O’Shea Shiraz as the Best Shiraz for the 2015 edition as it’s a complex wine with big tannins that is very French in style and spends 22 months in oak.  This the kind of wine that serious wine lovers would be willing to pay more for as it is well worth the price and can be cellared for about 20 years.  It’s aptly named for Maurice O’Shea who previously owned the vineyards and who although was a brilliant winemaker, wasn’t a good businessman.

McWilliamsWine009Hanwood Estate Shiraz 2013 is a blend of different flavours with ripe red fruit and is expressive of Australian fruits such as strawberry and cherry.  This is a varietal that is harder to make as wine drinkers want this varietal of wine to be consistent in taste each year.  Full of red and black berries with chocolate and pepper on the nose, it has the potential to become better in taste as it ages.


Hanwood Estate Cabaret Sauvignon 2013 is a juicy wine with soft tannins but a smooth finish with ripe purple fruit such as blackberry and cassis on the nose. It’s a wine that paired so nicely with the duck and tamarind sauce that I ordered for my main course.  This is a wine that you would want in your cellar to age a few years so as to fully appreciate its fine structure.


My verdict: judging by the variety of wines we tried it was apparent that McWilliams makes wines to please everyone’s pocketbook and wine palate ranging from the complex Maurice O’Shea Shiraz to the light Lovedale Semillion for $14.  You can find McWilliams Wines at BC Liquor Stores and some even below $15.    But whatever the price, you know that you’ll be getting a wine that is worth the price at any cost.




Editor in Chief of Fabulously Frugal in Vancouver.

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