To get the most out of a wine tasting one must perfect the art of the spit and swallow. Yes keeping the wine on your mouth just long enough to let the fruits and other flavours develop on the palate which results in a quick decision of whether to spit it out or to swallow and savour every last drop of your new wine find. And if and only when at the end of the night you manage not to fall flat on your face, well that’s when you know you mastered the technique successfully.

This year I decided to only give Australian wines a burl at the Acura Tasting Room as it was the featured country and as usual, refused to flat-out try any wines over $25 in order to get as comprehensive a list of budget friendly wines as possible – it’s a tough job but somebody had to spit and not swallow!

Shiraz used to be my favorite red wine until I discovered Malbec, but after tasting Aussie Shiraz wines at the Acura Tasting Room, I discovered that I liked Shiraz wines whose tannins were soft and silky with luscious full fruit on the palate and didn’t like the ones with leather or tobacco. On the whiter side of wines, I found a lot of Rieslings, Semillions and of course, sparkling wines I liked as I have a sweet tooth which also applies to wines. So if you’re looking for easy drinking wines under $25, read on.  (Turn your phone sideways to view this blog).



Casella Family Brands Nugan Estate Beyond Horizons Pinot Grigio – $15.99 Light colour with pears and apples aroma and light acidity and crispness, neither sweet or too dry.
D’arenberg Hermit Crab – Viognier Marsanne –  Mclaren Vale12/13 – $19.99 Dry palate with nectarine and peach and candied citrus rind. Easy to drink.
Devil’s Lair Dancing with the Devil -$23.99 New wine, light cherry, blend of Shiraz and tempranillo, sweet cherries and sour plums on the palate with light tannins makes it easy to like.
Emeri Pink Moscato NV – $14.99 Girly pink colour with strawberries and musk aromas, medium body and creamy and berries on the palate.  Don’t share this bottle, get your own.
Evans & Tate Redbrook Shiraz 2011 – $24.99 95 point wine which has won various awards and has the aroma of mulberry and maraschino cherry, green peppercorn and floral notes.  On the palate, it’s has medium tannins with intense blackberry and mulberry flavours.  This wine matures and evolves nicely.
Howard Park Riesling – $21.98 A light crisp wine with slight mineral and aromas of green apples and citrus flowers and bright lime on the palate makes this a very refreshing wine.


Jacob’s Creek Moscato – $11.99 If you want something that you can drink in just one sitting all by your little ol lonesome, this is the one was it has peaches and lychee on the nose and apricots, honeysuckle and tropical fruit on the palate.   Best wine for a hot day by the barbecue, but you better get two bottles as it goes down so easy – heck – at this price point, get three!
Killibinbin Killibinbin Scaredy Cat 2009 – H39 Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz  – $22.99 Deep crimson in colour with purple plums, black currants and black forest cake aromas.  Palate is full of ripe plums and spices with velvet tannins which end in a long finish.
La Boheme (PH) Act Three Pinot Gris – $19.99 Nice, light, refreshing, – combo of Riesling, Guertzeminner and Chenin Blanc – Italian family in Australia who loves opera.  Fragrant with pear, honey and spice on the palate with a silky palate and balanced acidity.
Longview Vineyards Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon – Longview Red Bucket Adelaide – $19.99 This Shiraz-Cabernet blend is an Australian classic. It exudes raspberries, spice and ripe dark berry fruit characteristics with some rounded blue fruit characters on the palate. It is flavourful, rich and balanced with integrated oak and a long, smooth finish. Pair with roast beef.
Lost Block Semillon – $17.99 Unoaked, fruity apparently there’s a story behind the Lost Block, that one of the Semillon vineyards had one block of fruit left that got forgotten, so it developed and got riper. Tyrrell’s loved the style as it was fuller and richer so decided to keep it. Has light crisp lemon and lime tones but tastes fruity
Lost Block Shiraz 2013 – $17.99 Sweet red berry fruit characters with a touch of spice and a fine velvety tannin structure. A soft fresh style with a clean finish.
Mcguigan Wines (PH) Sparkling Pinot noir This sparkling wine is full-bodied with vanilla and  peach on the palate and is complex and well-balanced acidity.  Not sure as to the exact price but I was told by McGuigan that it comes in well below $25
Negociants International Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2014 – $23.99 Intense fruit, talcum and minerality are followed by lemon lime fruit and a palate of great depth and capable of cellaring.
Negociants International Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – $23.99 Intense fruit, talcum and minerality are followed by lemon lime fruit and a palate of great depth and capable of cellaring.


Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz Mourvedre 2012 – $22.99 Red currants, sour cherry on the nose and dark chocolate on the palate, it’s medium bodied.
Pewsley Vale Eden Valley Riesling – $23.99 Light wine that isn’t too sweet or too dry with aromas of lemon and lime and pineapple and white flowers on the palate
Quarisa Wines (PH) Shiraz Viognier – Quarisa Johnny Q – $14.99 Intense, youthful, fresh and ripe with wild blueberry flavours and black pepper contribute to its savoury complexity. Dense on the palate with flavours of mulberries and ripe black fruits it is balanced in acidity and light in body.
Shot in the Dark (PH) Shiraz Petite Sirah – $13.99 Aromas of black cherry, blackberry, chocolate and spice with ripe berries, espresso on palate and soft velvet finish
Shot in the Dark (PH) Traminer Riesling – $13.99 Aromas of citrus and rose petals with lemon and lime on palate. Well balanced acidity.
St Hallett Semillon Sauvignon – St Hallet Poachers – $15.99 This white blend has a small amount of Riesling added, giving it a citrus tang that makes it ideal with seafood. Fresh passion fruit, melon and pineapple characters carry through onto the palate with moderate weight and marked intensity of flavours. This wine displays a long, clean and crisp finish
WD Wines Vickery Riesling – $27.99 Lemon and lime aroma with honeysuckle on the palate. Soft mineral acidity that will development more complexity in the cellar for 5-20 years.  Light and refreshing to drink.  A few dollars about $25, but well worth the spend.


Wine Men of Gotham Shiraz – $13.99 Approximately 20 percent of the wine was matured in new and one year old French oak, to add to the softness of the palate.
Wonderwall Shiraz 2012 – $15.99 Another Shiraz that although full of ripe cherries has a softer finish and tannins
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Riesling – Wynns Coonawarra Estate – $20.99 A light refreshing wine with soft acidity and lemon on aroma and lemon curd on palate
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 2012 – $18.50 Aromas of ground black pepper, mulberry and raspberry and blackberry with slight oak. It’s a medium bodied wine with a lengthy finish, complex and full of character.
Xanadu Shiraz – Xanadu Next Of Kin Margaret River – $16.99 The Next of Kin Shiraz is a lovely full-bodied style with ripe fruit characters of red cherries and a nice line of spice to carry it through. A great food match due to the fruit/oak/acid balance that has become the Xanadu trademark.
Yalumba Vognier 2012 – $17.49 Quite a light refreshing wine with well-balanced acid, aromas of honeysuckle, candied ginger and glacé pineapple with a palate that is rich in texture and body because of its wild yeast fermentation and ageing on lees and has pineapple and lychee on the palate.
Yalumba Y Series Shiraz Viognier 2013 – $18.99 With black cherries, violets and Turkish delight on the nose and rhubarb and spiced fruit cake on the palate.  This is a medium bodied wine that finishes soft.

Click here to see my photo album of the Acura Tasting Room



Editor in Chief of Fabulously Frugal in Vancouver.

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