COOL: BANJO'S RUN A HIGHLANDS' WINNER
WE happily admit to a fondness for Merlot, an easy-drinking, food-friendly drop that today is the second-most consumed red in the world after Cabernet Sauvignon, with around 260,000ha (640,000 acres) planted to the variety globally.
And while it thrives in warmer regions it can do exceptionally well in cooler climates too, and where because it doesn't ripen too quickly, it develops a beautiful softness along with lovely fruity varietal flavours. One such cool climate label we suggest is worth trying is from the boutique Banjo's Run at tiny Exeter in the NSW Southern Highlands, around half way between Sydney and Canberra and 1.5hours from each.
Their 2013 is medium bodied with nicely recognisable Merlot red berry and blackcurrant fruit flavours, and with its suggestions of spicy tannin makes for a great match with a Italian tomato-based pastas, herbed chicken or osso bucco.
Banjo's Run 2013 Merlot is just $25 a bottle by the 6- or 12-bottle pack: order direct, and check cellar door hours if thinking of visiting the Southern Highlands, with vigneron Bill Hall on email@example.com, 0408 228 724 or banjosrun.com.au. Freight begins from just $10 per pack depending on distance.
ONE TO NOTE: THE late (great) Auberon Waugh, writing for The Spectator Magazine's Wine Club, once described Chateau de Sours Rosé as "probably the greatest Rosé in the world" – somewhat high praise indeed.
And be it so or not, this company has been producing exceptional wines (not just Rosés) out of Bordeaux for some 200 years, yet remarkably a 2013 Chateau de Sours Rosé that's just been released here sells for an extraordinarily modest $23.95.
A blend of Merlot and Cabernet, it has a palate akin to strawberries and cream, a wonderfully sparkling freshness, and with 12.5% alcohol it's a ripper drop for that special-occasion dinner to go with grilled lobster… or maybe a more everyday Thai or something similarly spicy.
 NSW Southern Highlands' Banjo's Run Merlot great with so many food options.
 MATCH this with special-occasion grilled lobster, or maybe Thai or something
for week beginning 11 May 2015