2022 One Pound Per Acre Chardonnay, South Australia, Australia (Alcohol 13%, Residual Sugar 6 g/l) LCBO $9.95 (750ml bottle)
2022 One Pound Per Acre Shiraz, South Australia, Australia (Alcohol 14%, Residual Sugar 6 g/l) LCBO $9.95 (750ml bottle)
I’ll be quite honest with GFR readers and mention that the wines I drink that are priced under $10 are few and far between.
I don’t feel I am being a snob about this, but I just feel that so many wines at this price point don’t give the drinker a complete wine experience; there’s always something, some essential component, that is notably absent.
I first tasted these two wines in early December of 2023 and was extremely impressed at what they delivered at such a modest cost. I was hoping to recommend them as bargain house wines for the holidays, but they proved to be so popular with Ontarians that they completely sold out. I’m glad to report that they are finally back in stock and exhibiting just as much value as they did previously, which is probably a good thing seeing as so many of us are still paying off holiday expenses. It should come as no surprise to regular readers that these two wines come from Dionysus, an agency with an innate talent for procuring some of the most affordable best-sellers in the Ontario market.
Named for the original price paid for the land from which the wine is produced, these two wines are admittedly not overly complex but deliver way beyond what one would expect from anything else in the sub-$10 Australian category. Since China imposed punitive tariffs on Australian wine in 2021, there has been a surplus of both fruit and wine in the nation. While this may not have been advantageous for the Australian wine industry as a whole, it is unquestionably advantageous for the Ontario consumer in this instance. Saying all that, the Australian government is confident of an end to these tariffs sometime this year.
The Chardonnay exhibits a pleasurable nose of apples, pears, and peaches, with a delightful touch of pineapple and just a hint of banana, without dipping too deeply into the muskier, tropical end of the fruit spectrum. I really enjoyed the vitality and liveliness of the acid profile, and I’ll admit that it slightly took me by surprise. For a wine at this price, there’s an unexpected medium-weight mid-palate leading to a modest but pleasantly crisp fruit finish, with none of the flabbiness that can often tire the palate.
The Shiraz is all about blackberries and plums, with a little bit of ripe raspberry, particularly on the palate, and it’s a lot more concentrated and dense than what one usually finds at this price. Saying this, I think of it more as a fruit-driven medium-bodied example of Australian Shiraz, and it certainly isn’t bogged down by any cloying oak influence that vintners often use to add a bit of heft to lesser fruit. In the mouth, there’s a nice juicy acidity here, as well as red liquorice and black olives, with extremely soft, ripe tannins. It’s in no way jammy, which is always a bonus in my book.
While both wines are complete and offer a lot of drinking pleasure for one’s buck, I feel it’s the freshness of the Chardonnay that really stands out for me. Although I’d score them similarly when it comes to those GFR apples, I’d say that the Chardonnay has just a slight edge over the juicy Shiraz.
(Both wines rate three-and-a-half out of a possible five apples)