Sutton Forest Three Daughters Reserve Southern Highlands Pinot Noir 2010 $35
Next to McDonald's in Sutton Forest, Nick and Santina Lo Rosso offer a warm smile, good coffee and Italian cakes. They also offer their own wine. But many Hume Highway motorists want nothing more than the Lo Rosso's hospitality and coffee, served by the open fire or in the peaceful gardens. A recent coffee stop put us in such a good mood, we bought a bottle of their reserve pinot noir, which we polished off with great delight a week later. This is medium-bodied pinot, leaning to the earthy, savoury, firm-but-fine style. It's available at cellar door or suttonforestwines.com.au
Jamiesons Run Limestone Coast Chardonnay 2013 $9.40–$15
Jamiesons Run began as a Coonawarra brand in the 1980s, but now offers wine from Treasury Wine Estates' vast vineyard holdings on the Limestone Coast. Grapes for this appealing wine came from Padthaway (about an hours' drive north of Coonawarra) and Robe (about an hour west of Coonawarra). Robe's also an important cray-fishing port – and there could be nothing more pleasant than sitting on the beach washing down fresh cray with this delicious local wine. It's medium bodied and richly textured with mouthwatering nectarine-like varietal flavour and zesty, fresh acidity. The very wide disparity in retail pricing suggests a brand still struggling for identity after almost 30 years.
Montevecchio Rosso Heathcote 2012 $20–$23
Fruit for this blend comes from the Chalmers family's 20-hectare vineyard on the eastern slopes of the Mount Camel Range, Heathcote, Victoria. The vineyard hosts 10 Italian grape varieties. Four of those – negramaro, nero d'Avola, lagrein and sagrantino – go into this blend, made for the Chalmers by Sandro Mosele at Kooyong Estate, Mornington Peninsula. What an exotic and loveable wine it is: highly aromatic, combining ripe, sweet, plummy fruit with gamey, earthy notes. The palate zigs away from the sweetness and opulence suggested by the aroma. Instead the wine is intensely savoury, tannic and pleasantly tart.