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David Ellis

CANBERRA’S Shaw Vineyard Estate’s Winemakers Selection may be its cheapest label at just $16 a bottle, but it certainly comes up trumps when it comes to value for money.

The just-released 2008 Winemakers Selection Cabernet Merlot is particularly interesting because Graeme Shaw excels when it comes to Cabernet – in fact he believes it’s the best fruit in his cool-climate vineyard – and this Cabernet Merlot blend was made in a year in which those Cabernets really stood out.

So good were they that Graeme produced his first-ever Reserve Cabernet under the Merriman Label, and then blended part of the remainder with Merlot to create his more-budget Winemakers Selection blend.

It’s a wine of dominant blackberry and spice flavours with balanced oak; certainly exceptional value at $16 from a great vintage to enjoy with saucy pastas, or if you prefer, to end the meal with strong cheeses.

ONE FOR LUNCH: Western Australia’s Capel Vale The Scholar label wines are made from grapes hand-chosen from only the best of select rows in the vineyard, and then blended in the company’s best-available barrels to produce limited-quantity wines of outstanding quality.

“They’re the most labour-intensive and exquisite wines that we can produce, and only released in years that we think are worthy,” says CEO, Simon Pratten. “In fact for our 2008 The Scholar Cabernet Sauvignon we made just 200 cases,” he adds, and which doubtless explains the $75 price tag.

But for a special occasion, this wine is a stand-out, full of mulberry and plum flavours and chocolate-like overtones. Enjoy it on that special occasion with Moroccan-style slow-simmered lamb shanks with garlic, cumin, coriander, harissa and dates, served with a side of couscous or mashed potatoes.

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