There’s a lot to say for blending wines. Although there are some wine grape varieties that are complete and lack nothing in integrity, most have particular strengths as well as shortcomings. Take cabernet sauvignon for example, it has great colour, grippy tannins and length, but can be lean in the middle palate. Merlot is fuller and smoother and although a bit of a wimp, it fills out and softens a cab sav. Then there is grenache, often light in colour, jammy and sometimes spineless, it has an ideal partner in shiraz which provides the colour, structure and strength that is missing in grenache. Sauvignon blanc is notorious for being herbal and green and when mixed with riper lemony semillon, it becomes better balanced and in many cases, more acceptable. A small percentage of a variety added to another can make a big difference. In the past, it was as if winemakers were using leftovers to make a blended wine. Now, there seems to be more purpose in the art of blending and there is a larger source of varieties to use. Today, we are seeing better-blended wines, both red and white. Enjoy these blends, but don’t dismiss the single varietal wines.

Cheers, Rod Properjohn.

On the Vine Wine Panel (L-R): Steve Perry, Grattan Joyce, Stef Biagi, Anthony Cooper, Rod Properjohn (seated), Terry Stoner, Michael Dickson, Jo Cammack

On the Vine Wine Panel (L-R): Steve Perry, Grattan Joyce, Stef Biagi, Anthony Cooper, Rod Properjohn (seated), Terry Stoner, Michael Dickson, Jo Cammack

On the Vine

Your Premium Wine Guide

Every fortnight, the Liquor Barons wine panel meets in the cellar of the Swanbourne store, to look through 30-40 wines. This is conducted totally masked, and is an exhaustive process. The wines are discussed after each bracket and all points are shared and recorded. In this way, the best wines are selected on their merits - not their labels - and are then presented to you each quarter.


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Rimo 2017 Rosé Wine Vin de
France (Fr)

Attractive bottle of wine by Rimauresq, the well- known Provence producer and a minimalist label if ever we’ve seen one. The wine is a pale pink/bronze colour and is light, fresh and delightfully drinkable. Quaff soon and for best results with light luncheon food or serve as an aperitif.

$18.99 in any six pack
$19.99 each

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Rogers & Rufus 2018 Rosé Grenache
of Barossa

The colour is a light coral pink, the nose is a punnet of strawberries and the palate is a quaffable light dry savoury wine. Add a little spice, lemon and pomegranate to the equation and you have a very acceptable rosé. The low alcohol (11%) is rare, but appealing for this style of wine.

$19.99 in any six pack
$21.99 each



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The Pass 2018 Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough (NZ)

Vavasour’s second label. The Pass is unmistakably Marlborough with voluminous herbal gooseberry characters, a long palate and Gillette-sharp acidity on the finish. It’s a value wine when you are after a Kiwi savvy and don’t want to pay the price of the Saint Clair Block 3. 

$14.99 in any six pack
$16.99 each

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Clairault 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
Margaret River  

Lemongrass identifies the varieties in this and then there are the bread and cheese complexities of lees, the faint tannins of skin contact, the spice of oak and the minerality and acidity of a cool vintage. It’s a light, dry, textural and balanced Margaret River blend that is enjoyable right now.

$16.99 in any six pack
$18.99 each

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Iron Cloud Pepperilly 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Ferguson Valley

Fresh, zesty and cleansing is an appropriate way to describe this SBS from the Ferguson Valley, which is situated a little south-east of Bunbury. The grapes are grown at altitude and impart pear fruit, citrus leaf and tropical fruit. A well-balanced package ready for drinking now and in the short term.

$14.99 in any six pack
$16.99 each

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Villa Maria 2017 Pinot Gris Cellar Selection Marlborough (NZ)

A bright mid-straw colour here with floral and stone fruit characters permeating throughout. Add some spice, a little nuttiness and a long lasting minerality and the wine is complete and fulfilling. Try with light seafood, especially shellfish, when served with a zesty citrusy Asian-style sauce.

$18.99 in any six pack
$19.99 each

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Castelforte 2018 Pinot Grigio
Delle Venezie (It)

Here’s a fresh young quaffer with stonefruit, citrus, a waft of spice and a small dollop of residual sugar which rounds out and balances the palate. It won’t shoot the lights out, but will have very few detractors. Sealed with a screwcap, which will help keep it fresh.

$18.99 in any six pack
$19.99 each

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Flowstone 2018 Moonmilk
Margaret River

Moonmilk is a potpourri of 63% Savagnin (not sauvignon blanc), viognier, traminer and sauvignon blanc (yes, the real savvy). It’s no shrinking violet. Big spicy orange and apricot flavours and a dose of residual sweetness see this as a partner to a full-flavoured sweetish dish such as prawn and pumpkin risotto.

$19.99 in any six pack
$21.99 each

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Fraser Gallop 2019 Estate Chardonnay
Margaret River

This newly-released chardonnay from the celebrated Fraser Gallop stable is a babe in arms and shows bundles of promise. It’s gorgeous, as all babies are and has plenty of citrus and stone fruit and a little quality French oak underneath. Can’t wait till it grows up a little. Will drink well for the next few years.

$20.99 in any six pack
$22.99 each

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Frankland Estate 2018 Riesling Frankland River

A family-owned vineyard that has been knocking out classical quality riesling for three decades. Here’s another beaut wine, it’s fresh with floral bath soap aromas, ripe lemony/lime fruit, good palate length and fine acidity, which guarantees aging, if aged riesling is your bag.

$24.99 in any six pack
$26.99 each

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Oakridge 2018 Chardonnay
Yarra Valley

A lightly coloured wine with a nose showing a mix of nectarine fruit and struck-match. The cool-climate chardonnay is a finer modern style, with a steely minerality on the palate extending to a good finish. Although on the leaner side, it’s not without complexity and will develop well in bottle.

$26.99 in any six pack
$28.99 each

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Saint Clair 2018 Pioneer Block 3 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough (NZ)

This is a classical quality Marlborough savvy from a single site. There is a bundle of tropical fruit, a lift of citrus and freshly-cut grass in this and the palate lingers on and on. Stunning young savvy in a cluttered market and justifies the asking price. Serve with flash-fried scallops. 

$29.99 in any six pack
$32.99 each


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Les Peyrautins 2017
Syrah-Grenache Pays D’OC (Fr)

An import with a lot going for it.  There’s good colour, ripe red berry, a shaking of kitchen spice, furry tannins and pleasant finish in this red from the south of France. And the price, well that’s hard to beat. Ideal with a barbecue when the weather warms up a little.

$13.99 in any six pack
$15.99 each

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Clairault 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Margaret River

This mix of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot is decked out with a medley of blackcurrant, mulberry, camphorwood and damp earth. It’s elegant, cool in the mouth, balanced and a joy to drink now. And the value is simply brilliant. Not to be missed.

$17.99 in any six pack
$18.99 each

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Kilikanoon 2017 Killerman’s Run
Grenache Shiraz Mataro Clare Valley

Juicy, spicy and with a bright ruby and violet hue, this is an attractive young red that is ready to drink now. Older oak adds to the structure and provides an ideal savoury aspect, better than the sweet vanillin new oak characters that we sometimes see in these blends. Thoroughly recommended.

$18.99 in any six pack
$20.99 each

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Sittella 2017 Reserve Shiraz
Frankland River

Bright ruby and violet in colour this has youthful red berry, plum and pepper aromatics with a dose of quality oak. The mid-weight palate is well integrated with sweet juicy fruit, subtle grape tannins and has the oak in harmony with some spicy intrigue woven into the mix. Nice drink.

$19.99 in any six pack
$22.99 each

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Buckshot Vineyard 2015
The Square Peg Zinfandel Heathcote 

Named after the buckshot or ironstone pebbles in the vineyard soil in central Victoria. Bold red in colour, it has aromas of blackberry and raspberry and a whiff of spice. The palate is a controlled mix of dark red berry, licorice, chocolate and earth. Drink now or in a couple of years with a heady stew. 

$21.99 in any six pack
$23.99 each

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Schwarz Wine Co. 2017 GSM
Barossa Valley

Medium weighted, this very drinkable blend of grenache, shiraz and mataro is full of spicy fruit jubes and has a little liquorice and plum jam to boot. It has good structure through the palate and drying chalky tannins to finish. Very approachable now and is magic with a plate of charcuterie or grilled fatty sausage.

$21.99 in any six pack
$24.99 each

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Salomon 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon
Finniss River

From Braeside Vineyard on the Fleurieu peninsula, 50 km south of Adelaide. This is an impressive wine from an enthusiastic Austrian family, which makes wine at home in the northern hemisphere as well as in SA. It’s a classical style with black fruit, a waft of varietal mint, grippy tannins and good balance. A keeper, if you have patience.

$26.99 in any six pack
$28.99 each

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Warramate 2018 Pinot Noir
Yarra Valley

Bright ruby in colour, this pinot has lifted red floral fruits and a touch of funk. It drinks beautifully. Has squishy fruit, harmonious tannins, a smidge of earthiness and satisfying finish. Not for cellaring, drink now or in the next one or two years. Well-priced youngster.

$26.99 in any six pack
$29.99 each

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Bishop by Ben Glaetzer 2017 Shiraz
Barossa Valley

Although from the warm Barossa region, this is from a cooler vintage and is not a brute of a wine as Barossa shiraz can be. It’s generous with blueberry, plum and sweet oak with some rudimentary spiciness and pepper of the variety. Has good structure and drinks well. 

$29.99 in any six pack
$32.99 each

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Houghton 2017 Wisdom Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River

Revamped packaging is refreshing, as is the wine itself. Carefully sorted fruit is fermented in open-topped tanks using natural yeast and pressed in a basket press before maturing in French oak. The result is minty with blackcurrant and chocolate characters flirting in the glass and fine tannins holding the wine together across the palate. Outstanding value.  

$31.99 in any six pack
$34.99 each

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Martinborough Vineyard Te Tera 2015
Pinot Noir (NZ)

Medium ruby with an edge of brick, this pinot opens with a smoky and spicy nose. It has firm yet fine tannins, morello cherries, a leathery component and a lingering acid finish. Different to the juicy-fruited Central Otago style of pinot, this serious wine from the North Island is more savoury. We suggest some breathing time before drinking.

$31.99 in any six pack
$34.99 each

You'll find on the vine wines at these stores

Liquor Barons Swanbourne
103 Claremont Crescent
P: 08 9384 2111

Liquor Barons Carlisle
88 Bishopgate Street
P: 08 9361 1335

Liquor Barons Claremont
12 Ashton Avenue
P: 08 9384 6458

Liquor Barons Duncraig
6/8 Burragah Way
P: 9243 6681

Liquor Barons Herdsman
Shop 5, 1 Flynn Street
P: 08 9387 4222

Liquor Barons Marmion
Shop 16, 19 Sheppard Way
P: 08 9447 6744

Liquor Barons Mosman Park
2A Stuart Street
P: 08 9384 2804

Liquor Barons Mt Hawthorn
27 Green Street
P: 08 9444 2097

Liquor Barons Wembley Downs
Shop 1, 11 Bournemouth Crescent
P: 08 9245 2484

Please Note: On the Vine Spring Edition specials end Specials end 30th November 2019.
While stocks last. Pictures for Illustration purposes only.
Prices may vary in country areas. Some products available only at selected stores.