Single Bottle Review, Tasting Events

Shaw + Smith “M3” Chardonnay [Wine Review]

This is the second amazing Aussie wine from the Liberty Ireland wine tasting earlier this year

Shaw + Smith “M3” Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2022

Shaw + Smith M3 Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2022 bottle shot

Messrs Shaw and Smith are cousins as well as being partners, having joined forced in 1989. Their wines are mainly from the cool climate Adelaide Hills regions, with a newer outpost in the even cooler Tasmania. The varieties they grow are suited to their sites, with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling the whites and Pinot Noir and Shiraz the reds. For me it’s their Chardonnays which top the bill – this “M3” and the flagship Lenswood Vineyard. “M3” is in quotation marks not just because it’s a name, but the original vineyard from where fruit was sourced has been sold on in favour of sites with different clones and locations. In fact, much of the grapes in M3 now come from the high altitude Lenswood vineyard which S+S bought in 2012, plus their Piccadilly and Lobethal sites.

After hand picking, the grapes are cooled then pressed in whole bunches. The juice is then transferred to French barriques (1/3 new, 2/3 pre-used) to undergo alcoholic and malolactic fermentations. Maturation is over nine months, with some bâtonnage, before blending in steel tanks then bottling.

The 2022 M3 has a fabulously funky nose, yeasty and reductive. Flowers and fresh citrus too. Even smelling it is a treat. The palate has great texture, with creamy notes from MLF and oak. There are stone fruits added to the citrus that comes through from the nose.

For such a young wine this is already showing so well. The price in Ireland has risen somewhat over the last few years (what hasn’t?), but it remains a classy wine and represents good value.

  • ABV: 13.0%
  • RS: 0.3 g/L
  • RRP: €44.99
  • Stockists: The Corkscrew, Blackrock Cellar, Fallon & Byrne, Mitchell & Son,, 64 Wine
  • Other Shaw + Smith wines available in Ireland: Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills Shiraz, “Balhannah Vineyard” Adelaide Hills Shiraz, “Lenswood Vineyard” Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, “Lenswood Vineyard” Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir
Single Bottle Review

Oyster Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc [Wine Review]

Oyster Bay is ubiquitous on the shelves of supermarkets and convenience stores in Ireland and the UK, and this accessibility makes it one of the best known Kiwi wines available in these parts. Of course popularity doesn’t automaticlly infer quality, which give us the obvious question: is Oyster Bay a good wine?

Oyster Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2023

Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc bottle shot

The name Oyster Bay makes one think of the pioneering Marlborough Sauvignon producer Cloudy Bay, but of course those wines are at the other end of the price spectrum for that type of wine.

As well as the region’s signature SB, in Marlborough Oyster Bay also make a Chardonnay and both red and rosé Pinot Noirs. The label also produces wines from Hawke’s Bay on the east coast of the North Island – Pinot Grigio and Merlot still wines plus white (100% Chardonnay) and rosé (Chardonnay / Pinot Noir blend) sparkling.

As expected, the wine is very pale in the glass, almost water white. The nose is surprisingly tropical, something I would expect from Sauvignons at a higher price point or those from Wairarapa across the Cook Strait. There are pineapple and mango aromas, offset by fresh grapefruit, and just a touch of herbs.

The palate is varietally typical with gooseberry and grapefruit, and a nice bit of texture. This isn’t a one dimensional wine, it has competing sweet and sour notes, though more sour and sweet if described by the relative intensity of those properties.

I have to confess that I have not bought a bottle of Oyster Bay for many years, so receiving this bottle gave me a chance to revisit the brand. Odd bottles I had in the past weren’t to my taste, but this was definitely better. So to answer the question posed above – is Oyster Bay a good wine? – I would say it’s OK but not great. It’s not going to win over many people who don’t like Marlborough Sauvignon, and I think there are significantly better bottles out there for a few Euros more. But if you aren’t near an independent wine shop, and you have a hankering for some Savvy, then this might just fit the bill.

  • ABV: 12.5%
  • RS: 4 g/L
  • RRP: €13 – €17
  • Source: gift
  • Stockists: widely available at supermarkets, convenience stores and some multiples