AND so another terrible Ashes series down under comes to a sorry close, the only bright spot this time being the fact we weren't whitewashed 5-0. (For those that don't know or for those who lost interest as soon as the first Test hammering was over, it all ended 4-0, with one of the five matches drawn.)

Oh well.

At least it gives us an excuse to celebrate Australia's talents. No, that does not mean giving any kudos whatsoever to their annoying pommie-bashing cricket team, but rather raising a glass to some cricket-inspired Aussie wines, which are much easier to enjoy.

Take the Jim Barry Cover Drive, for example, a Cabernet Sauvignon from the southern boundary of Coonawarra.

Jim himself is a famed winemaker rather than a batsman or bowler, but the vineyard from which this wine largely hails is on the site of the old Penola cricket ground - hence the cricket-related moniker.

The ground closed in 1996, with Jim purchasing the 30-acre property soon after and planting a Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard.

The original pavilion and pitch are still there, and, fittingly, the wine it produces is as classy as an effortless David Gower "cover drive" from yesteryear.

These grapes, along with a few selected parcels of fruit from the Barry family-owned Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in the renowned Clare Valley, are blended together and aged in oak to produce a wine that is soft and approachable - a bit like one of England's deliveries has been for Australia's batsmen this winter.

It is rich as well, though, with lifted blackcurrant, blackberry and cedar aromas and subtle savoury notes of garden herbs, earth and spice.

There are generous red fruits on the palate shaped by soft, silky tannins, with hints of liquorice, tobacco and oak.

You can get this bottle from Majestic, priced £14.99, or £10.99 in their Mix Six promotion.

Another wine which... pardon the cliche... bowled us over as if we were England's tail end was the Wirra Wirra The 12th Man Chardonnay.

The founder of the modern-day Wirra Wirra winery, the late great Greg Trott, was a huge cricket fan whose dream had been to play for Australia, or even just run out as drinks carrier - a traditional job of the 12th man in cricket.

Furthermore, the original winery there, which had been left derelict before Trott's intervention, was founded in the 1890s by an eccentric cricketer by the name of Robert Strangeways Wrigley.

Made in an Old World style, this Chardonnay was matured in a mix of old and new French oak with regular lees stirring, and it demonstrates a fresh green apple and tropical fruit character, with its oakiness kept in check by a lovely cleansing acidity. The finish is long, with succulent zesty notes.

A bottle would generally set you back £17 to £20 from online stockists.

Anyway, apparently the Ashes records now stand at 33 series wins for Australia and 32 for England (with five series draws). Let's not drink to that, at least until we beat them again back home.