Star Drinking

by Martin Field

Shanghai Lager – up to $16 the six-pack of 330ml bottles *
Unusual this. Brewed from rice, according to the media release. A pale looking lager style with a good foamy head. Slightly sweet and light on the palate with faint bitterness at the back of the tongue. Would suit people who generally don’t drink beer ‘Because it’s too bitter!’ Would go well (obviously) with Chinese tucker.

Tyrrell’s Old Winery Hunter Valley Semillon 2007 – $11 * * *$
Lemons and straw on the nose. Light (10.5% alcohol) fresh style with attractive ripe citrus flavours. An ideal lunch and entrée white.

Shingle Peak Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – up to $26 * * *
This one exhibits the typically grassy pungency we expect from quality NZ sauvignon blanc. The palate is crisp with upfront tangy acid and stacks of lychee fruit.

Knappstein Watervale Riesling 2007 – up to $30 * * * *
Clare Valley, South Australia. Aromas of lime dominate the bouquet. This is a full-bodied riesling with more lime aspects on the palate and excellent length. Try with lighter main courses or with a cheese platter. Cellar up to 10 years.

10X Chardonnay 2006 – up to $30 * * *
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. Lovely rich bouquet of peaches and French oak vanillin. Supple and flavoursome in the mouth, the softness is balanced at the finish with well-integrated citrussy acid.

Nepenthe Tryst Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2007 – up to $17 * *
Sweetish strawberry and Turkish Delight nose. Soft and fresh in the mouth, some sweetness in the middle leads to a just off-dry finish showing an edge of acid zest. Serve well-chilled as an aperitif.

Hewitson Miss Harry 2006 – $22 * * *
Barossa Valley, South Australia. Grenache, shiraz, mourvèdre blend. Thick luscious and rich style full of sweet berries. Imagine a summer pudding in a glass.

Plantagenet Shiraz 2005 – up to $40 * * * *
Great Southern, Western Australia. This wine looked good in the glass: dense red to black with a vibrant purple edge. The nose is warm and full of ripe blackberries with a hint of pencil shavings. On the palate, there is a well-structured mix of berries and plumminess supported by firm, drying tannins. Lip smacking.

Mildara Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 – up to $26 * * *
The nose reminded me of mulberry conserve, along with a hint of the dustiness I often associate with Coonawarra cabernet. Mulberry sweetness continues on the palate with intense, almost inky, blackcurrants. The finish is warm (15% alcohol) and firm.

Rating system
Five stars * * * * * – outstanding
* * * * – classy
* * * – first-rate
* * – good stuff
* – commercial
A $ denotes excellent value for money.

NB Prices in Australian dollars.

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