Holey Dollar Over Proof Rum – seen around at $55 to $65 ***
This is a powerful drop at 57.2 per cent alcohol, but the power is smooth and constrained in its rich mouthfeel. Flavours are reminiscent of molasses, vanilla, walnuts, chocolate, toffee and warm spices. It goes down very well on its own, with ice, or with a splash of water. Try also as a fine mixer. For a Dark ‘n Stormy, pour one measure of rum over ice and add about four times that amount of dry ginger ale, garnish with a wedge of lime.
Chandon Vintage Brut 2006 – up to $40 ****
Yarra Valley, Victoria. Pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot meunier blend. This bubbly spent two and half years on yeast lees and the lees contact is evident in the aromatic, bakery oven nose. The palate shows brioche like flavours along with new season white peaches and a hint of lime juice. It finishes with lip-smacking zest.
Thistle Hill Riesling 2009 – $30 ***
Mudgee, New South Wales. Organic wine. Intense lime and lime blossom nose. Quite a full-bodied palate for a riesling – in contrast to the steely styles of say, the Clare Valley. Flavours are in the apple pie with lemon zest spectrum rather than the expected Granny Smith with a squeeze of lime. A riesling that could convert lovers of unwooded chardonnay.
Scarborough Chardonnay 2008 – $19 **
Pokolbin, New South Wales. Melons, fresh apricots and dried pears on the nose. Medium-bodied, with ripe stone fruit and a suggestion of oak on the palate. Finishes with medium acidity.
Summit Estate The Pinnacle White 2009 – $19 ***
Granite Belt, Queensland. A blend of marsanne, roussanne and viognier. This white has a lovely aromatic nose with just a hint of new French oak. The palate is generous and displays fresh tropical fruitiness and citrus crispness at the finish.
Peter Lehmann Layers 2009 – $16 **
Adelaide, South Australia. Semillon, muscat, gewürztraminer, pinot gris, chardonnay blend. Juicy ripe fruitiness on the nose. A softer style of white, on the palate it shows pears, apricots and dried apples. Finishes slightly off dry.
Printhie Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – $17 **
Orange, New South Wales. Lifted, herbal, passionfruit nose. Generous palate shows more passionfruit along with lychee and an edge of pineapple. Firm dryish finish.
Shelmerdine Yarra Valley Rosé 2009 – $20 ***
Pinot noir. Very pale rose pink. Bouquet shows strawberry shortcake and a little Turkish Delight. Palate shows more of the strawberry character with a slight savoury edge, while the finish is medium dry with soft acidity.
Yellow Tail Pinot Noir 2009 – under $10 **
Yenda, New South Wales. Medium ruby hues with Cherry Ripe notes on the nose. Medium dry style shows plenty of dark cherry character supported by dryish tannins. Good value, particularly for this varietal.
Annie’s Lane Sparkling Shiraz NV $25 ****
Clare Valley, South Australia. Cellar door and on premise only. Crown seal. Average age of components is five years. Mid crimson. Attractive nose of spicy blackberries and chocolate. Sweet rich blackberries and just enough vanillin oak on the palate combine into an overall luscious whole. Seek this one out – I could drink a bucket of it.
Best’s Bin No.1 Shiraz 2008 – $25 ****
Great Western, Victoria. Fragrant raspberries and blackberries combine with faint pepper and floral and minty notes to create a nose of some complexity. The palate is elegant and dry with medium tannins supporting lengthy, essence of “summer pudding” flavours.
***** – outstanding
**** – classy
*** – first-rate
** – good drinking
* – commercial
Prices in Australian dollars