Yarra Burn Blanc de Blancs 2004 – $45 – ****
100% Chardonnay. Very pale yellow with an edge of green, fine bead. White flower petals, light biscuity yeast and a hint of green apple on the nose. Youthful, dry and elegant in the mouth with delicate Apple Danish flavours against a background of beautifully integrated lime acidity at the finish.
De Bortoli Rococo Yarra Valley Rosé NV – $22 – ***
A sparkling blend of chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir. The colour is a pale, just off-white, candy pink. Lively fragrant nose of rose water and strawberries. Shows a dry, clean palate of new season summer berries with a tang of lemon zest at the finish. Ideal summer luncheon fizz.
Hennessy VS Cognac Collectors’ Edition No. 1 – around $60
Look no further than this for the ideal Christmas present. The stylish bottle is designed by two artists, David Burrows and Kesh, and the decorative facade will save the thrifty giver the expense of gift wrapping. Lovely nose of mature spirit, cashew nuts and oaky vanilla. The palate is velvety smooth, with raisin-fruity top notes, mature oak, and undertones of warm spiciness.
Macadamia Nut Liqueur- 500ml bottle – $46.50
From the Mount Tamborine distillery near Queensland’s Gold Coast comes this nutty liqueur. Light sherry in colour, it offers upfront aromatics of the Queensland nut, AKA the macadamia. The palate is unashamedly sweet and slightly spirity (20% alcohol) and is quintessentially macadamia in flavour. Those who enjoy Frangelico will find this one appealing. I like liqueurs a tad drier and I found that a mix of this with the same amount of dark rum over ice is quite delicious.
Strongbow Clear Slow-Filtered Cider –a six-pack of 355ml bottles up to $15
A full strength (5% alcohol) cider advertised as low carb*. Golden colour. Fresh green apple nose. Refreshing, crisp, dry appley palate. Delicious.
*I’ve yet to meet a serious drinker who worries about this sort of thing.
Aja Blush Moscato Rosé 2009 – $20 – **
Displays bright raspberry hues. Juicy nose reminded me of strawberry conserve. A light (8.5% alcohol) sweet style with a soft and pleasant spritzig mouth-feel. Flavours of summer pudding: strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, are plentiful.
Gallagher Brut Rosé 2008 – $25 – **
Canberra District. Sparkling blend of pinot noir 65% and chardonnay 35%. Pale rose pink. Nose of cherries and fresh baguette. Medium-weighted palate has more of the dark cherry influence, along with notes of juicy Red Delicious apples.
Moss Brothers Margaret River Semillon 2009 – $27ish – ***
Pale straw hues. Generous nose of lemons, grassiness and young pineapple. Fuller bodied style of this varietal with a long palate of lychees and lemons and herbaceousness. Medium citric acidity adds weight to the finish.
Barambah First Grid Unwooded Chardonnay 2009 – $19 – **
South Burnett, Queensland. Shades of light gold. Ripe apricots and a tropical fruits on the nose. Flavoursome style that oozes ripeness on the palate. The warm climate fruit is quite distinct but there is sufficient lemon-like acidity to give a pleasant balance to the sweet juiciness.
Angove McLaren Vale Shiraz 2008 – $18 – ***
Attractive lifted nose shows a tad of black pepper and an acrid yet appealing edge not unlike peppermint eucalyptus. That mintiness follows through on the palate and with the blackcurrant and blackberry fruit creates a degree of pleasing, moreish complexity. Firm, slightly chewy tannins complete the overall package.
Tyrrell’s Old Winery Shiraz 2008 – $14 – **
Heathcote, Victoria, and McLaren Vale, South Australia. A savoury warm nose of dark cherries and toasted wood. Nicely balanced sweet blackberry fruit and medium tannic astringency make this a good all-round dining companion.
***** – outstanding
**** – classy
*** – first-rate
** – good stuff
* – commercial