Coopers Clear Low Carb Dry Beer – around $15 the six pack
This is a full-strength – 4.5% alcohol – beer sold in clear glass 355ml stubbies. A very different style from Coopers Sparkling Ale but quite enjoyable for all that. Lightish amber in colour with a pleasing malty nose. Surprisingly full-bodied in the mouth with the malt continuing to a dryish finish.
Reschke Coonawarra Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – $19 – **
Pale, hint of lime green in colour. Aromatic, almost pungent fruitiness on the nose, with the faintest hint of grassiness and toasted oak. A rather full-bodied style of sauvignon blanc on the palate, showing notes of tropical fruit salad that lead to an off-dry finish.
Cape Mentelle Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon 2009 – up to $28 – ***
In appearance, almost water pale. Fresh lifted aromas of cut grass and lime. The lime character continues through on to the palate along with a herbal edge and bottom notes of creamy barrel ferment. The finish is clean and tangy.
Moss Wood Margaret River Chardonnay 2008 – $57 – ****
Light golden colour. Shows a generously perfumed nose of apricots, brioche and beautifully handled oak. There are not many wines that deliver on the palate what is promised on the nose, but this is one of them. All components, including the toasty oak, are beautifully integrated in this classic and delicious example of Australian chardonnay.
Tahbilk Viognier 2009 – up to $21.50 -***
Nagambie Lakes, Victoria. Pleasant nose of newly picked white peaches and a touch of lemon zest. The palate displays pleasing stone fruit flavours and finishes with an impressive overall tanginess that is not unlike lemon sherbet.
Hickinbotham Pinot Sauvage 2008 – $32 – ***
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. A sparkling pinot noir rosé made using the methode traditionelle, without the usual dosage – hence the sauvage nomenclature. Pale pink rose hues. Nose of strawberry shortcake and honey. Given the sauvage label, tasters might expect enamel-stripping dryness. Against expectations, abundant pinot fruit more than compensates for the absence of dosage, and one is left with moreish flavours of ripe cherries and summer berries.
Annapurna Estate Merlot 2005 – $20 – **
Alpine Valleys, Victoria. Dark cherry red hues. Lifted nose of raspberries and a hint of dark chocolate. Smooth and mellow in the mouth showing soft to medium tannins with notes of sweet berries and a pleasant hint of mocha.
Epsilon Barossa Valley Shiraz 2008 – up to $21 – ***
Deep red, violet edged appearance. Warm spicy nose: blackberry flan with a touch of cloves. Noticeably dry and medium-weighted in the mouth with solid yet unaggressive tannins. Earthy fruitiness leads to a firm and penetrating finish.
d’Arenberg The Wild Pixie Shiraz / Roussanne 2008 – up to $30 – ***
McLaren Vale, South Australia. A blend of 95% shiraz and 5% of the white variety roussanne. A ‘foot-trod, basket-pressed, vegan-friendly’ creation of the ‘Wild Pixie’ himself, Chester Osborn. Dense crimson in colour. Savouriness and berries on the nose with hints of peppermint gum. The palate is led by lip-smacking tannic astringency, followed by notes of juicy, almost smoky, fruits of the forest conserve. Will go well with substantial mains dishes.
***** – outstanding
**** – classy
*** – first-rate
** – good stuff
* – commercial
A $ denotes excellent value for money.