Taltarni Taché 2010 – RRP $26 – ***. Taché – i.e. stained with red wine. A blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. Pale blush, busy small bead, foamy head. Nose reminds me of strawberries and brioche. Palate is full and fruity; the apparent fruit sweetness ably supported by an undercurrent of firm yet integrated acidity. Pleasing aperitif style yet with a structure to suit entrée accompaniment.
Lock & Key Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – $15 – **. Orange, New South Wales. Light in the glass, edge of green. Sauvignon style at the tropical rather than herbal end of the spectrum. Generous fruit salad nose. Soft and full in the mouth, with hints of pineapple and lychee. Medium dry to finish.
Alta Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio 2011 – $20 – ***. Almost water pale. Limes and white blossoms permeate the bouquet. Clean, dry style with lovely citrus-oriented flavours and an edge of sherbert like tang to close.
Toolangi Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2009 – RRP $25 – **. Bright light straw hues. White peach and apricot on the nose, along with a touch of toasted French oak. More stone fruit in the mouth and dried apples, all nicely balanced with biscuity wood and just enough acid to carry to an off-dry finish.
Bouldevines Marlborough Pinot Noir 2009 – $32.50 – ***. New Zealand. Medium crimson shades. Dark cherries and raspberries on a savoury-edged nose. Full-on style with soft tannins and a load of ripe, summer berries. The dry and firm finish counterbalances the fruity lusciousness.
Echelon Petit Verdot 2008 – $28 – ***. Mid-ruby. Nose of blueberries and blood plums with light oaky vanilla. Solid berry characters on the palate combine with mildly assertive tannins and synthesise into a satisfyingly chewy mouthfeel.
Rutherglen Estates Durif 2007 – $40 – ****. Dense to opaque ruby-red. Warm, almost porty nose. Lip-smacking, chewy tannins lead off in this robust and complex red. It’s a heady melange of plums, blackberries, pencil shavings, anise, mocha, leather, and alcohol. Not for the faint of heart. Serve with a substantial main course and plan for an after dinner nap.
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 2010 – Up to $15 – ***. Mid-red, purple hues. Blackberries and unassuming oak invite further nosing. Good fruit intensity in the mouth: if you can imagine a non-cloying sauce composed of 85% chocolate infused with blackberry syrup you might be there.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale $4.50 and more the stubbie. - ***. This is the best US beer I’ve tasted in a long time. A bottle-conditioned (yeast in bottle), full-strength beer (5.6% alcohol) from California. The brew is packed with flavour, slight malt, lovely fragrant hops and a long smooth satisfying palate. It’s up there with my favourite Australian beer, Coopers Sparkling Ale.
***** – outstanding
**** – classy
*** – first-rate
** – good stuff
* – commercial