Top shelf drinking

Champagne Duperrey Brut Rosé NV – up to $45 – 89/100. Pinkish onion skin hues and fine bubbles in the glass. Berries and yeasty baked bread aromas are evident in the bouquet. The palate exhibits hints of strawberries and stone fruits and is unexpectedly off-dry. Though not a sweet style, this will appeal to those who dislike bone dry bubbly.

Knappstein Clare Valley Hand Picked Riesling 2012 – $20 – 92/100. A nose of citrus blossoms and lime zest. Light and elegant in the mouth, well structured with citrus fruitiness which at first seems sweet but then progresses into a lingering dry finish.

Forester Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – $25 – 89/100. Margaret River, Western Australia. Ripe kiwi fruit scented nose with subtle notes of barrel fermentation. A fuller flavoured style of SB with underlying oak toastiness and good length. Would go well as an entrée wine.

De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2008 – $33 – 95/100. Perfumey nose reminiscent of cumquat marmalade. The palate expands with essence of nobly rotted semillon and if this were a dessert you would have to liken it to a superior lemon meringue pie. A superb after dinner drink.

Chambers Rutherglen Noble Muscadelle 2011 – $15 – 89/100. Muscadelle is the grape from which the great fortified “Tokays” of Rutherglen were made. Australian winemakers are no longer allowed to use that name and instead must call them “Topaque”. Not a word I am fond of… This wine is of the same variety but made in the “Noble” style. The nose is, if you can imagine, reminiscent of Seville marmalade on toast. The palate is clean, sweet but not cloying, and finishes with just enough acidity to balance. Try with a cheese platter.

Moss Wood Pinot Noir 2009 – $53 – 95/100. Margaret River, Western Australia. Pale, youthful, light cherry hues. Appealing nose of strawberries and judicious oak usage. The palate is delicious from the first sip to the last and the fruit and wood are integrated beautifully. “Another bottle please, waiter!”

Zema Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – $29 – 90/100. Coonawarra, South Australia. Deep ruddy hues in the glass. A robust style with a warm nose of summer berries and plums, and faint oak. A firm full palate displays mature fruit with earthy undertones and assertive tannins towards the end. Well-suited to main course fare.

Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz 2008 – $70 – 92/100. McLaren Vale, South Australia. Deep crimson, purple edges. Aromatic with sweet blackberry and a hint of anise to the nose. Generously flavoured in the mouth with hints of blackberry conserve, liquorice and dark chocolate. Firm but not aggressive tannic astringency demands well seasoned tucker.

Borsao Seleccion Grenache Blend 2011 – around $12 – 89/100. From the Moncayo region in north east Spain. Mid to deep red. Warm nose of berry fruits. Mid-weighted but full-flavoured in the mouth. A dry style with soft tannins. Easy drinking on its own or good with main course dishes. Great value.

Chateau Tanunda Terroirs of the Barossa Ebenezer District Shiraz 2010 – $48- 92/100. Deep purple to black in colour. Spicy complex nose with edges of mulberry and some savoury undertones. Rich and flavoursome, it presents intense fruit characters along with hints of mocha and leather.

Auldstone Liqueur Muscat 500ml – $30 – 91/100. Glenrowan, Victoria. Pleasing light russet shades. Bouquet of dark fruit cake and maybe toffee. Rich thick and intense raisiny notes typical of Glenrowan fruit, along with a savoury mocha edge. A lovely dessert style. Try also poured over vanilla ice cream or incorporated into a whipped cream topping.

Crystal Head Vodka – around $80 the 700ml bottle. A quadruple distilled Canadian vodka in a striking skull shaped bottle. The package blurb tells us that the spirit goes through seven filtration processes and, as you might expect, the result is incredibly smooth and clean. Like many, I prefer vodka as a cocktail rather than straight. This one makes an excellent Blue Monday. Shake three measures of Crystal Head to one of Cointreau (or Blue Curacao) with plenty of ice, strain into glass, splash with a few drops of Fee Brothers Lemon Bitters, enjoy.

La Verte au Genepi – 330ml – $7. A greenish-hued beer made with glacier water from Mont Blanc combined with absinthe-like alcohol based on Artemisia (wormwood) flowers. Sweetish beer taste with a little herbal bitterness at the finish. As I taste I starting to see strange green flashes. Oh – it’s lightning.


95-100 – Gold

90-94 – Silver

85-89 – Bronze

80–84 – Good drinking

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