Top Drops: July 2016
Author: Max Allen
12:00AM, Jul 27, 2016
Numbered from left to right, down the image.
1. SUPER SAKE
Miyako-Bijin "White Label" Junmai Yamahai, Awaji-shima, Japan, $75
After importing and wholesaling for years, Black Market Sake are now retailing through their website, making it easier to get hold of stunning drinks like this: aromas of radish and apple, slinky texture, deep and complex umami-rich finish.
Imported by blackmarketsake.com
2. SINEWY SYRAH
2012 Cobaw Ridge Syrah, Macedon Ranges, Vic, $50
If you like medium-bodied, intensely flavoursome shiraz grown in cool, high-altitude vineyards, try this beauty: subtle but seductive scents of pepper and dark humus lead to a sinewy mouthful of glossy blackberries and powdery tannin.
3. TONGUE HUGGER
2012 Celler Escoda-Sanahuja, Nas del Gegant, Conca de Barbera, Spain, $41.95
This bold Spanish red sits at the far end of "natural wine" production - biodynamic farming, no additions - but, thanks to its sturdy tannic backbone, tastes bold and youthful: superbly rich purple fruit, meaty, earthy, glorious.
Imported by apostrophewine.com.au
4. RICH WHITE
2014 Rutherglen Estates Renaissance VRM, Rutherglen, Vic, $32
The more blends of viognier, roussanne and marsanne I taste, the more I think how well-suited these grapes are to warm-climate regions like Rutherglen: this wine is ripe, complex and generously proportioned, but long and savoury, too.
5. COUNTRY WINE
2014 Pyramid Valley Howell Cabernet Franc, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, $54
Slice some chunky terrine and crusty baguette and pour yourself a glass of this deliciously rustic, medium-bodied red with its wild hedgerow berries and touch of earthy funk. You might still find the 2013 around the traps: it's also superb.
Imported by imbibo.com.au
6. BONZA VINO
2015 Giovanni Armani Giorgio Bianco Superiore, SA, $25
Love the fake cheesy Italian name; love the daggy, early-'90s computer design (check out the website for a giggle); love the mouthful of melon-pulpy deliciousness delivered by garganega and sauvignon blanc grapes. Bravo!
7. MID-LIFE TINNIE
Pirate Life Throwback IPA, Adelaide, SA, $5
Brewing mid-strength (3.5 per cent alcohol) beer without sacrificing flavour is a challenge, but the Pirates have risen handsomely to the call: there's loads of fragrant hoppy goodness and refreshing bitterness in this lovely little tinnie.
8. SPANISH BOTANIC
Cillar de Silos Golfo Vermut, Ribera del Duero, Spain, $75
This fabulous vermouth comes from one of my favourite producers of red wine in Ribera del Duero. At its heart is a base of super-rich tempranillo grapes, over which are draped layers of dark, swirling botanical complexity.
Imported by thespanishacquisition.com
9. NEW NERO
2015 Eldorado Road Luminoso Rosé, North-East Victoria, $25
This terrifically dry, spicy and satisfying rosé is made from the black nero d'Avola grape variety, originally from Sicily, but now thriving in Australia's warmer regions. Eldorado Road also makes a bold, slurpy $35 red from the same grapes.
10. TOP PET NAT
2014 Brave New Wine Little Sister Pet Nat, Mount Barker, WA, $28
This little beauty from WA is one of the best Australian pet nats - naturally sparkling wines that finish fermentation in the bottle - I've tasted: it's full of juicy little red berries, cascading and snapping and popping across your tongue.