Top Drops: May 2017
Author: Max Allen
Photography: Rodney Macuja
Numbered from top to bottom, left to right:
1. LANGUAGE WARNING
2016 Lino Ramble Blind Man's Bluff Bastardo, McLaren Vale, $30
Bastardo. Rather rude name. But a lovely grape from which to
make a vibrant, medium-weight red wine. Especially if it's grown in
McLaren Vale and is guided into bottle by the crew at Lino Ramble.
Available direct from the cellar.
2. TEXTURAL WHITE
2016 Lo Stesso Fiano, Heathcote, $35
The fifth vintage of this delicious white - grown at the
Chalmers vineyard and made at Jasper Hill - is, for me, a benchmark
for the fiano grape variety in Australia: rich, textural, nutty and
creamy on the tongue, but fresh and spicy, too.
3. LAY ME DOWN
2015 Mayford Tempranillo, Alpine Valleys, $36
Most Australian tempranillos, it's fair to say, are drink-now
propositions: juicy, round, soft-edged. This one has long been an
exception: deep, dark fruit and wonderful, grippy tannin crying out
for cellaring. And 2015 is the best vintage yet.
4. FOREST FLAVOURS
Brookie's Byron Dry Gin, Byron Bay, $75
This excellent new gin features 26 botanicals, 18 of which are
native to the Northern Rivers and some of which are foraged in
forest on the Brook family farm. It's bright, cool, full of
character and has a lovely sweet intensity.
5. ROCK AND ROLLE
2016 Koerner "Rolle", Clare Valley, $35
Koerner is one of the rising stars of the Clare; people are
raving about their restrained, medium-bodied reds, but I'm more
impressed by the whites, including this richly savoury and deeply
satisfying rolle (aka vermentino).
6. BITTER TWANG
Cappellano Barolo Chinato, Piemonte, $93 for 500ml
Yes, I know we did a big feature on aromatised wines (vermouths,
quinquinas, chinatos) a couple of issues ago, but this one is so
good - so bitter, so full of dark herbal goodness, so twangy on the
tongue - I felt you needed to be told about it.
Imported by giorgiodemaria.com
7. CLASSIC CAB
2015 Zonzo Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarra Valley, $55
The début releases from this reinvented Yarra estate includes
this wonderful cabernet: a classic expression of the grape as grown
in the central valley in a great vintage - deep cassis and dried
herbs, and fine, persistent but supple tannin.
8. IN THE HAND
Two Birds Pale Ale, Spotswood, $22 for six 330ml bottles
Never ones to follow convention, brewers Danielle Allen and
Jayne Lewis have waited five years to release their first pale
(usually the first style to roll off most crafty bottling lines)
and it's a bloody ripper: bold, fruity and highly quaffable.
9. SUPER FINE
2015 Dr Loosen Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett, Mosel, $50
This was the standout riesling at a recent tasting with Mosel
legend Ernst Loosen, and is everything I want in a kabinett: green
apple and mineral water refreshment, entrancing prettiness and
scintillating, perfectly balanced acidity.
Imported by cellarhand.com.au
10. REFRESHMENT FACTOR
2016 Singlefile Riesling, Great Southern, $25
You know how sometimes, on a warm afternoon, say, or when you
feel like a pick-me-up, or just because you're thirsty, you get the
urge for a lively, citrusy delicious young riesling? Well, this is
exactly the wine that will satisfy that urge.