Top Drops: July 2017
Author: Max Allen
Photography: Rodney Macuja, Rob Shaw
Numbered from top to bottom, left to right.
1. RARE TREAT
Bleasdale 16 Year Old Rare Verdelho, Langhorne Creek, $69 for 500ml
A fantastic taste of Australian fortified wine history: verdelho
harvested from a vineyard planted in 1930, in a barrel for 16 years
before blending and bottling. Rich, tangy flavours of dark caramel
and tangy Seville marmalade. Wow.
2. HEAVENLY RIESLING
2015 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Auslese Riesling, Mosel, $104
From one of the best vineyards, made by one of the best
producers, in one of the best recent vintages in the Mosel,
this is simply exquisite, eminently age-worthy riesling: rose
petals and spice, focused and precise, endless perfumed
3. SITE SPECIFIC
2015 Mount Majura Little Dam Tempranillo, Canberra District, $45
This is my pick of three single-block bottlings from Mount
Majura's nine-hectare tempranillo vineyard: it's the one that, for
me, shows the most varietal character - ample fleshy black cherry
fruit, tongue-hugging supply tannin, some floral lift.
4. FLYING HIGH
2015 Wedgetail Estate Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, $42
From a small vineyard up in the higher country on the north-east
edge of the Yarra Valley, this lovely chardonnay has wonderful
complex flavours of grilled hazelnuts, white peach and a touch of
butterscotch. Terrific with grilled lobster.
5. LONG HAUL
2012 Huntington Estate Block Three Cabernet Sauvignon, Mudgee, $65
I've tasted a few old Huntington cabernets over the years; they
develop a wonderful shiitake and soy richness in the cellar. This,
from the best block of old vines, is black fruity and firm now, but
is sure to head down that savoury path.
6. KING BROWN
Cavalier Brown Ale, Derrimut, $5 for 330ml
The Cavalier brewery in Melbourne has recently revamped its
look, but the quality of its traditional beer remains. This is one
of my faves: a mellow, nutty, dangerously easy-to-drink brown ale
that's crying out for cheese and onion crisps.
7. NORMAN INVASION
2015 Cyril Zangs Cidre Brut, Normandy, $34
Ever since I first tasted this outstanding example of the rich,
fragrant, golden, Normandy-style cider a few years ago on a trip to
Europe, I've been hoping someone would start importing it. Now, at
last, my prayers have been answered.
8. SKIN CONTACT
2016 Moorooduc Estate Pinot Gris on Skins, Mornington Peninsula, $38
Another addition to the growing band of delicious copper-hued
wines made by fermenting pinot gris on skins. The pretty perfume of
flowers and red fruit is offset by a silky grip of
tannin on the tongue: drink cool rather than chilled.
9. PIONEER SPIRIT
Charles Oates Single Cask Fine Apple Brandy, Huon Valley, $120 for 350ml
Named after one of the early settlers of Tassie's Huon Valley,
this beautiful cider brandy was matured in a small barrel that once
held muscat: flavours of muscovado and toffee swirl through the
intense apple characters of the spirit.
10. CLEAR CHOICE
2016 Pittnauer Pitt Nat, Burgenland, $48
While many pét-nats can be funky and cloudy (as a result of
finishing fermentation in the bottle), some are remarkably fine,
clean and fruity - like this one. Bring on the smoked salmon