With Richard Slater & Grant Foulkes
2015 Clover Hill Vintage “methode traditionelle” ABV 12%
Tasmania, RRP $50
Anticipating a decent tax refund soon, it’s time for celebratory bubbles. The style works best with grapes – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, sometimes with Pinot Meunier – grown in cold climates- The traditional method involves fermentation in the bottle (not a tank), with many expensive, careful and time-consuming steps. Clover Hill has a long (for Australia) history of making sparkling wines from Tasmania, and it shows. Vintage styles typically show more personality than formulaic NV fizz. This wine has had a long time on lees, making the bubbles (bead) very fine, while increasing the complexity of this bracing wine. It’s a light gold colour and shows ripe red apple, nuttiness and depth of citrus-laced flavours with a fine, fresh, rich, creamy palate. At this price, why bother with Champagne? Get a high-quality, patriotic, sparkling wine and avoid the oft-anaemic anonymity of common brands.
Conclusion: This flavoursome wine deserves seafood. If oysters are not your COT, any white fish, or chicken will work- avoid coriander though!
2017 Wills Domaine Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ABV: 14%
Western Australia, RRP $49
It’s a ‘bucket list’ winery if ever you’re in Australia’s west as Wills Domaine offers stunning vineyard vistas, incredible cellar door tastings, a wonderful restaurant and the full service for any hallmark event. Definitely go there if you find yourself in Margaret River. Their single vineyard 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon toes the line between drinkability for any red wine lover and complexity for the wine aficionado. Its texture is as soft and supple as velvet with an equally slippery finish. The palate offers layers of subtle milk chocolate, bay leaf, cassis, ripe cherry and liquorice; all of which seamlessly come together and totally justify its ‘mid-tier’ price point. This wine will probably improve with another 10 years of cellaring, but I wouldn’t bother, it’s so good now!
Conclusion: Pair with Sunday roast lamb with mint sauce, Kipfler potatoes and honeyed carrots.