2016 Chandon Vintage Brut
    Strathbogie Ranges and King Valley, Victoria. RRP $39

    Made from appropriate varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier), and with decades of practice, this wine from Chandon is excellent. There are just terrific Aussie sparkling wines around.

    Vintage sparkling wines tend to cost more; there is better fruit selection, more attention to detail, and the magic comes from time. The bubbles become finer, and there is greater integration of bread/pastry characters. The iron rule is don’t serve these in a flute – use a proper wine glass. This allows best appreciation of the essential aromatics.

    Here comes apples, citrus (grapefruit?) and some nutty and honey notes that join patisserie elements. It’s deliciously crisp, and creamy. I’m dreaming of matching this wine with smoked salmon, salt and pepper squid, or barramundi; plenty of chicken choices too!

    Extras: This wine deserves much more than casual chatter waiting for substantial fare – it insists ‘pay attention’. A visit to the Chandon cellar-door in the Yarra Valley will display some of the sites, styles and experiments that their winemakers are learning from, and expose how seriously they craft the stuff that helps reward our happiness on special, or fun occasions. 

    Correction: Last month’s 2021 Cirillo “the Vincent” Grenache RRP is $25, not the much larger number of $250. Apologies for this production error. Editor


    All Saints 2018 Durif, Rutherglen
    ABV 14%, RRP $35

    When I think of Rutherglen Durif I’m imagining huge, jammy, bold, powerful and in your face characteristics; only to be embraced by cigar-puffing-octogenarians. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Yet with this little number, it appears All Saints have aimed to bring this lesser known variety into the modern wine drinking era while still clinging on to its roots. It still delivers an inky, opaque colour and a palate bursting with dark black forest fruits, lashings of liquorice, bourbon barrel and smoke. Although tannins are firm and persistent, there’s an elegant line of acidity and a juiciness which brings about an ease of drinking, even in its youth. A fragrant and floral nose of pot pourri, cedar, vanilla and black pepper will continue to develop and entice as you make your way through the glass. Although possessing some pretty powerful flavours, they’re all in check, medium bodied and subtle enough to keep you coming back. This wine is a testament to mixing the old with the new and nailing it.

    Pair with: Old school sausage sizzle in a crispy roll topped with onions and mustard. 

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