Wine review – Stella Bella, Mitolo, Chateau Les Maurins, Angullong, Shaw and Smith

Stella Bella Serie Luminosa Chardonnay 2012 Forest Grove and Gnarawary Road vineyards, Margaret River, Western Australia $65 Stella Bella’s flagship chardonnay momentarily upstaged a memorable lunch at Canberra’s Chairman and Yip restaurant. Even the Chairman’s signature pungent, chewy, savoury, salted squid couldn’t detract our attention form the wine’s shimmering beauty. This is modern Australia chardonnay […]

Canberra brewer’s gypsy pact

Pact Beer Co, Canberra’s ambitious new brewer. Photo Giancarlo Del Miglio Like the Wig and Pen, Zierholz, and Bent Spoke, Canberra’s new brewer, the Pact Beer Co, arose from the vibrant, anarchic underworld of home brewing. In 2014, Kevin Hingston, a keen home brewer, became national winner of the Australian Amateur Brewing Championships. His appetite whet, […]

Wine review – Corte Carista, Hardys and Seppelt

Chianti Classico (Corte Carista) 2012 $9.99 Aldi’s Tuscan import takes us well away in style from Australian wines made from the same grape variety, sangiovese. It’s medium bodied, taut, bone-dry, earthy and savoury with sour-cherry-like fruit characters in the aroma. On the palate this cherry-like flavour wells up through tough, pervasive, savoury tannins. It fits […]

Fat Yak sires lazy offspring

Herd mentality The release this month of CUB’s Lazy Yak – first offspring of Matilda Bay’s successful Fat Yak Pale Ale – reveals much about the rapidly growing craft beer market. It also supports predictions the big brewers are best placed to profit from it. Fat Yak was itself a toned-down version of Matilda Bay […]

Wine review– Pizzini, Wirra Wirra and Ferngrove

Pizzini King Valley Rosetta Sangiovese Rosé 2014 $17–$19 Joel Pizzini’s sangiovese rosé pours a light and bright pink colour. The inscrutable appearance, shared by most modern rosés, offers no hint about the style. It could be sweet and bland; soft, gentle and delicately fruity; or dry, savoury and grippy. The aroma yields a few clues […]

Wine review – Chalmers

Chalmers Heathcote Fiano 2012 $33 The little known white variety, fiano, thrives in the heat of Italy’s Campania region, where it’s been known since around 1240. Australian winemakers took this cue to plant it in our warmer regions – and it obliged by making characterful dry whites well removed in style from our usual fare. […]

Wine review – Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Farr, Pizzini, Keller, Smith and Hooper, and Yalumba

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Shiraz 2013 Coonawarra, South Australia $33–$44 Wynns’ top-end reds, due for release on 5 August, include this outstanding vintage of Black Label Shiraz. A relative newcomer to Wynns’ line-up, Black Label is the shiraz equivalent, in price and quality, to the legendary Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon, made continuously since 1954. […]

2013 – a great apple year in Orange

Good vintage for Small Acres Cyder Like winemakers along the southern NSW tablelands, James Kendall loved the 2013 vintage. However, Kendall’s enthusiasm is for cider apples, not grapes. In 2006, with wife Gail, Kendall bought bare land at Borenore, near Orange. They established the Small Acres Cyder business and planted three hectares of English and […]