Wine & beer review — Boag’s, Redbank & Annie’s Lane

Boag’s Honey Porter, about $10 to $12 for 4 375ml bottles
Luscious is the word for this wonderful new Tassie brew. It’s a tad paler than some Porters – a deep, appealing, mahogany rather than black. But it’s full-bodied and complex, combining malt and roast malt flavours with fragrant hops, a terrific, drying hops bitterness and a subtle, balancing sweetness derived from the use of Tasmanian leatherwood honey in the brew. Master brewer, John Hood, says he used three different types of dark, highly roasted barley malts, two Tassie grown hops, including the new Van Diemen variety, and a ton and a half of honey from the Stephens’ family apiary at Mole Creek. More info at

Redbank ‘Sunday Morning’ King Valley Pinot Gris 2003, about $19.95
The superb 2002 vintage won a gold medal and trophy at the recent Cowra show. It’s now sold out. Thankfully, the 2003’s in the same league – an outstanding example of this interesting white relative of pinot noir. Like black pinot, it has a firm, acidic spine. But there the resemblance ends. The winemaker’s note talks of ‘lychee’ and ‘quince’ character, although what I smelled and tasted seemed more pear like. Whatever fruit you liken it to, however, it’s bloody delicious, zesty and dry and beginning to show some of the variety’s distinctive viscosity. It’s made by the Yalumba team using hand-harvested fruit from John and Helen Cavedon’s vineyard at 400 metres in Victoria’s King Valley.

Annie’s Lane Clare Valley Riesling 2003, $14 to $18
This is just one of many absolutely delicious, early-release 2003 rieslings beginning to hit the market. As a major, widely distributed product (it’s part of the Beringer Blass group), Annie’s Lane is frequently discount fodder. Hence, the wide gap between ‘normal’ retail and ‘special’ pricing. I saw this in a line up of 12 other 2003’s and liked its rich musky/floral aroma and similarly generous, very fresh and zesty dry palate. The screw-cap seal guarantees pristine, fruity freshness now and should protect the wine for many years if you prefer the rich, honeyed flavours that come with age.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2003 & 2007