Zingy WA white
Madfish 2020 Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon; $18; 4 stars (out of 6)
Today we look at varietal wine blends that are emblematic of the areas from which they come. This one is from Western Australia's Great Southern Region which, with Margaret River, have made sauvignon blanc and semillon blends a success story of WA white winemaking. Named for the beautiful Madfish Bay in the Denmark wine sub-region, the wine is green-tinted lemon and passionfruit-scented. The front palate has zingy gooseberry flavour, middle palate lychee, guava and musk characters and a mineral acid finish. Get it at burchfamilywines.com.au, Miamup Road, Cowaramup, and Scotsdale Road, Denmark, cellars and wine shops. With the Howard Park, Allegory and Jete brands, it is part of the Burch Family Wines portfolio. Drink now with seafood wontons.
Tyrrell's 2021 Shiraz-Pinot Noir; $35; 5 stars
This smooth 90% shiraz-10% pinot noir blend is of a Hunter Valley classic style made famous in the 1920s by legendary Mount Pleasant winemaker Maurice O'Shea, who called them Henry Pinot-Hermitage in honour of his friend French-born chef Henry Renault of Sydney's l'Hermitage Restaurant. After a period when the style was dropped, Mount Pleasant's then chief winemaker Phil Ryan revived it in 1997 and Tyrrell's has followed suit with this 13.5% alcohol, bright crimson, rose petal-scented charmer. The front palate has elegant raspberry flavour, the middle Satsum plum, blueberry, spice and savoury oak and the finish dusty tannins. At the Broke Rd, Pokolbin, winery, tyrrells.com.au and fine wine shops. Great with roast duck and cellar 10 years.
Tripel Karmeliet (Belgian Triple); Brouwerij Bosteels; Buggenhout, Belgium; 8.4%; $8.50
Who knew geology has such an intrinsic influence on the unique qualities of certain beer styles from particular places? In Europe, the geology of the aquifer often directly affects the chemistry of the brewing water, which influences the brewing process, and therefore the taste of the finished beer, thus helping to define certain classic beer styles. 85% of Belgium's water comes from a bedrock of Eocene marine sandstone that provides a coveted calcium content of around 100ppm, enabling the production of a formidable range of Belgium beer styles. First brewed in 1996, based on a recipe from 1679, Tripel Karmeliet is made with water straight from the Eocene: Hazy, golden carbonation, mildly malty, lightly hoppy, ripe orange citrus, spicy with pleasant fruity esters. Bright with balance direct from the bedrock.
Pushing the boundaries
Mr Black Espresso Martini, Mr Black Roasters & Distillers, Erina, NSW, 4x200ml cans, $34.99, 8%
Oh boy, this is daring mission. Espresso martinis are a party starter, an instant magnet in a pub. Often on special, and a prime measurement of whether bar staff know what they are doing, or not. Tom Baker and the crew at Mr Black know their coffee cocktails - Mr Black coffee liqueur is sold around the world, all made in their Erina, NSW, distillery. So jumping on the RTD (ready to drink) bandwagon with an expresso martini in a can was a challenge not taken lightly. Chill, shake and pour they say. So I did. I didn't succeed at getting a foamy top on my pour. But I enjoyed the drink all the same. I'm willing to keep trying for the perfect pour. It's not for the faint-hearted - no coffee drink is. Hats off to Mr Black for putting it into the marketplace - you never know when you won't be able to get to the pub.