Raise your Glass

2008 Domaine Chandon Pinot Noir Rose

Victorian Domaine Chandon make the best white sparkling at a not-too-expensive-if-you-drink-champagne-intermittently-and-want-to-splurge-for-a-celebration price, so I looked forward to this rose from The Cellars (Ballina, Bangalow, Bryon) for $22.99. A bronzed, fiery tomato-sauce red with pink in the rim, it smells like the word gooseberry would if the word smelt, and like sugar syrup or perhaps roses. It would be good with food, since it's very dry, almost astringent, and tastes of tomatoes with a follow-up of fruit jellies.

It's a surprise to see a Queensland wine in Coles Liquorland, the Square, Lismore. The Darling Downs' Jimbour Station is owned by the Russell Pastoral Company. A friend, a Queensland girl, once told me that the wealthy Russells were critiqued in Andrew McGahan's Gothic novel about Aboriginal-White race relations, The White Earth. The bottle has a well-judged cream and silver label with clear, minimal print and an overland image, and the wine is a gorgeously bright, clear lemon. It smells of vintage cheddar and parsley followed by guava or basil. On the tongue it's like a Splice ice-cream, with the fizz of sherbet, tartness of citrus and sweetness of green apple. $17.49.


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