Raise your glass

2007 Chain of Fire Mudgee Rosé

I highly recommend this cheapish Robert Oatley rosé: $14.95, Station Hotel, Lismore. A chain of volcanoes that once ran through Qld, NSW and Victoria left excellent soil. The label’s bronze image is a hammer and anvil worked by a Vulcan look-alike. The wine is a beautiful tomato-sauce or fire red in colour, like the recent Sydney-dawn dust storm. Warm honey is in the aroma with no unwanted sweetness. It’s beautifully dry on the palate: tomatoes, red currants and nuts such as cashews. Easy drinking, said my quaffing companion. James Manners, winemaker; Sam Hayne, viticulturist.

2008 Brokenwood Hunter Valley Semillon

This wasn’t a cheap wine at a special of $22.22, BWS Lismore, and, okay, I was under the spell of a 21st century virus at the time of drinking. But compared to a Barossa semillon, this Hunter Valley seemed unlike the variety. Pale enough to be chenin blanc, tart and grapey, not unlike pinot gris, and given the overabundance of sauvignon blancs (and the Australian dry compared with the NZ fruity), I was delusional enough to think the scandalous mislabelling of albarino had extended to all kinds of grapes. Iain Riggs, winemaker; Keith Barry, vineyard manager.


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