Raise Your Glass

2005 Ravenshead Heathcote Tempranillo

$13.99 (Station Hotel, Lismore) is a good price for a still-unusual red from a grape of Spanish origin. Spain’s climate and landscape couple uncannily with much of Australia. My drinking partner has firmed this variety up as his favourite: "Chocolate and blackberry," he said, slurping noisily. Its colour is a deep, plummy red, and there’s a sweet pork and strawberry aroma. Smooth in aftertaste as the flick of a red cape or the adagio in Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez.

2006 Wedgetail Par 3 Yarra Valley Chardonnay

Gold and eagles combine almost inexplicably on this label, new to me, named for the fairway at the bottom of the cool-climate vineyard. Par 3 is printed in running writing (mimicking a mobile golf-buggy or eagle?) and wedgetail is represented by two fine V-shaped lines. Chardonnay qualities make me think neither of motorised sport nor risky flying, for the variety is very good comfort food indeed, giving a thick, warm mouth-fill. Yellow gold or gold leaf in colour, this Guy Lamothe oaked chardonnay has an egg-like aroma, and a honey and warm pineapple flavour with lemon meringue or marmalade jam on the back palate. $14.99, The Cellars (Ballina, Bangalow, Byron).


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