Diplomtico, Venezuela, 40% a/v $89 700ml
If rum, to you, is hate juice, a Coked accelerant to a bucks' night, it probably means you live in Australia. But rum is being reframed. It's not a gentrified neighbourhood like artisan gin, but it has good bones. And if you want an Old Fashioned or something not whiskey, Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva will fill the dark liquor void (for a sum that could as well be in Venezuelan bolivars). This is an amber affair you'll want to farewell winter with, as sweet on the nose as Floriade. It oozes toffee and vanilla, and a bitter finish like the end of Better Call Saul. If you need a toast, Tuesday was National Rum Day.
- Tim Connell
If you've ever strayed into BentSpoke's brew pub for a significant session you've probably raised a glass of their Stratus New England IPA. It's been so popular with drinkers, BentSpoke has finally canned Stratus to save everyone a trip to the nation's capital.
NEIPA is a beer style that only originated out of the American north-east state of Vermont a decade ago, but it has exploded in popularity due to its complex tropical hop profile.
Stratus pours hazy but lighter than some contemporary NEIPAs and features a mix of citra, mosaic, ekuanot, and cashmere hops which deliver an intense flavour profile of pineapple and paw paw. It's also well-balanced by the malts to ensure a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.
BentSpoke has built a reputation on masterful brewing and Stratus only further enhances that. Vintage Cellars and Liquorland
- Josh Leeson
Blue Pyrenees Estate 14% a/v $160
COSTLY, but of superlative quality, two reds from western Victoria's cool-climate Pyrenees Region take the spotlight here today. This 2018 cabernet sauvignon and the 2018 Reserve Shiraz carry the flagship Richardson label, which honours Colin Richardson, who was Blue Pyrenees much-admired fine wine director at the time of his death at the age of 53 in 1999. He was one of Australia's best wine educators, beginning his long wine industry career in 1969. This fine cabernet sauvignon glows deep purple in the glass and has 14% alcohol and berry pastille aromas. Expressive, ripe blackberry flavour displays on the front palate, Morello cherry, spice, cloves, mint and savoury oak on the middle palate and a finish of ferric tannins. Drink with roast beef with mushrooms and minted béarnaise sauce and cellar 15 years.
- John Lewis
Blue Pyrenees Estate 13.5% a/v $160
WITH 13.5% alcohol, inky purple hues and potpourri scents, this shiraz has vibrant blackcurrant front-palate flavour. The middle palate shows Satsuma plum, glacé cherry, anise, capers and mocha oak and a finish of minty tannins. It would go well with duck a l'orange and cellar 10 years. Blue Pyrenees was planted in 1962 by Frances Remy Cointreau group, aiming to grow grapes to make Australian brandy. That, however, gave way in 1984 to premium table and sparkling wine making. After a 40-year ownership, Remy Cointreau in 2002 sold to a syndicate of Sydney businessman. In turn they in 2019 sold to the Glenlofty Wines group of the Richmond-Smith family. With an Australian agriculture history back to 1839, the family got into Pyrenees wine in 2010 by buying the 140-hectare Glenlofty vineyard.
- John Lewis