Top drops: September

These are the drops we've been drinking this month, from a Victorian shiraz to an apple brandy imported from Normandy.

Numbered from top-bottom and left to right;


2015 Millbrook Viognier, Perth Hills, WA, $35

It's the texture that clinches it for me: a beautiful, creamy richness that slides across the tongue, carrying scents of musk and powdered ginger and honeysuckle. Lovely with rich, spiced Middle Eastern chicken or fish dishes.


2014 Corymbia Tempranillo Cabernet, Swan Valley, WA, $35

I'd love to taste this tempranillo-cabernet blend again in 10 or 15 years; right now it's quite a sumptuousyet-earthy, ripe-yet-savoury red, and I reckon some bottle age will bring even more ethereal complexity. Try with roast... goose.


2015 Tarrington Chardonnay, Henty, Vic, $45

The rolling farmland of far south-west Victoria is home to some great vineyards such as this one just outside Hamilton: a beautiful amalgam of refreshing citrus notes and honeyed creaminess, complex, multilayered. Should cellar well, too.


Joseph The Fronti, McLaren Vale, SA, $50

The latest release of this remarkable sweet wine is richer and deeper than I remember from previous bottlings: winemaker Joe Grilli blends ancient barrel-aged fortified wines with his own 35-year-old frontignac to startling effect. Wow.


2016 Comyns & Co Fiano, Hunter Valley, NSW, $28

A good example of the southern Italian fiano grape from experienced Hunter winemaker Scott Comyns, released under his new label: tangy and crunchy like biting into a nashi pear, then nicely grape-pulpy on the tongue.


Roger Groult 3 Year Old Calvados, Pays D'Auge, Normandy, $68

I recently tasted all the different calvados from import specialists Spirits of France and, for me, this offered the best value: a wonderfully complex apple brandy offering both fresh cider aromas and satisfying barrel-aged characters.

Imported by


2014 Burn Cottage Original Vineyard Pinot Noir, Central Otago, $89

In 2014 Burn Cottage made three pinots, and while I like the sinewy Moonlight Race ($66) and the elegant, floral Valli Vineyard ($89), this is my pick: lots of dark macerated hedgerow fruit wrapped up in velvety tannin. Glorious.

Imported by


2014 Craiglee Shiraz, Sunbury, Vic, $55

A fittingly brilliant wine to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the replanting of one of Australia's great Victorianera vineyards: intense but reserved silky black fruit, tingly black pepper, fine, firm tannin. Will mature well for 20 years or more.


2015 d'Arenberg The Noble Botryotinia Fuckeliana, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, McLaren Vale, SA, $20

Stop sniggering at the back... it's a perfectly legit botanical name for a certain type of mould, apparently - the kind that infects grapes and produces luscious but balanced and moreish sweet wines like this.


2015 Tar & Roses Tempranillo, Heathcote, Vic, $23

My word, this is terrific value tempranillo: all the supple black fruit and deeply satisfying, plump-tannin umami savour you could want at a very reasonable price. I have even seen it advertised for less than $18, which is a steal, I reckon.


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