A whiskey exclusive
Bushmills 2011 Banyuls Cask 53.6%; $130.
The Whisky Club is the world's largest whisky subscription service, with more than 28,000 Aussie subscribers. They've clearly got some weight in the game, collaborating with some of the world's most iconic distillers such as Lagavulin, Glenlivet and Bladnoch. Their latest exclusive is from the Bushmills distillery: the 2011 Banyuls Cask. At 53.6% it packs a punch, but is not overwhelming, and it hits you with flavour too. Finished in former Banyuls casks (a French-style port), the Bushmills is rich in colour with a nose packed with fruit. The port comes through on the palate - a sweetness followed by stonefruit. Vanilla and spice leaves you warm and content. This is quite a special whiskey, but be quick. It's available only to Whisky Club members until October 3. thewhiskyclub.com.au
Tight grip on The Rip
In The Rip (Wet Hop Belgian Pale); Sailor's Grave Brewing; Gippsland, VIC; 4.5%; $9.
Deep down in the deep Sou' East of Victoria, you'll find The Rip; a narrow waterway of navigational hazard due to strong tidal movements and unpredictable waves. To be caught in the rip can be a terrifying experience. You either succumb to the cold grip of fear or embrace the chaotic flow, gain a heightened sense of things, and try to navigate your ship safely to shore. Appropriately brewed by Sailors Grave, this Belgian Pale brewed with fresh, wet hops from Ryefield Hops is a welcome beverage to hold in one's hand as the political rip increases chaos in our communities. Orange peel hued with a foamy white head. Potent notes of stone fruit and citrus rind dipped in honey, and gently seasoned with fragrantly herbaceous hops. Hold fast.
Classy cool climates
Apricus Hill 2020 Denmark Chardonnay; $35; 5 stars (out of 6).
Climate change has heightened emphasis on cool-climate wines like today's two from Canberra Region and this excellent chardonnay from the Denmark sub-region of WA's vast south coast Great Southern Region. The wine is brassy-hued and displays honeysuckle and shortbread scents and expressive nectarine front-palate flavour. The middle palate has mango, citrus, oatmeal and cashew oak and slatey acid plays at the finish. The Apricus (Latin for warmed by the sun) vineyard is part of James and Careena Kellie's Harewood Estate operation and was planted by them in 1995.It's at harewood.com.au, singlevineyards.com, the Scotsdale Road, Denmark, winery and independent bottle shops. Good with salt and pepper squid and cellar seven years.
Standout year shiraz
Shaw Wines 2018 Canberra Shiraz; $34; 5 stars.
Graeme Shaw has been a building company chief, a racing thoroughbred owner and breeder and the 2014 NSW Production Touring Car champion. Now, however, he's most proud of the 2018 "standout vintage" from his 34-hectare Canberra Region vineyard near the NSW village of Murrumbateman. He rates it on a par with 2015 - the best-ever since he and wife Ann established their vineyard in 1998. The quality of 2018 shines in this 14%, bright purple, bouquet garni-scented shiraz. The front palate has ripe plum front-palate flavour, middle palate Maraschino cherry, herb, dark chocolate and mocha oak and a chalky tannin finish. It is at shawvineyards.com.au, bottle shops and the Murrumbateman cellar. Drink with rack of lamb and cellar 10 years.