Showcase Aussie bubbly
Chandon 2016 Vintage Brut; $39; 5 stars (out of 6).
Chandon Vintage Brut was the first wine released after the Domaine Chandon operation was established in the Yarra Valley in 1986 by the Moet et Chandon Champagne house. Since then it's remained a great-value, immaculate showcase of Australian sparkling wine, holding true in this 2016. Based on Strathbogie Ranges and Whitlands vineyards chardonnay, pinot noir and a dash of pinot meunier, it's lime green-tinged straw and has tiny, persistent bubbles and honeycomb and apple peel aromas. The front palate shows elegant white peach flavour, the middle strawberry, fig and biscuity characters and the finish gunmetal acid. At chandon.com.au, wine stores and the Maroondah Highway, Coldstream, winery. Team with sashimi and cellar seven years.
A leap of refreshment
Howard Park Non-Vintage Jete Brut; $38; 4.5 stars.
Burch group's Jete sparklers are named after the spectacular leaps seen in ballet and connect with the brother and sister of group chairman-CEO Jeff Burch both being ballet dancers - David an Australian Ballet principal before in 1996 swapping ballet shoes for Burch vineyard manager's work boots. This classy bubbly is a base blend of chardonnay and pinot noir from Western Australia's Great Southern Region. It has pale straw hues, fine creamy bubbles, orange blossom scents and elegant white nectarine front-palate flavour. The middle palate shows subtle strawberry, apple strudel, nougat and lemon curd elements and slatey acid at the finish. At burchfamilywine.com.au and the Cowaramup winery. Drink with hors d'oeuvres and cellar three years.
Boatman steers safe route
Willy The Boatman Crazy Ivan IPA; St Peters, NSW; 6%; $17 per 4 pack.
It might suggest something a little unhinged on the can, but Willie The Boatman's Crazy Ivan IPA is arguably one of more approachable Indian pale ales.
Not surprisingly it's picked up several gold medals at the Independent Brewers Association Awards (The Indies).
While many IPAs want to smash the taste buds of their drinkers with a hoppy fruit-driven sledgehammer, much like a quick peck on a first date, Crazy Ivan offers enough to keep you interested without giving everything away too quick. The secret is the use of caramel and raisin-laced Scottish malts to balance nicely with the grapefruit American hops.
If you've previously steered away from IPAs, Crazy Ivan is the safe middle ground to bring you back.
French and fantastic
Miraval Cotes de Provence Rosé 2020; Provence, France; 750ml; 13%; $34.99.
I love a dry rosé, so I was excited to discover Dan Murphy's has introduced a new French range sourced from the Provence and Languedoc regions. I tried the Miraval Cotes de Provence Rosé, attracted by the unusual bottle. It was delicious from the first sip - light and delicate with an abundance of red berries and a pleasantly acidic finish. I enjoyed the savoury hints too. Fun fact: Miraval is a chateau owned by Brad Pitt and situated in the ancient village of Correns in the heart of Provence, and this rosé is the result of a collaboration between him and the Perrin family. Anne Charlotte Ferrari, Dan Murphy's business manager (imported wine), says rosé wine sales at Dan Murphy's have grown by more than 35 per cent over the past 12 months. I predict that percentage will increase thanks to rosés like this one.