THE FOR­GOT­TEN

THAT LA­BEL YOU MAY BE BYPASSING DUE TO A BAD EX­PE­RI­ENCE MAY JUST BE PRO­DUC­ING CRACKER WINES NOW

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page - PIPERS BROOK LATE DISGORGED VIN­TAGE CUVEE 2007 COUGAR BOUR­BON OR­LANDO LAW­SON’S PADTHAWAY SHI­RAZ 2005

Sep­pelt has been a go-to wine for many over the years, but seems to have lost a lit­tle shine with the ma­jor­ity of drinkers. I’m not sure why as I think they of­fer some of the best value-for-money wines on the mar­ket. Their Cha­lam­bar shi­raz and Jaluka chardon­nay are ab­so­lute stun­ning wines, both last year’s vin­tage and this years. But for me it’s their Drum­borg range that gives the great­est drinking plea­sure, es­pe­cially the Drum­borg ries­ling, a wine that scares some be­cause of its $40rrp, and oth­ers be­cause it says ries­ling, which they still as­so­ciate with that ’80s sweet wine. But nei­ther are true. The wine will set you back about $30, about the price of a good din­ner party wine, and is any­thing but sweet. It’s an in­tense but zesty mas­ter­class of how far we’ve come over those decades. It’s juicy and driven with slate and cit­rus, with cit­rus blos­som and fresh cut lime on the nose. This su­perb wine will also hold for the next 15 or 20 years, if cel­lared well. Pipers Brook is one of those la­bels that we’ve all seen and all had a taste of over the years, but it’s still not a la­bel that we would read­ily reach for when look­ing for a sparkling wine. A few years ago, about 2015, Pipers Brook de­cided to a leap of faith in their prod­uct by mak­ing a vin­tage re­lease, pro­duc­ing a su­perbly drink­able sparkling at a frac­tion of the price of an equiv­a­lent qual­ity French sparkling. But still the wine hasn’t seemed to make trac­tion with the gen­eral pub­lic, ex­cept in restau­rants and bars, where peo­ple are al­ways knocked out by its qual­ity. There’s not huge amounts of the wine made, about 600 dozen, and shows all the hall­marks of a mar­itime cli­mate sparkling: honey, le­mon sher­bet, wafer and fresh toasted brioche with min­eral quartz and oys­ter shell notes, poached pear and fig. It’s not a wine that will con­tinue to age for many years, if you can man­age to stop your­self drinking it now though. RRP is about $40, read­ily avail­able on­line for about $30.

Back in the late ’80s, early ’90s, Cougar was all the rage. It was the bour­bon be­ing poured in most night­clubs. It was the bour­bon be­ing taken on most of the fish­ing trips and camp­ing trips. But as time went by, it di­min­ished in pop­u­lar­ity a bit, which was a shame, be­cause it’s al­ways been a great whiskey, and one that has al­ways stood head and shoul­ders above its com­pe­ti­tion at blind tast­ings I’ve gone to, tried along­side names such as Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and Wood­stock, bour­bon whiskies in roughly the same price range. The old girl had a bit of re­vamp a few years ago, com­ing back with the old round shoul­dered bot­tle, which co­in­cided nicely with a 95pt score from Jim Mur­ray. Put sim­ply it’s a great sip­ping whisky that re­ally should be in ev­ery bour­bon drinker’s col­lec­tion. Crisp fruiti­ness which mel­lows out from the corn to de­liver a mid-palate sweet­ness. The oak de­liv­ers good vanilla with lash­ings of caramels and dried fruit which can get over­whelmed when mixed with cola. A few years ago this won the best red in show and the best wine in show at the Cairns Wine Show. I was telling a mate just how good it was and his re­sponse was “stinky old Or­lando wines ... it’s just Jacobs’s Creek un­der another name”. And yes while it’s some­what true, the par­ent com­pany, Pernod Ri­card, owns both Jacobs Creek and Or­lando, the wines have never looked bet­ter. Named af­ter Robert Law­son, an early pi­o­neer of Padthaway in south­east South Aus­tralia, Law­son’s has es­tab­lished it­self as one of Aus­tralia’s out­stand­ing red wines, hav­ing won a truck­load of tro­phies and gold medals in Aus­tralian and in­ter­na­tional wine shows. It’s done so well for it­self that it has been in­cluded in Lang­ton’s pres­ti­gious clas­si­fi­ca­tion of dis­tin­guished Aus­tralian wine, but is still over­looked for wines that are of lesser qual­ity, but have bet­ter mar­ket­ing and PR. The 2005 vin­tage is re­mark­able with how much char­ac­ter the wine­mak­ers have been able to stuff into a bot­tle. There’s mint, black­berry, leather notes and choco­late pud­ding fruit/black sapote, that plummy choco­late char­ac­ter it has. It’s com­plex, de­light­ful on the tongue, has some savoury and spicy more-ish-ness, ages well too, with the ’05 car­ry­ing through for another few years with care­ful cel­lar­ing.

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