Welcome to the mojito
Bacardi Mojito, Bacardi-Martini Australia; 4.8%; 4 x 250ml; $24.99 (Dan Murphy's).
Damn, this RTD makes it so easy. It's restrained, but delicious. Of course, I add my own limes and mint to give it some style in a cocktail glass, poured over as much ice as I can fit in the glass. It certainly doesn't feel like 4.8% alcohol (114 calories per 250ml serve), probably due to the mint. For me, they feel like I could throw them down all night. For my other half, one is perfect - tastes great and feels like summer. Rum, soda water, lime, mint. Sounds easy, doesn't it. Great introduction to the possibility of making your own.
Playing for flavour
Informal Disco (DDH Pale); Range Brewing; Newstead, QLD; 5.7%; $8.
Unce. Unce. Unce. That's the sound of a kick drum and a tight hi-hat holding the line in 4/4 time. Bright pads swell and sweep across the stereo spectrum for a few more bars, before ushering in a stiff synth bass, with a fast attack and swift release. "Dum, dum, dum, dum, dum," over and over again, alternating between frequencies for the next seven and a half minutes, occasionally accompanied by the promotional motion of ever brighter swells, spiralling sirens, crisp handclaps, and syncopated ordinal bleeps. Amtrac and Range get the whole house going hazy with a massive vibe of bright citrus and fleshy tropical fruit flavour finishing dry, crisper, and cleaner than a Frankie Knuckles kick/snare combo. Meet me at the border for an Informal Disco.
Bubblies ready to pop
Taltarni 2014 Tache Sparkling Rose; $26; 4.5 stars (out of 6.)
If lockdowns are eased as planned this month the Victorian Pyrenees Region-based Taltarni group and its Tasmanian Clover Hill arm have a batch of fine bubblies with which to toast the occasion. Taltarni has been making methode champenoise wines since the 1970s and has just released top-value $26-a-bottle 2016 Brut, 2014 Cuvee Rose, 2017 Blanc de Blancs, 2018 Sparkling Shiraz and this 2014 Tache Rose, which is based on 46% pinot noir, 45% chardonnay and 9% pinot meunier. Tache is French for stained and the wine is salmon pink and has busy medium-fine bubbles, rose petal scents and chirpy strawberry front-palate flavour. The middle shows apple, guava and creamy oak and a finish of steely acid. Drink with hors d'oeuvres and cellar four years.
Clover Hill 2015 Cuvee Exceptionnelle Blanc de Blancs; $70; 5 stars.
This is one of seven exemplary new-release sparklers from the Clover Hill vineyard established by Taltarni in 1986 at Pipers River, Northern Tasmania. Made from 100% chardonnay, it is green-tinted straw and has tiny long-lasting bubbles, jasmine scents and elegant white peach front-palate flavour. The middle palate introduces nashi pear, honeydew melon, lemon zest and marzipan and the finish has brioche and flint characters. Great with smoked salmon mousse with fennel on toasted bruchetta and cellar for six years. Priced from $36 to $70 the Clover Hills are at cloverhillwines.com.au and the Lebrina, winery and the Taltarni wines are at taltarni.com.au and the Moonambel winery. Both brands are available in bottle shops.