Monday 21 January 2008


ROSÉ is one of those great summer-time wines that come to the fore
with outdoors entertaining: stick it on the ice and it'll go equally
as well with lamb chops or seafood off the barbecue, as it will with
chicken or prawn salads.

Beelgara, one of our top twenty wine producers with enviable exports
to over fifteen countries, consistently produces a great Rosé from its
base in the NSW Riverina – which is probably little wonder considering
its 70-odd year's heritage in an area of such dominant Italian

The 2007 Winemakers Selection Rosé came from an unusual vintage for
Beelgara and others in the Riverina, because while crop size was well
down due to the drought, the harvested fruit was some of the best in
ten years.

This Rosé shines out of the bottle a brilliant rose petal pink in
colour with violet tinges, and has lovely aromas of strawberries and
cream and fresh raspberries, while the palate is loaded with
mouth-filling honeydew, raspberries and spice.

Well priced at just $14.99, it's one to enjoy with anything from BBQ'd
salmon or chicken to more adventurous char-seared lamb chops basted
with roasted-garlic juice infused with diced parsley – or simply with
tempura seafood salad.

OUT OF THE BOX: CHARDONNAY fans who enjoy this variety with a bit of
bottle age, should grab the recently-released Annie's Lane 2007

At $19.99 this is a nice crisp drop from the Clare Valley, with good
varietal peach and melon flavours, hints of fig, and oak characters
that give it great complexity. Excellent drinking now, it'll develop
up to three years in the cellar.

If you can't wait, team it with Mediterranean chicken cooked in olive
oil, white wine, onions, tomato, thyme and basil; sprinkle at the last
minute with diced kalamata olives and chopped parsley, and serve with
couscous salad.

(David Ellis' wine columns are archived on


PHOTO CAPTIONS: A ROSÉ for barbied chops or tempura seafood from

the Riverina's Beelgara.

ONE for the cellar, or enjoy
Annie's Lane 2007

Chardonnay now with Mediterranean Chicken.

Monday 14 January 2008


YOU can always rely on the Riverina's Bill Calabria to come up with a
drop that's both a darn good wine, and easy on the wallet as well.

His 2007 Westend Estate Richland Viognier is just such a goodie, a
full-bodied white to serve chilled with barbecued seafood on a balmy
day or with lighter white-meat dishes – and truly Australian summer
drinking at its best.

And while wonderfully fruity and quite luscious, the varietal sweet
peach, apricot nectar and spice flavours that grab the palate aren't
cloying, while the apricot and orange blossom aromas simply explode
out of the glass on pouring.

Put it on the table for just $10.95 and enjoy with pan-fried whiting
and salad, chicken fillets with zucchini fritters, or with a platter
of creamy brie and camembert, summery fruits, crackers and some crispy

Or, since Bill's just done a deal to sell this and others of his wines
to Vietnam's national air carrier and into Thailand as well, discover
how well this variety goes with Asian dishes influenced with ginger,
coriander and basil.

OUT OF THE BOX: A first from NSW South-western Slopes maker,
Bidgeebong Wines is their 2006 Verdelho – a drop that Director of
Winemaking, Andrew Birks likes to describe as "a Portuguese original
that's an Australian natural."

Verdelho from the NSW Hunter and Victorian Swan Valley has long had a
strong following amongst those who enjoy this crisp and zesty variety,
and for his first-ever under the Bidgeebong label, Andrew chose fruit
exclusively from the Ward family's vineyard at Canowindra.

The result is a wonderfully easy-drinking and quite dry wine with
melony flavours and a cinnamon and nutmeg spiciness that, just like in
its homeland, seems made for our own summer lifestyle: pay $23 and
quaff away with Portuguese-style char-grilled sardines, roasted
capsicum, and a salsa salad.

(David Ellis' wine columns are archived on


PHOTO CAPTIONS: JUST the drop with barbecued seafood, Westend's

Richland 2007 Viognier.

BIDGEEBONG's 2006 Verdelho: "a Portuguese

original, that's an Australian natural."