In anyone's estimation 160 years is a quality knock. Especially in the world of brewing.
Long before the explosion of craft brewing Coopers' pale and sparkling ales were a bastion of taste and quality for many discerning beer drinkers. To celebrate their 160th anniversary the Adelaide icon has released a Regency Park Red Ale.
The first taste you'll notice from the Regency Park Red Ale is that distinct Coopers cloudy sediment and spicy bitterness, which provides a new twist on the traditional Irish style. The drum-roasted caramel malts also ensure a rich mix of toffee and roasted nut flavours.
Unfortunately the red ale is only a limited release from Coopers, but it's definitely worth getting your hands on.
Two names from great sparkling wine landmarks come to light here. First is this fine Adelaide Hills tribute to Hurtle Walker. Aged 10 in 1900 he first picked grapes at Magill on Adelaide's outskirts - impressing Auldana cellars chief Frenchman Edmund Mazure, an Australian methode champenoise pioneer. Aided by Mazure, Hurtle honed his skills and by the age of 21 had taken charge of Audlana and later Romalo brand sparklers. His son, Norm, took the role from 1951 to 1985 and now his son, Nick, continues the family legacy in this pale straw-hued, fine-beaded, orange blossom-scented wine. The front palate has white peach flavour, the middle strawberries and cream, nashi pear, lemon curd and brioch and a finish of flinty acid. Great for canapes.
I have fond memories of the Romalo Sparkling Burgundies of 30 years ago. Over time the brand went through numerous ownership changes and under the enlightened Wynns family control it regularly topped the Sydney Wine Show sparkling red class in the 1970s and 1980s. It ultimately disappeared, but this beaut revival of the name comes from the Nick Walker and David O'Leary Adelaide Hills-Clare Valley venture. It is deep purple, and has busy bubbles, scents of cassis and leather and rich ripe plum front-palate flavour. The middle shows mulberry, chocolate, spice and savoury oak and the finish minty tannins. Good with roast duck. Both bubblies are at olearywalkerwines.com and the Horrocks Highway, Leasingham, and Oakbank cellars.
I'm always surprised when people spend big dollars on spirits only to mix them with sub-standard mixers.
No, your homebrand bottle of tonic water won't complement your fancy gin. Sanpelligrino has long been associated with sparkling water and now there's a quality mixer range. Flavours include a gentle Tonica Citrus, a dry and intense Tonica Oakwood and a spicy Ginger Beer. The Ginger Beer drinks well on its own, but would be perfect in a cocktail, perhaps a Moscow Mule, with a lingering warmth that surprises.
The Oakwood has hints of oak and quinine, bitter and sweet at the same time. Pair it with gin, add a twist of lemon peel and a sprig of rosemary for a perfect cold weather tipple.
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