• Here's why brandy deserves a spirited second look

    "How about a nip of brandy?' It's an invitation unlikely to conjure images of style and sophistication for many of us, but substitute 'cognac' for brandy and the reaction is likely to be very different. Of course, cognac is a brandy, just as champagne is a sparkling wine and bourbon is a ty...

    POSTED 9 Apr, 2019 1 Comment

  • Escape your comfort zone with these adventurous spirits

    There's a whole world of whiskies, rums and vodkas – and then there's a whole other world  of more exotic liqueurs. With just a little digging you can open up a whole new world of premium spirits perfect for standalone sipping neat or as bases for some really cool cocktails. Her...

    POSTED 2 Apr, 2019 1 Comment

  • Here are the world's best whiskies of 2019, as rated by whisky experts

    Australia has picked up another crown at the international awards for the world's best whiskys, with local hero Sullivans Cove Distillery taking to the stage alongside the best drams from Japan, North America and Europe. A global panel of journalists, spirit experts, distillers and bartenders bl...

    POSTED 29 Mar, 2019 6 Comments

  • Tasmania's cool climate makes it a hot spot for boutique wineries

    Pop into just about any wine bar in Sydney or Melbourne and there will be a glass or two of cool-climate Tasmanian wine on offer – and chances are it'll be a top drop. The past decade has been one of extraordinary growth for Tasmanian wine producers, and while the Apple Isle represents les...

    POSTED 19 Mar, 2019 6 Comments

  • The renaissance of Canadian whisky, and five drams you should try

    Canadian whisky has long been in the shadows of American bourbon, but there are welcome signs of a renaissance. A landmark moment came three years ago when influential whisky critic Jim Murray named Canada's Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye his World Whisky of The Year, with a record-qualifying ...

    POSTED 12 Mar, 2019 5 Comments

  • Whisky review: Glenmorangie 2019 Private Edition Allta

    I've always respected Glenmorangie's Private Editions as genuine departures from the core Glenmorangie range. They often involve significant foresight and planning far beyond simply giving the whisky a 'finish' for a few months. Last year's Spios, for example, was wholly aged in ex-Rye casks for...

    POSTED 7 Mar, 2019 0 Comments

  • Cab franc is the 'other' Cabernet, and one you really should try

    Quick: when you hear a wine is cabernet, do you automatically think cabernet sauvignon? Of course you do. It’s the world’s most widely planted red grape, noted for big, rich, power-packed wines you can swoon over and even invest in. But I’m here to convince you to remember cabe...

    POSTED 5 Mar, 2019 0 Comments

  • "Kanpai!" to ANA's latest sake menu for business, first class

    One of the delights with travelling with a Japanese airline is sampling the island nation's food and drink (not to mention meticulous hospitality) while you soar above the clouds. For us, that includes taking a cup or two of sake and exploring different brands, blends and flavours of rice wine &...

    POSTED 1 Mar, 2019 1 Comment

  • Six wine trends to watch for in 2019

    The wine business is also a fashion business. Styles are in favour, then out again. After all, it seemed like just a few years ago that we were drinking chardonnay-semillon blends and fortifeds were all the rage.  Here’s a quick look at what's tipped to be popular over the coming 12 mo...

    POSTED 19 Feb, 2019 1 Comment

  • Put these five under-rated Australian wine regions on your radar

    Wine lovers can be fairly set in their ways when it comes to choosing what to drink. If you enjoy a big red, the search typically starts (and often ends) at the Barossa or McLaren. If chardonnay is your thing, the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula will usually sit high on your list. They're ...

    POSTED 5 Feb, 2019 5 Comments

  • The business traveller's guide to sake

    Almost every business traveller who visits Japan will end up sampling sake. It's part of the experience of Japan, and especially of socialising with Japanese colleagues and clients. Want to impress your hosts? Start by dropping the fact that  Australia is now the second fastest growing expo...

    POSTED 31 Jan, 2019 3 Comments

  • Inside the House of Taittinger

    The famed house of Taittinger is a family-owned Champagne producer founded in the aftermath of the First World War, and which has now expanded to own 288 hectares of vineyards in the Champagne region. This land provides it with half of its grape needs, the remaining 50 percent coming from long-te...

    POSTED 18 Jan, 2019 1 Comment

  • How to travel with wine in your checked luggage

    Opening a bottle of fine wine or spirits sourced on holiday evokes memories of your travels that can transcend enjoyment of the wine itself. As such, I scarcely return home from overseas travel without a few bottles of some unique and special drops. Most often that's Pinot Noir – I've rec...

    POSTED 23 Dec, 2018 11 Comments

  • Best Champagne for Christmas and the New Year? Try these six top drops

    Champagne and sparkling wines are synonymous with Christmas and New Year festivities, and Australia is no shrinking violet when it comes to enjoying first-class fizz. Over 307 million bottles of Champagne were sold globally in the 2017 calendar year, with Australia the world's seventh-largest ma...

    POSTED 14 Dec, 2018 18 Comments

  • Try matching your Christmas meals with these top Australian wines

    The seafood is on order, the turkey and ham are ready to be picked up from the butcher, and the plum pudding is approaching its peak. Yes, Christmas is once again around the corner, and with it a much wider array of dishes than the typical lunch or dinner So how do you go about selecting the rig...

    POSTED 12 Dec, 2018 1 Comment

  • Bordeaux's Château Montrose joins Cathay Pacific first class wine list

    Cathay Pacific’s first class wine list now counts a new vintage red among its ranks with the addition of Château Montrose 2005. Starting this December, the ’05 will be served on a rotational basis on flights between Hong Kong and London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles and San Fra...

    POSTED 10 Dec, 2018 0 Comments

  • Brokenwood's Cellar Door is the Hunter Valley's new wine hotspot

    The Barossa Valley has the iconic Seppeltsfield complex, McLaren Vale has the futuristic d’Arenberg Cube and now the Hunter Valley has its own new wine tourism drawcard. After a year of construction the $8 million Brokenwood cellar door and restaurant complex will be officially opened this...

    POSTED 6 Dec, 2018 4 Comments

  • Here are the three wines that should always be in your fridge

    Julia Child always kept a half bottle of Champagne in the refrigerator so she had something to sip on (and keep herself enthused) while cooking. The same for me, although I’ve expanded her advice – I always have three bottles of wine on my fridge door shelves. So should you. Picture ...

    POSTED 3 Dec, 2018 4 Comments

  • Add one of these craft British gins to your cocktail cabinet

    Premium gin comes from all corners of the world, but there's no disputing where its home lies. Great Britain was the spirit's birthplace and today, its old guard distillers like Beefeater, Gordon's and Tanqueray have no shortage of company. More than 200 new distilleries have opened across the ...

    POSTED 29 Nov, 2018 4 Comments

  • Starward's Two-Fold whisky wants to be your everyday go-to mixer

    Melbourne distiller Starward's new Two-Fold whisky isn't a single malt, but nor is it a blended whisky, at least not in the way that Scottish distilleries would use the term. What Two-Fold is, however, is a unique double-grain whisky – part malt, part grain – selling for $65 and...

    POSTED 20 Nov, 2018 0 Comments

  • Pairing food with wine? The conventional wisdom is probably wrong...

    Think you can’t drink red with fish? That champagne goes with sweet desserts? Think again. Even serious wine lovers make serious errors when matching food with wine. I quizzed a half-dozen sommeliers, who spend their time trying to suggest the best pairings to their customers, about the mo...

    POSTED 16 Nov, 2018 3 Comments

  • Here are the six best drops from the Penfolds 2018 Collection

    When Penfolds unveiled its 2018 Collection last month it was, understandably, the $900 Penfolds Bin 95 2014 Grange that attracted the most attention. And a very fine wine it is, too, as you’d expect from the high-profile red which is now regarded as global icon. But it was the hugely impre...

    POSTED 8 Nov, 2018 2 Comments

  • Get over your fear of chilling red wine

    Last weekend the temperature on my back deck was 35 degrees, steaks were on the grill, and I craved a thirst-quenching drink that wasn’t that summer cliché, rosé. With charred meat, beer is not the answer, nor is a frozen margarita or tart white. Sticky summer weather is what...

    POSTED 5 Nov, 2018 9 Comments

  • The 'Sideways' curse has lifted, and merlot is enjoying a comeback

    Sales of luxury merlots are increasing again, and restaurants are pouring more of it. Why? Because despite pop culture prejudice, it tastes good. Merlot was once the fan-favorite red grape and wine. Then came 2004 hit movie Sideways, in which Miles, the pinot-noir-loving main character, trashes ...

    POSTED 30 Oct, 2018 3 Comments

  • These six lesser-known wine varieties are worth a spot on your shelf

    It used to be a simple process when you popped into a liquor store to buy a bottle of wine or peeked at a restaurant wine list. If you wanted white you’d probably opt for chardonnay, semillon or New Zealand sauvignon blanc. If red was your preference then shiraz, cabernet sauvignon or mayb...

    POSTED 22 Oct, 2018 1 Comment

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