Starward Nova Australian Whiskey

We’re used to hearing about whiskey from Ireland, Scotland, the US and now Japan, but how about Australia? Starward is made in Melbourne, and the distillery is putting to good use something the country has an abundance of: wine barrels. Starward ages its Nova for two years in “wet” or fresh, uncharred wine barrels from local wineries producing Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Use of steamed rather than charred barrels is a practice that is quite uncommon, and is done to maximize the penetration of the wine into the oak. The dark/red fruit notes definitely come through, making this union of whiskey and wine a good choice for an oenophile who is also a whiskey lover. It’s fairly new to the US, having made its debut this past spring. 


Archer Roose Spritz

Archer Roose is a Boston-based, female-founded wine brand that produces premium-quality canned wine. Newly released are its White and Red Spritz. The sparkling wines are low-calorie (90 cals per can), low-ABV (6%),100% natural with zero added sugar, gluten-free and vegan-friendly. An advantage to its packaging in cans, besides the convenience, are that the 8.4 oz is one serving size, so you don’t have to worry about opening a whole bottle and consuming it before it deteriorates. The White is a blend made from Sauvignon Blanc and Malvasia grapes and the Red is made from Pinot Noir and Malbec. I found both to be extremely refreshing, and a perfectly-timed offering for summer enjoyment.


Stella Rosa Ruby Rosé Grapefruit

Sales of Rosés are noticeably on the rise, and at only 5% ABV, this is more than half below that of most. Imported by California’s Riboli Family of San Antonio Winery, this Italian Rosé is made from a proprietary blend of several white grape varietals including moscato, malvasia and a touch of barbera for color. The wine contains natural carbonation achieved using a Charmat-style of fermentation in pressurized tanks resulting in a slight effervescence and an easy-drinking summer thirst quencher that’s sweet without being cloying. 


Stone Tropic Thunder Lager

Stone Brewing has made a name for itself by brewing big, bold, extremely hoppy ales, most of which are variations of the IPA style, but has also dabbled in several other beer styles. Now its newest year-round beer ventures into the lager category, and is touted as a lager for IPA lovers, because “lagers deserve flavor too.” This brew weighs in at a modest (for Stone) 5.8% ABV and 45 IBUs and pours a straw yellow with aroma of white wine, melon and citrus. The taste brings lime, orange and passion fruit, compliments of Citra and Mosaic hops; and cantaloupe, derived from the newcomer Cashmere hop. Overall tasting notes are slight sweetness, medium bitterness and a dry, clean finish. It’s not as extreme as an IPL, is a little more refreshing than an IPA but retains hop character that IPA drinkers have come to count on.


Admiral Rodney Saint Lucia Rum

Newly arrived in the US is Admiral Rodney Rum from St. Lucia Distillers. The line’s name is in honor of Sir George Brydges Rodney, a naval strategist who was instrumental in vanquishing the French fleet at The Battle of the Saints in 1782. I sampled the HMS Princessa (named for one of the ships in Sir Rodney’s flotilla), aged in bourbon and port wine casks for 5-9 years before being blended. The finished product comes in at 80 proof and has a wonderful brown sugar sweetness with caramel notes and a complex finish with good oak integration and tropical spice. This proved to be one of my new favorites and a fine sipper I had a hard time putting down.