An American white for the fridge, a well-priced red to try and something for the top shelf.

Pale Ales India Pale Ales and Double IPAs
The Pale Ale market is expanding, diversifying and ultimately confusing beer drinkers. What’s the difference between a Pale Ale and an India Pale Ale (IPA)? And what the hell is a double IPA? A quick history lesson can clear things up. Pale ales evolved from brown ales in the 1700s when better coal-fired kilns roasted the germinated barely without burning it. India Pale Ale came about in the 19th century at the height of British colonialism when pales ales were shipped to India and various other places under the British flag. The style popular at this time had an extra dose of hops and more bitterness which appealed to hot weather thirsts. The double IPA is a more recent phenomenon born out of the craft beer craze and experimental brewers. It’s basically an IPA given German dopplebock (literally double bock) treatment. It’s more alcoholic (7.5%) and to balance that extra richness, in true IPA style, is given loads of extra hops.

An American white for the fridge
Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc 2012
There is not much affordable Californian wine available in this country and most Australians don’t get a chance to taste an American wine without getting on a plane. This Sauvignon Blanc is available here and well worth a look; it’s opulent, zingy, with oodles of flavour and a good finish. Try it with smoked salmon.

A well-priced red to try
Azahara Shiraz 2013
This is a red wine for those who love everything about red wine except the grip of the tannins. Alzahara is not a light red but doesn’t have that lingering dry aftertaste you’d normally associate with a youthful shiraz. It’s bursting with aromas of pepper, plum, star anise and suits Asian-inspired red meat dishes.

Something for the top shelf
Flor de Cana Grand Reserve Rum 7-year-old
In the world of spirits there is rum and rum. Flora de Cana is a fantastic brown spirit from Chichigalpa in Nicaragua. It uses premium locally grown molasses and slow, unhurried aging. It will shock those brought up on local brown rum, can add loads of class to a mojito, and can also be sipped neat.

Did you know?
In the past 25 years Cabernet Sauvignon has emerged as the most widely planted premium wine grape in the world. It’s closely followed by Merlot.