2013 Domaine Huber-Verdereau Meursault 1er Cru La Pièce sous le Bois

First and very probably the only 1er Cru white burgundy of the year thanks to a very generous friend. From a producer in Volnay. Opened a bit natural winey yeasty and spiced but sucked up air beautifully to become a self assured, rich yet still fresh Chardy. Full range of honey, toasted nuts, cut apple and autumnal stone fruits, melting butter and golden sunny days. All contained by a deliciously soft mouthwatering acidity that sits right inside the wine and balances the abundance so well. As with Burgundy sometimes the last glass the best. Shame you can’t squeeze a glass bottle.

13% alcohol. Cork. $? dread to think.

95 points

2007 McArthur Ridge Southern Tor Central Otago Pinot Noir

The only bottle of Kiwi Pinot in the cellar. Ten years ago it was fresh and bright, lower in alcohol than a lot of Otago Pinots and Murphy’s decided to clear it for under $30 I think I remember. Despite a bit of smoky old bottle development, it’s still fresh red fruits that hit the tongue mid way and taper a bit to finish. Pliant tannins and some more pure ripe strawberry and cherry as well. The acidity’s just a bit too hard and assertive, standing a little separately from the fruit and tannin. Bit of a shame as the flavours are convincing and tasty.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $35 retail originally roughly before the less than engaging label saw it heavily discounted.

91 points.

2017 Domaine Costa Lazaridi Assyrtiko

Assyrtiko grown near Thessaloniki rather than on its home island of Santorini. Large framed but in balance, sort of like a good white version of Carignan inasmuch as there’s big fruit, big texture, big acid and a fair whack of alcohol. Elephant on a tightrope with equilibrium. More vinous than fruity. Clean fresh and made in a modern protective way. Lime and other sorts of citrus maybe with real crunch despite the alcohol which doesn’t upset the sheer drinkability. Sweet fresh green herbs too and a bit of a nutty end. Again it’s both a fascinating and delicious change to taste a variety from the amazing grape storehouse of the Med. Much better than Greek Sauv Blanc, no?

14.00% alcohol! Screwcap. About $19 from Dan’s. Tried checking on their website but it said no results found. Well, I found it in the Collingwood shop.

89 points

2016 Mount Langi Ghiran Cliff Edge Shiraz

Svelte, composed and delicious. Seamless mixture of darkish berries and cherries, woody herby stems, good acidity without the jangle and fine tannin. Some pepper to season. Really didn’t notice any timber either. Seems unforced and just the right level of ripeness. Good to drink now but the effortless glide may mask an ability to age. Happy.

13.80% alcohol. Screwcap. $27

93 points

2017 One Block Yellingbo Syrah

Sweet dark raspberries, blood oranges, serious sneezy pepper and some bitter stalks. Lovely intensity of fruit poised on fine glassy acid and a brush of drying tannin. Almost a cherry liqueur richness making for gloss on the fruit. Foresty mulch and herbs too. Lots going on indeed. It will be interesting to see where it heads with time. If the fruit stays centre stage and the stalks and savoury bits recede to bit players then delicious resolution awaits. If not, things might look a bit too compost heap. Really hope it’s the former.

13.50% alcohol. Diam. About $40 from the fascinating Blackhearted folks and an unreliable memory.

94 points to come I hope.


2015 Vietti Perbacco Langhe Nebbiolo

Irresistible buy thanks to the ragazzi from Boccaccio offering this at a bargain of two for $80. Shopping with a good friend meant one each. Happy days. Surly, tough and a bit reductive to open, putting back in the fridge for a couple of days to reflect on its mumbling adolescence seemed to help a bit. Seriously dry and proper Nebbiolo behaving like a traditional Barolo with not much front but plenty of cherry, tarry and dried rose grunt bringing up the rear. Savoury and needing some time to shrug off a bit of meaty sulphide perhaps. Real unresolved tannin and firm acidity. The other bottle bought at the same time was reported as being delicious and ready to talk straight from the sniff. Bottle variation maybe even from the normally perfectionist Vietti or the weird Biodynamic fruitlessly rooty days? Nonetheless a deliciously traditional stern Nebbiolo not without charm.

13.50% alcohol. Diam! $80 for 2 at Boccaccio.

92++ points. Sort of a guess really. Could be more.

2016 Pont de Gassac

From a Languedoc original, Mas de Daumas Gassac, now run by the second generation Guibert family who have expanded the range to include lower prices and the immediately approachable. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a little bit of Syrah and it’s the Cabernet that shows. Chewy, generous and blackcurrant flavoured with a note of almost Bordelaise gravel. Not complex but holds out all the way through with a ripe chunk of tannin and acid. A level of fruit quality above some large production Southern French stuff with a some phrygana notes. Valid synonym for garrigue or scrubby shrubbery it seems.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $22, shame was about $18.

90 points

Two years later and it’s an even worse review. Inversely the wine itself has settled into a round, satisfying mouthful. The quality of the fruit shines. In an imaginary French bistro, you wouldn’t be allowed your steak frites or confit without a glass of this. More a hedonistic 91 points now.

Three years on and the last of a couple bought when Dan’s cleared the range. Starting to show some dusty bottle age but the fruits still nice and sweet and round in the middle. All the qualities above, just smoothed not wrinkled by age, I wish. 91 points it is.

2017 Gravity Syrah

From the Metcalfe region of southern Heathcote this Syrah opens with clean smoky raspberries and a touch of minty bush flavour. Quite savoury whole bunch woody spice too. All repeated on a medium bodied palate that just balances the fruit and earthy bits. Perhaps most enjoyable on day one. A touch more fruit power and riper acidity would complement the sensitive and detailed wine making. This will especially appeal to Northern Rhone aficionados. Good expression of place and vintage and far away from the over ripe and oak laden, hooray.

12.90% alcohol. Screwcap. About $25.

91 points.

2017 Heroes Pinot Noir

Over three evenings this evolved well. The colour deepened and the flavours unfurled. Fine boned and perfumed delicacy to much fuller on day three without oxidising or sacrificing any of its superb structure. Complex in the best sense, there’s some obvious stems and regional minty Aussie bush scents verging on sandalwood. We talk of terroir and Pinot and here the sense of place is well pitched and quietly spoken. Emerging from the depths to control the wine on day two and three, really fine red fruit fills the picture. After twenty four hours perfuming the finish and carrying long on chiseled stoney acidity, stalk tannin and a touch of oak. Perfect for the Pinot tragic with revolving smells, tastes and a fruit driven backbone of supple grace. If you fancy low alcohol, fine structure and perfumed depth in Pinot then here you go. This is going to age too.

12.90% alcohol! Screwcap. $40.

95+ points.

2017 Massena The Moonlight Run Mataro Grenache Shiraz

Crikey, if you told me 15 or so years ago I’d actually be enjoying the Barossa so much  I would have worried my taste was due a serious swerve or I’d like coconuts as much as Python’s Holy Grail. This is a dark, mysterious and proper dry red wine not liquid fruitcake. Great to see the local Mataro on the label. Dark but still alive fruit to smell and taste. In particular Sunday roast, road tar followed by sweeter red fruits and some dark delicious mystery. Tastes great as a piece and tricky to unpick. The acid and tannin are both ripe, bring freshness and are melded well into the whole mouthful. No confection here just vinosity. Eeow..that’s a bit wordy.

14.00% alcohol. Screwcap. $27 ish.

94 points.