Simple dinner for three..

Two halves and one full bottle made for a tasty and almost moderate dinner, sort of…

NV Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Premier.

Delicious from the gentle phttt of the cork. Rich but fresh. Older honeyed pastry and hazelnuts mixed perfectly with crystalline candied citrus and pale red fruit. Mouthwatering and appetite whetting likes no other drink. If NV’s job is to be full of delicious impact from the perfumed start, then this is the bee’s knees.

12.50% alcohol. Cork I think, maybe Diam, failing memory. Another generous share.

94 points.

2013 Comm. G B Burlotto Barolo.

Clean, expressive and so savoury from the start. Perfect cherry red fruit, almond paste and stones. Just got fresher and deeper. Not the deep dark of Serralunga or Monforte but all the drive, brightness and perfume of the more north westerly bits of Barolo land. Somehow seemed much smaller than 375 mls. Alarmingly quick disappearance.

14% alcohol. Cork. Thanks for sharing.

95 points.

1999 Domaine Tollot Beaut Corton Bressandes.

Dark, extractive and still a bit oaky. Got a bit fresher and deeper fruited as it came up for air. Rich red fruit conserve and darker clay and chalky earth. The rear end filled out well with dark cane fruit depth. Still some life in the tannin texture of both skin and cocoa oak buoyed by a gentle acid rasp. Shame the remains tired so quickly the next day.

14% alcohol. Cork. About $100 on release.

93 points.

2004 Roberto Voerzio Barolo La Serra

Another holiday treat, this time from a kind friend who’s a bit of a Barolo expert. Drink and learn. Opened a bit caramel brown and perhaps more developed than expected. However, Nebbiolo being its contrary self, it sort of gained a bit of freshness with air and was still very drinkable. Aside from some balsamic tiredness, all the usual dark tarry flavours and cherry notes galore and a tickle of fading dried roses. Cocoa oak too. Burly haunting purple jam fruit at the end still.

14.50% alcohol. Cork. A spoil at today’s Voerzio prices.

94 points.

1999 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St Georges Les Pruliers

Seasonal treat from the dungeon. Wonderful clean freshness for an oldie. Good red colour, gloriously red fruited with an almost austere tug of great tannin and acidity. Remington Norman’s Burgundy book mentions the extremely low yields the Gouges favour and this bears that out. Dense, round and deep. Untrammelled by any new oak. Paradoxically succulent and firmly spartan, ballerina poise. All my golden russet autumns in a bottle and there’s a few of them now.

13% alcohol. Cork. Was about 35 euros, contributing to a very heavy carry on before the 100ml limit. Them were the days.

96 points.

2016 Jean-Paul Thévenet Morgon Vieilles Vignes

Vibrant lifted aromas of raspberries, cherries, yeasty bits and Northern Rhone Syrah like rocky granite or something like that. Same in the mouthful with great acid freshness but also a composty sort of earthiness which one of us thought a nice complexity and another couldn’t stand to drink. That’s the fun of wine and the way we all see the world through different lenses, n’est-ce pas? For some an exuberant, delicious example of one of those very much alive, fanatically made natural Beaujolais Crus, for another too far off the edge.

13% alcohol. Cork. About $70.

94 points for one, somewhat less for another!

2012 Wilson Polish Hill River Riesling

Some toast but few if any petro chem smells. Fine citrus, touch of white peach and beeswax. Pure and delicate with a rainwater like gentleness and beautiful mouth watering acidity. Properly dry, refined and relying on balance and definition rather than raw power. Held up superbly over two days. Graceful. Will sail on for a few more years yet and could even get better!

12.50% alcohol. Screwcap. About $20 I think six years ago.

94 polished Polish Hill River points.

2017 Whistling Eagle Vineyard Dry Red

The possibility of less oak, less alcohol and less fruit cake and more fresh fruit was enough to sway the choice from the ever attractive shelves of Rathdowne Cellars, a stalwart Melbourne business. Heathcote at its best can produce red wine of naturally deep fruit flavour and balance and, goodness, this is one of ‘em. The freshest raspberry and it’s many cane fruit variants whizzed up with bay leaf. Indelible tannin and acidity that preserved and amplified the fruit over four or so days. Mostly Shiraz but the rest is a mystery. Perhaps some Grenache, Mourvèdre or even Tempranillo? Whatever, a few bottles for later looks likely.

14% alcohol, yes that’s relatively low for the average. Screwcap. $28.

94 points.

2004 Moët et Chandon Grand Vintage Champagne

Opened with a clean, fresh ocean spray of ripe crystallised citrus resting on soft pillows of fine bubbles. Developed some deeper reserve wine honeyed liquor like polish balanced by some perfect al dente acidity. The dosage buffs the whole thing to young Hollywood actor gloss. Not a hair out of place. A third each of the major Champagne varieties in close harmony. A beautiful piece of luxury craft. Quality too.

12.50% alcohol. Diam. Very generously shared.

95 points.