2012 The Story Tinkers Grampians Shiraz

A long term love of Shiraz from the Grampians and Great Western has led to a few vintages of Rory Lane’s wine being held captive in the dark, cool cave. This 2012 blend of three vineyards is just over medium bodied and more of a supple sinewy gymnast than the hot vintage musclemen. Perfumed with Aussie bush, woody stems, dark boysenberry and smoky oak. The flavours draw evenly and long with more spiced cherries and cane berries floating on those whole bunch savoury tannins and well integrated acidity. All the parts make a delicious resolved whole with some age. Lovely narrative arc in flavour, Rory of the Story.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $21.99 at the old and missed King and Godfrey.

93 points.

2012 Dandelion Vineyards Wonderland of the Eden Valley Riesling

Gentle, fine and unassuming, it’s not until this hits the back of the tongue that some just ripe fruit intensity kicks in. A pale greenish yellow colour shows how slowly this is developing. The smells are lime and ripe lemon with a touch of toast and turps. Some background sweet herbs too. Delicate for an Aussie white, it demands paying attention as you could miss the lovely fruit build as it warms in the mouth. Don’t glug or you’ll miss it. Perhaps another bottle in a couple of years?

12.50% alcohol. Screwcap. About $13 thanks to retail lunacy a few years ago.

92 points.

2008 Minière Symbiose Champagne

Opened with a blast of fruit, seaside ozone and caramelised yeasty pastries in the background. Deep fruit flavours of icing sugar dusted raspberries for width and crystallised citrus for length. Finishes with deliciously mouthwatering acidity and a gorgeous touch of sweet brown spices. Perhaps that’s the oak? Not sure it’s noticeable if you didn’t know it was there? Really clean and full of impact from the first sip. Just got better as the bottle disappeared. The sort of natural fruit richness that’s starting to make tasty globally warmed Champagne seem a good deal.

12.50% alcohol. Cork. Not sure how much, generous friend indeed.

95 points.

2016 G D Vajra Langhe Rosso

Really fresh, pure and crunchy red fruits with the flowers and bass of Nebbiolo stretching the spectrum of flavour. A blend it seems of Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto with tiny bits of Freisa, Albarossa and surprise, Pinot Noir. First day of cracking the screwcap and the Nebb shows most, bit of a dull red colour and rusty flavour. Three days later, no hint of oxygen causing any damage. The colour actually deepened to bright red and the other components filled out the middle with beautifully poised, clean, red fruits like cherry, strawberry and raspberry. Some almond, spice and tar too. Mouthwatering acidity and a drag of Nebb tannin. Blimey, the Vajras are making such succinctly delicious stuff now. 2016 a star of a year.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap, yes! $30 bargain!

94 points.

Barbadillo Solear Manzanilla – lot bottled in 2017

When you consider just how much skill and time it takes to produce a bottle of savoury, yeasty flor influenced sherry, then a half bottle for $10 is ludicrously under priced. As unique to the sun blasted dazzle of Andalusia as those from Champagne would claim for their chalky soils but a fraction of the price. The secondary and costly use of yeast to add dimension is a worthy comparison perhaps? Fair to say Barbadillo are one of the largest and most forward thinking of Sanlucar producers and this basic Manzanilla has a fresh purity that shows their seriousness. Nutty, yeasty, olive oil and seaside smells, thence a savoury mouthful of citrus soaked almonds and a touch of sulphide bitterness. Fashion has little to do with a good drink. Must hunt down a 2018 bottling.

15% alcohol, small glass of course. Screwcap, yes. $10, charity.

92 points.

2012 Clos Clare Watervale Riesling

When it’s a sweaty fan forced summer day a glass of Clare juice is just the salve as the sun at last reluctantly sinks. Lime and toast as expected but something waxy and damp chalk like add depth and intrigue. Good weight of fruit and a crisply engineered structure with fresh but not abrupt acidity. Extra flavour of almost greenish mango as well. Lots of cooling depth to wallow in. 2012 is a delicious vintage, innit.

12.80% alcohol. Screwcap. Around $24 at the end of 2012.

94 points.

2017 William Fevre Petit Chablis

There’s Chardonnay and then there’s Chardonnay that’s Chablis and this is firmly the latter despite being petit. Wonder what makes it so distinctive? Climate, weather, soil, clones, winemaking or all of these? Opens tightly and shyly but over three days the sweet citrus, yoghurt and iodine fruit just kept coming up for air. The acidity is pretty tingly but that’s Chablis and it’s not in any way sour or green, just mouthwatering. The only wish is for a touch more fruit density. A splash on a 2017 premier cru forthcoming methinks! Such a delicious drink.

12.50% alcohol. Screwcap luxe, what a good idea. $28.

91 points.