2017 Mitchell Watervale Riesling

Tastes change and develop but some fancies last and generous, amazing value Clare Riesling is a constantly comfortable cushion. This is as rich, full and dry as it should but has a sinuous swerve from lime drenched fruit to sweet herby mineral savour and back. Lovely, comforting and a bargain. Must have a dally in the shade of their Peppertree Shiraz soon.

13% alcohol. Screwcap. $20.

93 points.

2009 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly Cuvée la Chapelle

Little bit of old bottle dust to open but relaxed to be nicely clean and pure as it enjoyed some fresh air. The warm vintage perhaps shows in some quite dark cherry fruit and toasted whole meal bread but there’s still a lovely juiciness and mineral length. The twist of granite pucker carries the plum and cherry flavour beautifully. Still fresh for a Gamay nearing a decade of age, although the parts are amalgamating into self possessed composure. What a consistent producer. The ancient font label belies the craft and technique inside. Long way from industrial nouveau.

13.50% alcohol. Cork. $55 approximately in 2011.

94 points.

2008 Vietti Perbacco Nebbiolo

Wine obsessed people can be so generous. Catching up with a good friend, they dropped this in my paws with the words, “bought a lot of this, think you should take one, it’s looking good at the moment”. Well, they’re correct as well as very kind. Bottle development smells of caramel with dusty pot pourri, dark cherries and earthy tar. Same in the mouth with a structure that’s melded fruit, tannin and acid into a seamless whole that runs on polished rails. Can’t see this particular bottle getting any better, others may, others not, such are the venerable. It’s surely a delicious pointer to the way a 2008 Barolo might be going. This is the sort of thing that just makes you want to raid the cellar and share, soon, eh? Thanks.

13.50% alcohol. Cork.

92 points.

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.