Pure Chardonnay from the Côtes des Blancs. Opens with some yeast and savoury smells, then goes all tight and steely, then becomes a sublime exercise in linear power contained by an exquisite lightness of being. The fruit is fine sweet citrus and perfumed quince skin. Touches of spice and the best ripe acidity leave a hauntingly long taste of enormous subtleness. Incredibly clean and fresh too. If bombast and sweetness matter most in Champagne, then you’ll miss the beauty of this quietly spoken angel.
12.50% alcohol. Cork. $75.
95 delicate points.
The name Vietti and Barbera are a delicious combination. The usual impeccable cleanliness and depth here. Bright and dark, tangy and just sweetly ripe berries with that Piemontese graphite rocky cut. A mouthwatering tug of fine acidity and enough rasp of tannin make another mouthful as important as simultaneous food in the belly. Oddly a relatively straightforward wine but compelling too. Armani suit for a Uniqlo dressed drinker.
14% alcohol. Diam, good. $48.
A blend of half Grenache and half Syrah from a brilliant Rhone vintage which, as Jancis so astutely noted, produced some great Syrah. Opens with some briar and spice from short bottle age and perhaps a bit of oak. Over three days this savoury edge gave way to lots of clean, dark cherry and plum conserve. Not really jammy but more like a fresher cooked fruit flavour. The spice mellowed into Rhône herbiness and fine allspice with some dark cocoa powder. The quality of the vintage is pretty obvious. Good to see a relatively large producer make something that’s typically Rhône whilst keeping it clean and screwcapped. Good game of Rhônes, sorry, over done pun already.
14% alcohol. Screwcap, hooray! $20, bargain.
Starts as unmistakably Chablis albeit a little tightly wound with some dentally noticeable acidity. Time and oxygen are kind as the ripe autumnal cut apple, citrus and something sweetly green become an equal match to the structure. There’s a bit of sour lactic yoghurt too, with a short ‘o’ if you’re a Brexiteer where Chablis may end up as expensive as here in the wide brown land. Beautifully pure, chalky and no oak flavour too. Delicious.
12.50% alcohol. Cork. $42.
A little reticent at first for what should be an exuberant South Australian, perhaps it’s only just been squashed into the bottle? Raspberry and wine gums, some sweet baking spices and woody stems. Really bright, clean and properly ripe but holds together with comfortable acidity and firm stem tannins. Gets a lot more talkative over three days of sipping. The back label doesn’t bluster when it says, right grape, right place. Just needs to add it’s also made to express the sense of place which isn’t obscured by oak or over ripeness.
14% alcohol. Screwcap. $26.
Lovely balance of bright leafy red fruit and gravelly texture. Quite like the Oakridge Over the Shoulder version from 2017 but just that bit more dense and full. It possesses the delicious fine tannin and well settled acidity that can make Bordeaux so suave and inviting but at a price point where that bit of the old world would struggle for such depth and cleanliness. Drinking at its best on day two when the sparkling red fruits shone and dazzled. Perhaps best in the shorter term as there’s not the blackcurrant depth or power of a warmer year. That’s just as likely to be proven wrong as many old Yarra Cabs have shown a lot less wrinkles in old age than this blogger. Quality fruit from the beautiful valley.
13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $28.
Very subdued on opening. It seems to take a few hours of airing for mid 2000s Wendourees to feel the need to talk, shy and reserved. Surely less extraction and fresher than those from the last millennium. Slowly that unmistakable mossy Aussie bush scent and deep fruit emerge. Sings confidently but not brashly in the mouth with bright berries and darker purple, iron black flavour. Beautifully settled, natural acidity seems to set Wendouree apart from some of its local peers. Quiet power and grace. Sense of place. Now all they need is an Instagram account.
13.50% alcohol. Cork, roll on the 2009s and following vintages with screwcaps. About $45 from the snail mail list.