2013 Renato Corino Nebbiolo d’Alba

A new Barolo producer for me and one to follow further if this is representative. Clean and bright. Pure smells of dried rose, almond, red cherry and no surprise, tarry roads. Medium weight and just the right amount of those ripe firm Neb tannin. Very much in the red fruit and almond range of flavours which the Piemonte cognoscenti suggest is typical of La Morra. Almost the heft and fruit of Barolo proper. Good modernist version without the small barrel intrusion.

14% alcohol. Cork. A lucky $29 auction gamble.

93 points.

2006 Wendouree Malbec

Sometimes a cork does what it should, horoscopes align, it’s a fruit day or it’s luck. Whatever the reason when a Wendouree is this good, it can take its place amongst the great. Not least as it’s a quintessential wine of place. Profound depth of menthol, wintergreen, damp Australian forest, rose oil and sun warmed blood plums. Great weight and stately Rolls Royce power but no heaviness. Length disappearing into the far distance. Perfect ripe melting tannin and a completely natural buoyancy make it hard to believe it’s already thirteen years since harvest. Great wine and big thanks for opening, decanting and generous pouring.

13.50% alcohol or thereabouts. Cork. Generosity beyond money.

Definitely 96 points. Possibly 97.

2012 Sons of Eden Freya Eden Valley Riesling

Cain and Able dabble in Norse mythology to produce one mythologically good Riesling. Opens a bit reduced with what a favourite reviewer over on Winefront justly describes as asafoetida, lovely word, powerful smell. As the air gets to it, things freshen up to reveal lime, waxy vanilla spice, just ripe KP mango and lemon skin oil. Structurally the acidity is natural and mouth-wateringly modulated. Really bounces with a tireless youth. Good 2012s like this are legendary. On the list in Valhalla?

12% alcohol. Screwcap. About $25 on release.

94 points.

2018 Yangarra Noir

Nothing noir or darkly foreboding about this bright, fresh and dashingly red fruited bottle of joy. 40% Grenache, 21% Mourvèdre, 14% Shiraz, 12% Cinsaut, 11% Carignan and 2% Counoise proudly listed on the back label with acknowledgement how well they combine in their Mistral swept valley home. Here they all meld to make a seamless mix of raspberries, plums, tar, dark bitter chocolate swept along by startling natural settled acidity and fine tannin. Would have been fascinating to be around as the blend was worked out, bit of this or that? What a delicious direction for local warm climate grape growing and wine making ideas. Sort of a quantum leap, organic too, excited.

14% alcohol. Screwcap. $28.

92 thoughtful and clever points.

2018 Hoddles Creek Yarra Valley Merlot

Bright purple red, inviting fresh raspberry leaf, sprig of mint and cool rain soaked forest. A mouthful starts quietly as raspberry and plum build and then are swept up in a very crisp acid and pinpoint tannin end. Just flavour ripe but as crunchy as perhaps a Loire or cool year Bordeaux. Some more used to full whack Australian richness will recoil. If this puts on a bit of fat with age, like most of us, then it’ll cut across a cut of red meat with precision.

13.20% alcohol. Screwcap. $20.

90 points.

2017 Borsao Classico Garnacha

Pretty label for a pretty good value Grenache. A variety that seems to thrive in the Campo de Borja which looks dry, sun blasted and windswept. Going to travel that way soon, so hope it’s hospitable to this Grenache aficionado. This is medium bodied, clean, fragrant with sweetly floral fruit. Good focus of evenly ripened red fruits and a drag of fine tannin and acid. That’s the thing about Garnacha from this bit of Spain, fine flavour ripeness and the preservation of natural, mineral acidity. There’s no great complexity or concentration but there is character and place. Puts many $20 to $30 Rhônes to shame. Mucho delicious.

14% alcohol. Screw cap. Amazing under $10 worth of value from Dan Murphy’s direct imports.

90 delicious Grenache ponits.

2016 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti Le Orme

Seems odd that a bit of Italy that produces grapes with tannins to make stewed English tea look wimpy can also value a variety with virtually none. Sweet blackberries, toffee and an earthy stone flavour. Blood orange both in flavour and acidity. Synesthesia suggests purple and blue. It’s a strange perception but there it is. After a lot of stern tannin recently, it’s a surprisingly pleasant change for simple fresh ripe acidity to sweep clean. Roll on summer and a bowl of fresh, sun warmed tomato pasta.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap, bravo. $20, Murphy’s direct imports gets it right now and again.

91 points.

2010 Chateau Aydie Madiran

Big and burly Tannat civilised but still bluntly true to its roots from one of its best addresses. Warm vintage and such richness. Dark plums and mulberries with a kirsch sweetness firmly kept in order by the enormously soft but firm tannin. Good spice and sweet earth too. Somewhere beneath the velvet fog lurks just the right amount of integrated acidity to hold it together. So deep and well made, the fruit just kept emerging. By day two there was a bright fresh cherry finish to match the grunt. Pauillac out of reach? It’ll be a while or never before HK billionaires realise Madiran’s a label to covert.

14.50% of well carried alcohol. Cork. $35 at auction a few years ago.

94 points.

2005 Produttori del Barbaresco Ovello Riserva

The relaxed pleasures of the Italian table perhaps touch the sublime in Piemontese inspired cooking? Fresh Tassie truffle liberally sliced over a plate of agnolotti del plin and what to drink? Undeserved spoiling in carefully sipped glasses of Produttori tradition. Great purity, freshness and ripe melting wax tannin. Head full of truffle, rose, cherry, licorice and tar perfume. Great fatty comfort cut by a tannin acid nexus like no other. A few moments of life on planet Earth which offer a very tasty connection to its best farming and cooking tradition. Even at just over ten years in the bottle under the most unreliable of closures, this Nebbiolo is only just starting to soften after a rough double decant. There’s no fat to the ripeness but there’s no green either. The acid cleans up the finish but it helps freshen the lovely mix of red fruit and darker savoury tar. Thanks, Scopri, our local Carlton Italian for birthday spoiling and the best glassware for Neb. Sitting under that huge black and white wall sized print of the Barbaresco landscape only helps the mood.

14% alcohol. Cork. $135.

95 rapturous points.

2018 Cirillo The Vincent Grenache

It’s unusual for the words finesse and Barossa to appear in the same sentence but it can’t be avoided here. Perfect musky, red fruit ripeness. Some whole berries in the ferment push the plush brightness and a fine phenolic grip keep the scales perfectly balanced. All the good bits of Grenache grown where it’s happy and no awkward heat, green acid or tannin. It just flows gently, builds sweet fruit and then waves bye with some graceful grip. It’ll be fascinating to see how it ages. Will it get deeper fruited or just lose its brightness? Venerable vines, great purity and just over a twenty. Heart warming generosity.

14% alcohol. Screwcap. $22!

94 points.