2018 Crawford River Apis Field Blend

Apis, Latin for a bee, the winemaker’s affectionate nick name, got it, took a while, der. It’s a mystery what lurks in the field whence it came but a search of the encyclopaedic Winefront says there’s five percent Gewurztraminer from cold, windy Drumborg in the mix. Sort of a big field but the Crawford River property is so spacious in the possession of dirt, it could extend that far. The wine’s so well made, it had me struggling to find any evidence of cloying Gewurz perfume without reading Mike Bennie’s lovely review. In the glass, a little sulphurous reduction which evaporated quickly, then bright red fruit, raspberry and strawberry type, a lift of brown baking spices, Gewurz? The shape feels more rosé than tannic red, slippery, slurpy and round. Second day and it gets better, the fruit gets rounder and deeper, glides down on just enough strawberry acidity to freshen. My guess, there’s some Cabernet Franc at work. If only Melbourne’s hospitality were open, this would be a perfect by the glass pour with all those lovely green things dripping spring juices at the moment.

13.5% alcohol. Screw cap. 365 gms of glass and a bit of aluminium of course. The lightest, enviro friendly bottle so far. It actually seems a bit small but that might just be swift drinking. $25 rrp.

91 points but thoughtful styling bonus.

2017 Massolino Dolcetto d’Alba

Some producers are good at the whole process from plants to packaging. Massolino would be an exemplar judging by this sadly empty bottle. Dense, clean and pure fruit galore. Authentic ripe sour cherries, tar, earth and a bit of warm year woody spice. Grip and tang in harmony. Second day and the core of picked just at the right time fruit is headed into deep and meaningful territory. If you had to choose a Dolcetto to interest those learning how good Piemonte can be, this would be the place to start. Bonus marks for a Stelvin Luxe screwcap and a lighter weight bottle. The label’s a bit fancy too.

13.5% alcohol. Screw cap. 420 gms of glass. $37.

93 emphatic points.

2015 Luke Lambert Syrah

This is so far away from what Australian Shiraz tasted like twenty years ago it’s probably earned the rather precious Syrah title. Over three days it proved to be a slippery enigma, albeit a delicious one. So many things, stalks, pepper, salami, sweet rhubarb, tart raspberry, aniseed and rocks. No sweet allure, adult dryness strung out on tight cables of tannin and perky natural acidity. By the second day, there’s a revolving door of green stem and sweeter summer pudding red fruit. On the third day, the last glass the best, absolute essence of peppered raspberries. So fine and delicious. Medium bodied, it shows the flavours of Yarra Shiraz can pitch to note perfect ripeness. Sort of a grown ups’ fizzy drink, there was still a good phhtt of dissolved CO2 as the cork came out of a two thirds empty bottle on day three. Better that than sherried Syrah perhaps?

13.5% alcohol. Screw cap. 618 gms of glass. $40 ish on release.

Started out 93 puzzle points, then 95 by the end.

2014 Gilbert Picq et Ses Fils Chablis Vaucoupin 1er Cru

Ah Chablis, tickles a fancy like no other Chardonnay can. A first scribbled impression, forgive the hyperbole….like a cool stone bedded country stream, through meadows of spring flowers, bees awaxing fragrant honey, floating downstream to dream of weightless graces, to a breath of the iodine sea. There, complete nonsense. Nonetheless a traditional Chablis in the best sense. Mouthfilling amount of pithy solid grape bits to chew, champion lactic acidity, rich in flowers, honeycomb – the waxy hive type not the sugared confection, a paste of fresh hazelnut and almond, a warm peck on the cheek of a rosy apple, cut and browning. All evaporates in a fragrant puff of acidity and stony grip. OK, a hopeless infatuation.

12.5% alcohol. Cork, no romance there. 580 gms of glass. $70 brave bid.

95 points, no objectivity whatsoever.

2015 Purple Hands Old Vine Barossa Grenache

More Barossa Burgundy in the glass for want of a better reference. Just light to medium bodied, that old coal cellar dust, more Barossa than Burgundy, sweet red fruit above. All carried on ripe woody stem tannin and fine natural feeling acidity. Great approach to the making, less is more, gentle. Plenty of perfume but some more depth wouldn’t go amiss. Whilst there’s all sorts of conversations about Pinot Noir clones, it would be interesting to see more out there about Grenache selections, some made long ago in South Australia. Some new grafting or planting from Spanish stock would be something to talk about.

14% alcohol. Screw cap, 596 gms of glass. $30 at auction.

91 graceful points.

2018 Fontanafredda Diano d’Alba

Dogliani and Diano, two appellations recognised for the quality of their Dolcetto. This version lives up to its lofty DOCG. Terrific perfumed impact, pristine crunch of black cherry, like those in the East European preserves, Piemontese tart and polished with stones and sweet soil. No more than medium bodied but fills the retro nasals with a lingering fruit fragrance. Suave tannin and acid, a perfectly tailored suit. No bombast, just subtle charm. Mouthwatering and pizza cravings a consequence.

13.5%. Nomacorc Select Green 300. 530 gms of glass. $43 rrp but thanks to the clever people at Fourth Wave imports a mystery special for $118 a six pack. Glad I cracked the enigma thanks to Winefront.

92 maybe 93 points but a plus for being my cup of Dolcetto.

2015 Château Grand Boise Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire

Well, to show off a limited French vocabulary, boisé means wooded. But for an accent, it’s an appropriate château name. Somethings are made to charm, some impress and this is pretty much the latter. 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon it seems. Balsamic, developing chocolate and char, spices like cloves, nutmeg and almost aniseed. Nice and clean. Underneath the bravura a lovely rich softness of squashed raspberries, Black Forest cake and roasted nuts. Sweet oak and fruit tannins with just enough settled acidity to bring a little charm. Ambitious style but the fruit quality trumps the attempt to over elaborate perhaps. Kept me coming back for another sip.

14.5% alcohol. Cork. 580 gms of glass to impress. $39.44 at auction.

94 points in a Parker way?

2018 Bodegas Valminor Minius Godello Monterrei

A weekend white to sip while choosing some proper wine, red colour. Godello along with Albariño, Galicia’s own two important white grapes of place. Clean, airy and fresh. Needs a breath of air, then crisp fresh apricot, sweet green herbiness, almost some jasmine tea. Some doughy lees work adds savour. Fine but very present wet pebble acidity. Enough fruit fat to cope, finishes up with a glycerol, slightly bitter, sour twang. Just ripe, tense. It would be great to try again after another six months or so of settling. Then, some olive oily sea creatures. Goose necked barnacles, not a pirate curse but treasured by Gallegos. Mornington mussels hereabouts maybe.

13% alcohol. Cork. 412 gms of glass. $40 rrp.

91 points.

2016 Bodegas Godelia Viernes Mencia Bierzo

Viernes is Friday in Spanish, this got opened on the day and finished on Saturday. Seems like everyday is casual Friday these days. Bit muddy to open but as it aired freshness came. Poised mid weight, Tart just picked raspberries and all sorts of red fruit served on a glistening slab of wet granite tannin and serious mouthwatering acidity. Bit of extra sweet ripe depth adds dimension. Mencia seems to fill that gap between glossy Gamay and sturdy Syrah, best of both in some ways. Although Bierzo’s just outside Galicia on the map, it leans close. Distinctive geography with its own delicious grape. Bit of pig would add to the flavour grunt.

14% alcohol. Screw cap, and little reduction despite the cork lobby. 412 gms of glass, bravo. Part of an iso bargain pack, lost the electronic receipt.

93 points, lovely grapes.

Too lazy to do a separate post BUT…..

The 2018 edition is really, really good. All the above but just finer, longer and beautifully shaped. A definite re buy and away for a couple of years. Bravo, TSA! Same numbers as above but 94 plus maybe a bit in time points.

2014 Joan D’Anguera Montsant

A bit of lacklustre googling suggests this might be equal parts Grenache and Syrah. Señor D’Anguera’s website is not exactly comprehensive. The wine in the glass leaves no doubt it follows the trend for less extraction, less ripeness, less oak and lots of stems. More Montsant Morey St Denis, sort of. Starts a little reductive, sulphur and rocks, opens out to sappy cherry and strawberry and some distinctly savoury yeasty lees and old wood. Over a day or two, the struck flint persists and the fruit darkens to almost a dried fruit sweetness. The chalky acidity and stalk tannin sit high. It’s all almost too wild, savoury and stalky acidic but given the amount of good olive oil in Spanish cooking, it makes itself useful. So differed to the oaky ripeness of the recent Can Blau. Such lovely crisp red fruit, sort of Etna Rosso for another odd comparison, probably more Montsant in its own right.

13.5% alcohol. Cork. 548 gms of glass. $28 at auction.

A wild spread of 91 to 94 points.