2019 Callejuela Las Mercedes de Callejuela

An extraordinary bottle I forgot to post. Reading the Australian importer’s passionate notes about the Callejuela brothers’ and Jamie Goode’s enthusiasm for the nothing short of a revolution in Sherry world makes me think a quick copy and paste will say it all. But no. The flavours and texture here just make me want to blether on too. Sophisticated tang of slight oxidation adds richness to chamomile, almost straw and muesli and yellow peach on a grand scale. The flavours would almost be overwhelming on the slippery viscosity were it not for the flow of pure mouthwatering acidity and a pleasing bitterness from what may be flor, just make you go back and see if the flavours were as dense and interesting as they seemed. Yes. Challenging and rewarding. All at 12 percent alcohol. What was nearly lost in the bulk industrial fortifications of mass Sherry seems to be clawing its way back into the world of good wine. It would be great to go back to the margins of land and ocean influence, feel the contrast of east and west winds and stand in the bright reflection of light from the chalk, sand and clay. And drink these single pagos without need of added alcohol.

12% alcohol. Cork. $66 RRP but savagely discounted last year as the pandemic hit hard. Wouldn’t have strayed here otherwise. So, thanks TSA.

95 points, mundane as they are.

2020 Domaine Denis Race Petit Chablis

A pre arrival offer from Randall’s, a local Melbourne importer of good things, and some great reviews from Bill Nanson’s Burgundy Report made buying irresistible at the sort of prices we are warned won’t last. The increasingly earlier vintages seem to bring flavours and structure to Chablis which aren’t perhaps exactly typical. Recently, if I hadn’t known what’s in the glass, my first guess would have been more Yarra Valley Chardonnay than Chablis in a couple of cases. Wondering why, a bit of…er…my own research found accounts of early seasons more like the Yarra in timing where the tartaric acid remains firm with little of the malic acid which of course turns into that mouthwatering lactic tang I love in Chablis. Isn’t science good? Thus, it was a joy to stick my nose into this and think Chablis. More ripe citrus and sweet green herbs than stone fruits and then that invigorating marine scent of oyster shells and chalk. Gloriously refreshing. Perhaps more of a firm grip than a luscious tingle but still impossible to put down. Tremendous depth of fruit for the humble bottom of the Chablis pyramid. So clean, fresh and head first into a cool ocean. Didn’t buy enough.

12.5% alcohol, nice. Diam, hooray, the difficulty of getting one back in the bottle won’t be a problem here. Currently $33 in store. Hope there’s some left.

93 points, as many as the richer, more powerful 2019 1er cru on the table at the same time.

2016 Caillard Mataro

Mataro, sounds so good spoken with Australian vowels, a lot better than my horrible attempts at a Clouseau like Mourvèdre. Lovely to see a MW using the local name for his own wine and what an interesting drink it be. Sweet meaty roasting pan juices, sort of soy sauce savour, squishy over ripe blackberries and plums, spices, saltbush, tar and that Barossa coal dusty earth flavour. The structure holds the brooding dark with a fog of rich tannin and perky acidity, all well mixed. There’s a chiaroscuro, lovely word, lightness of sweet floral smells to brighten the twilight of the darkening fruit. You can see why Mataro so often brings an anchor of bass notes to the sweet charm of Grenache and Shiraz. I thought I did well to get my bottle at auction for $30, only to find a six pack for $22 a bottle available on the Caillards’ website. Quite a bargain for such a labour of love. The label artwork completes the package.

13.6% alcohol. Screw cap. $29.50 at auction.

93 points.

2018 Bodega Badiola Las Parcelas Rioja Viura

There’s been some good things in the glass for the past weeks and I’ve been far too lazy to post anything apart from the odd added comment to bottles worth another look. Mainly thanks to Dan Murphy’s quitting loads of Spanish Grenache as a two for one members’ special. Yes, Navarra Garnacha for $6.50 a bottle, just wonderful for the budget. This, however, is so incredibly good it would be silly not to share with those daft enough to read this. Initially tense with flowers, sort of chamomile, a Spanish thing perhaps, yellow stone fruit and a serious depth of stone and perfect acidity; the second day it took off on a wave of controlled power. It’s odd but there was something in the energy and mineral power that bought to mind fruit from limestone or chalk, faint memories of white Burgundy or proper Sancerre? Looking up the maker’s web pages and it is indeed from grapes grown on such rocks. I know science suggests grapes tasting of the earth whence they come is nonsense at best, but… Whatever or wherever, this is still the most exciting white I’ve been lucky enough to drink for some time. A couple for the cellar. Alas, it seems I’m not alone as there wasn’t any left on the shelves when I last checked. Blown away by Viura, who would think it? One day, a Lopez de Heredia blanco perhaps?

13% alcohol. Diam. $37.00

96 points.