NV Champagne Voirin Jumel Cuvée 555

Well, I’m a silly boy, just noticed this is the second bottle. Old and forgetful as well as silly. The first one was reviewed in July 2020, two years ago, my only mitigation. Similar points and probably on the 94 side of 95, either seems right. Consistently delicious bottle of extravagant bubbles nonetheless.

A weekend of treats from the cellar. This one from the good value direct importer, Champagne de Vigneron. A few years rest after 50 months on lees and it smells so good. Voirin Jumel again disclose more info than most on the back label, hundred percent grand cru Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, five different vintages plus 20% reserve wine, barrel fermented in old oak between 15 and twenty years old, no malo and 6g/l dosage. Complicated bit of wine making. The result is amazingly single minded. Great perfume of savoury brioche yeasty lees, crystalline fruit and chalky freshness. Drives long and narrow all the way to a lingering end of grapefruit and a sort of yeasty floral honey. Quiet power that ends in a puff of steely acidity leaving the mouth fresh as fragrance fills the senses. Over a couple of days maybe a little oak texture and definitely a tarte tatin richness to add weight to a memorable end. Not flamboyant but plenty of flavour. By way of understatement, what a good way to encourage an appetite.

12% perhaps, the gold print on black velour label is very posh but faded. Cork. Think it was well under $100 which in the scheme of the Champagnois price thinking is a bargain.

94 very poised points. Extra for appetite sharpening.

2013 Paolo e Lorenzo Marchionni Poggio della Bruna L’Erta Toscana Sangiovese IGT

Shared at the table with the 2008 Vietti Castiglione and again no proper note but equally worth a shout. From what seems a small producer near Florence and only made in good vintages. Spotlessly clean, gently extracted and just a touch of good clean oak. Simply perfect, gently savoury Sangiovese, dark cherry, that sweet leather and bitter almond paste to close. Exquisitely fresh and ripe sweet tannin settled into mouthwatering acidity. Not for those seeking hefty, power packed Brunello but for us who value quiet charm. Reminds me of those lovely Castell’in Villa Chianti. This and the Vietti were the best of Italians with impeccable table manners. Perfetto indeed.

14% alcohol but again no sense of heat. Cork? What a thoughtful dinner guest to bring such treats.

94 points plus a bit for quiet deliciousness.

2008 Vietti Castiglione Barolo

Enjoyed over the dinner table without a proper note but so good, it’s maybe worth a comment? Opened with a lush, clean and modern edge with perhaps a waft of dusty oak. Given half an hour in the decanter after a vigorous double decant and it seemed to lose weight but gained perfume and focus. Rose oil, sweet and tart cherry, darker red fruit and a hallelujah chorus of bright Castiglione dirt carried on tongue coating tannins so sweet they melt and last a very long time. So fresh and bright after its slumber. There was tar and maybe porcini too. All the unfettered flavours of Barolo suavely poised in a perfect Armani suit. One of my first 2008s and there’s a balance of ripeness and zing which had me checking the cellar list for more. No rush though.

14.5% alcohol but no sign of warmth. Cork. Think it was a very thoughtful gift.

95 points, easy.

2019 The Story Grampians Syrah

How big be the influence ancient Greek culture and it’s imperial Roman offshoot on us modern westerners? Apart from the politics and art stuff, what’s wrong with a low key Bacchic revel now and then? A tangle with a classics education seems to lead to the need for a drink. Heritage, that’s my excuse. The back label says the Hydra of Lerna is pictured to represent a vintage with a series of challenges to face, metaphorical heads to sever. The Romans get a look in too as the front label reverts to MMXIX for the vintage. To the drink before Monty Python jokes take over. Initial impression of rich and ripe for the label. Raspberries and blackberries in syrup, plump and dark. Holds onto freshness though and well seasoned with brown spices and what feels like woody stem flavour and tannin. Gains some energy at the end with sweet skin tannin for a bit of lush pleasure. As it opens up on the second day, things get more serious. Dark and earthy at its concentrated core. A frown that says come back in a few years and we’ll see. Hidden depths?

13.5% alcohol. Screw cap. $30, value.

94+ points.

2018 Davide Carlone Colline Novaresi Nebbiolo

On the way between Milan and Turin as the high speed train thundered through the town of Novara, I did idly think a stop would be interesting. Gazing north to Lake Maggiore, the country looked gently hilly and quietly inviting for wine exploration, one day. Seems I’m not alone as those Mondo Import lads from Boccaccio Cellars have been bringing in Davide Carlone’s wines for a few years now at direct prices that are very tempting. This bottle opened with a health spa blast of bitter herbs which quickly evened out into rose oil, crisp red cherry buffed with granite dust tannin and well mingled ripe acidity. Over three days, the fruit darkened to maraschino cherry and some roasted nuttiness. The true nuttiness though would be to drink this without good Ital stylee food. Swishing a sip after a mouthful of a Sunday night pizza treat isolated all that sweet Nebbiolo tang into pure delicious pleasure. And that was after three days of oxygen exposure, more reason for slow food. The thought occurred this is sort of between the power of Barolo and the mountain crispness of the Valtellina, geographically obvious really, duh.

13.5% alcohol. Diam, good. $38 in Neb terms, value.

92 points to start, 93 to finish, plus plus for pizza appropriateness.

2018 Forbes and Forbes Eden Valley Riesling

In times past the Adelaide wine writer Philip White wrote glowing and sometimes wild words of love for Forbes and Forbes Riesling. Bottles never seemed to make it to Melbourne but the curiosity remained. When a one turned up at auction, my bid was enough. The back label says the grapes come from vines in Springton EV that are old and deeply rooted enough to produce good fruit in what was a warm and dry season. First sniff and yes, a beguiling power. A waft of fossil fuel recedes into deep exotic citrus, lilies entwined with white peach, a touch of vanilla and sweet green herby things. All these beautiful flavours are amplified by the sort of gentle succulent acidity that only perfect hand picked grapes can produce. Mouth-wateringly great Riesling. There’s an array of citrus flavours that transcends the simple lime and lemon, expanded to blossom, peel oils, juice and pith all at once but only the best sort. Probably one of the most delicious Eden Valley Rieslings I’ve been lucky enough to drink. Bought back memories of that 2002 Henschke Julius and that’s something. Time to visit the Forbes and Forbes website to see what else lurks.

12.5% alcohol. Screw cap. $29.95 at auction.

95 points. So good.

2021 Hoddles Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

You may have read it, er..reddit here before but there’s a spawned fondness for Yarra Cabernet that keeps me coming back. It’s obvious that the Upper Valley is perhaps a bit cool for Cabernet to ripen to the richness many expect in Australia but if you fancy crisp acidity and a bit of leaf that lead to some food friendly succulence bear with me. Bright, frog pond fresh and clean to open. Loads of red fruit, cherries, almost strawberry and blackcurrant leaf. So bright maybe some whole berries in the brew? Appealing savoury undercurrents of sweet earth and almond paste add length like Medoc gravel does to good claret. The acidity sits a little high as the surprisingly sweet tannin calms the end. Reminds me of Loire red ripeness, mouthwatering and ripe enough for me, maybe not you though?

13.5% alcohol. Screw cap. $20 but a ridiculous $24 for two on the shelves of those credit card terrifying Boccaccio Cellars. Balwyn calling.

92 points, easy.

2016 Tenuta La Viola Il Colombarone Romagna Sangiovese Superiore

Emilia Romagna is a favourite bit of Italy. Beautiful old cities and great food and a delightful paradox of wealth and a tendency to vote for socialist councils. Champagne communism, health, education and fresh truffles for all. Interesting local wine too, from unfashionably delicious Lambrusco to Sangiovese further down the Po that sit so well on the table. This one seems made with care from quality grapes. Clean and fresh with both smells and flavours of distinctive Sangiovese that suggest cherries, leather and roast nuts. Medium bodied and that singularity of tannin and acidity that Italy does, all as a whole. The tannins bristle with delicious grape skin ripeness. The twenty percent new oak virtually invisible such is Sangiovese’s affinity to a bit of judicious barrel. Le tagliatelle al ragù and this wins my vote.

14% alcohol. Nomacorc. $39.

93 points