2018 Gravity Stardust Heathcote Shiraz

A twinkling bargain amongst some astronomically priced Australian Shiraz. That’s nearly exhausted the bad space puns. Clean smells of brown woody spices, bay leaf, sage, little bit of mint, dark raspberries, plums and a touch of tar. All carried through the mouth by comfortable acidity and fine stem and skin tannin. Just a bit reticent at the moment. A year or two may allow the berry fruit to shine. A touch more fruit concentration and the label would need charity status. Difficult to find such flavour for twenty terrestrial Australian currency units these days.

13.80% alcohol. Screw cap. $20.

92 points.

2018 Gravity Dark Star Heathcote Grenache Shiraz

Forty four years after John Carpenter’s whacky space film and a bit longer since the Grateful Dead’s epic psychedelic inner universe exploration comes a flavour adventure with its feet firmly planted in the southern granite soils of Heathcote. Mint, sage, Australian bush after rain and bright red fruits blast off into a balanced orbit of settled acidity and fine graphite flavoured tannin. Nicely medium weight, it gains from gathering oxygen from our terrestrial atmosphere over 72 hours. Perhaps one of those blends that’s more than the sum of parts? Grenache looking good for landing on Metcalfe’s little bit of Heathcote? One small step for right grapes, right place…

13.20% alcohol. Screwcap. $28.

93 points.

2013 Champagne Doyard Oeil de Perdrix Grand Cru Extra Brut

Having never stared a partridge in the eye, we’ll have to believe les gens de Champagne about the colour. Perhaps they still go out and shoot their dinner? Developed blanc de noirs or pale rosé? Research suggests it’s an old rosé de presse method to give a little colour. Anyway, there’s some aristocratic grapes in this, 75% Pinot Noir from Aÿ and 25% Chardonnay from Avise. Grand crus amongst grand crus perhaps? Fine definition of red fruit spiced with a touch of barrel that recedes as the bubbles burst. Sugar dusted raspberries, candied citrus and almost cinnamon, poised and precise, all cut into shape by pinpoint chalky acidity. Beautifully tailored, subtle, no flashy bling.

About 12% alcohol probably? Cork. Extremely thoughtful apero, thanks!

95 points.

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.