2018 La Línea Mencia

From the pretty Lenswood area of the Adelaide Hills, this is one of those attempts at a Spaniard new to Australia which is so good it makes you think the immigrant may have found a happy home. The front label is a nice graphic but it doesn’t tell you much at all, so the image is the clear, decent size font back label. Composed smells of currants, dried cherries and raspberries rest on a savoury couch of nut paste and tiny blip of coffee oak. Unusually for rich Aussie fruit, there’s a cut of natural fine acidity, yes, the sort that makes wine freaks think of licking wet stones. Tightly wound fine tannin too. Second day, some blueberry and sweet tobacco. Such an interesting variety. Sort of like mixing up good North end Rhône Syrah and Cabernet Franc, if that makes any sense? Probably my over active imagination but there’s a real sense of the sort of composure that suggests Mencia will be happy up in the hills.

13% alcohol. Screw cap. $29.

92 points but a bonus for serendipity.

2012 Ashton Hills Riesling

Three Rieslings in a week and not a dud. It’s possibly the only variety that appears on auction sites that consistently sells for less than the original retail, Grosset from great years excepted, of course. This is another ageing with some grace, still a pale colour and hanging on to the aromas of youth. Yes, lime and citrus naturally but again more in the way of mandarin, apples and something that brings to mind those spice notes of Alsatian versions. Beautiful flavours immaculately controlled by svelte acidity and a fruit sweetness born of flavour or a scintilla of residual, hard to tell. Softly autumnal untrammelled by coarse phenolic extract. Over many seasons, a deeply thoughtful producer of great craft. Those of us who visited the cellar door high in the hills were always in for a treat and stunning bargains in the form of those Galahs!

13% alcohol. Screwcap. $24.50 at auction.

94 points.

2010 S C Pannell Syrah

A delicious Shiraz from the beautiful Adelaide hills opened the day before homes, vineyards and livelihoods were tragically lost to bushfire. Named Syrah as a signpost to the Northern Rhône and its restrained balance of fruit, spice and stalky earthy complexity. Age has smoothed things but the lively Australian fruit still has a rich red berried, warmth which is comfortably wrapped up in a nutty, stalky coat. There’s deep brown baking spice too which brings to mind Shiraz from the Canberra region, same sort of latitude, altitude and attitude perhaps? Touch of Rhône like stony incense adds detail and cuts the richness. The structure holds it all together with natural feeling acidity and ripe chocolate tannin. Hopes for some cool weather, rain and a brave recovery helped by buying a good bottle or two from those hills.

14% alcohol. Screwcap. Was about $26 in 2012.

93 points.