2016 Sorrenberg Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc Merlot

From a vineyard that’s been quietly biodynamic from last century and one of the most carefully farmed I’ve been lucky enough to visit. Beautiful place, beautiful grapes. The Moreys’ annual tasting at Rathdowne Cellars in leafy North Carlton was always a favourite before spitting in close company became such a health risk. This bottle was bought as a treat when visiting Sorrenberg instead of the even bigger indulgence of their Chardonnay which had sold out of course, now that it’s become more widely appreciated. This opened with some cedar and lemony oak, that minty Australian forest freshness, leaf and high frequency cassis perfume. Saturated with loads of sweet red fruit. Floral too, almost a lavender fragrance. A sweet earthiness develops, sort of like that wet peaty moss when it’s squashed as you scramble across a damp stream side path on a winter bushwalk. Well, that’s what it brought to mind. Only just medium weight for an Australian Cabernet. Refreshing crisp acidity in a happy tight embrace with soft ripe tannin. Second day, some black olive and more smells of the country around Beechworth perhaps. Graceful and natural feeling, a happy wine. Claret stylee in the best sense.

14% alcohol. Cork, both Sorrenberg and Hochkirch, two of my very favourite organic Victorian wineries persist. Such lovely wines. About $45 I think.

94 points.

2010 Virago Beechworth Nebbiolo Shiraz

Possibly the first vintage from Neb vines planted in 2007. Certainly looks and smells like Nebbiolo with dried roses and plenty of earthy tar. The acidity is nicely settled and the tannins are ripe with a mellow sturdiness that buffers the mouth filling dark fruit. Maybe the Shiraz adds some fruit sweetness but the Nebbiolo’s the boss here. Good assertive gentle power that belies that nonsense about macho and girly wine. Virago, what I really want, really really want…..

14% alcohol. Cork. A very generous share over dinner, rude to ask how much.

93 points.