2017 Oakridge Over the Shoulder Cabernet Merlot

Smells of an old school pencil box, red fruit and the leafy Cabernet family. Medium weight, just, a satisfying meld of fruit and dusty, stoney earth that finishes with mouthwatering acidity and firming milky tannin. The kind of low intensity delicious flow that makes what Andrew Jefford aptly calls digestible claret. Civilised drink. Another of those right grape, right place wines. More Yarra claret, please.

13.40% alcohol. Screwcap. $18.99.

91 points.

2016 Domaine des Roches Neuves Saumur Champigny

Another clean, svelte and tasty red from the Loire. Cabernet Franc in all its raspberry leaf and bright red fruit. Tangy berries and some sweet green herbals show just over the line ripeness. There’s no sourness to the green flavours and the well mingled tannin and acid are mouth-wateringly ripe. A lovely compact palate, fruit and texture held tight and more interesting after three days of oxygen exposure. Great pedigree.

13% alcohol. Cork. $48.

93 points

2016 Pont de Gassac

From a Languedoc original, Mas de Daumas Gassac, now run by the second generation Guibert family who have expanded the range to include lower prices and the immediately approachable. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a little bit of Syrah and it’s the Cabernet that shows. Chewy, generous and blackcurrant flavoured with a note of almost Bordelaise gravel. Not complex but holds out all the way through with a ripe chunk of tannin and acid. A level of fruit quality above some large production Southern French stuff with a some phrygana notes. Valid synonym for garrigue or scrubby shrubbery it seems.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $22, shame was about $18.

90 points.

2015 Blue Pyrenees Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Not the most fashionable of labels but the evidence in the bottle looks like a proper Cabernet just ripe enough to balance some gravelly savoury flavours. Not incredibly concentrated but enough weight of red fruit with some background blackcurrant to keep it interesting. Smidgen of regional mint and oak. Good firm tannin and firmer acid. Tastes like it’s made without unnecessary artifice from not too ripe grapes. Hooray. Good value.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $18 at Dan’s.

89 points.

2006 Pimpernel Vineyards Yarra Valley Cabernet Merlot

Another from the cellar. Really good vintage shows in the quality of some typically blackcurrant leaf Yarra Valley fruit. Cabernet’s certainly my favourite in the region. When ripened this well, the fruit develops a gentle richness that the natural acidity and soft ripe tannins draw long and poised. Shame the oak’s a bit clunky and pointy.

13% alcohol. Cork. About $30ish, pity you don’t get price stickers anymore.

93 points.