2010 Dalla Mia Finestra Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Small production, great value and gets more delicious from leaving somewhere cool and dark, all good. Opened fresh and clean, blackcurrant, leaf and fruit, a touch of mint and a savoury gravel cut. The texture is a delicious mingle of freshness and ripe, soft and cuddly tannin. Shows all the things that make the Yarra Valley a good spot for the Cabernet clan, softening the grainy edges and grumpy tannins. Oddly difficult to find good examples in Melbourne’s wine shops outside of the famous ones established in the 70s and 80s which fetch very good prices; itself an encouragement for growers perhaps? It’s easier to grow than Pinot they do say.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $23.

94 points.

2017 Punt Road Cabernet Sauvignon Napoleone Vineyard Block 3

Lovely balance of bright leafy red fruit and gravelly texture. Quite like the Oakridge Over the Shoulder version from 2017 but just that bit more dense and full. It possesses the delicious fine tannin and well settled acidity that can make Bordeaux so suave and inviting but at a price point where that bit of the old world would struggle for such depth and cleanliness. Drinking at its best on day two when the sparkling red fruits shone and dazzled. Perhaps best in the shorter term as there’s not the blackcurrant depth or power of a warmer year. That’s just as likely to be proven wrong as many old Yarra Cabs have shown a lot less wrinkles in old age than this blogger. Quality fruit from the beautiful valley.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $28.

93 points.

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.