2016 G D Vajra Langhe Rosso

Really fresh, pure and crunchy red fruits with the flowers and bass of Nebbiolo stretching the spectrum of flavour. A blend it seems of Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto with tiny bits of Freisa, Albarossa and surprise, Pinot Noir. First day of cracking the screwcap and the Nebb shows most, bit of a dull red colour and rusty flavour. Three days later, no hint of oxygen causing any damage. The colour actually deepened to bright red and the other components filled out the middle with beautifully poised, clean, red fruits like cherry, strawberry and raspberry. Some almond, spice and tar too. Mouthwatering acidity and a drag of Nebb tannin. Blimey, the Vajras are making such succinctly delicious stuff now. 2016 a star of a year.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap, yes! $30 bargain!

94 points.

2017 Tenuta di Tavignano Villa Torre Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

You do have to watch spell check with rambling Italian names, this almost ended up as Trenitalia instead of Tenuta and Jedi instead of Jesi. Always thought a light sabre would come in useful on an Italian train. When it comes to rich green fruit balanced by good ripe firm acid, then Jesi’s Verdicchio is always a place to look when travelling the long boot. This is made in the protective manner of the strict enologist which means it’s without rustic blemish but in this case not at all boring as the fruit’s dense, fat and ripe with that gorgeous fullness of sweet acidity. Dry as this Australian summer too. Yellow plums and sweet green herbs. Sort of has the power and balance of Chardonnay from some hallowed bit of France without the outlay. Tenuous comparison perhaps but it somehow scratches the itch for some richness without too much fat. Maybe just a grape at home?

13% alcohol. Screwcap, hooray. $25.

91 points.

2016 Castello dei Rampolla Chianti Classico

Somehow Iggy Pop and the Wild One spring to mind drinking this. Dark and growling, terrific energy, some bits flying off at odd angles but compelling. Lifted new leather, walnut and sour cherry Sangiovese, vividly fresh and vibrant, some cedar oak, a bit of wild game verging on not perfectly clean, mouth clearing acid and tannin. Didn’t notice the alcohol percentage until uploading the photo. There’s also some sweeter blackcurrant fruit which may be explained by a percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Rampolla was a star in the early 90s for its Cabernet blends. The fruit sang a rugged harmony to a good pizza. Kept my shirt on though.

14.50% alcohol. Cork. $50.

93 points depending on your acceptance of wild things.

2017 Piero Benevelli Langhe Nebbiolo

Three Langhe Nebbioli in a row. Obsessional probably as it’s not quite the appropriate drink for a languid Melbourne January. Strangely though when it’s cool from the fridge the bright red fruit and mouth whacking tannin and acidity seem to fit a light veg pasta or pizza. Well, that’s the excuse and witness the olive oily fingerprints on the label! This certainly is a good smack in the chops with a Benevelli lift of rose oil, almost sandalwood, bright red cherries and a youthfully unrestrained belt of tannin and acid. Can’t accuse it of being rounded or smooth going, just delicioso. Be good to have a look in a couple of years. Sophisticated famiglia contadina.

14% alcohol. Screwcap, well done Mondo. $30.

91 points.

2015 Michele Chiarlo Il Principe Langhe Nebbiolo

From a hotter vintage than the previous post’s reportedly close to perfect 2016, this is a bit less vibrantly red in colour, richer and more tarry. Perhaps a rounding caramel barrel taste, just a hint. The focus is clean, fat cherry and earth Nebbiolo with firm ripe melting tannin and a merged fresh acid tug. Unarguably Langhe and could pass for basic Barolo or Barbaresco. A direct import under one of Woolie’s cryptic business portmanteaus. Not sure if that’s the right word but it sounds good doesn’t it?

13.50% alcohol. Diam. $35.

93 points.

2016 Fontanafredda Ebbio Langhe Nebbiolo

Currently at Dan’s for about $25 and as good an intro to the savoury delight of Piemontese Nebbiolo as you can get for the money. Spotlessly clean bright red cherry, that almond paste again and a touch of tarry earth. Only just medium weight but carries well and finishes with a satisfying chomp. A simple pasta took it up a notch, no surprise there!

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap! $25.

91 points.

Simple dinner for three..

Two halves and one full bottle made for a tasty and almost moderate dinner, sort of…

NV Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Premier.

Delicious from the gentle phttt of the cork. Rich but fresh. Older honeyed pastry and hazelnuts mixed perfectly with crystalline candied citrus and pale red fruit. Mouthwatering and appetite whetting likes no other drink. If NV’s job is to be full of delicious impact from the perfumed start, then this is the bee’s knees.

12.50% alcohol. Cork I think, maybe Diam, failing memory. Another generous share.

94 points.

2013 Comm. G B Burlotto Barolo.

Clean, expressive and so savoury from the start. Perfect cherry red fruit, almond paste and stones. Just got fresher and deeper. Not the deep dark of Serralunga or Monforte but all the drive, brightness and perfume of the more north westerly bits of Barolo land. Somehow seemed much smaller than 375 mls. Alarmingly quick disappearance.

14% alcohol. Cork. Thanks for sharing.

95 points.

1999 Domaine Tollot Beaut Corton Bressandes.

Dark, extractive and still a bit oaky. Got a bit fresher and deeper fruited as it came up for air. Rich red fruit conserve and darker clay and chalky earth. The rear end filled out well with dark cane fruit depth. Still some life in the tannin texture of both skin and cocoa oak buoyed by a gentle acid rasp. Shame the remains tired so quickly the next day.

14% alcohol. Cork. About $100 on release.

93 points.