2017 G D Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo

Another Vajra and another sublime mouthful of Piemonte. Opens with slightly rusty, earthy scents that warm to fine, just ripe cherries with perfumed pot pourri on the edges. Became riper and richer over four days with Nebbiolo’s typical resistance to oxygen exposure. Seems ripe and generous by Vajra’s usual standards of grace and demeanour, perhaps a sign of a warm and riper vintage? Certainly delicious now and still plenty of that pleasing Piemontese stone and rock to cut the generous red cherries and sweet almond paste. Their 2016 Baroli are going to do some serious damage to the wine budget I fear.

14% alcohol. Cork. $45.

93 points.

2016 Bruno Rocca Trifolé Dolcetto d’Alba

Opens with sparklingly clean aromas of bright red sour cherry, wet concrete, sweet earth and just made raspberry compote. Glossy flavours track the same strada with road tar savour providing background to the pure sweet fruit. Very polished wine making kept from cloying by just a tickle of lift. Old tee shirt under an Armani suit. Good density but light on its feet with mouth watering acidity. Quotidian wine for those lucky Piemontese. A bit more special and exotic for us at the end of the long import journey clobbered by the less than equal WET.

13.50% alcohol. Cork. $35.

92 points.

2017 Alois Ladeger Porer Pinot Grigio

From high up in the mountains of the Alto Adige where Pinot Gridge makes something worthy of time in the fridge. Beguiling bronze pink shimmer to match the delicate rose petal, lychee and red apple skin fruit. So fine boned, delicious acidity never allows the perfumes to cloy. Touch brassy from some skin contact but only intermittent as the fine drive of a pure mountain stream tunes it in and out of reception. Fascinating and repeat tastes bring something new and subtle into focus. Grape skin texture and beautiful acid are as much a part of the experience as fruit flavour. Poise.

12.50% alcohol. Cork. $40.

93 delicate points.

2007 La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo

Opened a bit dull and browning but in the tradition of ageing Neb the colour freshened to a deeper red and the fruit gained weight. Some oddly distracting spice and herby liqueur smells also bobbed up, perhaps from this maker’s love of small oak barrels? Despite the static the fruit is dense and fresh with typical cherry and tar floating on settled acidity and considerable tannin. Just a bit too drying maybe? Leads to speculation about how much Nebbiolo really needs oak tannin as it just seems to jar against that lovely ripe skin extraction. The fruit wins in the end but does it need the make up?

14% alcohol. Cork. $25 from Murphy’s clearance back in 2012. Worth the risk.

91 points.

2016 Vietti Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne

The name Vietti and Barbera are a delicious combination. The usual impeccable cleanliness and depth here. Bright and dark, tangy and just sweetly ripe berries with that Piemontese graphite rocky cut. A mouthwatering tug of fine acidity and enough rasp of tannin make another mouthful as important as simultaneous food in the belly. Oddly a relatively straightforward wine but compelling too. Armani suit for a Uniqlo dressed drinker.

14% alcohol. Diam, good. $48.

92 points.

2008 Vietti Perbacco Nebbiolo

Wine obsessed people can be so generous. Catching up with a good friend, they dropped this in my paws with the words, “bought a lot of this, think you should take one, it’s looking good at the moment”. Well, they’re correct as well as very kind. Bottle development smells of caramel with dusty pot pourri, dark cherries and earthy tar. Same in the mouth with a structure that’s melded fruit, tannin and acid into a seamless whole that runs on polished rails. Can’t see this particular bottle getting any better, others may, others not, such are the venerable. It’s surely a delicious pointer to the way a 2008 Barolo might be going. This is the sort of thing that just makes you want to raid the cellar and share, soon, eh? Thanks.

13.50% alcohol. Cork.

92 points.

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.