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 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.

2004 Roberto Voerzio Barolo La Serra

Another holiday treat, this time from a kind friend who’s a bit of a Barolo expert. Drink and learn. Opened a bit caramel brown and perhaps more developed than expected. However, Nebbiolo being its contrary self, it sort of gained a bit of freshness with air and was still very drinkable. Aside from some balsamic tiredness, all the usual dark tarry flavours and cherry notes galore and a tickle of fading dried roses. Cocoa oak too. Burly haunting purple jam fruit at the end still.

14.50% alcohol. Cork. A spoil at today’s Voerzio prices.

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.