2013 Jean Paul Picard et Fils Charlaux Sancerre Rouge

Pinot Noir from limestone and clay soils and a generous gift from the Paris apartment host’s cellar. Still a good cherry red colour and plenty of gentle red fruit hanging on. Probably preserved by the flinty acidity and graphite fine tannin. The perfume lingers, carried by that filigreed structure which is only light of body and veers towards the austere. The flavours are as much about chalky soil as they are cherry and raspberry fruit. Clean and enough weight to keep you interested though. It’s something outside the usual range of self imposed options when scouring the local wine shops. Vive la difference and thanks so much for temporarily renting us your home, cher F. Not one of those Airbnb’s depriving locals of their homes, I hope. Oh, the politics of modern travel.

13% alcohol. Cork. Wish every apartment host was this kind and as interested in sharing a drink.

92 points but much more than a number.

2013 Champagne Doyard Oeil de Perdrix Grand Cru Extra Brut

Having never stared a partridge in the eye, we’ll have to believe les gens de Champagne about the colour. Perhaps they still go out and shoot their dinner? Developed blanc de noirs or pale rosé? Research suggests it’s an old rosé de presse method to give a little colour. Anyway, there’s some aristocratic grapes in this, 75% Pinot Noir from Aÿ and 25% Chardonnay from Avise. Grand crus amongst grand crus perhaps? Fine definition of red fruit spiced with a touch of barrel that recedes as the bubbles burst. Sugar dusted raspberries, candied citrus and almost cinnamon, poised and precise, all cut into shape by pinpoint chalky acidity. Beautifully tailored, subtle, no flashy bling.

About 12% alcohol probably? Cork. Extremely thoughtful apero, thanks!

95 points.

2005 Domaine Henri Richard Gevrey Chambertin Aux Corvées

Another raid on the stuff I’ve somehow managed to keep stashed. Make use of time, let not advantage slip. Thanks, Will, for the advice. Sweet autumnal maturity creeps up indeed. Wild strawberries, sweet earth and that savoury fresh charcuterie waft. Beautifully ripe and good intensity. Good extract of fine tannin and a snap of settled acidity. Lovely shape and purity. The well mannered perfume and richness of very good Côte de Nuits. Sigh, one less bottle left.

13% alcohol. Cork. About $50 pre arrival.

93 points plus for sheer poise.

2012 Hoddles Creek Yarra Valley Pinot Noir

Another Hoddles Creek from the cellar. Such irresistible value means there’s a lot stashed away. Better get drinking then. Just like its upmarket sibling the 1er version, it opens shyly and needs a lot of air and time to peek out from the reductive wine making. When it does decide to come out and play, there’s the usual cherries and undergrowth on a light to medium bodied swell of nicely judged tannin and fresh cleansing acidity. As always it possesses a coolness that’s perhaps rare in Oz Pinot. Subtle and valuing poise over brute size. Enough fruit to balance the touch of sulky sulphide winemaking which nonetheless avoids a too bitter ending. Twenty four hours after a brutal double decant and no hint of oxidation, goodness.

13.20%. Screwcap. $20 in 2013.

92 points.

2009 Curlewis Geelong Pinot Noir

The best sort of birthday present, a bottle of wine chosen with care and stashed away for much later. Five Australian Prime Ministers later. Must admit to a bit of prejudice about Geelong Pinot. Too many blazing hot, north wind days travelling through a dry flat landscape that didn’t exactly bring Burgundy to mind. Perhaps the Bellarine Peninsular gets a bit of air con from Port Philip Bay as this looked as pretty as an Upper Yarra Pinot opened at the same time. Resolved but hanging on well. Clean perfume of very ripe strawberries and darker plums cut with some green herb and some sweet compost development. Same across the tongue with an age softened rasp of just ripe acidity and perhaps some whole bunch tannin. Just a whisper of well handled oak adds the merest touch of sweet vanilla that’s sunk into the fruit with aplomb. From a hot drought ridden year with dreadful bush fires, this is a confounding success. A lot of care and love must have gone into the growing and making. A privilege to enjoy the hard work.

13% alcohol. Screwcap.

92 points.

2005 Domaine Pierre Amiot et Fils Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru Les Combottes

After this producer’s 2005 Morey St Denis 1er cru being very good but not great, it seemed a good idea to take this along to one of the three good BYO places within walking distance. Friday night noisey conviviality may not be the best place for lengthy wine pondering. Turned out the $20 corkage is a bargain as the wine was better than expected. Not only the food’s deliciously wine friendly but the owners of The Recreation have very acute palates. Half a glass blind and a confident stab at Burgundy was their verdict. OK, they know their stuff! Good Gabriel stems showed off the lovely perfume of really ripe wild strawberries and an earthy, ferrous, sweet charcuterie thing that Burgundy can do so well. Swirling around the mouth showed the same clean fresh fruit, some impeccable oak and silky tannin melded with delicious acidity. Perfect with The Recreation’s duck. Glad there’s two more stashed away.

Great to be able to drink something such good food deserves. Thanks, The Recreation Bistro + Bottle Shop, Queens Parade, North Fitzroy in inner north, dangerously left wing Melbourne.

13.50% alcohol. Cork. Was about $75 pre arrival, direct import.

95 points.

2015 Garden of Earthly Delights Macedon Pinot Noir

The front label is a good piece of artwork but as this platform only seems to allow one image per post, here’s the very informative back label. Spotted this at the local large independent supermarket priced at $18 instead of $45 or thereabouts. In the case of a battling small wine shop, my conscience would prevail, I hope, but this particular supermarket has annoyed us locals with a horrible development application which looks to be the proverbial blot on the landscape. Sort of justified in taking advantage but can only hope whoever does the price stickers doesn’t get into trouble. Enough of shopping ethics and a dodgy self justification, the wine then. Opens very perfumed and inviting with wild strawberries, rose gardens and musky Australian bush scents. Tastes the same but perhaps the pale almost rosé colour alludes to a bit of dilution. Nice to see an attempt to avoid over extraction though. Finishes with nice ripe acidity and feathery tannin. Great for the money, cough.

13.60% alcohol. Screwcap.

92 points.