2017 Renzo Masi Il Bastardo Vino Rosso Italiano

Vino da taglio was, or maybe still is, a naughty way for higher alcohol wine from mainly Puglia and Sicily to find its way into under powered Tuscan and other northern producers’ wine. Bravo for this good Chianti Rufina producer playing with the idea and then cheekily calling it The Bastard. Seems it’s good Rufina Sangiovese “cut” with some warming Sicilian Shiraz. Whilst the thought of bastardising the purity of good Sangio is at first horrible, this turns out to be a delicious drink for not a lot of cash. Starts a bit reduced as the screwcap cracks but then opens cleanly with Sangiovese cherries and walnuts warmed by spice and darker berries. Still has that lovely pull of Chianti acid and fine tannin grabbing at some chocolate richness. If you were looking for an easy but genuine intro to Ital wine, stop here and get acquainted. Best thing is the pure Chianti accent can still be heard above the Mezzogiorno’s warm chatter.

13% alcohol. Screwcap on an Italian, bravo. $10 bargain from a Langton’s auction.

89 pizza friendly points.

Pair of Wendourees. 2006 Shiraz Malbec and 2009 Shiraz Mataro.

The most elderly first. The mail out said 52% Shiraz and 48% Malbec from 1898 Central and 1919 Eastern vineyards. Youngest vines are now centurions, happy birthday. Like the best 2000s Wendouree vintages this took a while to unfurl. That unmistakable mossy, minty and eucalypt menthol lift with dark cherry and berry fruit and a puff of lemony oak. Builds on the tongue as Wendouree does do with more Clare dark cherry and an anchor of fair but firm skin tannin and natural ripe acid. There’s also something wine gum dark and mysteriously spicy too. Beautiful grapes and place no mucking about.

13.50% alcohol. Cork. $48 from the mailing list.

94 points.

Now the younger. 65% Shiraz and 35% Mataro from 1893 Central and 1920 Eastern vineyards. The first Wendouree vintage sealed with screwcap, a posh Italian one too. If the mid 2000s started to show a bit less extraction, then by 2009 things are becoming positively elegant! Fragrant with menthol, anise, cherry and dark plum. Just a seasoning of nutty oak. Probably just imagination but this seems so fresh and pure, could it be the change to screwcap? Fine mid weight wine in the mouth that once again builds and then builds more flavour as it travels through. Fruit as above plus some earthy tar broods darkly. Such different poise and balance compared to Wendouree from last century. Must say I’d like a Tardis to try those young vine ones from before and between the world wars. Still very positive tannin but perhaps finer and more melting? Do enjoy telling those not aligned to Wendouree who ask how to join us to check out the Brady’s extensive social media presence. Rude cheek of a grumpy old man.

13.80% alcohol. Screwcap! $50 from the mailing list.

95 points.

2004 Wendouree Shiraz Malbec

Very subdued on opening. It seems to take a few hours of airing for mid 2000s Wendourees to feel the need to talk, shy and reserved. Surely less extraction and fresher than those from the last millennium. Slowly that unmistakable mossy Aussie bush scent and deep fruit emerge. Sings confidently but not brashly in the mouth with bright berries and darker purple, iron black flavour. Beautifully settled, natural acidity seems to set Wendouree apart from some of its local peers. Quiet power and grace. Sense of place. Now all they need is an Instagram account.

13.50% alcohol. Cork, roll on the 2009s and following vintages with screwcaps. About $45 from the snail mail list.

94 points.