2010 Dalla Mia Finestra Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Small production, great value and gets more delicious from leaving somewhere cool and dark, all good. Opened fresh and clean, blackcurrant, leaf and fruit, a touch of mint and a savoury gravel cut. The texture is a delicious mingle of freshness and ripe, soft and cuddly tannin. Shows all the things that make the Yarra Valley a good spot for the Cabernet clan, softening the grainy edges and grumpy tannins. Oddly difficult to find good examples in Melbourne’s wine shops outside of the famous ones established in the 70s and 80s which fetch very good prices; itself an encouragement for growers perhaps? It’s easier to grow than Pinot they do say.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $23.

94 points.

2010 Hoddles Creek Pinot Noir

For well over ten years the Hoddles Creek crew have been offering the sort of value that must drive other Yarra Valley producers to mutter. Always without much wine making confection, this is still typically a bit reduced on opening. A good airing via double decanting and a tricky touch of a copper spoon drive off a bit too much sulphide for this delicate palate. Lovely savoury development of the autumnal forest floor type and then some dark cherry, tobacco and sinewy tannin. A good swell of that choc cherry fruit at the end point to the subtle class of the vineyard. Gobsmacking value both literally and figuratively.

13.20% alcohol. Screwcap. $20 on release!

92 authentic points.

2017 Punt Road Cabernet Sauvignon Napoleone Vineyard Block 3

Lovely balance of bright leafy red fruit and gravelly texture. Quite like the Oakridge Over the Shoulder version from 2017 but just that bit more dense and full. It possesses the delicious fine tannin and well settled acidity that can make Bordeaux so suave and inviting but at a price point where that bit of the old world would struggle for such depth and cleanliness. Drinking at its best on day two when the sparkling red fruits shone and dazzled. Perhaps best in the shorter term as there’s not the blackcurrant depth or power of a warmer year. That’s just as likely to be proven wrong as many old Yarra Cabs have shown a lot less wrinkles in old age than this blogger. Quality fruit from the beautiful valley.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $28.

93 points.

2017 Oakridge Over the Shoulder Cabernet Merlot

Smells of an old school pencil box, red fruit and the leafy Cabernet family. Medium weight, just, a satisfying meld of fruit and dusty, stoney earth that finishes with mouthwatering acidity and firming milky tannin. The kind of low intensity delicious flow that makes what Andrew Jefford aptly calls digestible claret. Civilised drink. Another of those right grape, right place wines. More Yarra claret, please.

13.40% alcohol. Screwcap. $18.99.

91 points.

2010 Giant Steps Gladysdale Vineyard Yarra Valley Pinot Noir

After some lacklustre cheapies from the big chain it’s good to spend time with something that looked great at the cellar door. Interesting to see just how the warm glow at the tasting bench fares in the cold light of a much later day. At first this was dusty, with a bit of lanolin reduction. Double decanted and a bit more fruit emerged with fennel and herby stalks pulling it right into line. It took twenty four hours for the sweet, ripe, dark cherry and squashed strawberry to surface above the neatly folded acid and whole bunch tannin. Doesn’t look like it’ll improve any further, it just still needs a lot of air to overcome a shy heart. Now to try and get that Police song about Giant Steps on the moon out of my head.

13% alcohol. Screwcap. $45.

94 shy and retiring points.

2014 Mayer Close Planted Yarra Valley Pinot Noir

The label looks…er…familiar, a homage perhaps? Pine, herbs, cactus sap and sweet stewed raspberries and wild strawberries. Nice balance of fruit, drying stalk and a drag of slate acidity. Rounding out well with some time in the bottle. Some of that autumnal smoke and leaf litter emerging. Medium bodied, proper Pinot with fragrance, detail and enough fruit to carry the stalks which in turn prevent it being too sweetly fruited, ist gut!

13% alcohol. Diam. $55

93 points.

2018 Arfion Yarra Valley Spring Pinot

A favourite and very informed importer of some extraordinary Champagne mentioned one of the characteristics he loves in good wine is tension. Not so much anxiety but more a tasty paradox perhaps. Some fruit richness but lightness of structure. Fresh raspberries and strawberries pushed forward by some whole berry ferment but a darker earthy grip. So it went with this Pinot Noir over three days. No loss of interest, just a delicious balance of immediately drinkable sweet fruit and an earthy cut of savoury structure with a tiny tweak of sulphide. A calming tension.

13% alcohol. Screwcap. $30.

92 points.