Anyone with a passing interest in the Yarra Valley and a brain knows Punt Road make delicious wine for a more than fair sum. This is bright, fresh and glossy red berries. Bit of herby stalk too pulls the exuberance into line. Not the densest concentration of fruit but that only seems to add to the immediate need for another mouthful. Flashes of minty bush shubbery and the round tobacco warmth of Oz Pinot add a sense of place. One of those when a delicious drink is more important than points or notes…er almost.
13% alcohol. Screwcap. $26 or thereabouts at Dan’s.
Another from the cellar. Really good vintage shows in the quality of some typically blackcurrant leaf Yarra Valley fruit. Cabernet’s certainly my favourite in the region. When ripened this well, the fruit develops a gentle richness that the natural acidity and soft ripe tannins draw long and poised. Shame the oak’s a bit clunky and pointy.
13% alcohol. Cork. About $30ish, pity you don’t get price stickers anymore.
Starting to gain some darker gold and green colour. Classic lime and toasty smells and developing honeyed lime marmalade in the flavour department. Perhaps the acidity’s a little sour and green compared to other vintages. Not quite that mouthwatering tingly freshness nor the extended peachy ripeness which can make Julius so great.
Screw Cap. From the stack of cardboard called a cellar. Was about $20 on special and that’s rare these days for Julius.
Twenty years ago Mencia was not part of the curious wine drinker’s vocabulary. Now some of the world’s most dramatic and beautiful terraced vineyards are producing piercingly pure, fresh red wine. Google the area and be gobsmacked by how hard the work must be to prune, work and harvest from these dizzying slopes. Some so steep, one slip and you’d be sliding down into the river.
This one has that typically smokey reductive nose that always make me think of the Northern Rhone. Mencia, Jancis says, is no relation to Syrah. Perhaps it’s the soil and river side? The slight pong clears to delicious raspberry freshness and a full palate of almost tart berries where the mouthwatering acidity just wins over the fine tannins. Long and lip smacking indeed. Nice layer of darker sweet jamon lurks beneath. Really, who needs oak with something this pristine?
Sometimes spending twice the usual weekday budget’s worth it.
13% alcohol. Cork. $36.
One of the great bargains. Very old vines, low yields, hand picked and still $22. This vintage shows the warmth of a fast and early year. Dark red fruits and leathery coal dust. Warm hearted fine tannin and a touch of acid hold it together. Not quite the accumulated fruit depth of 2015 or 2014 but still complex and comfortable.
14.50%. Screw Cap. $22.
Rory’s story title for this vintage was ‘Go’ referencing the early vintage when everything ripened frantically at the same time. Looks like he kept his focus and made a beautifully clean, rich expression of some great fruit. It smells of earthy blackberries, plums and woody herby stems from some whole bunches. A little bit of age has opened up the fruit which is a wonderfully rich mouthful of black fruit held together by those chewy stems. The acidity’s melded well into those ripe tannins. Really scratches that Shiraz itch. The Story’s not a front page sensation but the tale has integrity, great value and deliciousness.
13.50% alcohol. Screw Cap. $27.
The Grampians and Great Western, a place of quiet brilliance. Never had the scale of production or popularity but for a few of us a favourite Australian Shiraz. Somehow it makes wine without those sometimes too raucous eucalypt perfumes of Victoria. This is bright with dark berries and plums all in perfect harmony with that sweetly savoury tarry earthiness of those dusty soils. Oak’s a faint seasoning. The scale is the big hearted Aussie Shiraz but there’s a poised balance of perfume and earth, firm tannin, acid and fruit that’s unlikely in it’s subtle assurance. Given time, the fruit should get nice and sweet. Best’s go on their quiet way. In the last few vintages the alcohols are getting lower and the sense of place more in focus.
14% alcohol. Screw Cap. $25.