A wild but intensely delicious Grenache grown organically with some biodynamic twiddling and made with a lot of risk taking if the yeasty, low sulphur edge is an indication. It goes deep into raspberry, spice, cherry, rose perfume and single origin, exotic chocolate. Sits in the mouth and sort of implodes into something like a lump of limestone wrapped in velvet. Despite the feral complications, the extraordinary quality of the grapes here wins out, just. Some would be more technically pragmatic perhaps?
14.8% alcohol. Cork. About €35 from Lavinia in what seems a very far away Paris at the moment.
A Pinot Noir from a far corner of Baden near the Alsace and Swiss border. Deeply coloured for Pinot and dark, sour cherry and plum ripeness too. It’s focused though with no over or under traits, just pure dark fruit and then a liquid rock finish sweeps in, a wild shock for those used to the evenly ploughed earth of Burgundy. Over a couple of days the geology recedes and the gentle purity of fruit gains traction. A pinch of herb seasoning and ripe acidity bring freshness and there’s just a brush of the softest velvet. Cool and calm too. Worth being patient and letting the flavours unfurl. Fastidiously clean and showing great care in the growing and making. Organic too. Nice choice, Randall, the now veteran wine merchant.
12.50% alcohol but ripe. One of those good Gualia screwcaps. $38.
From the winery’s stall at a local farmers’ market at a time when offering a taste or getting too close are not a safe option. It’s a tough time to be a small producer when most people are ordering on line from the supermarkets. Not sure if a single bottle purchase is going to make much difference but it did mean a delicious discovery. From Gippsland in a damp corner of Victoria whence comes perhaps Australia’s most acclaimed Pinot Noir. Opening with fresh, clean and fragrant cherries, strawberries and sweet green herbs. Only light in body but well flavoured, those red fruits carry through to a perfumed end that got better over two days. The structure has a mouthwatering lightness of being with gentle fresh acidity and a feather of ripe skin and stem tannin. Water washed to end rather than the warm breath of alcohol. Definitely a positive. There’s a lovely painting of a local Flying Duck Orchid on the label. A ripe local Pinot Noir of such poise is just as rare.
13.3% alcohol. Screwcap and a good lightweight bottle too . $24, great value.
From a pretty limited experience of things Alsace, the attraction was Jancis Robinson choosing this as wine of the week a while ago. JR seems a bit knowledgeable about what she describes as the world’s greatest white grape. There was also a bottle of the deluxe Cuvée Emile in the past that was very delicious and helped the leap into the land of pickled cabbage. Dry, balanced and a good amount of pithy fruit weight in this, the most basic in Trimbach’s range. A welter of fruit flavours in fact, all sorts of citrus, apples, white peach, something like green mango too which gives a slightly sour cut and cues the sweep of cleansing acidity. Nestled amongst the fruit are some beeswax and vanilla savour and some baking spices which are typical of good Alsace it seems. La doyenne is right on.
13% alcohol. Screwcap, how Riesling loves you. $27.
A very polished and finessed version of Gevrey, perhaps a bit Rousseau like if I’d drunk enough of that hallowed producer to really say. Sweet essence of blood orange, dark wild strawberry, wet potter’s clay and slightly cardboard yeasty lees. Glides well on a chiselled, very fine acid base and a rustle of tannin aristocracy. It’s that density of ripe fruit built on a filigree of the finest carving that marks the posh middle of the Côte d’Or’s slope. Feels like you have to dress up for it.
13% alcohol. Cork. Very nice birthday present some years ago.
There’s no fancy wine making polish here. Nebbiolo from around Barolo as it was, still sometimes is and, Bacchus willing, will be. Smells typically of red cherry, liquorice root, pot pourri, dusty roads and a haze of old oak. No messing with shorter time in contact with those tannin rich skins after ferment, the thump of traditional Barolo tannin pulls a rugged dryness through the mouth. Irish breakfast tea left to stew. There’s enough red fruit weight and earthy depth to buffer the scaffolding but only just. Without animal protein, it’s a challenge but at the table it makes sense. Nothing wrong with tradition that a bit less musty oak wouldn’t cure. Nothing wrong with some modern techniques that wouldn’t miss a bit less new oak. Happy to explore, oh yes.
Another value direct import from Woolworths. A whiff of sulphurous reduction to start which airs away to allow flowers, cherry preserve and a slap of sweet leather to emerge. Not huge or deep but gentle and pure in flavour. Over a couple of days, things cleaned up even more and some Southern Rhône shrubbery smells popped up amongst the very ripe fruit. 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah with the former’s ability to hang on to natural acidity very much on show, refreshing and binding the fine tannin. Such value imports are becoming the best reason to visit the shelves at Dan’s. The cheerful and good natured frontline workers braving retail every day in such times are another.