Another Vajra and another sublime mouthful of Piemonte. Opens with slightly rusty, earthy scents that warm to fine, just ripe cherries with perfumed pot pourri on the edges. Became riper and richer over four days with Nebbiolo’s typical resistance to oxygen exposure. Seems ripe and generous by Vajra’s usual standards of grace and demeanour, perhaps a sign of a warm and riper vintage? Certainly delicious now and still plenty of that pleasing Piemontese stone and rock to cut the generous red cherries and sweet almond paste. Their 2016 Baroli are going to do some serious damage to the wine budget I fear.
14% alcohol. Cork. $45.
After a glass of 2013 Belford looked so good on a warm and humid Sydney evening, it was time to chase some down. Sadly it all seems sold out but Qantas’ wine shop still has the HVD. Using a FF $50 discount and it’s sub $30 a bottle, such irresistible temptation for a six year old wine. First of the 6 pack and, phew, money well spent. Lovely smells of lime, toast, chestnut honey and, yes, a whiff of beeswax, always a joy. Powerful in the mouth with intense fruit tracking the nose and sweeping acidity. Perhaps a touch too crunchy at the moment but it does match the beautifully full fruit and still has some softening ahead, please? Five bottles to go and there’s certainly no rush. More enjoyable prospect than the care home food.
11.50% alcohol. Screwcap, so appropriate for this. $28.
Opens with sparklingly clean aromas of bright red sour cherry, wet concrete, sweet earth and just made raspberry compote. Glossy flavours track the same strada with road tar savour providing background to the pure sweet fruit. Very polished wine making kept from cloying by just a tickle of lift. Old tee shirt under an Armani suit. Good density but light on its feet with mouth watering acidity. Quotidian wine for those lucky Piemontese. A bit more special and exotic for us at the end of the long import journey clobbered by the less than equal WET.
13.50% alcohol. Cork. $35.
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.
From high up in the mountains of the Alto Adige where Pinot Gridge makes something worthy of time in the fridge. Beguiling bronze pink shimmer to match the delicate rose petal, lychee and red apple skin fruit. So fine boned, delicious acidity never allows the perfumes to cloy. Touch brassy from some skin contact but only intermittent as the fine drive of a pure mountain stream tunes it in and out of reception. Fascinating and repeat tastes bring something new and subtle into focus. Grape skin texture and beautiful acid are as much a part of the experience as fruit flavour. Poise.
12.50% alcohol. Cork. $40.
93 delicate points.
Seems to take a day to really settle into being comfortable in the glass as some deep black fruit finally emerges to match the crunch of warm leather on a hot dusty stone path. As far down the path of dark ripeness as some of us would like to tread but still a clear bass voice happily at home. Such a surly bloke of a grape. Warm heart though. Flavours of coal black pudding and roasting pan juices. Warm firm handshake of ripe tannin and natural feeling acidity. Yangarra know where they’re taking you.
14.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $26.
Opened with a little trepidation as it approaches its ninth birthday, only to be surprised by a still vigorous red colour and a satisfying freshness. 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah with perhaps a touch of oak barrel, this looks more like a CNdP than a CdR. Really lovely soft kirsch and chocolate fruit, only a hint of scrubby herb and well melded tannin and acid. A little judicious pepper seasoning. Very much a polished version of a rustic Rhône but no less delicious for the haircut and a bit of education. No superfluous bling, just well brought up sense of place. Very happy to have a few more.
14% alcohol. Cork. Can’t remember exactly how much but a ludicrous bargain in the wholesaler’s annual clearance sale. Wish they still did them!
93 points but especially a good thing.