2015 Poderi di Luigi Einaudi Dogliani

Well, it doesn’t say Dolcetto on the label anymore since the DOC got an upgrade to DOCG to reflect the quality and a special place. Probably has done little to generate brand recognition and has only encouraged the wine swots, guilty. The Piemontese themselves just get on and drink it with lunch and dinner. It’s said 2015 was perfect for the little sweet one and this bears it out, though there’s nothing faintly sweet here. Over three days it stood firm with dark, almost tart, cherry and bitter chocolate fruit and not a hint of oxidation. The texture dries and puckers enough to suit those of us who like Nebbiolo. Delicious if you get a ragu on.

14% alcohol. Cork. $30 after taking advantage of Rathdowne Cellars generous 20% off 3 bottles end of year.

94 Punti.

2002 Denis Mortet Gevrey Chambertin Lavaux St Jacques 1er Cru

These 2002 red Burgundies seem to have a delicious balance of ripeness and freshness judging from a sadly small sampling. The colour’s holding up well with a still clear red. Smells of perfumed wild strawberry and cherry mix with sweet earthiness battling the sort of very expensive oak only the Burgundians seem to be able to choose. A good mouthful reveals the same ethereal fruit and earth with fine ripe acidity. Only towards the end does that luxury barrique impose its tannins. Perhaps a bit too much so? Prefer the natural transparency of the Chevillon.

13% alcohol. Cork. $130 from Como Wine some time ago. Aghast to see what it would fetch in a Hong Kong auction.

95 points.

2002 Robert Chevillon Nuits Saint Georges Les Chaignots 1er Cru

An indulgent week for stuff from the offsite dungeon. This just got better and better after a decant. Really clean spice, perfect dark chocolate and wild strawberry. Beautiful fruit with the most sophisticated graphite fine tannin and mouthwatering blood orange acidity. Them Chevillons seem to grow such good grapes. Amazing freshness of pure fruit to finish and what an end too! The oak’s not really noticeable unlike some more venerated and ludicrously expensive Burgundians. Chaignots is near Vosne Romanée and notwithstanding the power of auto suggestion it just could be apparent here.

13% alcohol. Cork. About $120 on release.

96 points.

2001 Vietti Barolo Castiglione

A treat from a generous friend’s cellar. Opened a bit rusty looking and perhaps tired as you may expect after a fifteen year sleep. Over an hour the colour darkened and reddened. The extraordinary coiled power of awakening Nebbiolo stared to fill both nose and mouth with dried flowers, cherries and what can only be Langhe soil. The finish still extraordinarily fresh, rich and loooonnnnggg. The tannins firm, rich and melting like candle wax. No danger of underestimating how good Vietti’s basic Barolo can be. Must be a health tonic.

14% alcohol. Cork. Probably about $110 on release.

96 points.


2017 Punt Road Pinot Noir

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.

92 points

2006 Pimpernel Vineyards Yarra Valley Cabernet Merlot

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.

93 points.

2009 Henschke Julius Eden Valley Riesling

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.

92 points.

2015 Guimaro Rebeira Sacra Mencia

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.

93 points.


2016 Cirillo The Vincent Barossa Grenache

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.

92 points.