This is one of the best vintages yet of this modern Veneto blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Sangiovese, partly made using the Ripasso technique. The chalky soils of this excellent vineyard are apparent in the freshness and minerality of the wine. It’s compact, yet still bright and nuanced, showing subtle oak, good structure and flavours of bramble and blackberry, with a savoury, earthy twist.
Phil Sexton’s Yarra Valley winery is one of the most innovative in the region. It’s got a lot of tourist appeal, but it’s wines are deadly serious, too. This is a typically elegant, refined red, with fine-grained tannins, subtle pepper spice and plush raspberry and blueberry flavours and a minerally, refreshing finish.
A Crozes-Hermitage under screwcap? You’d better believe it. David Reynaud’s wines are perfumed as it is, and the new clsoure should make sure that’s always the case. There’s no reduction here – sometimes a problem under screwcap for Syrah – just lots of bramble and blackberry fruit. Spicy, bright and mineral with delightful freshness.
Fascinating to taste this wine under screwcap and cork and perform a contrast and compare job. They are both excellent, as you’d expect from a top producer in an outstanding vintage, but I slightly prefer the brightness and purity of the screwcapped wine. Fresh and elegant, with pure raspberry and cherrystone fruit, subtle oak and the chalky minerality that’s so typical of Serralunga.
Kevin Judd was better known at Cloudy Bay, just as he is at Greywacke, for his Sauvignon Blancs than his Chardonnay, but he’s always been a very skilful producer of the latter grape. This is arguably the best Chardonnay he’s made yet at his new venture, a minerally, citrus-tinged white with deftly interwoven oak and flavours of oatmeal and honey. Very classy.
A remarkable Tasmanian Chardonnay from Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith, the team behind Shaw & Smith in the Adelaide Hills. This is dense, flavoursome stuff that wouldn’t look out of place in a Meursault Premier Cru bottle, with subtle, toasty oak, lots of mid-palate weight, flavours of struck flint, citrus and pear and a long, tapering finish.
Not quite as thrilling as the Tolpuddle Chardonnay, but this is still an impressive Aussie Pinot from Tasmania’s Coal River Valley. Supple and fragrant, with aromas of rose petal and red fruits, a touch of oak, fine tannins and good grip on the finish. The cool climate acidity gives the wine real length on the finish.
Juicy, modern Valpol with more weight than most examples of Italy’s wine bar red. Unoaked, packed with brambly, raspberry fruit and bright acidity. A wine that surprises you with its seriousness. Perfect for a screwcap closure.
Paolo de Marchi is in the vanguard of Italy’s top rank producers with his switch to screwcaps. This, his top wine, is a stunning expression of Sangiovese, full of youthful, vibrant red cherry and damson skin fruit, with well integrated oak, medium tannins and bags of potential.
Polish Hill is always the tightest and most restrained of Jeffrey Grosset’s wines and that’s the case here, but this excellent dry Riesling seems a little more open than usual. It’s floral and delicate with lovely, minerally acidiity and notes of lime and green apple. Long and complex.
Just to prove that I don’t always have it in for Pinot Grigio, this one from Friuli is deliciously drinkable. It’s spicy and intense, with notes of pears and citrus fruit, with a nice undertone of fresh fennel and a zesty bite on the back palate.
Pieropan makes some of my favourite Soaves. Its single vineyard wines are sublime, but its larger, entry point blend is pretty good, too. This has a white pepper fragrance, with stony minerality on the palate and a fresh, almost saline finish. Good to see it under screwcap, too.