This is a sound pinot gris from Hugel in Alsace. There is not much here in terms of aroma, some pear notes perhaps. The palate is dry and has subtle acidity hidden under its fruit, which adds freshness. A pinot gris paradigm that is ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Website: http://www.hugel.com. Reviewed: June 2020.
The Rombone vineyard is within the Treiso subregion of Barbaresco in Piemonte. Here’s a link to a map that goes into exquisite detail. Treiso is a cooler subregion of Barbaresco with an average altitude of around 350 metres according to the producer, and together with Pajoré, Rombone is of one of its best vineyards. 2014 is a lighter vintage (you can read further vintage references here). In the glass, this nebbiolo wine from Figli Luigi Oddero has aromas of damp cherry and a brooding expression. The palate has chalky but firm tannins with hints of ripeness, the acidity is high and the wine is full bodied. This wine is quite coiled at this stage of its development, and would suit further cellaring of 3-5 years. Rating: Good to Very Good. Website: http://www.figliluigioddero.it/. Reviewed: June 2020.
From the island of Santorini in Greece, this is a sound assyrtiko from Estate Argyros. Assyrtiko typically has very high acidity and a body and structure that is closer to a red wine in style. In this case, the wine has distinct and very attractive saline and mineral aromatics, and some phenolic character. The palate is dry and it has very high, rising acidity that is integrated into the fruit. It is more medium than full bodied. Drink now or over the next few years. Rating: Good. Website: https://estateargyros.com. Reviewed: July 2020.
Rockford’s dry country grenache from the 2016 vintage and the Barossa is a small quantity wine that does not appear to be generally available. It was purchased directly from the producer. I don’t have much further information about it, but if you do, please chime in. I am not much of a grenache drinker and tend to gravitate towards the more savoury and humble unoaked Côtes du Rhône versions, than the richer styles from Châteauneuf du Pape, Spain and McLaren Vale. But I really enjoyed this wine. It is full bodied with flavours of cherry, light tannins and medium length on the finish. A balanced wine that is ready to drink now. Rating: Good to Very Good. Website: https://www.rockfordwines.com.au. Reviewed: June 2020.
The Canberra wine region does two grape varieties very well – syrah (at its best, in a northern Rhône style expression) and riesling (at its best, in a dry, tight, high acid, mineral and floral expression). To the European mind, that this combination of varieties might work in the same region is unusual. As an illustration, the 2016 Master of Wine examinations included a question along the lines of “can cabernet sauvignon and riesling be successful in the same location?“. From an Australian or North American point of view, the answer was relatively easy.
Shaw Wines in Canberra have produced a first class riesling here. It has aromas of minerals, stone and lemons. The palate is dry, with linear, high acidity and excellent balance. The alcohol is low at 11%. It is approachable now and will likely cellar over the next decade, or longer. This wine sits comfortably alongside the rieslings produced by Australia’s better producers. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 11.0. Price: $30. Website: http://shawwines.com.au. Source: Sample. Reviewed: June 2020.
The 1994 vintage of the Pichon Baron is a mature claret that remains in its drinking window at 26 years of age. The 1994s are considered a more modest vintage for left bank Bordeaux, but the better producers produce better wines, as usual. In my experience, drinking modest Bordeaux vintages from good producers (from long tasting, Pichon Baron is unquestionably in this group) at the right time can be as enjoyable as drinking wine from the great vintages.
The 1994 Baron has tertiary and fully developed aromas of old cedar, earth and soy. On the palate, the tannins are very fine, but still firm and build with time in the glass. The length on the finish is gentle, persistent and long, and the balance exquisite. This is a graceful and mature Baron that is ready to drink. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5. Price: $100+. Website: https://www.pichonbaron.com/en/. Reviewed: June 2020.
This is an excellent expression of Crozes-Hermitage from Jann Chave in the northern Rhône Valley, one of the region’s stronger producers. It has cedar and spice aromatics. The palate reminds of syrah with its pepper and spice character. Some pastille notes express themselves at intervals. Overall, this is a very good wine that is enjoyable now and can be approached over the next 5 to 8 years. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 12.5. Price: $50s. Website: https://www.yannchave.com/en/our-wine. Reviewed: June 2020.
This proved to be quite a developing expression of Hunter semillon from benchmark producer Tyrells. The wine has evident tertiary butter and lactic aromas, with notes of mild struck match. As ever with more developed semillon, it is almost surprising there is no oak. The palate has particularly enamel searing, very high acidity and a biscuit and toast character. This wine is much more developed than expected from a still youngish semillon bottled under screwcap, and has entered its drinking window. Rating: Good. Abv: 11.5. Price: $20s. Website: https://www.tyrrells.com.au. Reviewed: June 2020.
This charming pinot noir from Burgenland in Austria has an extravagant, gorgeous fragrance that can only be pinot noir, reminding of autumn leaves and cherry. The palate is medium to full bodied, savoury and has attractive length. The wine returns to earth with its modest structure and complexity, which is consistent with an earlier drinking wine style. The wine is somewhat more modest after time in the glass, supporting the view that this is a charming wine that is best consumedin its youth. Ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Abv: not recorded. Price: $20s. Website: https://hannesreeh.at. Reviewed: June 2020.
This is an excellent AOP Chablis from Christian Moreau and the 2018 vintage, frankly resembling a premier cru in terms of quality. It has pleasingly typical Chablis aromas of stones and a yoghurty, lees character. The palate is dry, with attractive stone and flint notes, medium length and linear, high acidity. I would ordinarily suggest drinking an AOP Chablis in its youth, but the quality in the glass here suggests the wine may improve with cellaring of 3 to 5 years. Rating: Very Good. Price: $50s. Abv: Not recorded. Website: https://www.domainechristianmoreau.com/eng/wines.html. Reviewed: June 2020.