Clyde Park Single Block D Pinot Noir Bannockburn 2018

Geelong is a successful region for pinot noir and, at its best, can achieve an interesting and complex restrained, savoury and sinewy expression of pinot.  Within the Geelong wine region Bannockburn is pretty yet understated and somewhat out of the way, situated on the road between Geelong and Ballarat rather than the touristed Bellarine Peninsula.  It has some of Geelong’s finest terroir for pinot noir.  I say all this because this particular single vineyard wine from Clyde Park in Bannockburn is very good and it is not a surprise.  It has aromas of blood, earth and rhubarb.  The palate has great length and a balanced, refined expression of pinot noir.  This refined pinot noir will suit current drinking and also a few years in the cellar.  Rating: Very Good.  Abv: 13.0.  Price: $75. Website: Source: Sample. Reviewed: June 2020.

Sauvion Les Roches Cachées Chinon 2016

This wine is textbook Chinon from the Loire Valley.  It has aromas of crisp red raspberries and strawberry, a medium body and a dry, high acid finish with a twist of tobacco.  A fresh and enjoyable style that is ready to drink now.  Rating: Good.  Price: $29. Abv: 12.5. Website: Reviewed: May 2020.

San Filippo Lo Scorno Rosso di Montalcino 2017

This sangiovese, a Rosso di Montalcino, has aromas of earth, cherry and a slight funkiness.  The palate is full bodied and approachable now.  Overall, this presented as a modest if pleasant wine, certainly with no angles, but I expected more depth and complexity at this price.   Rating: Acceptable.  Price: $50s. Abv: NA. Website: Reviewed: May 2020.

Punch Lance’s Vineyard Close Planted Pinot Noir 2015

From Punch Lance’s Vineyard in the Yarra Valley, and a producer I haven’t previously come across, this is a very good pinot noir.  There’s actually not much of it – only 1,300 bottles were produced.  It has aromas of cedar and rhubarb.   Its long length and considerable fruit intensity provide enjoyment, and while the new oak is prominent, it is balanced in the context of the fruit.  Light, fine tannins and a medium body complete the picture.  Ready to drink now.  Rating: Good to Very Good.  Abv: NA. Price: $90. Website: Reviewed: May 2020.

Mas d’Espanet Pinot Noir 2016

This is a good quality pinot noir from an unlikely place, namely the warm Languedoc and the Cevennes IGP in particular.  I can’t recall previously seeing this IGP.  I read that it sits in the northern, more mountainous part of the Languedoc, a region that is diverse but more grenache, syrah and carignan country.  In the glass, the wine has correct varietal pinot noir aromas of intense and brooding rhubarb and sweet red berries.  The palate reminds of glace cherry, ripe strawberry and spice and there is medium length on the finish.  This brooding wine is ready to drink now and provides good value drinking.  Rating: Good.  Abv: NA. Price: $34. Website: NA. Reviewed: May 2020.

Rusty Mutt Rocky Ox GSM 2018

This wine is a blend of grenache, shiraz and mourvèdre (mataro) from Rusty Mutt in McLaren Vale. It opens to aromas of red berries. The palate is full bodied and consistent with the McLaren Vale GSM style where the tannins are a little firmer and more structured than expected for a grenache blend, but always with no edges. Ready to drink now, this is an enjoyable wine. Rating: Good. Abv: NR. Price: $25. Website: Reviewed: May 2020.

Rusty Mutt Conejo Joven Tempranillo 2018

This delicious wine is a McLaren Vale tempranillo fashioned in a “Joven” style and is the best wine of this producer’s current releases.  It has an aroma of bright red berries. The palate is medium to full bodied, with fresh acidity and a light on its feet impression.  Rating: Good.  Abv: NA.  Price: $35.  Website:  Source: Sample.  Reviewed:  2020. 

Tardieu-Laurent Côtes du Rhône Villages Les Becs Fins 2017

This is a heady Côtes du Rhône Villages wine. It opens to spicy and peppery aromatics.  The palate is full bodied and the length on the finish medium. Spices, rosemary and some raisined, but savoury, fruit emerges with time.  Ready to drink now.  Rating: Good. Abv: 14.0.  Price:  $20.  Website:  Reviewed:  May 2020. 

Range Life Garganega 2016

This is an interesting local version of garganega from the King Valley in Victoria.  It’s the same grape variety as Soave in north eastern Italy and fits the King Valley’s Italian influence.  In the glass, it has aromas of smoke and stone.  The palate is dry, full bodied and the acidity medium.  An approachable style that disappears quickly in the glass.  Rating: Good.  Abv: 12.5.  Price: $20.  Website:  Reviewed: May 2020. 

Raen Royal St Robert Sonoma Coast 2016

Sonoma Coast is a large, cool climate viticultural region north of San Francisco.  Few of these wines make their way to Australia.  In the glass, this wine is very obviously pinot noir and, for Australian readers, resembles the Yarra Valley fruity pinot noir style.  It has aromas of cherry and spice.  The body is full and interesting, with medium to high acidity and good length.  This wine has a lovely balance and disappeared quickly.  Ready to drink now.  Rating: Good.  Abv: 13.0.  Price: $100+.  Website:  Reviewed: May 2020.