Pira Margheria Barolo 2011

This is an excellent Barolo from Pira and the 2011 vintage.  It opens to attractive aromas of licorice and earth,  The palate is full bodied, the tannins very firm and the finish is long with attractive sour cherry characters.  Yes.  Approachable now or over the next decade or more.  Rating: Very Good.  Abv: 14.5.  Price:  $80.  Website:  https://www.piraluigi.it/en/.  Reviewed: May 2020.

Rusty Mutt Original Shiraz 2016

Something of a contrast in style to the Heartland shiraz just reviewed, this shiraz from McLaren Vale and the 2016 vintage has aromas of earth, soil and spice.  The palate has medium to high acidity, soft tannins, a medium to full body and is restrained in style.  This is an enjoyable wine that can be approached now.  Rating: Good.  Abv: 14.5.  Price: $30. Website:  https://www.rustymutt.com.au/. Source: Sample.  Reviewed: May 2020.

Kumeu Village Chardonnay 2018

From benchmark New Zealand producer Kumeu River, this chardonnay proved a little too sculptured for me, with the hand of the winemaker evident.  It opens to aromas of flint and smoke.  The palate has high acidity, the body is full and the wine finishes on acidity rather than fruit.  It proved somewhat hard work.  Rating: Acceptable.  Abv: 13.0.  Price:  $20. Website:  https://kumeuriver.co.nz/. Reviewed: May 2020.

Glaetzer Heartland Directors’ Cut Shiraz 2015

This is a classically proportioned and less oaky vintage of Glaetzer’s Directors’ Cut Heartland shiraz from Langhorne Creek that is a delight to drink.  In the glass, it has aromas of coconut shavings and plum.  The palate is rich, full bodied with terrific length and an expression of crushed spices.  Ready to drink now or over the next decade, this is a very enjoyable wine that could sell for much more.  Rating: Very Good.  Abv: 14.5.  Price:  $30.  Website:  https://www.heartlandwines.com.au/homepage-international/.  Reviewed: April 2020.

Hamilton Russell South Africa Pinot Noir 2018

Hamilton Russell is the paradigm South African pinot noir producer from the cool climate Walker Bay region in South Africa. This wine opens to brooding aromas of earth, cherry, spice and undergrowth. The palate is between medium and full bodied, the acidity is very fresh, and the finish has firm, pleasing tannins. This wine is obviously a benchmark and can be approached now, but will benefit from 4-5 years in the cellar. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5. Price: $80. Website: https://www.hamiltonrussellvineyards.com. Reviewed: April 2020.

Gartelmann Petit Verdot 2016

Petit verdot suits a warmer climate and does not normally appear as a single variety in its native Bordeaux. In the glass, the aroma of this petit verdot from Mudgee is immediately rich, reminding of leather and raisins. The palate is sweet fruited with red berry flavours, medium tannins and good length. This very intense wine can be approached now and will stand up to very heavy foods. Rating: Good. Abv: 15.2. Price: $35. Website: https://www.gartelmann.com.au. Source: Sample. Reviewed: April 2020.

Brezza Sarmassa Barolo 2011

From Brezza and the 2011 vintage, this Barolo weighs in at 15abv. It has aromatics of ripe, savoury plums and a touch of fruit cake. The tannins on the palate are very firm, the acidity high and at times the wine is warming in impression. This wine may improve further with a few more years in the cellar, but can be approached now. Rating: Good. Abv: 15.0. Price: $80. Website: https://www.brezza.it/en/. Reviewed: May 2020.