The Italians probably could do with a few more people drinking their wines at this terrible time. Guido Porro’s 2015 Barolo has a very pale red colour in the glass. Really aromatic, it is almost pinot noir like with its expression of red fruits and damp earth. The palate reverts to nebbiolo type with a full bodied, high fine tannins and long length. This wine can be approached now but will suit a decade in the cellar. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5. Price: $80+. Website: http://guidoporro.com. Reviewed: March 2020.
This is a well made sparkling wine from the classic varieties of chardonnay and pinot noir. The producer is Wills Domain in the Margaret River. In the glass, there are light aromas of citrus and yeast. The palate has between medium and firm acidity. Well priced and suitable for current drinking. Rating: Good. Abv: NA. Price: $39. Website: http://willsdomain.com.au. Source: Sample. Reviewed: January 2020.
Pale red in colour, Pizzini’s sangiovese from the King Valley in Victoria and the 2018 vintage has an aroma of tobacco and red fruits. The palate has a medium-full body, moderate tannins and a warming finish. Ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.4. Price: $20+. Website: https://www.pizzini.com.au. Reviewed: March 2020.
From the Ferguson Valley in Western Australia, this cabernet sauvignon from Alyesbury Estate opens to aromas of pungent clove, eucalyptus and black fruits. The palate has very firm fine grained tannins, a medium body and integrated acidity. Ready to drink now and over the next few years. Rating: Good. Abv: NA. Price: $20. Website: https://www.aylesburyestate.com.au. Source: Sample. Reviewed: March 2020.
In these challenging times, it feels important to keep posting wine reviews and supporting local producers. Deeply coloured, the 2016 vintage of Rockford’s Rod & Spur shiraz cabernet has an aroma of iodine, dark fruits and licorice. The palate is full bodied, soft and graceful in its expression. This wine has entered its drinking window, but experience suggests that it should improve with 5-8 years of cellaring. This is a wine I purchase most years. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.8. Price: $40+. Website: https://www.rockfordwines.com.au. Tasted: March 2020.
This wine is from Aylesbury Estate and the Ferguson Valley, north of the Margaret River. There is substantial new oak influence, with aromas of cedar and wood prominent. The palate is full bodied and has powdery (medium) tannins and a ripe fruit expression. This is a youthful wine that will benefit from short term cellaring (3-5 years). Rating: Good. Abv: 14.5. Price: $45. Website: www.aylesburyestate.com.au. Source: Sample. Reviewed: February 2020.
This is a sound and varietal sauvignon blanc from Wills Domain in the Margaret River under the Mystic Spring label. It has aromas of lemon and passionfruit. The palate is unoaked, fruity and medium bodied in style. Ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Abv: 11.9. Price: $25. Website: willsdomain.com.au. Source: Sample. Reviewed: January 2020.
The 2016 Rockford Rifle Range cabernet sauvignon is a good, if not outstanding, vintage of this wine. These are generally wines for long ageing, so it is early days yet. Tasted in March 2020, its aroma evidences new oak influence with its obvious cedar character. The palate is dry, medium bodied and has a leafy varietal cabernet sauvignon expression and fresh acidity, with the oak appearing better integrated. The tannins are medium, rather than firm and the intent is earthy and savoury. This Rifle Range vintage can be approached now and over the next decade. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.9. Price: $40+. Website: https://www.rockfordwines.com.au. Reviewed: March 2020.
Girolamo Rosso appears to be a well regarded producer in the Etna region in Sicily. In the glass, the 2017 ‘a Rina Etna Rosso has a typically pale red cordial like colour consistent with nerello mascalese. I would have liked to say something more precise as to the grape varieties in the wine. But looking at a few vendor websites, none clearly said what the grape varieties were. Mostly a mish-mash of information was presented, in various voices, where you couldn’t quite tell if they were general comments about the producer’s vineyards or a particular wine and vintage. The producer itself describes this label as having a contribution from 6% nerello cappuccio, but the accompanying picture is from the 2013 vintage, so it is perhaps not a definitive comment. On balance, I’d suggest it is most likely a nerollo mascelese with perhaps a tiny contribution from nerollo cappuccio and stick to what’s in the glass.
In the glass, there are attractive aromatics of strawberry, old cedar and spice. On the palate, the wine’s most distinctive features are its high, filmy tannins softened by ripe plum fruit and a between medium and full body. The length on the finish is towards long, and builds with time in the glass. Ready to drink now, it should benefit from 3-5 years in the cellar. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14.5. Price: $50s. Website: http://www.girolamorusso.it. Reviewed: March 2020.
This is a very good Saint Joseph syrah from Coursodon and the 2017 vintage. In the glass, there are aromas of baked plums and a distinctive, resonant pepper character. Although ripe, the wine remains medium bodied, finishing with medium to long length and peppery overtones. Ready to drink now and over the next 5 to 8 years. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Website: https://www.domaine-coursodon.com/en/. Reviewed: February 2020.