(2021) Sadly, Frédéric Mabileau was killed in September 2020 in a micro-light accident. The 49-year-old vineyard for this wine was picked selectively when the berries were fully golden in colour. It was fermented in large foudre with natural yeasts, and aged in foudre for 16 months. It has a gorgeous nose of crushed almond, butter, mint and ripe red apple, almost Meursault-like and very appealing. Creamy and yet juicy on the palate, that crispness of acidity defines this, layered with ripe but not too sweet fruit and that light butteriness, it is a treat to drink.
(2021) Fruit for this wine is whole bunch pressed, part natural fermentation of the free run juice. Matured in French oak barriques with batonnage and 100% malolactic. Presented by Kim Schroeter whom I first met as Penfolds specialist white wine maker maybe 15 or 20 years ago. This is part of the story of Penfold's attempts to make a 'white Grange' which led them to the Adelaide Hills (and Tasmania) now the source of their top Chardonnays. Really funky and flinty, the struck-match lift nicely bedded into creamy stone fruits. The palate is lean and mineral, again saltiness comes through here, pristine fruit, but the ripeness is there - even a hint of mint. So much texture, depth, the combination of earthiness and funkiness, a great acid line is complete and complex.
(2021) From sandy clay-loam soils and again very old vines planted in 1971, these are farmed organically and the wine spent 20 months in 225L barriques, 35% new oak. There's a creamier, mintier profile than the Yarra Yering, slightly more lush and juicy, some very nice graphite notes and a little hint of that violetty, floral lift again. Certainly more sweet, dense and direct than the Yarra Yering, but not without light and shade, a lovely softness and poise to the tannin structure that it gentle but supportive. The acids also soft giving this a sweet but balanced finish.
(2020) From one of the steepest hillsides of the region, and chalky lime soils, this vineyard sits at 350- to 390-metres, across the road from Vigna Rionda. A shade paler than the Cerretta perhaps, the nose a little more mellow showing sweet damp earth and truffle already, a firm chestnut character and again that very sophisticated polish of the large French oak casks even a hint of Patchouli in the emerging, exotic fragrance. In the mouth wonderful sweetness of fruit here, wonderful intensity, slightly more open than the Cerretta arguably, but tensioned by those polished tannins and exquisite acid balance, the finish is long, concentrated, but never heavy. Again, a baby, but a beautiful one.
(2020) The Cerretta vineyard sits between 320 and 450 metres altitude, on limestone and clay soils. This cuvée spends three years in large French oak 'botti'. Deep ruby with a softening on the rim, this is polished and refined on the nose, a graphite and pencil-shaving precision and elegance, notes of fine herbs, a touch of bloodiness and discreet red fruits. In the mouth it's a gorgeous wine, powerful and dense in terms of concentration and texture, but edged by supple tannins and cherry-pit dry acidity that gives a cool, very precise feel. The fruit is sweet and smoothly supple too, but there's a restrained grip and serious intent here, in a baby Barolo that will cellar for decades without a doubt. Available from September 2020.
(2020) Well, this is just delicious and already drinking well, though undoubtedly with many years ahead of it. Quite pale and touched by amber on the rim, there's great fragrance here, old roses and tar, classic Barolo, plenty of fruit, pencil-shaving and spices too in a complex but alluring picture. In the mouth so soft already, the initial impression at least with that supple, fleshy fruit, but the firmness of the structure here begins to impact, telling you there's a serious side to this, lovely cherry acidity and bit of sinew to the tannins, finishing on fruit spice and structural grip. Price and stockist quoted at time of review is for the previous vintage.
(2020) Decanted for three hours to allow this baby just a chance of opening up slightly. It pours a youthful but pale colour with a broad Amber rim. Taut, firm, graphite and briar aromas, hints of curling woodsmoke and spices, some floral notes floating somewhere above very firm cherry pit notes. Compact and tightly furled. The palate tight as a drum currently, but so beautifully composed, fruit, creamy tannin and generous but firm acids all perfectly balanced. Some tobacco spice and a touch of truffle and polished wood adding a layer of depth. So young, needs years - probably decades - but very, very elegant and refined indeed.
(2020) Ageing is in 5,000-litre casks for this Langhe Nebbiolo. A 2018, the colour is garnet with a little amber on the rim and the nose is firm and fairly ungiving at this stage, some small red fruits, raspberry freshness. It is firm and just a touch lean on the palate at this stage, but beyond that the purity of the fruit is very fine, and the balance and structure of the wine good, plentiful cherry acidity and fine tannins. This could loosen up a little over a year or two in bottle.
(2020) From Bannockburn. Very aromatic, very fine, floral and perfumed, instantly appealing. On the palate plenty of savoury umami, some vanilla to add a roundness and the savoury fruit character delightful. Balanced and long, a subtle European style, and a very nice wine. Price and stockist for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) A nice hint of mellowing softness to the colour, and a beautifully Burgundian nose, with truffle and briar, smokiness and autumnal soft fruits, just a touch of creamy oak to shore everything up. Sweet fruited and delicious, the coffee and cream of the palate is lovely with smooth, polished tannins, gentle acidity, and huge drinkability. Note this is 2014, with more tertiary development than the 2018s 2017s here.