(2020) From selected vineyard parcels of Gingin clone, aged 25 years on average, this was whole-bunch pressed to barrel with solids, spending nine months in oak with some batonnage. The aromatics are loaded with flint and oyster shell, a layer of almond and oatmeal, and creamy orchard fruit. The acid line is slightly less aggressive than the pungent Flametree Chardonnay tasted alongside, lots of citrus peel and salts, but that bitter orange edge to the fruit plays against a peachier tone, into a balanced finish that stays fresh and finishes on salts and frut. Superb.
(2020) From the 'Rare' category of Rutherglen Muscats, the average age of wines in this blend is 20 years, the vineyards betwen 15 and 50 years old. It matures in a variety of barrel sizes, and has 312g/l of residual sugar. Easily the darkest of the samples here, just a little tawny at the rim, but the glass stained toffee-brown as you swirl the wine. Shellac, polished wood and old crackling varnish, the depth here speaks of the wine's passage of time, not so much of the fruit. The palate is thick as engine oil, like a PX Sherry maybe, fabulous dark Muscavado sugar and raisins, such depth touching on espresso and Seville orange, nutty, and so warming into an endless finish with such intense sweetness.
(2019) This was poured from magnum. Just ramping up the almost narcotic, opium-den height and depth of incense and flowers, melding with those bloody, animal scents. This is now hitting its stride. Smooth as silk, the poise and the elegance of the tannins against the sweetness of the fruit is beguiling, in a fabulous, multi-layered wine.
(2018) Roda's super cuvée, from some of the oldest vineyards, literally chosen vine by vine, this has 14% Graciano in the blend, this is fermented in French oak and stays eight months in all new barrels. Delicious red fruit brightness and elegance, darker notes and hints of balsamic and chocolate. In the mouth, superb sweet fruit, edged with a mocha and bittersweet cocoa depth, and sweetly ripe tannins. This has a smoky mineral salinity in the background too, in a long, complex, silky and profound wine that drinks beautifully now but has the structure, fruit and balance to cellar for considerable time.
(2018) At 31 years old this is in marvellous condition and magical form. Cellared by me for the past 20 years or so, the colour is a bright, rich gold, and the nose is laden with botrytis notes of honey and glycerine, barley sugar and tea. There's a minty echo of oak and ripeness, but it is gloriously pure. In the mouth it is weighty without being sticky, with those lovely glycerine tones to the peachy, apricot and then lemony fruit, the sweetness perfectly balanced against the fresh, long, dry acidity that elongates the finish. What a lovely wine. Available as listed below at time of writing.
(2016) As he approaches his 80th birthday Gianfranco Soldera is still fully engaged and very much in command of this small, iconic estate in the hills of Tuscany. In a vertical tasting, all of the wines were just superb: truly world class red wines of infinite complexity and beauty and huge ageing potential. This 2006 had such a wonderful perfume, a massive tobacco and ashy background to pure, ripe cherry fruit, it is just fabulously complex. There's so much of that racy, vital character against immense sweetness of sour cherry and tobacco again, the texture and tannins creamy, but the agility and elegant length just majestic.
(2016) Just released and at time of review only available in-bond, the 2013 Runrig comes from the Hillside vineyards as always are the backbone, six plots along the Barossa hills, all dry farmed. Made in open-top fermenters then aged in French oak, around 40-50% new. Each vineyard is vinified separately and then assembled and blended with a touch of Viognier in most vintages – usually only around 1 to 1.5%. Fabulous nose here, just so much creamy black fruit, but always agile and lifted, with violet and floral notes, liquorice and graphite. There is huge intensity on the mid-palate, real depth of fruit and plushness, silky tannin structure and tightening acid freshness. Pretty fabulous already, but clearly with potential to cellar.
(2016) A blend of 70% Cabernet and 30% Malbec. A delightful ripeness of cassis and black cherry, sweet juicy black plum flesh adding to the fruit forward, hedonistic appeal. The cedar and the chocolate add depth and layers, spicy and super concentrated. Fantastic palate, the gloss and purity are marvellous, so long and pure, the oak and the spice subsumed by the fruit purity.
(2016) Haunting, beguiling and seductive, so much finesse so much soulful, deep red fruit pulp ripeness but also smoke and tobacco, truffle and just a touch of undergrowth, but really it is creamy fruit. The beautiful fragrance transfers seamlessly to the palate. So much fruit, a complete strawberry fruit pulp punch with fabulous depth and delightful tannin and acid structure – still giving lovely support with the sweet fruit persisting.
(2016) No oak in this Cru – the only grand Cru without oak. On top of the Grand Cru on part Portlandian soils, so Benoit does not want to swamp the delicate aromas. Plenty of flinty reduction here, the ultra-freshness of the palate is stirking with streamlined salts and a juiciness. A very quiet wine, not shouting, but lovely and so refined.