A few alternate reds from the week.
Lino Ramble Tom Bowler McLaren Vale Nero d’Avola 2014
Another smart wine under this label. Handpicked, biodynamically farmed grapes that were wild fermented, basket pressed and then bottled unfined with just 275 cases produced. Mid ruby with just a faint hint of purple, it smells of glacé fruit, bitumen and dried raspberries. All the good Nero things. There’s a nice hint of dried herbs here, and for all the Nero pretensions towards blackness and heavy wines, this is light on its feet and quite energetic. Only mid weight, with nice sappy fruit and a light finish, it’s a template for direct, enjoyable Nero d’Avola. Best drinking: 2016-2021. 17.7/20, 92/100. 13.7%, $30. Would I drink it? I’d share a bottle.
Balgownie Black Label Bendigo Sangiovese 2014
Just the sixth vintage of a Balgownie Sangiovese and while it is finding its feet there is potential here. Very dark ruby. It’s just a little heady on the nose, a lift of liqueur and chocolate. Plenty of oak on the nose. Indeed the palate feels ripe, thick and oak dense, the finish dessicated and warm, letting down that red fruit mid palate. Lucky that there is some proper Sangiovese tannins to help give Aussie dry red’ into ‘I’m an Aussie dry red who has been hanging in Tuscany for a while’. Best drinking: 2018-2024. 17/20, 90/100. 14.5%, $29. Would I buy it? A glass would do.
Calabria Wines Three Bridges Riverina Durif 2013
Ah this is such a reliable wine. Consistency plus. Dark, thick purple in colour, this smells and tastes like a barrel sample, drenched with milk chocolate oak and red berry fruits, the sweet vanilla a constant presence to underpin the blackberry fruit sweetness. That oak is obvious, but combined with the fruit sweetness it is hedonistic joy, with soft tannins too. Smooth and ripe (though the acid sticks out a bit), it’s every bit the rich, warm Riverina red, but that is discounting the quality of the fruit and winemaking here. Develops well too. Best drinking: 2018-2026. 17/20, 90/100. 14.5%, $26. Would I buy it? I’d go a glass or two and recommend to all.
Hither & Yon McLaren Vale Tempranillo 2015
Always great packaging on this Hither & Yon wines. Sources from the Old Jarvie vineyard, this shows juicy red fruit, wet brick Temp varietal characters, then more raspberry and cola fruit with a little earth. It’s a nice joven style this, all fruit, minimal oak and light sandy tannins. Slurpable, juicy wine, if a tad simple. Best drinking: 2017-2021. 16.5/20, 88/100. 14%, $24. Would I buy it? A glass would do.