Apparently, 40 is the new 30. Or such. I hit the big 40 on Friday and to celebrate; I’ve been digging deep into the cellar (and beyond) and using it as an excuse to drink The Good Shit.
Here then are a few highlights from several indulgent days. We’ll call these vibes, rather than full tilt notes, as things got a bit blurry late on Saturday night in particular).
Hawkers West Coast IPA
Poured by the pint at Harts Pub in The Rocks. I love the vibrant pungency of a good WCIPA, and this was bang-on – a proper fresh pre-dinner IPA with a flourish of Kiwi & US hops. Of a (hop-forward) style, but one that I really like. 4 stars. 7.2%.
Mountain Culture Mad Love NEIPA
I’m late to the Mountain Culture party and now playing catchup on this Blue Mountains brewery’s deliciousness. There’s a tendency with some of the big time NEIPAs to be big soupy monsters, and this poured ominously thick. But there’s a pineapple juice freshness here that makes it an enjoyable drink – still a big mouthful of beer but a delicious one. Great looking 500ml can too. 4 stars nudging 4.5. 7.2%.
Jacques Selosse ‘Initial’ Blanc de Blancs NV
The price of Selosse is now at ‘oh wow’ levels (if you can even get it), so when I spotted this by the glass, I couldn’t help myself ($85 a glass though. Sheesh). Fascinating to try this with the Roger Coulon from NYE rattling around in my brain. It’s closer to an oxidatively made Burgundy or even Jura than your average lean and green NV Champagne – a voluminous, leesy, nutty and full mouthful of golden flavour. Yet on the finish, it’s just tight enough to make for a more refreshing drink. I’m still not convinced I could drink large amounts of this, but unquestionably impressive. 18.7/20, 95/100.
Meerea Park Alexander Munro Semillon 2004
There’s a mercuriality to the more recent Meerea Park Sems, but this 2004 is a lovely wine. In that timeless sweet spot where green apple citrus acidity is rolling around, yet the honey toast richness floods your mouth. Not a grandiose style like some of the Vat 1 vintages can be either – just a cool, sophisticated and lovely wine. 18.7/20, 95/100.
Alice and Olivier de Moor Chablis Coteau de Rosette 2018
I’ve always liked the de Moor Chablis, as they’re both pure and pristinely fresh like the very best in Chablis, yet with a natural winemaker’s sense of delivering wines untamed. This is effectively village-level Chablis, but it’s better than plenty of 1er cru gear. It is a really crystalline wine with no obvious oak and a push towards acidity and vitality rather than being riper and more mouthfilling. The acid doesn’t feel hard either, which is so important. This is essence of Chablis stuff, and so very very drinkable. 18.7/20, 95/100.
Envinate Lousas Viña de Aldea Tinto Mencia 2017
This is my first experience with an Envinante Mencia and what an utterly delicious wine. There’s this effortless bright red fruit that could almost be Grenache with its vibrant fruit, and then it back it up with the darker depths of Ribeira Sacra Mencia in there too (and proper tannins). What a lively, smashable, yet not one-dimensional red. Relatively affordable too. 18.5/20, 94/100.
Domaine Giachino Black Giac 2018
Savoie Mondeuse and it’s an intriguing red. Light, spic, low alcohol mountain red sort of wine, although more black fruit than red. It’s silken, slightly less pure but so full of charisma aplenty, the tannins very firm but not astringent. I had this next to the Mencia and it was well overshadowed. But lots of fun. 17.7/20, 92/100.