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95
★★★★★

2019 Valfaccenda Roero Arneis, A$60

Arneis is often not treated with much respect in Piedmont: it’s the simple dry white before the serious wines emerge. But Luca Valfaccenda has turned that on its head. The wine is rich, ripe and full-flavoured thanks to partial oak ferment on skins. It is beautifully exotic and savoury – guava and melon fruits with some nutty barrel ferment and oak with an almost caramel edge. Dry and full-bodied with pithy fruits and balanced phenolics driving to a long finish.

94
★★★★

2017 Bruno Giacosa AA Falletto Barbera d’Alba, A$105

From legendary producer Bruno Giacosa comes this wine that lives up to its hallowed reputation. It weighs in with 15.5% alcohol and significant new oak but also retains strong varietal and regional typicity although it needs time to come together. It has deep-set dark berry and dried herb fruits before a dense and muscular palate marked by robust tannins and youthful vitality. This wine needs at least a decade to show its best.  

94
★★★★

2018 Poderi Colla Barbera d’Alba Costa Bruna, A$45

A more classically styled and traditional barbera made from a vineyard in Barbaresco with some vines dating back to 1930. A concentrated colour is followed by brooding and distinctly savoury aromas of dark cherry, tar and damp earth with a spicy freshness. The palate is then acid driven with more sour cherry fruits supported by quite strong tannins for the variety before finishing with herbal complexity. Delicious now but with good ageing potential.

93
★★★★

2019 Nicola Bergaglio Minaia Gavi del Comune di Gavi Rovereto, A$35

From vines with an average age of 50 years in the hallowed Cru of Rovereto comes this exceptional Gavi. Mid-straw in colour there is good concentration and complexity - pears, citrus and almond aromas that are bright and clean. In the mouth it takes on added depth, with nougat and floral flavours in a textural palate complemented by tangy acidity that supports a lingering and finely balanced finish.

93
★★★★

2019 Sordo Barbera d’Alba, A$49

An attractive, bright and more fruit-forward style of barbera from the villages of Castiglione Falletto and Serralunga d’Alba. Undoubtedly made for early consumption, the wine provides plenty of drinking pleasure. It possesses vibrant red cherry aromas with a spicy, almost truffle edge, to the fruit. What follows is a juicy, mid-weight palate with fine, mouthcoating tannins providing some backbone before a lingering, generous finish.

92
★★★★

2020 Bera Dolcetto d’Alba, A$33

A well-priced version of dolcetto that shows what this variety is all about. Light ruby in colour, it’s a playful, early drinking bistro red with bright and fruit-forward dark cherry fruits in a slick, modern style. The palate is dry and crisp – with just enough sinewy tannins to carry its dark, herbal fruits – and shows good concentration and length.

92
★★★★

2018 Bruno Giacosa Casa Vinicola Dolcetto d’Alba, A$50

It is no great surprise that even with dolcetto, Bruno Giacosa can be relied on to craft a wine of style and substance. It’s unusually shy for dolcetto at first, taking a day to hit its stride. But then it delivered plenty of tar, mulberry and liquorice allsorts fruit aromas before a dry and dense palate. It’s bold and rich for dolcetto, but still has the attractive freshness and drinkability of the variety, although needs a couple of years to settle.

92
★★★★

2019 Ratti Brigata Chardonnay, A$55

One of an increasing number of wines made from French varieties in the Langhe, the Brigata Chardonnay puts an alternate spin on this variety. It opens with a pale gold colour and pungent fruits – nectarine, peach and florals with oatmeal scented oak. Dry, initially rich in texture and with creamy acidity, there is ample, complex fruit on the palate that tightens up on the finish, suggesting this wine is best enjoyed over the next couple of years.

92
★★★★

2020 Giovanni Rosso Roero Arneis, A$38

A very typical but well-made example of Roero arneis that showcases the subtle, understated fruit characters that make this variety a good alternative to pinot grigio. Light straw in colour, the aromas are pretty, yet savoury, with acacia, peach skin, citrus and almond slowly coming out in the glass. It’s then dry and mid-weight, with tangy acidity and good balance, before a long and silky finish.

91
★★★★

2020 Bera Brachetto, A$42

No, brachetto is not the most serious of wines but this wine scores well thanks to its delicious, uncomplicated drinkability, which makes it an outstanding casual Summer drink. Cherry coloured it opens up with raspberry, strawberry, floral and watermelon fruits before moving into a crisp, spritzy palate with gently phenolic grip and attractive balance. It’s fruity and at only 6.5% alcohol makes for a superb refreshment.

91
★★★★

2020 Luigi Pira Dolcetto d’Alba, A$35

Quite a serious dolcetto d’Alba from Luigi Pira, made with fruit from the town of Serralunga d’Alba. Mid-ruby in colour, it opens with beautifully ripe fruits of the forest plus dark cherry with a strong herbal theme. The palate is robust, with its layers of sweet dark fruits offset by dark earth all underpinned by bright acidity and balancing tannins.  

91
★★★★

2019 Reis Timorasso Derthona, A$45

Timorasso is one of the most fascinating indigenous grapes to have emerged from Piedmont in recent times thanks to its combination of fruit power and acidity – not unlike chenin blanc. This example shows attractive peach skin, floral, lime and pithy fruits with a touch of almond complexity. It’s then textural in the mouth but biting acidity is the key, bringing focus and impact, with good length and balance topping it off nicely.