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97
★★★★★

2018 Vietti Rocche di Castiglione Barolo, Piedmont, Italy, A$496

Cryptic and layered from the outset. Aromas of dried rose, leather, mahogany, dried roasting herbs like sage and rosemary, juniper and orange peel, mint and dried porcini. There’s a powerful feel to the palate, tannins are quite energetic and uncompromising, almost explosive. They crest and unfurl, acidity kicks in and then it opens around ripe blueberry, dark cherry and plum fruit flavours. Finishes with fine and sustained tannins. True to type, austere and classy. Try from 2025.

95
★★★★★

2018 Vietti Monvigliero Barolo, Piedmont, Italy, A$496

Wow! Such expressive blueberry and violet, an exotic note of pomegranate and red peach, a sheen of dried herbs and biscuit spices, some currant and pink pepper. Super fragrant. Whole bunch fermentation. The palate has such impressively ripe fruit flesh, this is the fleshiest of the 2018 Vietti Barolo wines. There’s length, definition and freshness to the tannin here with muscular yet supple style. The fruits sit in the blackcurrant, blueberry and dark cherry realm. Try from 2024.

94
★★★★

2018 Pato & Wouters Nossa Calcario Bical Blanco, Bairrada, Portugal, A$75

A very fresh, intense and minerals white that has impressive lemon peel and lemon blossom with some stone fruit and melon. Some gently nutty older oak influence, too. The palate holds a sleek, lively and linear shape with lemon and pear fruit flavours. Complex and piercing white. Drink now.

94
★★★★

2018 Vietti Cerequio Barolo, Piedmont, Italy, A$496

An alluring delivery of dried brown spices (cinnamon, clove and cardamom), pouch tobacco and fruits that sit in the blackcurrant and blueberry zone. Sweetly fragrant and expressive, some dried forest wood, too. The palate is multidimensional with fine-grained tannins delivering a web-like shape around freshly poised red and blue fruits. Real presence and length. Drink or hold. 

94
★★★★

2018 Vietti Lazzarito Barolo, Piedmont, Italy, A$496

Complex, some earthy notes as well as dried meats, rusty sanguine notes, plenty of spice (paprika, cumin and star anise), orange peel, dry stones and dried mountain herbs. Dried red fruits like cherry and strawberry are enclosed in savoury characters. The palate holds a characteristically bold frame of ripe tannin and there’s a build of ripe dark cherry fruit that builds out the finish convincingly. Poached berry fruit, too. Try from 2025.

94
★★★★

2018 Vietti Ravera Barolo, Piedmont, Italy, A$496

Complex woody spice notes, plenty of deep fruit perfume, dried herbs, blackcurrant and fresh blueberry, some violet, as well as cedar and sandalwood. The palate holds a swathe of ripe red berry and cherry fruit flavours that are threaded through persistent and assertive tannins. Powdery, layered and long. Try this from 2024.

93
★★★★

2018 Pato & Wouters Nossa Calcario Baga Tinto, Bairrada, Portugal, A$80

This is delicious and offers such intense violet-like florals as well as blueberry, graphite, black truffle and wet stones. Bojo-like. The palate has a tart edge then unfurls with smooth, ripe tannins carrying rich red cherry and blueberry flavours. Sleekly resolved and attractively complex. Drink now.

93
★★★★

2019 Vietti Perbacco Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont, Italy, A$55

The ‘baby Barolo’ is in confident, fleshy mode from vintage 2019 and offers much in the way of rich red and dark cherry fruits, spice, perfume and more. Complex and approachable. Succulent and plush, there’s a grainy thread of tannin wrapped in supple fleshy fruit. Long, bright and flavourful, this is great value. Drink over the next eight years.

93
★★★★

2020 Vietti Timorasso, Piedmont, Italy, A$80

Exuberant lemon and nectarine fruits in this 2020 vintage, as well as young peach and some grassy, herbal elements, too. Gently reductive yet still succulent, it holds a keen edge. Ripe and fleshy, this is my favourite release yet of Vietti’s Timorasso with a pleasingly tart grapefruit-like edge to the palate. Pithy and assured. Drink now. 

92
★★★★

2018 Vietti Brunate Barolo, Piedmont, Italy, A$496

This is an elegant expression with very pure raspberry and little red cherry fruit aromas as well as redcurrant, aniseed, cassia and subtle wild herbs. The palate has a very sleek and focused feel, quite elegant and precise. Acidity is refreshing and the grain of tannin grades direction and shape. Bright red cherry fruits. Drink or hold.

90
★★★★

2020 Domaine Jean Defaix Chablis, Chablis, France, A$45

With Chablis getting harder to find and more expensive to buy, this good value 2020 from Jean Defaix is a welcome discovery. There’s a brightness to this vintage and this offers a pure peach and lemon fruit core of aromas and flavours. It is all about the fruit. Acidity sits neatly inside a palate that has some decent weight and punch. Drink now. 

90
★★★★

2017 Tenuta di Vignole Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy, A$36

A very open-knit, drinkable and generous style of Chianti with ripe dark cherry and red plum fruit aromas framed in sweet spices and earth. The complexity is intrinsic and equates to such easy appeal. The palate has deeply ripe dark cherry and berry fruits with plenty of tannin driving flavours deep. Medium body. Drink now.