This week, a Piedmont white, an Australian Shiraz as comfortable and affordable as an old pair of slippers, and a wine that looks like it might have had its bottle designed by Prince on a difficult day.
Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis 2009
Bruno Giacosa has been a revered figure in Piedmont for longer than many winemakers have been alive. This wine was made in the year he turned 80, and he's now been running his winery for over 50 years. His reputation has been forged by his amazing Barolo and Barbaresco wines, which these days are mostly made with estate-grown grapes. Way back, he was able to source enough of the best fruit to buy grapes in from growers, but in the early '80s Giacosa started acquiring vineyards.That's not to say he doesn't still buy grapes or make white wines, and the Arneis here is still made from grapes bought from farmers in Roero with which the winery has longstanding relationships. The wine itself has some lovely aromatics, with some quite ripe aromas and flavours, but plenty of crisp acidity, a touch of minerality, and a delicate pear character, keeps it very fresh and lively.
Leasingham Classic Clare Shiraz 1996
Even by the standards of recent years this was a bargain purchase. Listed at a price probably considerably less than a quarter of what a Sydney restaurant would charge, I've gone back to the New York retailer to snap up a second helping. Maybe I should just ring them and lift the lot. A beautiful wine from a stunning vintage, this is, as the name suggests, classic Clare Shiraz, and it's drinking at its mature peak. Goodf enough to hold another five years without trouble, but I doubt they have enough to last me that far. Very round and soft now for a South Australian Shiraz, this wine still has plenty of vibrant red fruit character, and a lovely, long smooth finish.
Telmo Rodríguez Toro Gago 2007
This is another wine from Wine Spectator's Top 100, following on from some December reviews. Compañía de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez are making some sleek and stylish wines from across Spain - and that's just the packaging. In this case, the wine is also pretty sleek and stylish, made from 100% Tinto de Toro, otherwise known as Tempranillo. The region of Toro has taken off in recent years, boosted by the success of Ribero del Duero, further to the east. The Gago - or should I just call it 'g' - exhibits plenty of ripe fruit, but restrained by enough acidity to keep it fresh, while complemented by some cocoa and mineral notes. Good drinking now and over the next five years, but not one for the purists.