Top drops… Wines of the week

Rolling foothills in the Langhe region in Piemonte, north west Italy, are home to the Nebbiolo grape – the lone star in Barbaresco – this week’s top drop

This is the first weekly line up to suit all palates and pockets, no matter how shallow or deep. It’s modelled on my newspaper columns of old where I used to regularly write three wines of the week from the bargain buster to the Oscar Wilde-inspired ‘reaching for the stars’; the great man once said we’re all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars. So, without further ado, here they are.

This week’s trio of top drops.


Bargain buy red

4 stars

2015 Ulisse Montepulciano $21.99

Montepulciano is the second most planted indigenous grape variety in Italy so it grows far and wide from Abruzzo on central Italy’s east coast to Puglia in the south, across to Lazio, Marche and Tuscany as well as up to Emilia-Romagna.

It makes wines that are easy to love. Juicy, big, dark and powerful with smooth velvety flavours and wild berry aromas. It’s rarely given high amounts of oak, so this delicious drop is all about the grape’s ripe red plum and dark berry flavours in a smooth bodied, soft and tasty red.

Available from specialist wine stores or Sapori d’Italia.


Tasty (white) treat

4 stars

2015 Chateau Tahbilk Roussanne Marsanne Viognier $30-$32

A small quantity of 2012 Chateau Tahbilk’s RMV (this wine) was first released in 2013 as a trial and sold only through the winery’s club and cellar door. Both channels proved successful enough to increase production in 2014 to sell to a wider market.

This is a dry, full bodied white with ripe peach, citrus and nutty aromas, thanks to the trio of grapes in the wine; Roussanne 39%, Marsanne 35% and Viognier 26%. The Roussanne was aged in French oak for six months while the Marsanne and Viognier were fermented in stainless steel.

Tahbilk winery was established in 1860 in the Nagambie Lakes region of Victoria and was purchased by Reginald Purbrick in 1925 . Five generations of the Purbrick family have now actively made wine at Tahbilk.

The Marsanne component of this wine dates back to original plantings that have survived since first put in the ground in 1927. The Viognier and Roussanne were planted 15 and 25 years ago, respectively.

It drinks well now and can age.


Reach for the stars

4.5 stars

2011 Produttori del Barbaresco Muncagota DOCG $70-$82

Muncagota is my current pick of one of the single vineyard wines owned by shareholders in the vast Produttori del Barbaresco co-op, one of the highest quality cooperative wine companies in the world.

The wine is 100% Nebbiolo, in accordance with the appellation regulations in Barbaresco in north west Italy’s Piemonte region.

Collectively, shareholders of Produttori own approximately 200 hectares of land, which is nearly a third of the entire Barbaresco appellation (DOCG) in Piemonte.

This wine is dry, full bodied, powerful and paradoxically silky with gentle floral aromas and red fruit flavours. It’s intense but somehow light at the same time with a lingering finish.

To describe this wine as seductive doesn’t even begin to do these flavours justice.

Try it.

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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