A big night out in Melbourne, with a good feed and lovely wines

James Suckling, David Bicknell and PJ Charteris

Sunday night in Melbourne. Just before the beginning of the Royal Melbourne Wine Show, which I am here to judge.

The evening started off in the City Wine Shop, Spring Street (http://www.citywineshop.net.au/). A brilliant place – sells wine, and is also a wine bar, with an amazing selection that’s quite European in focus. We were drinking beer, though, and a stand out was the Mountain Goat Cross Breed. It’s a hoppy, textured number with some added coffee, although this is right in the background.

I also had a quick try of PJ Charteris’ new venture, a Central Otago Pinot Noir:

Charteris Winter Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 Central Otago, New Zealand
Lovely sweet, pure fruit is the focus here, but it’s not at all big or clunky. There’s some violet and black cherry perfume on the nose and the palate is silky, elegant and quite delicious. Very fine and expressive with lovely fruit. Ripe yet delicate: an impressive effort. 94/100

Then it was off to Pei Modern (www.peimodern.com.au), on Collins Street. Superb and very fusion-y, with a fabulous wine list which the six of us plundered pretty hard.

An example of the creativity of this restaurant was one dish that really stood out. It was Dutch cream potato with bone marrow, finely sieved potato, mojama (dried, grated tuna) topped with some dried coffee. Weird but wonderful.

The wines:

Jamsheed Roussanne 2011 Beechworth, Australia
Very fresh and citrusy with a nice mineral edge and some matchstick reduction. Taut and rich with some richness. Promising and quite profound. 93/100

Voyager Estate Chardonnay Project 95 2009 Margaret River, Australia
Taut and nutty with some precise citrus flavours, lovely precision and some fine toasty notes. Real purity and finesse. A fine effort. 92/100

Bindi Composition Chardonnay 2011 Macedon Ranges, Australia
This is serious stuff. Taut, very minerally and fine with some matchstick reduction adding complexity. Crisp and complex, with just a little funkiness and some subtle mealy richness. Wonderful wine. 95/100

Luke Lambert Syrah 2010 Yarra Valley, Australia
Stunning. Silky textured with some meaty richness to the pure, sweet cherry and berry fruit. It’s just a beautifully elegant wine; sweet but pure and delicate with an amazing mouthfeel. 96/100

JE Ngeringa Syrah 2010 Adelaide Hills, Australia
It’s a tiny bit minty, with a touch of eucalypt character, as well as taut berry fruits. Good definition and freshness. 90/100

Stefano Amerighi Syrah 2009 Cortona, Tuscany, Italy
This is a biodynamic Syrah from the Cortona DOC in the east of Tuscany. It’s sweet, rich, ripe and smooth textured with nice freshness. A ripe, dark-fruited wine, but it has good definition and works really well. 92/100

Cos Frappato 2011 Sicily, Italy
I love this: it’s fresh and fruit driven with supple cherry fruit, complemented by complex notes of dried herbs, rose petal, spice and tobacco leaf. Very pretty and expressive. 92/100

AA Panevino Piccade 2011 Sardinia, Italy
Just so fragrant and aromatic with lovely sweet cherry fruit nose. Fine, bright, expressive and pretty elegant. A remarkable wine. 94/100

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