Basket Range, Adelaide Hills, South Australia. 13.5%. Cork with the smallest imaginable wax seal. Approx $A35.

After a week or so of enforced abstinence (head cold and fever) this feels like home. Soft strawberry fields and freshly turned earth. A curl of spice and a whisper of stem. Recognisable and inviting. Lithe, tight and delicious. Self contained, with a kick of spice in the middle and much much later an unexpected encore of skin and musk.

One of the many patches of native samphire to be found an the edge of the Canning river walk east of the Kent street weir.

Montepulciano, Langhorne Creek, 13%, Approx $A25.

A shape changer. Raisins, meat and aniseed, though in time it becomes more constrained and less expansive, green edged perhaps. . . High pitched and scratchy to open, a nail on a blackboard, anxious and strung out. . . it mellows quickly - though perhaps the change is in me. . .

More weight and force than I had expected, though perhaps I'm under prepared and underdone when it comes to Chablis. The last bottle being many months ago. . . Pollen and white flowers; a honeyed edge, though of course any sweetness is fleeting and illusory. Essence like and assertive, green bean and vanilla, it's warm, spirited and carrying more flab than I like.

12.5%. Cork. Approx $A150.

I like the nose - a prickle of spice and pepper, meat with a black cardamon char. It's scrawny and smudged in the mouth though. After a playful opening, it's full and bold, dark chocolate tannins which feel green and awkward.


Image: Nullarbour beads from the Chunky Timber Co.

There's no vintage on the bottle, but I'm assuming it's a 2015. . . It does mention on the back label - To all the pigs in sheeps clothing, I salute you.

100% Harslevel├╝ - a Hungarian grape with thin skin and high acidity. 19 days of skin contact.

An orange wine with bite.

All the markers of the method - mouse and cheese, glue, flint, bruised apple; but also white pepper and leaf. Very sharp and jagged in the mouth - green apple, unripened fruit - malic acid hardness.

Even for a salt tooth, the No Mafia brownie is a winner.

Unrelated housekeeping footnote - a later and smaller than usual olive harvest today. There's plenty of fruit left on the tree, but as the tree grows our appetite for olives seems to shrink. .

One of the excellent plates (pan fried squid $A19) from small and noisy No Mafia in Northbridge. Click here for the original context

14%. Procork. Gift.

I'm not entirely convinced, but in this bottle at least I can see merit. Mostly pinot noir (80, juice no skins) with some chardonnay (20). There's lots of French oak and heft, and though it is unfined and unfiltered it has been heavily modified. Oak barrels, some new, lees stirring and malo. . .

A faint blush. Floral but worked nose - spice, oak, cream - for the first few minutes there's everything but fruit. . .  in time ginger snaps.

Hunter Semillon, 10.3%.

Pure and light. Citrus with green edges; simple, expected, direct and refreshing. Grass and green herbs in the mouth, no stones but lovely length and drive. It's unforced and delicate. . . more late cut than cover drive.