(2017) Year after year in my 'Wines of the Year' feature here on wine-pages, this iconic Côtes de Provence rosé picks up plaudits. The blend is mainly Grenache, Rolle (Vermentino) and Cinsault, and it's a prime example of the pale, delicate, lacework style of Provence rosé. Abundantly fresh and zippy, there's a blush of softer peach and strawberry, but it's the shimmering core of mineral and light lemon acidity that drives this to a delicious, dry finish. Until end February 2017 this wine is available for £110 per case of 12 in-bond, for delivery in April. Duty and VAT will then be payable, bringing the total per bottle price to £13.49 - a saving of around £3.50 per bottle on the retail price once released. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) An organically certified wine from the Côtes de Thongue, this has that pale Provençal colour so unlike the darker, more cherry-coloured Cabernet-based pinks of Bordeaux. It is moderately fruity with small red berries and a touch of lemon, a certain stony mineral character too. In the mouth it is quite full with 13.5% alcohol, and thought juicy, doesn't have enormous length. Good freshness and a bit of melon-rind texture too though.
(2017) A blend of Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre with no added sulphur, this bold and fruity organic wine has spice and bramble fruit, and a vinous, savoury quality with plenty of rustic tannin and acidity to give it chewiness and bite.
(2017) An out and out bargain at D Byrne’s price, this Blanc des Noirs blend of Pinots Noir and Meunier has fine toasty and bready, autolytic development. Plenty of small bubbles and crisp apple fruit add to the appeal, and on the palate it has a gentle attack: not sweet at all, but softer than some English sparkling wines, the 5 years of lees ageing having smoothed and rounded the acidity into a long, balanced finish of great poise.
(2017) Made from equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir by the hugely talented Dermot Sugrue of Wiston Estate, from Wiston fruit and fruit of neighbouring vineyards, this has a gentle note of toffee and nuttiness to otherwise very pure and clear fruit, the rolling but crisp mousse leading on to a pristine palate, fairly straightforward, but deliciously mid-weight with its sense of roundness and excellent acidity.
(2017) A new wine from Miguel Torres of Spain, coming from the home vineyards in Catalunya and blending white Grenache with Xarel.lo, one of the main grapes of Cava (making still wines from Cava grapes is something of a mini-trend among Catalunyan producers currently). This is also certified organic and made in a very clean, fresh style, the gently tropical fruit notes wrapped with a very gentle creaminess, before a crisp, crunchy apple and citrus palate, again just a glimpse of papaya or Ogen melon adding a dry but exotic, subtle tang.
(2017) The name '3055' is the New York taxi license number of the young Jean Leon, who traveled from Spain to the Big Apple soon after world war II. Eventually, in the 1960s, he returned to Spain to start his wine business, having made his fortune. The brand has been owned by the Torres family since shortly before Leon's death in 1994. Organic certified, the sheen of classy French oak is the opening note, with a subtle orange and crisp red apple fruitiness, an almondy softness too. In the mouth there is plenty of sweet fruit, the oak fading way into the background as juiciness and a firm apple core and lemon pith acidity take over.
(2017) I had feared this would be just another Sauvignon lookalike from Rueda in the north of Spain, which has produced a torrent of elderflower-scented wines recently from the Verdejo grape. But in fact it is a more serious example in some ways, still with some herbaceous nuances, but more about fruit concentration with a firm yellow plum and apple fruitiness, a touch of oatmeal, and then just a glimpse of more exotic lychee and guave before the dry, lemon and grapefruit acidity kicks in.
(2017) From a vineyard within the city of Colmar, a fine, salt and lemon-scented wine, a tiny suggestion - but no more than that - of waxiness, but pretty and pristine stuff. In the mouth it is dry and taut, an unflashy style, all cool apple cores and lemon, with a refined, quite long finish.
(2017) A brand new wine from the noble Suduiraut of Sauternes, this blend of 67% Sémillon and 33% Sauvignon Blanc was aged in barrels, about 10% of which were new. It has a beautifully tempered nose, creamy and clean, with a little crushed almond sheen to pristine orchard fruit, a hint of anise and flowers. In the mouth it has rounding fullness of fruit, the oak very discreet and delicately supporting, and the modest acidity doing a lovely job of balancing the finish. A keen, intelligent white of great style.