(2017) OVNI = 'Objet Viticole Non Identifié', is Mourat's playful name for wines that he labels "anti-conformist," and different from what you might expect. This Chenin Blanc from organic vineyards is vinified in concrete 'eggs' and has a beautifully precise nose, aromas of gentle flowers, crunchy green apple and a touch of straw or melon rind. In the mouth it is crystal clear too. Is there just a touch of rounding old oak? There's certainly texture and a hint of creaminess, but its the dazzling freshness of the sweet fruit and crunchy acidity that drives this terrific wine. Even better, Daily Drinker club members buy for £11.25. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2017) This organic Nero d'Avola from Sicily is immediately striking because it comes in a tall 'flute' bottle more commonly seen on aromatic white wines. It is dark and powerful stuff, almost syrupy and balsamic in its aromas, but a welter-weight of spicy berry and plum fruit too. The palate is bold and ripe, with plenty of tannin and textural fat in the mouth, a wine with a bit of real heft despite that sweet opulence of the fruit. Good value, especially for Daily Drinker members at £8.10.
(2017) Confusingly there's already a 'Pure Provence' rosé from Domaine Mirabeau on the UK market, so if this wine does appear on UK shelves I wonder how it will be labelled? The wine has just picked up 96 points and a 'Platinum' award at the Decanter World Wine Awards. The colour is typical Provence-pale, the nose has a delicate peach down and ripe melon fruitiness, but classic herbal touches. On the palate it has a bit of grip and structure, a very slightly phenolic bite, in a fairly serious style. It's good, but what it is absolutely not, for me, is a 96 point wine.
(2017) A typically steely rendition of Riesling from Hugel, and a fabulously accurate one. There is some spice, some beeswax lift, but the thrust is resolutely of precise apple fruit. It's an effortlessly concentrated wine, the dry extract is there to give it some gravitas, but it's all about those apple and tangy sherbet lemon flavours and streaking lemon and grapefruit acidity to make the mouth water. This has the concentration and balance to cellar rather well.
(2017) Burgundian know-how from the south of France, with Latour's well-established Ardèche outpost. Fruit is sourced from around 100 local growers and vinified at Latour's winery in the region, and although unoaked it is aged with fine lees in steel for 10 months. It is essentially crisp and elegant in style, a trace of mealiness to the pristine orchard fruit aromas. The palate is juicy, elegant and bone dry, juicy with a squirt of citrus cleansing the palate.
(2017) I get the idea of this natural blend of Gamay and 25% Cab Franc from Tom Belford, such a pale colour that it is almost rosé, but for me it is not entirely successful. Whole bunches were fermented in very shallow fermenters with no sulphur and wild yeast. It has a mousiness, a very funky and rather too elastoplast/bretty character for me, certainly it is medicinal. Pale and juicy on the palate, it is cleaner, and that slightly yeasty/wheat beer character was interesting. I grew to like this more as I was tasting it: not completely successful for me, but surely interesting.
(2016) Disgorged in July 2016, this blends 45% Pinot Meunier with 35% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. It's a supremely elegant Champagne, pale gold in colour with minuscule bubbles. The nose has pronounced yeastiness but also delightfully bright, vivid fruitiness and floral delicacy, citrus peel and a touch of anise spice. The balance is lovely in the mouth, racy and super elegant, refined acidity driving precisely, the finish long and tapering to a gentle point.
(2016) What a charming Pinot - more than charming - from this conscientious winemaker in the Vendée, made in cement 'eggs' and spending six months in Tronçais oak. It has that lovely edge of brisk, cherry and raspberry fruit and a certain sappiness, briar and twigs and all the hallmarks of genuinely cool climate, natural Pinot Noir, the palate flooded with sweet red berry fruit but against that juicy and firm core of acidity and tight tannin, and again that tangy, edgy balance that Burgundy lovers will take to instantly. A terrifically refined and poised wine.
(2016) A typically bruising 15.5% abv for this Amarone, made from partially dried Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella grapes laid out to partially dry for 90-110 days before fermentation and aged in French oak barriques. Lovely kirsch and red liquorice lift, elegant flower notes and masses of red fruit, onto the palate, a smooth cocoa and mocha character underpins the fruit, intense sweetness of cherry and blackberry very nicely balanced by creamy oak, tight and smooth tannins and plenty of tangy acidity. It's a characterful wine that would be wonderful with some venison for example.
(2016) Whilst enjoying nowhere near the same fame as Red Rioja, Rioja Blanco is a very traditional style and this is a fine example at a very good price - £6.99 as part of a mixed six from Majestic until the 24th of October. Aged three months in barrel has given a definite buttery vanilla cream character to the Viura fruit which is otherwise lemony and bright. In the mouth it has some real acid grip, though medium-bodied with 12.5% alcohol, but there's that supporting creaminess again to the apple and citrus fruit. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.