(2017) What a superb wine this is from Gagnard, from an organic vineyard in the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune owned by grower Caroline Lestimé. Aged for 12 to 15 months in barrel, one-third new, there is obvious nutty, creamy oak overlaying the citrus and apple, with a nice sour, cabbage nuance that adds a complex, savoury note. The palate brims with zesty fruit, but that cashew and Brazil nut character is there, and a burst of refreshing, almost tangerine or lime acidity. A delightful white Burgundy.
(2016) This wine, made from a vineyard planted in the 1990s with cuttings from the RunRig vineyards, is aged in barrels that were used for last year's RunRig. A Shiraz/Viogner co-ferment. Absolute peachy Viognier presence here, with lots of perfume and the plush black fruit coming through. Big, chewy palate, lots of fruit concentration and black fruit skins, lots of extract and liquorice chewiness and density. Firm, firm tannins, and certainly needs time (when it's score might edge higher too).
(2016) Another determined Provence Rosé from Le Grand Cros, hefty in alcohol with its 14% yet surprisingly delicate in colour, aroma and flavour. Pale salmon-peach in colour, the nose is dry with a hint of salty minerals, apples and lemon rind. In the mouth a delicious burst of full fruitiness, citrus and red berries, all nicely proportioned and balanced with the acidity in another fine wine from the Faulkner family's estate.
(2016) A barrel sample. Again following a modern, more aromatic and Muscat style, not so much raisined character, a more pure fruit aroma, all the florals again and even a hint of geranium leaf lift. Full of delicious, cool fruit and a warming, fudge like hint of depth and sweetness. Seems very fine indeed and promises great things.
(2016) I just love the unforced, natural concentration of this Pinot Noir from vineyards neighbouring Pommard. It's the epitome of an iron fist in a cashmere glove, as gentle bracken and cherry flavours flatter, before a stripe of intense concentration, liquorice and endive is revealed. It's core has concentrated acidity and tannins, whilst those crisp red fruit flavours and sappy, young twig freshness is energising. The opposite of blockbuster, but hugely pure and decisive, it should cellar five years+.
(2016) Every single wine in this line up has been excellent so far, but this is the first of a series that really knocked my socks off. Masses of gunflinty reduction, the complex sulphide character immediately arresting and appealing, with stones and seashells, and a core of nutty Cox’s pippin apple fruit. So sweetly fruited on the palate, masses of ripe stone fruits and a wonderfully clear acid length, so much tang and vibrancy, that salty mineral quality so thrilling. Note that the only UK stockist I can see, Berry Bros, is already onto the 2014 vintage by the six-bottle case.
(2016) Lovely open, leesy style with a generous Burgundian nose that is lightly vegetal but very attractive. The palate has beautiful fruit and generosity, with superb mid-palate sweetness, and loads of punchy grapefruit and lemon, into a long, generous sfinish. The acidity and the zestiness of the fruit is so fresh into the finish.
(2016) Only 3000 bottles produced. Quite like the Valmur aromatically, the oak polished and creamy, the fruit fine and not too ripe or showy, with notes of flint and burning embers. The fruit on the palate is so much more open and charming, seductive fruit openness – the most openly seductive Cru so far, but has the saltiness, has the lick of mineral precision too, giving poise and elegance to the long finish. A lovely, concentrated wine from 68-year-old vines.
(2016) Cool and dramatically tight, with taut black fruits and spices, this was a pre-release sample so my score is provisional, but it has the same melange of fine components as many of the best vintages here and that promises great things. My score is a cautious one given this is a sample, but might well go higher.
(2015) What a treat to have this class act in our case. From arguably Tuscany's greatest terroir, this Sangiovese was vinified in stainless steel before maturation in large Slavonian casks - the recipe for many of my favourite Brunelli. It comes from an organic estate farmed by the same family since the 1930s, and opens with the most evocative perfume of blood and tar, tobacco and ripe cherries, the fruit and smokines swirling in the glass, spice and pepper too. In the mouth that long cask ageing has softened the edges of a firm, intense wine, 15% alcohol adding to the plushness and sense of quiet authority, the palate dense but not not dull, enlivened by the spices, the juicy acidity and the tight liquoricy tannins. One to enjoy now with a steak or lamb, or to lay away for up to a decade.