(2021) From the renowned Gimblett Gravels in Hawke's Bay, this is made with 30% whole bunches and a small percentage of Viognier skins, in 5,000-litre foudres. Slightly more closed than when I last tasted this at the winery a year ago, but a bit of air starts to reveal the perfume, red fruits, violet, but maybe a touch of grilled meat in there too. Juicy stuff in the mouth, sour cherry and liquorice, that smoky/meaty element still there, energy and again, juiciness, strong into the finish.
(2021) From the excellent 2019 vintage, and again from the Gravels, 18% of this was whole-bunch fermented with indigenous yeasts, and it spent 14 months in barriques of French oak, 25% new. Very vibrant in colour, there's a cool, schist and gravel aspect to the nose, over taut red fruit, a sheen of oak. On the palate the wine opens, still with that taut, gravel and graphite cool, but the cherry and red plum fruit is both bright and deep, supported by some understated oak, into a long, poised finish. Impressive young wine. Price and stockist is for the 2018 vintage at time of review.
(2020) The blend is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Merlot. Lovely cedary and graphite character, very good black berry fruit. Tobacco and spices, cigar box. Deliciously juicy and cool fruit, very pure, a lovely finish with length and balancing acidity and tannins, mellow and resolved but will cellar. No UK retail stockist at time of review.
(2020) Cabernet Sauvignon with 12% Merlot. Huge depth of colour, bright fruit aromas - blackcurrant and cigar box. Smooth, svelte, beautifully pure and dark flavours. Tangy fruit skins, bold, blackcurrant and ripe but has structure too with creamy tannins and pure acidity. Quite classy.
(2020) Big and bloody, meaty, fleshy. A little medicinal note here, maybe a touch of Brett. Lovely palate, so juicy and fleshy, ripe plum and the tang of cherry and plum. Deliciously ripe and appealing balance.
(2020) Gimblett Gravels A tiny bit reduced, quite a high tobacco ash and cherry, a little cherry note, but very attractive. Juicy, tangy, has a lighter more crisp style, but successful with a big blast of tangy cherry fruit and acidity. Price and stockist quoted are for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) Concentrated glossy black fruit aromas, a refined violet edge. Immediately layered, plush and supple, taut tannins and the sweetness of fruit comes through again. Deliciously savoury, a tonic with savoury tannin and acid balance, supple, sweet length and spice.
(2020) Aged in American oak barrriques, but long seasoned, "which gives less of the mocha character," according to Damien. Gamy, wild berries, some deep, deep blackcurrant and a nice floral lift too. So juicy, fresh, grippy and dry, fine but sandy tannins, endive and liquorice oak, the texture juicy but with a bit of grip. Price and stockist are for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) A Bordeaux blend with 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec, matured in small French oak barrels, 35% new, for 16 months. Seems ripe and plush, lots of blue/black fruit, some mint, A hint of violet, and chocolate too. A lot of cedar and graphite character. The fruit is sweet and mouth-filling, lots of blackcurrant, but has that cedar and the touch of clove, very juicy and tight, the tannins and fine sour cherry acid in the finish.
(2020) Made with 30% whole bunches and a small percentage of Viognier skins in 5,000-litre foudre. Very fine aromatics, perfumed with roses and violets, a little liquorice and thyme and cherry and raspberry lifted and elegant fruit. A touch of smokiness too, then the palate has a light, savoury, gently meaty and chestnutty quality. The palate has sweet fruit that is linear and taut, with good acidity and a sour cherry.