(2018) This is another winning wine from Matt and Sophie Parker-Thomson. Large French oak barrels, new and used, where employed to vinify this wine, but it wears any hint of oak very lightly indeed, focusing instead on vibrant, essential-oil fruitiness and crispness. Orange, lemon rind and pepper dominate the nose, and yes, a subtle sheen of creamy oak, but the palate is bright and ram-jam packed with flavour, the lime and mandarin orange clarity of the acidity in the finish is just lovely. On offer at £14.95 at time of review, it really is a top-notch expression of Grüner.
(2018) Pouring a pale gold colour, this creamy and nutty Chardonnay shows plenty of complex sulphide character too, with flint and cordite as well as nutty apple fruit. Wild yeast ferment and 11 months in barrel gives good complexity, and the palate follows with a powerful concentration of orchard fruit, wreathed in smokiness and toast. A touch too much obvious oak perhaps, but there's a lot going on and a lot to like. No UK stockist at time of writing.
(2018) Despite the barrel-fermentation (with indigenous yeasts) and 10 months in 25% new French hogsheads, it's leesiness and reduction that drives this aromatically, a light Chablis-like whiff of flint and a touch of cheesiness, but more attractive than that sounds. In the mouth there is sold apple fruit, nutty and dry, hinting at sweeter stone fruits, then that creamy and nutty oak and the salty tang of acidity kicks in and pushes through into a long, stylish finish. Not in the UK at time of writing.
(2017) The recipe again is French oak for fermentation and ageing on the lees for 10 months, with wild yeasts doing the fermentation. It's also another heavily reductive style, powerful gunflint aromatics along with almond and some toast, and nutty apple fruit beneath. In the mouth a little exotic spiciness from the oak and wild ferment, nice texture, and plenty of pithy, bold lemon assertiveness.
(2017) Hugh didn't bring this to our tasting, but was so keen that I should try it that he sent me a bottle within days of our meeting. And I can absolutely see why: it may not come from the Legacy 'Grand Cru' vineyards, but what a terrific Chardonnay, the nose glittering with Chablis-like gunflint minerality, a lime precision and ripe apple beneath. The palate has surprising squirt of tropical, mango-like fruit ripeness, very juicy grapefruit too, then the mineral acidity starts to kick in, and a little creamy component, to give this texture and mouth-feel, the finish long and tapering in a most elegant way.
(2017) Hugh describes this wine as coming from "In effect, our grand cru vineyards," the fruit from three distinct Legacy vineyards pressed straight to French oak barrel, a small proportion new, where it spends 10 months. The barrels are then blind tasted to ensure Legacy quality. In this year 16 barriques made it as Legacy, though some years as few as 12 qualify. It is made with natural yeasts, and is not inoculated for malolactic. Fine complex sulphide flintiness, the oak toasty, and the clean, apple fruit and the flint and salt minerality. The palate has a fine juiciness, lots of crunchy apple and citrus, this is really fine, the acid so crunchy and mineral salty, great length and vibrant, punchy and vivacious
(2016) What a terrific Chardonnay, the nose glittering with Chablis-like gunflint minerality, a lime precision and ripe apple beneath. The palate has surprising squirt of tropical, mango-like fruit ripeness, very juicy grapefruit too, then the mineral acidity starts to kick in, and a little creamy component, to give this texture and mouth-feel, the finish long and tapering in a most elegant way. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2016) A natural wine with minimal sulphur, long skin contact and closed with a beer bottle-style crown cap. Clear, yellow colour, fresh orchard fruits, clean but not hugely aromatic, still a pleasing orange and sprightly Cox's pippin fruitiness. Long and tangy, this has plenty of crunch and zipping acidity, and is a fine alternative Sav Blanc from New Zealand.
(2016) A delightful Sauvignon from Craggy's Hawke's Bay estate, this is the essence of grapefruit on the nose: the fresh squeezed mix of juicy tropicality and zesty freshness, a hint of green bean and elderflower, then carrying through onto the palate with a hint of luscious lychee and mango, but that grapefruit zest and zing powers through into a beautifully balanced, dry finish.
(2016) Cooled by nearby ocean breezes, Craggy Range's Kindnappers Chardonnay comes from a single vineyard and has a quite delicate nose, natural feeling with some older oak adding savouriness and very gentle toast, and clean orchard fruit just hinting at more exotic lime and peach. Very fresh, very linear on the palate, the salt and citrus drives this cleanly, a tangy finish, restrained and very European in style, and delicious. On sale at time of writing reduced to £13.95 at winedirect.co.uk
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