(2019) The latest incarnation of a regular favourite and one that, in the opinion of d'Esclans founder, Sacha Lichine, is the best ever made. Sadly, it is also the last made by celebrated winemaker Patrick Léon who died in December (Patrick was winemaker at Mouton Rothschild before creating Whispering Angel in 2006). A blend of Grenache, Rolle and Cinsault, is the colour a touch deeper than usual? It certainly has bags of fruit in the aroma, not only tangy citrus peel but small red berries and a delicate more floral and rose-hip perfume. In the mouth it is bone-dry, with precision to the fruit and a sense of both substance and finesse. From Vineyards Direct offer the wine 'en primeur' until the end of February 2019, at £132 per case. Duty and VAT will be payable when delivered in March, so the per bottle equivalent will be around £15.77 - guaranteed to be at least £2 per bottle cheaper than the price once on the shelf. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) This blend of aromatic varieties including Voishino, Malvasia and Moscatel, was a Wine of the Week in its previous vintage, and this could easily have made that slot too: beautifully fresh, perfumed and crisp, yet with a bit of slippery texture and weight, good orchard and stone-fruit concentration, and a zippy finish.
(2019) From Rías Baixas, a cool hot-spot for crisp, seafood-friendly wines on Spains northwestern Atlantic coast, this has the mix of sea-breeze salinity and pretty floral and peachy fruit that is so appealing. Bone-dry, it has an invigorating, fresh-squeezed lemon juice directness, electric on the tongue, but it is not without those hints of peach juice ripeness and sweetness, a bit of broadening, yeasty character and that saline hint of thicker texture that would make it a wonderful partner for ceviche or sushi, or freshly shucked oysters perhaps. £10.80 for Daily Drinker club members who enjoy a 10% discount.
(2019) Very slightly lighter in colour than the Ribolla, but delightful lemon peel, hay and straw like aromas, a little 'brighter' than the Ribolla, but perhaps lacking a little of the intensity. It certainly has more vivacious brightness on the palate, still that dry tobacco and tannin finish, a dry Fino character, but that little bit more orthodox.
(2019) Glowing amber/gold. So ripe, notes of dried apricot and tobacco, light, sweet earth, a touch of spice. Dry and chewy density on the palate, the high lemon rind and lime acidity against the soft, smoky tobacco, but very pure and long, lots of salinity in the finish.
(2019) Lovely burnished gold colour. Such complex tobacco and briar and sweet damp earth. The palate is so powerful and grippy, an amost Fino-like intensity but different flavour profile. Some lemon rind, but red wine or even Cognac-like in its dry vinous character and grip and quite magnificent as the toast and earthiness pushes through.
(2019) Perhaps even a touch more colour than the 2008, a tinge of orange to ruby. Leafier, a slight more damp leaf character, but then creamy ripe fruit comes through. very dry and grippy, the spices and the tang of citrus skins, grippy, touches of chocolate and creaminess, such a complex profile, again dried apricot.
(2019) Verging on brown, deep colour with a russet touch. Lots of caramel and spice, almost minty, with the dried fruits in the background. In the mouth it has spices and lovely leafiniess, mellow but still so tangy, so vibrant in terms of acidity and the fruit that is definitely still there.
(2019) Bottled only in magnum, this is the special Riserva from 1915 and 1950 vineyards. One year in amphora, six years in barrel, then six more years ageing in bottle before release. Gorgeous, glowing gold. Nutty, lots of ripe apricot fruit, both fresh and dried, and an ash and tobacco lift, but very elegant as well as concentrated. Fabulous, endlessly long, complex and youthful.
(2019) A very warm vintage, This was bottled 2012 and released in 2018. Dark, almost coffee-coloured wine, with lots of briar and leafy damp forest floor, a touch of clove and medicinal character. The palate surprises with its initial fruit sweetness, the tang is almost sherbetty, in a fascinating wine, cocoa and coffee moving into that pin-sharp, salty finish. Is it a touch too saline and dry? Maybe for some, but I found this fascinating and compelling.