(2019) A traditional method fizz with secondary fermentation in individual bottles, and made from 100% Chenin Blanc. Ken explains the technicalities of this wine, or rather the vineyards, which ripen three weeks later than other Chenin plots, so perfect for picking with lower potential alcohol as sparkling base wine. It spends 27 months on lees and in bottle before release. Fine mousse, delicious fruit, long, and though there is a creaminess here it has real crunch and absolute freshness.
(2019) Ken's Dirty Little Secret is his playful dig at the trendy 'dirty' winemaking of naturalista winemakers: dirty in terms of juice being fermented with skins and sometimes stems, and the wine bottled unflitered or fined, so it may show a little cloudiness. Ken has interpreted that with this wine from an ancient 1958 Chenin Blanc vineyard, dry farmed and planted in sand, the wine naturally fermented with wild yeasts. It's a dry, savoury wine expressing lots of minerality, dry and orange zest touches, saltiness, an umami meatiness but great surge of lemon freshness in the finish. A really good wine flirting with that 'natural' style, though not currently showing as available in the UK. Only seven barrels were made.
(2019) Trentino's super co-op, CAVIT, produces an awful lot of wine, and an awful lot of Pinot Grigio, but that does give them the vineyards and the resources to add very high quality strings to their proverbial bow. This Pinot Grigio comes from some of their highest altitude and lowest-yielding vines from just north of Lake Garda, aged 15- to 30-years old. There's a creamy suggestion of density on the nose, soft leafy green herbs meet apple and something a little more honeyed. In the mouth it is a dry, zesty and linear style, serious and restrained, staying focused and pure with a hint of saltiness in the finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019)
Cabernet Sauvignon is 44% of this blend, with 29% Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Plum and cedar, with a touch of bloodiness, a touch of iron oxide ferrous character. Dry and plummy on the palate, it is savoury and chewy.
(2019)
The Anwilka esate is actually in Stellenbosch, once a separate property before merging with Klein Constantia. This is 52% Syrah, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Petit Verdot. Much more minty ripeness, chocolate and mulberry than the Estate Red, a depth of blue-black fruit. The palate has a lot more fruit sweetness too, nicely textured and not heavy or extracted, but full and ripe. Tannins are very smooth and taut, cherry skin dry acids give it a long finish.
(2019)
Residual sugar is 172g/l here. Just gorgeous on the nose, the depth of the bouquet from the bush-vine Muscat, the heavy florals, sumptuous exotic Sandalwood and and lychee and marmalade. Heavenly perfume. Botrytis is deliberately avoided if at all possible, as only late-harvest grapes are desired. The palate has great silky richness, thick texture and nectarine, such lovely freshness and acidity, again that lick of saltiness adding to that clarity.
(2019)
There are 160g/l of sugar here, and the deeper colour is matched by slightly deeper aromas, still so much florals, a little bit of a leafy herbal character, but the underpinning of stone fruit juiciness is fabulous. The palate has also developed a toffee note of creaminess, trading that against the 2015's vibrancy, but it makes for a hugely overwhelming sensory experience, flavour, texture, the aroma each time you lift the glass to our nose. Fabulous.
(2019) Mostly Merlot, with around 35% of the two Cabernets, matured in French oak, around 28% new, the remainder 2nd and 3rd fill. There’s a leafiness here, and earthy and lightly bloody character to the plum fruit. Bittersweet plum, chocolate and cherry with a bit of chicory bitterness adding to the gastronomic appeal. Very ripe in the mouth.
(2019) All five Bordeaux grapes, quite an equal split between the varieties. There’s a sophisticated sheen here, cedar and graphite, that touch of bloody game character and then plenty of plum and cherry fruit. It shares the Three's bittersweet bite of chicory and liquorice, but stays juicy, the tannins ripe and smooth and the acidity nicely cutting the weight and opulence of the fruit.
(2019) Right Bank style blend, with a nice 60% merlot but nice Cab Franc herbal and olive character, set against massive amounts of cassis and minty/chocolate ripeness. There’s load of coffee and plum, but the sweetness never varies, a fairly massive wine, sumptuous in style, creamy tannins and soft acidity making it easy to drink despite the high alcohol.