(2020) A blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Cinsault and 10% Syrah from 25-year-old vines, this is a medium peachy-pink colour and has an overtly fruity nose, pomegranate and redcurrant, small and little peppery berries. In the mouth there is weight, richness and texture, plenty of summery, mixed berries character along with a cool, clean acid balance to finish on a savoury note.
(2020) The blend here is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah and 2% Mourvèdre, fermented in oak vats like the Lady Severine, but spending 24 months in barrique. In many ways it's a more 'serious' wine than the Lady S, certainly more dusty, concentrated intense Cabernet Sauvignon tannins and dark fruit. Aromatically there is plushness and a depth of black berry fruit, on the palate that is fat and juicy on the mid-palate, then those tannins, a stripe of acidity and a toasty touch of charry barrel kick in. As I say, a more serious style and would benefit from decanting. Price if bought by the case of six falls to £21.60
(2020) From the renowed Morellino di Scansano producer Elisabetta Geppetti of Fattoria le Pupille, a rare Tuscan rosé, coming from the coastal Maremma, and made from 100% Syrah, some of the vines dating back to 1990. Another unusual aspect, is that 10% of the wine was aged in barrels of Acacia wood. The colour is a pale, but orangey-pink, the nose fragrant with small red berries, a hint of sweet blossom, and a little touch of peppery spice. In the mouth, it at first seems off-dry, perhaps there's a gramme or two of residual sugar, but that's soon swept up in the savoury berry fruitiness, lemony acidity and more of that lingering spice.
(2020) South African born Manfred Ing has been at the winemaking helm of this biodynamic estate for many years, in that time further refining their already exquisite wines, red and white. From an excellent year, this is Sangiovese from vineyards in Greve, Radda and Gaiole, and it spent 14 months in barriques and larger barrels, all French oak, with 5% new. I love the refinement and distinction of the nose here, that reminded me very much of a fine Pauillac, with graphite and a touch of cedar and black olive over pert, but ripe black fruits. In the mouth it is beautifully balanced: racy and alert thanks to the finesse and juiciness of the tannins and acidity, and the keen cherry and raspberry edge to the black fruits adding even more precision. Fabulous and cellar-worthy.
(2020) From Abruzzo in the east of Italy, Pecorino has seen something of a revival in the last decade or so, but much of it quite cheap and cheerful stuff, made in large volumes: highly quaffable, if undistinguished. The Tiberio family's Pecorino is a bit different, from a single hillside vineyard planted on clay, fruit from the 20-year-old vines is fermented with wild yeasts and winemaker Cristiana Tiberio strives for balance, freshness and authenticity. This wine offers an invigorating blast of intense citrus on nose and, especially, palate, as decisive as any higher-acid brisk and bracing style, but there is also delicacy, some white flowers on the nose, the wild yeast adding complex nutty and lightly earthy characters, but the bone-dry fruit and acid axis driving to the end of a terrific, if uncompromising wine.
(2020) This Tuscan red sees Sangiovese blended with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, grown in the coastal Maremma, with only around 10% spending time in oak. It's something of a fruit-bomb this - not at all overblown, but filled with a buoyant, creamy blast of ripe, fleshy cherries and blackcurrant that soars from the glass, backed up with just a hint of pencil-shaving finesse. In the mouth that joyous explosion of ripe but nicely savoury fruit comes through, all supple and smooth black fruit flavours, but a chocolaty tannin and bright cherry skin acid axis offers a lovely counterpoint. Approachable, delicious, and it put a warm smile on my face.
(2020) From one of the biggest names of Barolo and Barbaresco, but here turning his hand to the more humble Docletto, but still a serious interpretation that spends 12 Months in French oak barrels, 25% new. Really vibrant, deep purple in colour, the nose is highly aromatic, lifted, violet-touched and elegant, but with a core of juicy blueberry and ripe plum, a hint of Amarena cherries and some depth of cocoa too. In the mouth it is smooth, ripe and full of wonderfully bittersweet flavours, the agile acidity and taut tannins giving a bit of authority, but the sweet-fruited joy of the wine always threatening to break free. Given the heritage I am sure this will cellar for a few years too.
(2020) Musar famously releases it's wines only when they think they are ready to drink, typically seven years after vintage. So this is the latest release at time of review, a blend of Cinsault, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon from very old vines grown at over 1,000 metres altitude in the Bekaa Valley. It seems to me to be an outstanding Musar, filled with gently lifted aromatics of kirsch and blackcurrant, all framed by a graphite and cedar notes of serious, savoury and Bordeaux-like character. In the mouth the sweet, ripe fruit is enveloping, but the wine has such fabulous concentration and supple, firm structure at its core, all polished tannins and gastronomic acid-balance, the pure, sweet fruit persisting to the elegant, very long finish. A wonderfully impressive young Musar this, irresistable now, but capable of substantial cellaring too, Musar tending to transition from something like Bordeaux, to something closer to Burgundy, over decades.
(2020) Champagne house Pommery were early investors in English vineyards, with their own 40-hectare site about to come on stream. For now, they are buying English fruit from Hampshire and making this wine in facilities borrowed from Hattingley Valley estate. It's a traditional method wine, made from the Champagne grapes, and it is beautifully pitched: there is a hint of biscuit and truffle on the nose, but much more about citrus and English orchard fruit. The palate shows lovely fruit sweetness, and the dosage adding an extra element of approachability, but the acid balance on persitence of the mousse if excellent. Not cheap, but a nice way to celebrate English Wine Week, which starts today. Watch the video for more information.
(2020) A preview of a brand new wine from Gosset, to appear on the market some time in June 2020. Notes comes from a tasting with cellarmaster, Odilon de Varine, via Zoom.
Beautiful colour, a burnished hint of gold to the straw yellow, masses of streaming, miniscule bubbles. Absolutely beguiling nose, with the subtle oxidative notes from the 12 years on lees, some toast and custard, but fresh orchard fruits, little greengage and yellow plum notes, and really very multi-layered. The wine tightens up considerably on the palate, immediately citrussy and bright, but with a supple, smooth and rounded texture. There is a definite lick of salty minerals in the finish, further tensioning the picture. Really very lovely, intriguing balance between the open, matured flavours and youthful zest and energy. Odilon thinks it will age extremely well, because of that long contact with the lees. 12,000 bottles produced.
RRP is around £95 a bottle and it will be available from Fine + Rare, The Whisky Exchange, Planet of the Grapes, Uncorked and Fortnum and Mason.