(2022) A brand new product, not yet in the UK at time of review, this is a semi-sparkling wine closed with a crown cap and sold undisgorged (and therefore lightly cloudy) in the col fondo or 'pet nat' style. It pours a pale, cloudy gold but immediately has interest with aromas of apricot and yeast, some fine pear and apple too, suggesting a dry character. It is indeed dry in the mouth, the gentle effervesence adding to the volume on the palate, that yeasty, slightly wheat-beer character set against very nice fruit and balanced acidity. Most enjoyable. Should sell for around the same price as the Fagher (£16 at time of review).
(2021) Firstly, a warning: in my bottle, and every bottle opened by the 12 tasters present, the deep red wine erupted explosively when opened, losing a quarter of the bottle - unfortunately over my oatmeal-coloured carpet. Whilst it may have been an amusing Zoom moment to see me and 11 luminaries including MWs and learned senior colleagues dripping in still fermenting juice, it really is a serious problem that for me makes this wine - based on this experience - impossible to recommend. It is made from Criolla Grande, fermented with natural yeasts under its crown-capped bottle, the Carbon dioxide of in-bottle fermenation captured and the wine sold undisgorged. There's an inky, plummy character, a touch of coal dust on the nose. On the palate there is a firm, bittersweet cherry fruit, some sweetness just to add a softening touch, but it is a relatively high-acid red style, reminding me a little of some sparkling red Vinho Verde made from Vinhão. What a shame there's an obvious defect in how this batch at least, was brought to market. No UK retail listing at time of review.
(2020) I really enjoyed this cloudy, unfiltered gently sparkling wine, made in steel tanks with wild yeast, it ends up very dry with around 3G/l sugar. Straw to pale yellow, lovely lemony fruit, spicy with a peppery note, there is biscuit from the lees ageing. Bursts with bright lemon fruit, so much vivacious, ripe pear fruit, mouthfilling sweetness of fruit, and the dry, yeast and lightly nutty finish.
(2020) Quite a deep yellow/emerald colour, a touch of that yeasty, wheat beer character also citrus peel. On the palate, nectarine, or rather the skins of nectarines and peaches, so much grapefruity tang to this, bone dry and pithy in the finish.
(2020) Originally made as a proportion of the fruit destined for the Green Glow bottling. Skin contact, made in old wood. Yeasty, more wild than Green Glow, with herb and vegetal notes that are intriguing, the lemon rind and full peachy, ripe juicy pear fruit, finishing with great clarity. The 'Minus 220' refers to the fact this has no added sulphur, AKA 'Preservative 220'.
(2020) Skin fermented, a lovely rose gold colour. Seven days on skins which is less than normal, but first time this wine has been made since 2016, as you need perfect fruit to do skin contact. Briary and lightly earthy, toffee, tobacco, seeds and nuttiness, with such a lovely blast of fruit, peach kernels and pithy orange. No UK retail stockists listed at time of review.
(2020) I guess slightly more orthodox than some here, but only slightly: still 10 to 12 months on lees with a little skin contact before pressing. Fine, elegant apple skin and lemon, has an interesting herbal character, lightly spicy and has a yeasty autolysis. Lovely palate, peachy, spicy with a bold rosy apple fruit, nice apple and pithy lemon acids. Price and stockist is for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2019) A fair example of the new approach to Australian Chardonnay this, from Coonawarra, yet 12.5% abv suggests early picking (though it is possible some alcohol reducing technology was used too - who know?). The nose is about citrus and rosy red apple, a little touch creamy richness, but fairly brisk and straightforward. In the mouth there is a dollop of sweetness: it's a dry wine because of the acid balance, but there's no missing the hit of residual sugar. Fruit verges on the tropical but always stays lemony and firm.
(2018) A low alcohol blend of Zweigelt, Pinot Noir, St Laurent and Blaufränkisch, I guess this would count as a 'Pet Nat', a trendy new term for gently sparkling 'natural' wines and this has the credentials: biodynamic, closed with a beer bottle crown-cap and with only 10.5% alcohol. It is only gently effervescent, the colour lovely ruby/pomegranate red, with delicate strawberries and cream aromas. In the mouth the frizzante style gives a lively edge to crisp and flavourful red berry fruit, a hint of sweetness swept up in lovely, clear apple core dry acidity. Delightful.
(2018) From the Thistledown Wines team, a Grenache (well, with around 10% Mourvèdre) that marches to a different beat from it beer-bottle style 50cl container to its crown cap. Inside is a heart-warming an gluggable red, perfumed with violet, raspberry and blackcurrant, and filling the mouth with sweet and easy-going fruit. The perfect barbecue companion. Watch the video for more information.