(2021) A blend of fruit from the Taylor family's vineyards in the Clare Valley and from the Limestone Coast. There's a plummy character on the nose, a little wisp of something herby and lifted too. The full-on sweetness and chocolate density of the wine surprises as it hits the palate, a mocha coffee raft of black fruit flavours, super-ripe and mouth-filling. Plush is the word for this wine, with its creamy and generous tannins and acids, it's for immediate pleasure I'd say, as long as you like that uncompromisingly ripe and large-scaled style.
(2021) The name of this wine translates to 'Stony Hill', the grapes coming from the rockiest slopes on the Banfi estate in Tuscany. Currants and fresh red berries on the nose, little oak influence if any, just a touch of dusty green olive from the Cabernet component. Plenty of cherry-ripe sweetness on the palate, blackberries too, combining some fruit depth with fresher, lightly herbal notes. Plenty of creamy sweetness here with a sour tang of orange to the acidity.
(2021) A really nicely made Viognier this, from Viu Manent's Colchagua estate, 13.5% and well balanced. The nose offers precise pear and light peach fruit aromas, a hint of vanilla in there too. On the palate the fruit is ripe and sweet0edged, more peach and flirting with mango and tropical notes, but very good, dry, slightly salty lemon acidity pushes out the finish. Quite a concentrated style, but well done.
(2021) It's so easy to overlook the very familiar brands, on the basis that by their very nature they are consistent, so tasting vintage after vintage is a bit of a waste of time. Indeed I see from my database that the last vintage I reviewed of the Sauvignon Blanc from Oxford Landing was 2001. I don't recall it having only 10.5% alcohol, so without a doubt the recipe has changed in 20 years. It's a wine with very decent southern hemisphere Sauvignon characteristics, but is basically like quaffing lemonade: very light, passion fruit and tropical notes and a clean finish, but nothing by the way of texture or acidity to disrupt the quaffing picture. Though a very commercially 'constructed' commodity wine, it does a good job and with its low alcohol might just be a useful summer in the garden picnic or party standby. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) A pale peachy-pink, the main advantage Torres wine has over some of the other Spanish attempts at this style are the grapes used: Carignan and Grenache, two of the mainstays of Provence wines too. Very light, very commercially appealing raspberry and rose-hip aromas, a little bit watercolour paintbox, then a palate that has some sweetness and possibly a touch of residual sugar, but plenty of lemony acidity keeps that in check. It is light-bodied and arguably a touch dilute even for a rosé, but flavours and balance are good.
(2021) Massaya is a partnership between the Ghosn family of Lebanon and the Hebrard and Prunier families of Bordeaux and the Rhône Valley respectively. An unusual blend of more or less equal parts Grenache, Cinsault and Tempranillo. Bright creamy crimson, it is moderate in density and offers aromas of pomegranate, spice and pepper. This does not appear to have seen oak. In the mouth there's a savoury, endive and liquorice twist to this. On the mid-palate more sweetness comes through, the wine is medium-bodied despite the 14.5% alcohol, the finish rather dry with a dustiness to the tannins.
(2021) The original and classic Spanish red, in production since the 1950s and still with a small plastic bull attached (though these days it's an eco-friendly plastic). It's a blend of mostly Grenache with Carignan. A little darker in colour than Running with Bulls, there's a plum jam note on the nose, perhaps also a little darker in character, a little leather baked in there too. Equally sweet fruited on the palate, the style is remarkably similar really with copious ripe fruits, creamy background tannins and soft acidity for crowd-pleasing appeal.
(2021) Barrossa-grown Tempranillo is fermented with wild yeasts and aged in oak for this red wine from the Hill-Smith family, who own Yalumba and Jansz among other brands. Though it weighs in with 14% alcohol, the colour is medium to pale, suggesting a lighter touch on the winemaking, and the nose has cherry cola aromas, a touch of wild strawberry and spice. In the mouth the fruit is super sweet, a creamy fruit coulis style, with barely perceptible tannins and ripe, generous acidity barely ruffling the flow. Easy-drinking with a captial Easy.
(2021) This West Sussex rosé is made from Pinot Noir, and is the first pink released by this family-owned single estate vineyard. Their own vineyard was planted only in 2019, so I presume this is made from purchased fruit. Pale and Provençal, it has a lovely lifted floral nose, peach down and rose-hips, a litte watermelon note too. In the mouth there appears to be a touch of sweetness, but the fruit here is summery and elegant, very much in the strawberries and cream spectrum, and crucially it has perfectly pitchedd balancing acidity. A really charming English rosé.
(2021) Seven Springs rosé is 100% Syrah, and opens with strawberries and cream in abundance, a light herbal note and some floral, violet nuances. In the mouth there is more cream, both flavour and texture, with a light smokiness and plenty of pulp red fruit charm. A lovely sun-kissed rosé.