(2021) Fermentation with wild yeast for this wine, with a higher portion of Petit Verdot (compared to previous vintages) and a small portion of Malbec in the blend. 18 months in French oak barriques (44% new). Very intense in colour, there's lift and fragrance here for sure, some smokiness and roasted chestnut, a touch of blood and savoury tapenade and a substantial base of black fruit. In the mouth immense sweet fruit forms a solid core, with lots of energy from the juicy acidity, tannins roughening like plum skins, and the barrel component enhancing the dark espresso roast of the finish.
(2021) Maturation took place in 40% new French oak barriques for 12 months, parcels of fruit fermented and matured separately. There's a bit of steeliness and more pert raspberry cutting through black fruit here, a background of leafiness. The palate has loads of juiciness, with a sour cherry tang at the core, to the fruit and acidity, and big, drying tannins making their presence felt in the finish.
(2021) Nine blocks of fruit were harvested over a period of two weeks and matured in 20% new French oak for 14 months, and little bits of other Bordeaux varietals are blended in. A little black olive tapenade plays against blackcurrant fruit, very much on the savoury side, a little roasted meatiness from mostly older oak. In the mouth a really lovely volume of sweet fruit swells across the palate, lots of firm, juicy black cherry and blackcurrant. The tannins add a lot of serious, slightly ashy dryness towards the finish, which really is well balanced, long and spicy black fruit and acidity powering the finish.
(2021) Vines for this wine are aged between 15 and 47 years, crushed to both open and closed fermenters, with a small percentage of whole bunches. 4% is co-fermented with Viognier and it spends 17 months in French (65%) and American (35%) oak barriques (18% new). Some Alicante Bouschet with a touch of Cabernet and Grenache are added too. Dramatically dark in colour and less floral/lifted than the two previous wines, more on the meaty and Rhone-ish end of the spectrum. The palate has a weight of black fruit, a little more savoury and earthy in style, grippier tannins too, though there is a hint of vanilla and even mint that rounds things out towards a long, very nicely-pitched finish.
(2021) Open-top fermentation included a s small parcel (7%) of whole bunches, before 15 months in 3,500 litre French oak foudres (25% new). There is a small addition of Viognier. Creamy, gently smoky berries, a little more red fruited than the Plan B!, quite perfumed, but still dark and glossy. Lots and lots of unctuous black fruit on the palate has succulence and flesh, though nicely judged and very tight tannins and juicy black fruit acidity extends the finsih. Very nice drinking. No UK stockists at time of review.
(2021) From 25-year-old vines in Frankland River, individual batches were aged in barrels (10% new) for additional 15 months before blending. 6% Tempranillo was included in the blend. Powerful, super-sweet and concentrated blackcurrant and blueberry aromas, a litle violet lift and a sprinkle of white pepper. After a buoyant and bright opening, the palate does not disappoint, the creamy ripeness of black fruit persisting, but there's a bittersweet edge to this, a rasp of plum-skin bite to the tannins and edge of the fruit, and keen acidity adding another sharpening angle. The finish is all about fruit, just underpinned by the charry barrel component.
(2021) Classic barrel-fermented Chardonnay first produced in 1989, this vintage seeing bine months in barrel, 30% new French oak and full malolactic. Loads of almond and crushed oatmeal, and interesting nutty notes, toast and spices, but the fruit is nicely judged - on the palate it becomes quite peachy and succulent, the fruit and a very nice pithy lemon and lime acidity giving cut but generosity too. This is a nicely pitched Chardonnay, creamy and quite hedonistic, but with a bit of steel at its core.
(2021) Albariño vines were first planted in 2007, with the first release in 2010. There's a nice combination of fresh pear and more peachy fruit here, lightly touched by honey. On the palate there is a sweeter tone that a typical Galician wine, more texture and lusciousness too. Not so saline and crisp as a typical Spanish wine, but has a larger-scaled and sweet presence that is a different but very lovely expression of Albariño.
(2021) Ramón Bilbao is a big producer, with 200 hectares of its own vineyards around the town of Haro in Rioja, but contracting fruit from another 900 hectares of vineyard across the region. This Crianza was aged in American oak casks for 14 months. It is deep crimson in colour and has an appealing nose, mixing dark berry fruits with spicy cedar and a touch of mint and vanilla. In the mouth there is real juiciness to the blackcurrant and plum fruit, but the bolstering underpinning of those oak tannins and spices gives it great savouriness. Well balanced, it's a fairly big wine in flavour and alcohol (14%) but very well done.
(2021) Tinged with green, this is one year older than the Framingham example and has a more intense slate and mineral character, touching into those petrolly aromatics, but also quite honeyed and luscious fruit. Lots of sweetness on the palate, both ripe peach and nectarine, onto mango, but also some residual sugar (over 20gl) and beautifully done I must say. I tasted this wine early in 2021 noting its delightful bon-bon sweetness, and depth of nectarine and mango fruit, and it still has that lime-fresh acidity in a gorgeous wine.