(2020) The label states this is "certified 21 years old", though there's a good chance some of the components in the blend are even older. It's a fabulous fortified wine, mellowed by those two decades plus in barrels, but with a cut and orange zest brightness that is rarely found in similar European styles. There is a depth of cappucino, chocolate and rum-soaked raisins on the nose and palate, and a little volatile lift. That heart-warming fruitcake richness, sweetness and walnutty sheen of age is all there on the palate in a striking and delicious wine. Fabulous stuff, price for a 50cl bottle. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) Ben Schild started his family farm in the Barossa Valley in 1952, and the current generation in charge of this family estate dedicate this wine to his memory. Coming from one dedicated parcel of the Angus Brae single vineyard, it spends 18 months in a blend of American, French and Hungarian oak barrels, and Schild estimate a 10-year drinking window for the wine. It's a big-scaled, unapolagetically Barossa style, packed with fruit and spice, the nose, a deep pool of mulberry and blackcurant, touched by coffee and woodsmoke. Great fruit sweetness as it strikes the palate, a luscious, full-flavoured wine, a little balsamic note and meat-stock richness, but then the spice and the freshness of the acidity kicks in, very creamy and fine tannins, and a long, tapering finish.
(2020) Matured for 18 months in a combination of French and American oak hogsheads, fruit comes from selected parcels of Schild's barossa vineyards. Deep crimson in colour, plum and cherry aromas also suggest something mineral and meaty in the background. The palate has a nicely savoury, steely edge thanks to the tannins and bright, juicy acidity, so the fully ripe and sweet fruit stays fresh, a spicy tobacco touch adding another dimension to the finish.
(2020) Schild's GMS southern Rhône blend marches to quite a different beat from the two Shiraz wines tasted, given only very light oak treatment, and all about juiciness and prettiness of fruit. Significantly lighter in colour too, the aromas are buoyant with cherry, red plum, even a hint of strawberry. A little spice adds to the bouquet. In the mouth the sweet fruit is allowed free expression, smooth but relatively gentle tannins, a creamy acidity and just a polish of oak add to the long, very drinkable character of the wine.
(2020) Dry, with less than 2g/l of residual sugar, this Riesling from Washington State spends some time on the lees in older oak barrels just to add a little texture, and that works: it is brimming with bright citrus and rosy apple, a little floral aroma, a tang of lemon sherbet and lots of zest. The palate has that bit of weight and texture, but those sweeping acids fire through the peachier, slightly more tropical tones, but shimmering and long and delightfully zippy and fresh. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas. Costco members can buy this for around £11.70 per bottle. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) Washington State sits somewhat in the shadow of its southerly neighbour Oregon perhaps, but here on the border with Canada cool aromatic varieties do exceedingly well, such as this off-dry, Kabinett-style Riesling. Lemon and lime and a peachy charm, gossamer light and perfect as an aperitif or to match with spicy Thai or Szechuan cuisine, it's fresh and balanced and very easy to like.
(2020) Made mostly from the fascinating Mendoza clone of Chardonnay which has a 'hen and chick' propensity, developing different sized berries. That means a higher skin to juice ratio and keener acidity than more regular fruit growth. Fermented and aged in French oak barrels, 15% new, from organic vineyards and made with natural yeasts and minimal filtration, it's a carefully crafted - but in some ways very un-crafted - wine that displays enough of the flinty, reductive character that is so appealing, without losing sight of the fruit. A creamy almond sheen to the fruit, the palate delivers a smooth and refined continuation, oatmeal and light vanilla notes over gorgeous tropical fruit, sliced through with lime and grapefruit, the swirl of smoke and flint enduring. It's a cracking Chardonnay. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) From old vines in the Riverland, carefully made with different techniques for different parcels of vines, with portions wild-fermented, some aged in older oak barrels, some in concrete tanks, this is juicy and forward, wth a full aromatic expression, lifted peppery notes, florals, and juicy berry fruits. In the mouth it's no shrinking violet with 14.5% alcohol, yet it is breezy and bright, fruit rushing through the mid-palate with spices and a tart rasp of plum skin acidity, the picture fruity but keen and grippy in the finish. Quite a lot going on at its modest price. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) What a great example of how Margaret River is helping to redefine Austalian Chardonnay. Whole-bunch pressed, fermented in French oak with natural yeasts, and matured in a combination of small and large French oak barrels for nine months. It opens with a whiff of flint and gunpowder over ripe peach and pear, just a touch of creamy oak too. In the mouth it is sweet-fruited and intense, but there is great clarity and drive here too, the acid nicely judged and a taut precision to the finish. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2019) Fantastically dry, searing salt and lemon mineral acidity is the first thing that strikes about this wine, though it is softened on the palate by 8g/l of residual sugar. It has real concentration and substance despite being gossamer light. A bad spring frost delayed ripening and reduced the crop in 2017, but a very good summer meant harvest was actually a little early.