(2018) How fascinating to return to a wine I last reviewed 11 years ago, and which is another 'forgotten' bottle retrieved from my own cellar where it has lain quietly for over a decade. The colour is now much paler with a touch of warmth to the ruby core. Although it certainly has not stood still under screwcap in 11 years, it seems clearly to be the same wine, with the softening development I would hope for and expect. An autumnal, earthy and woodland character that is very Pinot Noir has joined the fruit, still in the cherry pie and spice spectrum, the creamy and slightly coffee-ish oak is still there but has also mellowed, and the nice sour orange acid framework sits very well to balance. I never intended to cellar this modestly-priced Pinot for 11 years, and arguably it may be on the down-slope now, but my word what a delightful discovery, giving plenty of enjoyment. Price and stockist quoted at time of review is for more current vintages.
(2018) Pouring a pale gold colour, this creamy and nutty Chardonnay shows plenty of complex sulphide character too, with flint and cordite as well as nutty apple fruit. Wild yeast ferment and 11 months in barrel gives good complexity, and the palate follows with a powerful concentration of orchard fruit, wreathed in smokiness and toast. A touch too much obvious oak perhaps, but there's a lot going on and a lot to like. No UK stockist at time of writing.
(2018) Despite the barrel-fermentation (with indigenous yeasts) and 10 months in 25% new French hogsheads, it's leesiness and reduction that drives this aromatically, a light Chablis-like whiff of flint and a touch of cheesiness, but more attractive than that sounds. In the mouth there is sold apple fruit, nutty and dry, hinting at sweeter stone fruits, then that creamy and nutty oak and the salty tang of acidity kicks in and pushes through into a long, stylish finish. Not in the UK at time of writing.
(2018) Luis Pato, the king of Barraida wines, is surely some sort of genius, crafting unusual white wines like this from Bical, Cerceal and Sercealinho (a cross of Cerceal and Alvarinho) with 12% alcohol, a modest price, yet capable of such significant ageing. In truth this was a re-discovery of a wine I'd rather forgotten about in my wine racks, but what a treat: aromatically it has so much in common with a fine dry Riesling, that whiff of minerals and beeswax, clear apple fruit, and a lovely sherbet-lemon tang. On the palate it is light and lissome, plenty of zesty acidity but a dazzling fruit-salad palate finishing long and glittering. Note, price and stockist are for a more current vintage at time of review.
(2018) Yalumba have long been masters of the Viognier variety, now quite widely planted outside of its Rhône Valley home, but sometimes producing wines that verge on being 'blowsy' and too alcoholic. Not here, with this 13% abv rendition from the cool-ish Riesling heartland of the Eden Valley. It doesn't miss out on the exotic and quite flamboyant aromatics of the variety, with lychee and a touch of sweet potpourri spice, nectarine fruit and yet a lightly flinty, smoky note too. In the mouth it juxtaposes sweet stone fruits with a lemon and lime-rind acidity, and that lightly salty and stony note adding definition. For more information and food-matching ideas, please watch the full video review.
(2018) As a lover of the Pinot Noir variety, some of my greatest wine experiences have been with very expensive Grand Cru wines of Burgundy, but I am always on the lookout for affordable and good Pinots for everyday drinking. Lidl's effort from Marlborough in New Zealand certainly fits the bill, its moderate to light colour being perfect for Pinot, and the dry, lightly briary nose of cranberry and spiced orange fitting the bill too. Very lightly chilled (or rather, not too warm) it offers a fine, juicy, lightly earthy and leafy genuine Pinot experience, avoiding some of the strawberry sweetness of many cheap examples. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) A fine, delicate Petit Chablis this, and yes, among ripe apple and gently floral notes there is a touch of Chablis flint. Juicy, fresh and very appealing on the palate, it hints at ripe tropicality - a hallmark of this vintage it seems - a fleck of green and onto an easy-drinking, but crisp finish of some style.
(2017) A wine I always enjoy, and this 2016 vintage is a good one, 175g/l of residual sugar putting it fully in the dessert wine category. Made from late-harvested grapes and made in steel tanks, its a pristine style, though laden with honey, glycerine and nectarine fruit. On the palate it has richness of texture without being 'sticky', and real intensity: there's keen acidity at the core to ensure that, put the lush tropical and very ripe pear fruit flows towards the finish impressively. Price for a half bottle. For more information, please watch the video.
(2017) Named after the 5600 guilders the original Dutch settler paid for the Nederburg estate, a purchase of this wine generates a small donation to the #DoYourPart charity providing bicycles to some of South Africa's most underprivileged citizens. It opens with good generic pear and apple fruit, a little touch of exotic lychee and passion fruit, in bright style. In the mouth it has a touch of sweetness, but it is vivacious and flavourful, nodding towards the tropical, with enough acidity to balance and make it slip down very easily. Watch the video for more information on this wine and the charity.
(2017) Getting a Pinot Noir on the shelves at under £6 is a rare thing these days, and Nederburg have done not a bad job with this cherry cola-like, light and easy-drinking version. Cherry pits and briar on the nose, a touch of twiggy character, then the palate of modest red fruits - raspberry edged - light earthiness and a sour lemon acidity. It's no great Pinot by world standards, and a bit abrupt, but it is quaffable.