(2021) From a domaine that can trace its roots back to 1701, this family-run Languedoc estate near Montpellier blends this wine from Grenache, Rolle and Syrah grown on volcanic soils. Sealed with the 'Vinolok' glass stopper it is a beautifully packaged wine, pale peach in colour with lovely salt and mineral flecks to the red berry and citrus fruit. Bone dry, there's real grip here, pithy citrus and the tang of citrus skins, underpinned by redcurrant and finishing with good definition. Quite a grown-up, serious style at a relatively modest price. Watch the video for more information on this wine.
(2021) What a lovely wine this is. Abundantly fresh, green herb-flecked lemon and crunchy apple aromas lead on to a palate that is also cool, elegant and crisp, but has texture and presence too, a supple ripeness, mid-palate sweetness and creaminess to the fruit, but the dazzling, salt-licked freshness of the finish powers through. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) This prmium Gewürztraminer cuvée comes from vineyards at 350- to 550-metres altitude, grown on calcareous soils. The vines are up to 40 years old, and the wine is aged in stainless steel on the lees. With 15% alcohol declared on the label it is a powerful, concentrated and intense expression of Gewürztraminer, pouring a light gold colour with soaring aromas of lychee, old fragrant roses and Turkish delight. In the mouth the texure is slippery and rich, and the sheer weight and concentration of fruit along with a little residual sugar could be overbearing, but thankfully the acid base of the wine is equally powerful. That all adds up to a big, dominant style of white wine that I think might work best with food - spicy Sechuan or Thai cuisine perhaps.
(2021) Most assuredly a Pinot Grigio that marches to a very different beat from your 'average' northern Italian example. This is a powerful, concentrated wine of texture, opening with white fruit, melon rind and peppery aromas, and striking the palate with real authority. I guess 14% ABV helps that, as does some oak ageing, but really it does show that skinny, leesy grip on the palate and the concentrated fruit that is much more 'Gris' than 'Grigio', with a broad chewy texture of fruit, extract and a even a touch of tannin. Besides that, however, the freshness and acid balance is excellent making this a gastronomic treat too. The best Pinot Grigio from Italy that I have tasted? Possibly, yes.
(2021) Another absolutely lovely wine from Cantina Tramin, this an oak cask-fermented blend of 65% Chardonnay with Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc and Gewürztraminer, coming from stony limestone and clay soils, it's name meaning 'stone' in local dialect. It is sweetly perfumed, refined and accented by floral and creamy top and bottom notes, a lovely taut but ripe fruit juiciness. In the mouth the oak fermentation rounds the wine beautifully, but those bright and quite vivacious fruit characters and the salts and citrus acid structure of these wines is very nicely balanced, making this so easy to drink, but with precision too.
(2020) An absolutely delightful wine, predominatnly Syrah with 20% Mourvèdre and 10% of the white grape, Vermentino, it is made from a selection of the best grapes from their best vineyards near Aix-en-Provence. The Mourvèdre component sees barrel maturation. Such an explosively fruity nose, strawberry and burstingly ripe peach, flowers and a fine salty/earthy note too. In the mouth the fruit is decisive and keen, small redcurrant berries and raspberry, but that keen, mouth-watering edge of salts and lemon giving great thrust and decisive tension. Terrific rosé. No UK stockists at time of review.
(2020) From an estate owned by Bernard Magrez, whose portfoilio of properties includes Pape Clément, this Côtes de Provence Rosé marches to quite a different beat, from vines averaging 41 years of age and with a stated alcohol of 14.5% abv. That translates into a wine that is neither overripe nor particularly deeply coloured, but which has an intrinsic subtle power and intensity. Good, elegant and lifted red fruit notes dominate, but the palate has a real mineral salts streak on acidity along with cleansing citrus, for a concentrated and slightly more serious take on the style.
(2019) Hampton WaterI have to say upfront that everything about this Pays d'Oc blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre screams 'marketing' - first the ambitious price of £20 per bottle, second the striking label, 'Vinolock' glass stopper and designer bottle, and thirdly that it is made by Gérard Bertrand for a wine company launched by rock star Jon Bon Jovi and his son, Jesse - the business run by 23-year-old Jesse who studied political science and business economics. The 'Hampton' of its name is The Hamptons, and exceedingly up-market coastal playground for New York's super-rich, where the inspiration for making a rosé came to the father and son team. Following booming sales in the US, the wine has recently arrived in the UK. So is it any good? It's from the Languedoc, but pale and Provençal in style, though it has seen seen some barrel ageing which is not typical of Provence. There's a buouancy and fruity lift to the aromas, intense small berries and a limey note. In the mouth no real trace of oak, other perhaps than a richer texture than might be expected, again plenty of concentration of flavour, and a salty lick of minerality to join the pithy lemon zest acidity. It's certainly a bigger mouthful of wine than a typical Provence example, and has enough going on to justify the hype, though no doubt a bit of celebrity factor is built into the price.
(2019) A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault, this is a rosé pitched as 'feminine', with its elegant frosted pink glass bottle and glass stopper, pale but bright pink hue and touch of sweetness. It has pleasant downy peach and summer fruit aroma, the palate showing that touch of sugar, though there is acid too, and citrus notes. Something about this did not appeal as much as others in the Foncalieu pink range, maybe just too much of a sweet and sour character. No UK stockist at time of review.
(2019) A bone dry white wine made in the Tokaji region, from one of the varieties that is a mainstay of the region's famous sweet wines, this has a subtle creaminess but is mostly about minerals and sea-shells, a dry apple core character that is very 'serious' in the way that a good Chablis would be, the juicy apple fruitiness always tensioned and restrained by its acidity and taut, linear structure. A banker for white fish and seafood, with Sole meunière or a big bowl of mussels an absolute dream. Watch the video for more information.