(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.
(2017) Made from pre-Phylloxera Shiraz vines, some over 100 years old, this was matured in oak hogsheads (300-litre barrels), 65% of which were new, and a blend of 95% French oak and just 5% American. Such lifted aromas with eucalyptus and tomato leaf, masses of energy, blackberry and bright but dark-hued fruits. Such cool, sophisticated flavours on the palate, there’s an almost pastille quality to the fruit, a certain femininity, certainly real raciness and energy, the fruit sweet and mouth-filling, the tannins polished to a perfect sheen. Utterly delicious right now, but undoubtedly will cellar for decades.
(2016) The Syrah for this wines comes from McLaren Vale, 100% matured in new French oak puncheons for 12 months. Filled with opulent plum fruit, cherry and spiced floral red cherry. A broadly juicy character with so much lemoney acidity and and those herbal notes adding layers of complexity. 93
(2016) From the volcanic soils of Tokaji, this is a seriously bone-dry interpretation of the dry Tokaji style, with some delicate floral and mineral salt aromas and lots of apple fruit, but then a bitter lemon grip of acidity, that's pithy and searing through the mid-palate, just always constraining the juiciness of the fruit, clamping it in a youthful, hugely vigorous grip. In some ways reminiscent of a premier cru Chablis with its hints of flint and its rigour. Intense stuff that might well age quite nicely for a few years.