(2020) Murray and Matt had lined-up all of their 2010 wines for me to try, but sadly the Chardonnay was corked, so this 2013 was pressed into action. Made with 70% Mendoza clone, the oak is all French. There is almond, oatmeal, plenty of reductive notes, but a big grapefruit tang and brilliant orange fruit and acidity, the two melding together so seamlessly into a long, poised and tapering finish. Fabulous. Price and stockist quoted are for the most recent vintage at time of review.
(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) Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alfrocheiro blend, each component fermented in stainless steel then aged separately for 12 months in new and used French oak before blending. Very sophisticated wine, herb and garrigue character, fudge-like creaminess and keen-edged black fruits. Juicy and deliciously cool and creamy, mint-edged black fruit smoothly fresh into the menthol finish. Note price and stockist quoted at time of review is for an earlier vintage.
(2019) Several varieties in this fascinating wine, 40% Encruzado, 30% Gouveio, 12% Semillon and 18% unidentified field blend, with wines from the 2005, 2006 and 2009 vintages, it spends an average of 10 years in barrel. This is only the third release of this wine, 7000 bottles. Again some mint and vanilla characters, plenty of barrel influence, creamy and waxy, and still with some herbal and lightly truffle character, but the freshness and clarity is excellent. What an interesting wine, salts and sour lemon giving intense character.
(2019) New to the market, this wine from the Cima Corga is the first release. A little lighter in colour, bright, again hugely floral aromatics, lots of lift and elegance. Real juiciness, real elegance, there is a grippy edge to the tannins to add a ruffling quality, great cherry skin and pert, dry red fruit acidity. Delightful.
(2019) Mostly made up of Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional, with 15% Tinta Roriz and 10% Tinto Cão, this was aged for 16 months in French oak (75% new). This is the wine that, during maturation, could become Barca Velha or Reserva Especial, and only 17 have been produced since the first release in 1960. Sumptuous, cedar and graphite edge robust, meaty fruit, a peppery lift too in a lovely, complex but open and generous style. Meat stock and densely chocolate and fleshy plum fruit, but tannins but full and ripe. It's a big wine, but worthy of its 93-point score from me.
(2019) A Rhône blend of 49% Syrah, 45% Grenache and 6% Mourvèdre, the Syrah for The Gypsy comes gravel soils over clay, the Grenache from decomposed granite at 450m altitude. It spent two years in French oak, all new. A sonorous, deep nose melds cocoa and cedar with lots of plum and brighter cherry fruit. On the palate it's a wine that beautifully marries that richness and depth with an agility through a certain peppery spice, taut tannins and a very good acid framework. Yes it has a chewy character, but fruit and freshness too.
(2019) No Botrytis in this wine, the grapes dried on mats outside the winery. It spent 11 months in neutral oak, and has 310g/l of residual sugar. Delicious, ripe nectarine, toffee and honey, there is a glycerine richness to this, the fruit so beautifully round and deliciously sweet, with floral highlights and then fabulous acidity cutting through the toast and fat of the fruit, lemon and honey to finish. Superb. Price for a half bottle.
(2019) All old vines here, Cabernet Sauvignon from Stellenbosch; and two ancient Cinsault vineyards, one that is 116 years old in Wellington, and South Africa's oldest registered red wine vineyard. The wine was made with 50% whole clusters, natural yeast and minimal sulphur, and spent 16 months in 500L French oak, 30% new. Scented and aromatic, with plenty of floral and herby notes, fine and racy, a delightful ashy dryness, orangy acidity and such lively, firm, fresh fruit with just the right amount of steely austerity.
(2019) Chenin from granite, Verdelho and a touch of Viognier. All fermented in old oak, mostly big barrels, though the Chenin in older 225l barriques. There’s a bittersweet character here, and lots of juicy apple skin and firm pear flesh. Lots of lemony acidity, lemon jelly softness yet good acid bite.