(2020) Instantly more closed than the older Ports obviously, a taut and slightly impenetrable character at this young stage, but beyond that the fruit is juicy and ripe, cherry and red plum juiciness. Yes, swingeing tannins at this stage, but this has excellent concentration and suggests it will be an superb vintage with time. Long, plenty of extract and substance in the finish. This very young wine is being offered by many independent merchants at time of writing, by the six or 12-bottle case.
(2019) Dom Pérignon has surely delivered two of the best expressions of the 2006 vintage. Lovely nose, the red fruit aromas have moved to the darker end of the spectrum: sour cherry, plum, and reductive smokiness. Superb mouthfeel, so silkily smooth and creamy already. Dense and chewy, with a lovely sweetness of fruit yet not heavy or clumsy at all. The signature toastiness is already present: I find some coffee and walnut tones on the mid-palate, slightly forward but not fully resolved. The finish is rather strict, bitterness from undeveloped, dry extract suggesting a bright future ahead. If you can keep your hands off it, drink this from 2021 until 2036. (SP)
(2018) A blend of four Bordeaux varieties (77%), Syrah (11%), Sangiovese (8%) and Alicante Bouschet (4%). Coming from the older vineyards, each plot is vinified separately and aged in oak for betwen 11 and 20 months, depending on the characteristics of the plot and variety. The blend is made once each component has completed its ageing. There's a lovely, saturated depth of colour here, and though touched by graphite and cedar, a very much more pure, solid and supple black fruit quality than the Aria, though little floral hints add plenty of intrigue. It flows through to the palate with a full and creamy, truly silky weight of blackcurrant and chocolate, but the precision and bite of the bittersweet cherry-skin acidity and very refined tannins are gorgeous against the fleshy density of the wine. Absolutely ready to drink, but should hold for many years too.
(2017) Torre de Oña is a winery created by parent company La Rioja Alta in the 1990s, to make very high quality wines in the neighbouring Rioja region of Alavesa. This is the first release of Martelo, and the first time winemaker Julio Sáenz felt the vintage merited this special selection of the best grapes from old vine plots, aged 24 months in new American oak (80%) and French oak (20%) barrels. It's an immediately modern, plush, yet svelte and concentrated wine, graphite and ebony-dark aromas driven by intense fruit wrapped in very fine oak. The palate has wonderful intensity too, the fruit cool and pure, nothing overblown, everything stylish and serious, spices and balsamic richness to the tannins and fruit, very good acidity, and a long finish playing fruit against structure. There are components of Mazuelo, Garnacha and even the white wine grape Viura alongside the bedrock Tempranillo, in a terrific wine.