(2022) This Malbec comes from an organic vineyard 1,100m above sea level, with limestone in the soils. 60% was aged in 5,000-litre foudres for 10 months. Vibrant and deep in colour, the nose has the slight lift of Parma violet so often shown by Malbec, some charry notes, and there's a herbal edge to otherwise solid black fruit. In the mouth it is big and rich, but there's a gastronomic chewiness too, rounded by the oak and chocolaty tannins, cherry acidity filling in on the finish. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) A wine from various sub-zones including the Helderberg Coast, Jonkershoek and Simonsberg, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which was matured for 24 Months in 225L French oak barrels, 76% new. There's a complex mix of soils including decomposed granite, shale and clay, with vineyards rising from 100 to 325 metres. Vineyards between 10 and 24 years old. Vivid and dark in colour, a really intense, graphite-touched nose of concentrated and tightly-wound black fruit, a real Pauillac-like character here, but a blueberry density of fruit too. So sweet and plush on the palate, layers of blue-black fruit, creaminess and fabulously juicy character sit over ripe, chocolate-rich tannins and beautifully judged acidity. The smoky swirl of the barrels adds a layer beneath, in a fabulous wine of endless length. Price and stockist quoted at time of review are for the previous vintage.
(2022) From a vineyard classed as experimental - although it has been run by CAVIT since the 1980s. Here a number of varieties and clones are grown for their agronomists and winemaker to experiment. Chardonnay has been planted in Trentino since it was an Austrian territory. This is barrel-fermented and aged until the May following harvest, then best barrels are selected for this cuvée. Lightly toasty and spicy on the nose, oak relatively obvious but topped by fresh lemon verbena fruitiness. Palate quite cool and clean, again it is citrus and yellow apple that carries the palate, acidity quite tangy and lightly salty perhaps.
(2021) From Central Otago, a little more subdued than the Escarpment version, a little more honeyed, still good spiciness. Again there is a significant level of residual sugar here, the mouth-coating texture of the wine making it quite heady, extremely luscious and off-dry. A full-blown Alsace style this (winemaker Paul Pujol once worked there), but gorgeous acidity sears through giving it great balance too. Delightful.
(2021) From the cool apple country of Elgin in coastal South Africa, a juicy and tropical fruit-scented Sauvignon with only the merest touch of grassiness or elderflower, quite Loire-like in style, though the palate does have vibrant punch and a line of acidity that does make it vibrant and quite intense on the palate
(2020) Masi makes this wine for the Bossi Fedrigotti family, who ancient vineyard estate has been around for more than 300 years. 30% of the grapes were given a light appassimento - the drying technique used for Amarone - and the components blended and aged in barriques for six months. Deep, vibrant crimson colour, the nose has the lift and lightly ash and incense quality so often found in such wines, with cherry and a touch of vanilla. In the mouth firm, juicy fruit, cherry again and taut, just ripe plums, edged with liquorice and blueberry tartness, a savoury, rather firm finish.
(2020) From Alpha Estate's high-altitude vineyards on the Amyndeon plateau, this Malagousia was made in steel, with two months on the lees with regular stirring. Peach and lime, a lick of ozoney saltiness, and a background note of passion fruit and elderflower that is aromatic and a tiny bit reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc. In the mouth there is plenty of sweet, ripe, nectarine and honey fruitiness, but good grapefruit and lime acidity, again, maybe one for those who appreciate the cut of a good Sancerre.
(2020) Henners was founded in East Sussex in 2007, but has since been bought by its distributor, Boutinot. The young winemaker here has worked in California and South Africa, and makes this wine with a proportion of the base wine (10%) fermented in aged oak barrels. The dosage is a moderate 7g/l. Lovely yeastiness and sweet, ripe fruit in combination. There's a lot of finesse here, the colour pale and straw-gold with aromas the blend light biscuity qualities with succulent orchard fruit.
(2020) This is a blend with 60% Merlot and Manseng Noir and was a tank sample. Juicy, fresh and cherry scented with a floral lift, but there is roundness from the Merlot. Very smooth, charming and easy to drink, Manseng providing almost no tannin, but plenty of acidity to cut through the creamy black and plummy fruit given mainly by the Merlot I suspect, into a pleasing, easy-going finish.
(2020) From a cooler year when the naturally high acid of the Manseng Noir had to be managed, this has a little more of a tapenade, spicy character, but still that same easy-going fruit and a nicely dry, savoury finish showing charming plush fruit.