(2013) This serious white Rioja is a blend of 70% Viura 30% Malvasia, fermented and aged seven months in all new French oak barriques. It has a lemony/straw colour, and a nose that is at first quite muted, giving lemon rind and a touch of apple, just a little butter and vanilla from the oak, and a subtle floral fragrance emerging. The sweetness and intensity of fruit explodes onto the palate: masses of ripe, sweet orchard fruits, with a nicely weighty, viscous texture and taut core of acidity. There is real concentration here, that almost tannin-like grip of concentration, fruit and acidity giving length and shimmering structure. This is a powerful white wine without a doubt, though the 13.5% alcohol is moderate, and would surely have a little ageing potential to allow that latent waxiness and honey to emerge.
(2013) >From slightly younger (but still 25- to 40-year-old) vines this is 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, aged for 26 months in new oak, 80% French and 20% American. It has a dense ruby colour, and the nose is delightfully rich, deep and seductive with copious red and black fruit compote notes, a polished sheen of oak and some nicely pitched gravel and earth savour. On the palate it is a powerful and substantial wine, the concentration of fruit is obvious, grippy and tart with plum and cherry skin grippiness to the fruit and acidity. Tannins are also fairly beefy at this stage, though they are refined. The wine finishes on that matière, with real intensity.
(2013) >From 60-year-old vineyards, a blend of hand-selected Tempranillo, with 10% Graciano. It was aged for 24 months in new oak barrels, 80% French and 20% American. The colour is a deep, saturated dark ruby, and the nose has an immediate sense of concentration and richness. Tobacco and fine, peppery spice, and something quite mineral too over deep-set but sweet and ripe black berries. Just a hint of cedar and something gamy adds a lovely touch of extra complexity. In the mouth it has massive presence: there is the concentration of the cassis and black plum fruit that is dense and sweet, a big chocolate-infused layer of wood smoke, and those complex spice and savoury, clove and cinnamon-like notes. Very powerful stuff, very striking and intense, the finish is long, spices tingling on the lips as the sweet fruit persists. A big wine with 14.5% alcohol, but it has real energy in its intensity, the firm core of supple tannin and the cherry-skin edge of its acidity. Very serious and no doubt worthy of considerable cellaring.
(2012) A serious, range-topping Shiraz from the coastal region of Cederberg, this wine is aged in mostly French oak from Nevers and Alliers, around 70% of which is new. It is an immediately powerful and concentrated wine suffused with smoke and rich black fruit, but there's a little cooler, herby and green olive note too that gives lovely earthy authenticity and a savoury appeal. On the palate it is concentrated and muscular, the rich, ripe fruit layered with pepper and meaty, spicy notes, with plenty of chicory-like tannin and acidity adding more tension and drama. Terrific.