(2023) From the LVMH stable, this is a wine of serious intent - and pricing, though at time of review Berry Bros price of £36.50 is £10 less than any other retailer I can see. It has partial oak ageing, and that perhaps helps adds a burnished tone to the salmon pink colour, and certainly some delicate pastry notes to otherwise fruity and floral aromas. There's great concentration in this 14% abv pink, with a grapefruit grip and definition to the acidity, but very pleasing, relatively broad and juicy flavours through the mid-palate. A gastronomic rosé in a beautifully stylish package too.
(2023) Made from all local varieties led by Viosinho and Gouveio, with Arinto, Códega do Larinho and Rabigato making up another 20%. The blend was aged in barrels, 20% of which were new, for six months. A wine I've tasted in several previous vintages, but what a fine effort this is in 2021. The barrels add a layer of gentle oatmeal and toast, but this is really about ripe but clean and pure citrus and orchard fruits. This has weight and texture, a little nutty barrel weight beneath, but the dazzling freshness of the fruit and decisive acid line is most impressive. A Christmas banker for fish through to roast chicken or turkey. Watch the video for more information.
(2023) 180g/l residual sugar. From one of the highest vineyards overlooking Mad on stony ground with clay topsoil, this has honeysuckle and plum aromas, with honey and minty notes as well as minerality and thrilling acidity. Complex with massive concentration and exaggerated length. Price quoted for a previous vintage. (GD)
(2022) From Reuilly, not far from Sancerre and using mostly similar grapes, this however is Pinot Gris. Though often made as a white wine, the variety does develop deep pink skins. An interesting coppery gold colour, there's custard and cream over ripe yellow apple fruitiness, but there's reserve too with a stony suggestion of minerality. Rounded and creamy stone fruits on the palate with a hint of spice and lively acid. Different and very good.
(2021) Launched in 2014, this all-Chardonnay cuvée is sourced from top villages of the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims. Malolactic is blocked, the dosage is only 7g/l, but the wine does rest on the lees for four years before disgorgement. This is in Gosset's more open, rich and nicely creamy style with almond notes and a formidable oranges and lemons fruit intensity. Quite like white Burgundy in some ways, but delightful elegance, freshness and zip on the palate. Acidity slices through some ripe mid-palate fruit, though the whole picture is gossamer light. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) Made using organic practices, this comes from terra rossa soils (ferrous loam) over clay over limestone and spent 16 months in older French oak barriques. Deeper and more dense than the Hunter's, with more of a black fruit character. As well as that sweet and plush black fruit, some exotic spice. On the palate, a much more tannic wine, with raised acidity too to give structure and backbone to the quite meaty, thick dark fruit.
(2021) Sadly, Frédéric Mabileau was killed in September 2020 in a micro-light accident. The 49-year-old vineyard for this wine was picked selectively when the berries were fully golden in colour. It was fermented in large foudre with natural yeasts, and aged in foudre for 16 months. It has a gorgeous nose of crushed almond, butter, mint and ripe red apple, almost Meursault-like and very appealing. Creamy and yet juicy on the palate, that crispness of acidity defines this, layered with ripe but not too sweet fruit and that light butteriness, it is a treat to drink.
(2021) Fruit for this wine is whole bunch pressed, part natural fermentation of the free run juice. Matured in French oak barriques with batonnage and 100% malolactic. Presented by Kim Schroeter whom I first met as Penfolds specialist white wine maker maybe 15 or 20 years ago. This is part of the story of Penfold's attempts to make a 'white Grange' which led them to the Adelaide Hills (and Tasmania) now the source of their top Chardonnays. Really funky and flinty, the struck-match lift nicely bedded into creamy stone fruits. The palate is lean and mineral, again saltiness comes through here, pristine fruit, but the ripeness is there - even a hint of mint. So much texture, depth, the combination of earthiness and funkiness, a great acid line is complete and complex.
(2021) From sandy clay-loam soils and again very old vines planted in 1971, these are farmed organically and the wine spent 20 months in 225L barriques, 35% new oak. There's a creamier, mintier profile than the Yarra Yering, slightly more lush and juicy, some very nice graphite notes and a little hint of that violetty, floral lift again. Certainly more sweet, dense and direct than the Yarra Yering, but not without light and shade, a lovely softness and poise to the tannin structure that it gentle but supportive. The acids also soft giving this a sweet but balanced finish.
(2020) From one of the steepest hillsides of the region, and chalky lime soils, this vineyard sits at 350- to 390-metres, across the road from Vigna Rionda. A shade paler than the Cerretta perhaps, the nose a little more mellow showing sweet damp earth and truffle already, a firm chestnut character and again that very sophisticated polish of the large French oak casks even a hint of Patchouli in the emerging, exotic fragrance. In the mouth wonderful sweetness of fruit here, wonderful intensity, slightly more open than the Cerretta arguably, but tensioned by those polished tannins and exquisite acid balance, the finish is long, concentrated, but never heavy. Again, a baby, but a beautiful one.