(2022) I last tasted this wine in the 2019 vintage, and while scoring it exactly the same - 88 points out of 100 - then it's price was £12.99 and I liked it enough to make it Wine of the Week. This cuvée is very similar, an unoaked white wine with a distinct pear and peach fruit character, a hint of talcum, and a certain solidity and intensity of flavour and texture that is quite mouth-filling and yet crisp. It is subtle without making a great impact in either aromatics or flavour. There's nothing wrong with subtlety, but now that the price has risen to £18 I am slightly more reserved about the wine I must say. £12.99 is still in the ballpark of where I could have given it more whole-hearted approval: it is a very good, example, but for me not distinctive enough to ask £18.00.
(2022) Lugny is in the most southerly part of the Mâconnais, with vineyards at 235-380m on limestone soils. 100% Chardonnay, made without oak. There's a hint of flint and wet river stones to this, the fruit between nutty apple and lime. In the mouth it's sharply defined by pithy lemon acidity, running through a slightly broader apple mid-palate.
(2021) From a vineyard in Lowburn, originally the Lowburn Ferry estate which Smith & Sheth have also purchased. Vineyards planted over the past 20 years, this is 10% whole bunch pressed, fermented in a combination of oak and stainless steel and matured in barrel for 10 months (around 25% new oak). Not a densely-coloured wine, but with a darker hue aromatically than the North Canterbury Pinot, plum and chocolate, but very elegantly done again, red liquorice and a touch of vanilla suggest fruit sweetness. More red fruit-driven on the palate, and again a keen axis of souring acid and tannin to give it an edge, the sweet mid-palate fruit becomes quite grippy and earthy in the finish.
(2021) Though Banfi is headquartered in Montalcino, the Vermentino grapes for this wine come from more coastal vineyards in the Maremma region of Tuscany. It's a delicate, perfumed style of crisp white wine, notes of talcum and peach down, a touch of elderflower in the background. In the mouth it has that combination that many Italian whites from the centre of the country share (Verdicchio, Vernaccia), of intensity and subtley. There is plenty of stony mineral salts acidity but gentle and clean citrus fruit, just a hint of that peachier quality on the mid-palate. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) Les Genièvres is not a premier cru of the southerly Mâconnaise area of Burgundy, but a single vineyard within the village of Lugny with clay and limestone soils, where Latour sources fruit for this unoaked cuvée. There's a gently honeyed and spicy quality to the pristine white fruits on the nose, the palate following through with a relatively straighforward focus of sweet and ripe orchard fruits, elegant balancing acidity and good length. It's not showy, but at £11 is a very pleasant all-rounder style of white wine.
(2020) The average age of wines in this solera-style blend is five years, with vines 32- 52 years old. Residual sugar runs at 220g/l. Lovely tawny into toffee colour, beautiful nose of intense rum-soaked sultanas and walnuts, just a tantalising hint of briny shellac. On the palate it is thick and viscous, liquidised sultanas and raisins are delicious, a little orange and toffee, and a very smooth finish, the sweetness persisting to the end. A Christmas pudding or mince-pie treat, or with any chocolate dessert.
(2019) Though the estate was sold by the Ratcliffe family in 2017, this wine still bears the title that referred to co-founder Norma Ratcliffe. It is essentially unoaked, and the alcohol is moderate at 13%, and yet it has a richness and touch of the 'golden Chardonnays' about it, with ripe fruit and stirring of the lees in tank building sweetness and texture. Fruit touches on the tropical, but is more about juicy melon, with a fleshiness and yet good balancing acidity.
(2019) Morgon is one of the 'Cru' villages where slate and granite soils are rich in maganese, and which produces some of my favourite Beaujolais wines. The vines here are over 50 years old, and the wine is vinified traditionally, not using the carbonic maceration technique. Delicious aromas, immediately appealing with its lightly spiced, slick black fruit, vinous with cherry and damson plum. In the mouth firm tannins and cherry-pit acidity give this a bit of tension and steeliness, the firm quality of the plummy fruit also savoury and umami-rich. A food wine for sure, watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. Note too that Oddbins has been carrying this wine recently, though showing 'out of stock' at time of review.