(2020) A fabulous wine this, that I last tasted in the 2014 vintage. It comes from Kimmeridgian soils (à la Chablis) in this family domaine, made by winemaker Annick Tinel-Blondelet, who's been in charge here since 1983. Pure Sauvignon Blanc, but so, so different from a typical New World expression, all about cool, restrained fruit and minerality, just hints of stone fruits and waxy lemons. In the mouth that sense of purity again, but also intensity and concentration, a streaking citrus fruit is mouth-watering, a little chalkiness, and a pin-sharp finish of fruit and acidity. £15.99 as part of a mixed six. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2020) Fondrèche selects the very best parcels of Syrah (90%) and Mourvèdre for this cuvée, grown on their rocky, limestone soils. It is matured for 12 months in a combination of smaller barriques and large foudres. It's white partner too, the Persia Blanc, is also outstandingly good, and also available from Cadman Fine Wines. It has a gorgeous amalgam of supple, elegant black fruit and earthiness, a sprinkle of pepper on the nose. In the mouth it's a very grown-up style of wine: plenty of bittersweet plum and cherry, but a stripe of meaty tannin and pert, bright acidity giving the overall balance of a structured but fruity wine. £17.99 as part of a mixed six. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) A blend of Roussanne (90%) and Clairette, the colour is straw yellow touched with gold, partly the product of barrel ageing and time on the lees, this top white from Fondreche has a really beautiful nose, hints of almond nougat and faint toast, but clear, saline character tempered with ripe pear and buttery peach. In the mouth full textured and mouth-filling, but it has that clarity and intense concentration of leesy but taut fruit, that streaking pithy lemon and salts acidity and a long, beautifully tapering finish. Really very good indeed. £16.99 as part of a mixed six.
(2020) This top white from Domaine de Fondrèche is mostly Roussanne, with 10% Clairette in the blend. It is aged for a year in larger oak barrels, and comes from Fondrèche's sustainably managed vineyards in the Ventoux. There's a hint of gold to the colour suggesting richness, the nose invitingly deep and fruity, plenty of Ogen melon and peach, but something taut and firm too, just delicate background hints of flowers and herbs and a little buttery character. In the mouth it is a concentrated, intense mouthful of white wine, a fruit skins grip to the acids and touch of tannin, the very juicy apple and stone fruit mid-palate swept up in saline acidity to the finish. The oak is barely perceptible, just adding some weight and creaminess of texture.
(2020) What a lovely rosé from Ventoux in the Rhône Valley, a blend of 50% Cinsault with 25% each of Syrah and Grenache. It's pale in colour and had beautifully lifted floral, watercolour paintbox and bright kirsch aromas, so bright, elegant and vivacious. In the mouth the 12.5% alcohol early-picking is obvious with a little flinty, sulphide note adding intrigue and the fresh but juicy and substantial weight of dry redcurrant and cherry fruit behind, the pert acidity perfectly judged. A very nice style this, gastronomic and mouth-watering, yet vivid and flavourful.
(2020) Fronsac is an unheralded but usually reliably good Bordeaux appellation on the Right Bank, where Merlot is the principal grape planted from Bordeaux's famous five. This is 60% Merlot with equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It's proper old-fashione claret in a way, with a streak of bloodiness and game on the nose, solid and sweet black fruit, but also a little ash and earthy sense of austerity. In the mouth it has lovely balance, walking the same line between solid fruitiness and that backbone of tannin, spice, cedar and savoury acidity, with really quite a long, gastronomic finish. Mixed six price is £18.99. Watch the video for more information and food-matching.
(2020) From Grand Cru vineyards in Avize and Oger, this is a blend of the 2014 and 2015 Chardonnays, disgorged in November 2017, with a dosage of 9.17g/l - all of that information on the back label. Pale straw-gold in colour, lots of miniscule bubbles stream in the glass, the nose taut, with lemon and Cox's pippin, a hint of hazelnut, and nice breadiness. In the mouth the combination of ripe fruit and dosage gives this initial sweetness, but there's a lolvely mineral salts and citrus clarity, the finish long and bone dry, a deliciously drinkable Champagne yet with just enough austerity to please lovers of the purest styles.
(2020) It's actually quite unusual for me to like a house's Rosé as much as their regular Brut or Blanc de Blancs, but Bonville's pink is a beauty. A blend of 2014 and 2015 vintages with 6.57g/l dosage, it's a blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir, this bottle disgorged November 2017, and a striking, dry style of Rosé Champagne. A tinge of orange to the peachy colour leads on to streaming small bubbles and aromas of orange and redcurrant, some truffle and biscuit in the background. In the mouth a cushion of mousse supports bold, dry Seville orange and raspberry, a hint of sothing smoky and mineral, into an exquisite, long, dry finish. Excellent.
(2020) This is an outstanding Burgundy from a single vineyard on Pouilly-Fuissé's most famed terroir, the hill of Vergisson. Fermented and aged in oak, it is absolutely not a shrinking violet, a confident and bold white Burgundy with lashings of creamy, spicy oak, plenty of bold apricot and citrus fruit to balance, and yet an underlying streak of chalky, mineral freshness. In the mouth a great thrust of Seville orange and lemon gives a bittersweet tang, but the toast and creaminess of the oak and again that chalkiness of acidity extends the finish. Terrific.
(2020) Another delightful Premier Cru from Domaine Fourrey, this from the Côte de Léchet is in a creamier, more approachable style, less austere than some but that's far from saying it is at all Chablis, or anything other than an authentic, expressive wine. A touch of fig and apricot joins the salt-streaked apple on the nose, then the palate has that quite creamy, quite opulent character, stone fruits and pear, then the pin-point core of this wine; it's mineral and cool citrus acidity, quietly, efficiently extends the finish, giving this a lovely, tapering quality.