(2021) Blancs Palets, or 'white discs' references the white flint stones found on the limestone slopes of the vineyard for this Sancerre. Like Tinel-Blondelet's 2018 the Pouilly-Fume there's a coolness and restraint on the nose, but also an immediate sense of concentration. Apple and citrus are to the fore, just a subtle hine of something more exotic peeking through, but very direct. It is juicy on the palate, and though there is a hint of pineapple or something more tropical, maybe mango, it's really all about the crisp Asian pear and lemony thrust of the wine, the finish long, cool and staying intense to the last drop of flavour. £15.99 as part of a mixed six.
(2021) What a terrific Brunello, from a four hectare vineyard and raised in oak barrels of 500 to 700-litres, for 30 months. There's a little softness around the rim to the solid colour, and such a wonderfully spicy, vanilla-laden nose, with a touch of pencil-shaving finesse to very ripe, generous fruit. In the mouth huge fruit sweetness, but that is tempered by a touch of meaty, clove-like and incense character, the silky tannins and pert cherry skins acidity adding grip without weight, the purity of the fruit and hints of tobacco and more exotic spice running to the finish. £35.99 as part of a mixed six.
(2021) Cadman describe this as 'quintessential Chianti Classico Riserva,' and I could not argue with that: the Imberti family have invested heavily and replanted solely with Sangiovese in the 1990s, and the rewards are apparent. 100% Sangiovese, it spent two years in oak, and the nose shows a sonorous, smooth, deep pool of black fruit edged with Sandalwood spices and a little bloody, gamy character rich with tobacco. Sweet, sweet and plush black fruit positevly caresses the palate, that elegance of violet and chocolate book-ending the fruit, silky tannins and poised, graceful acidity. Terrific stuff.
(2020) Very much 'modern' Rioja this, creamy, minty, chocolaty and bold, but putting the ripe black fruits centre stage. Extended ageing in oak (I'd guess mainly French) has smoothed and polished both the flavours and texture, the palate sensuous, sweet and deeply-fruited, firm, but very finely-grained tannins and generous, juicy acidity make it both structured and eminantly drinkable - now or in 10 years. £20 as part of a mixed six bottles.
(2020) A powerful and concentrated wine from Château de Vergisson, 30% of which was barrel aged, the remainder in stainless steel. The nose is compact but rich, cool orchard fruits, a hint of vanilla and a little trace of something floral, even exotic. In the mouth that concentration and intensity ramps up, a searing core of lemony acidity slices through the fatter, more ripe and opulent stone fruit flavours to give an overall clarity and power to the wine. £16.99 as part of a mixed six.
(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.