(2022) On terra rossa, vineyards are 32-years-old, and 6.5% Petit Verdot joins Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. It spent 16 months in French oak (58% new), on the skins. Just softening on the rim, there's a savoury, dried bloody earthy classicism here, herbal and chocolaate notes top and tail the black fruit. In the mouth an enveloping plushness as a welterweight of sweet and ripely unctuous blackcurrant floods the palate. Lovely fruit quality, some espresso oak adding a bass note, and very tight, fine tannins and acids kicking the finish on gracefully. I loved the 2015 vintage of this, but the 2016 is every ounce as good. Price and stockist at time of review are for the 2014 vintage. UK agent is Liberty Wines.
(2021) What a beautifully perfumed wine made from Voisinho and Gouveio, lots of floral character, lots of downy peach skins and mint, a hint of citrus peel. The palate has a streaking freshness of salty minerality and lemon zest, but there is charm too, a mid-palate peachiness, but then the citrus and salts absolutely powers through the finish, the oak perhaps adding a little roundness, but surprisingly fresh. Vinified in 225-litre oak barrels, 30% new oak, the head pieces made from Acacia rather than oak to lower the oak character. Christian is experimenting with 500-litre barrels at Romaneira and likes what he sees so far.
(2021) This has 25% Syrah in the blend along with Touriga Nacional and some other local grapes. It has a delightful nose, real floral lift and buoyancy, creamy berries and delicate cedar spices. The palate has lots of energy and bite, keen but creamy tannins and a stripe of meaty acidity to give this some heft as well as charm.
(2021) From a vintage that had a difficult conditions with uneven fruit-set, and a lot of 'hen and chicken' grapes in the bunches, though overall the season ended with good ripeness. Quite pale, with a softness to the colour on the rim, fruit comes from three vineyards, all destemmed and fermented with wild yeasts. It spends 17 months in French oak, 25% of which is new. Briar, roses and cherry, with plenty of fruit brightness and perfume. The palate has weight, creaminess and fruit sweetness, then firm tannins and an orangy intensity of acidity balances the finish. Plenty of juicy, vibrant character here in a four-year-old wine.
(2021) Like the other wines of Suduiraut, the Blanc Sec comes from all estate fruit, predominently Semillon at 52%, with 48% Sauvignon Blanc, like the 2020, 25% was aged in barrels, 23% new. Very pale green/straw in colour, it's an elegant and composed wine, taut with lemon and minerals to the fore, a little leafiness and almost Chablis-like river stones. In the mouth a little more of the Sauvignon vivaciousness comes through, a burst of more nectarine like fruit, but always restrained by classic acidity, the finish long and bone-dry. Perhaps slightly less vivacious than the 2020, but makes up for that in sheerness and intensity. Around £17.50 by the case.
(2020) The table wines of Port producer Quinta do Noval are excellent, but until this vintage the tiny production of their white wine meant it did not reach the UK market. Now, a small shipment is with UK importer Gonzalez Byass, and is available from selected independent retailers. From vineyards at over 500 metres altitude, it's a blend of the local Viosinho and Gouveio, planted on schist soils. Very pale green in colour, there's a mineral and citrus intensity about the nose, but there's a lovely suggestion of salts and gentle summer floral notes too, combining both a sense of concentration and delicacy. In the mouth the wine has a very similar tension, it is full and sweet-fruited as it flows across the mid-palate, but then that mineral salts and citrus zest grip and brightness gives it real mouth-watering intensity. Long, very pure, this would be very good with white fish I think, though Noval suggest poultry too.
(2019) I'm a fan of Disznókő's regular dry Tokaji, but this new wine takes selected small plots of Furmint and blends 17% Harslevelu, the two main grapes of sweet Tokaji, and ages the components in 225-litre and 500-litre barrels to quite different effect. In some ways it reminds me of a good Chablis, mineral and taut, yet with an undeniable fruit density at its core. Hints of salts and leafy green herbs join cool orchard fruits on the nose, just a touch of nutty barrel character, with a super-dry palate that has natural concentration to spare, real pithy citrus intensity, and spices adding to the lingering finish. Intense and yet quite subtle in its way, it a lovely, intelligent wine from Disznókő. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) From the original 'cool climate' valley of Chile, Casablanca, where morning mists and proximity to the ocean moderate temperatures, this is lightly-oaked, and spends four months on the lees, giving it breadth and texture and a certain creaminess. Aromatically there's a bit of almost Sauvignon-like passionfruit, peach and notes of more exotic tropical fruits. In the mouth that leesiness gives a mouth-filling texture, and again the fruit is ripe and exotic, with mango and papaya, as well as a grapefruity note that continues into the finish to add a welcome acid counterpoint. Quite long, and a lovely style really, blending ripeness and openness, with a stylish, dry finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) Manzanilla Pasada is dry Manzanilla Sherry from the Sanlucar seaside, aged longer than normal - in this case eight years - for the Manzanilla style. This is also 'En Rama', meaning it has been only very lightly filtered, a popular style of 'authentic' Sherry that is in vogue over the past few years. Lots of Sanlucar briney, salty aromas, nutty, bready, with a nice hint of wild herbs or chamomile flowers too. In the mouth absolutely bone dry - searingly dry - with the seaside tang so pronounced, a hint of walnut and warming toastiness, and a long, dry finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. Price for a half bottle.
(2016) This highly unusual wine from boutique Sherry bottler Equipo Navazos is not fortified. It's a fascinating, 20-month-aged dry white with only 11.5% alcohol that is riven with lemony sharp acidity overlaying oxidised nuttiness, in a deliciously tangy and 'natural wine' style.