(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.
(2016) Another organic and biodynamic wine from the Russian River, barrel fermented and aged (40% new, French oak from Alliers), this has Marimar's signature refinement and composure, the sheen of oak carefully handled, still allowing plenty of expressive citrus and nutty apple fruit, just hinting at the tropical. On the palate good fruit sweetness immediately, then the creamy, vanilla oak fills in, but so does a gentle acidity into an easy-drinking, balanced finish.
(2016) Right Bank Cru and a nose that has hints of the chalk and flint, but also of truffle and earth and a lovey sense of tightly wound concentration. There is a meatiness to this, a spicy, almost meaty quality that is quite savoury, broader than the left bank wines, but has massive mineral acidity that punches through.