(2019) Mostly Garganega and made in stainless steel tanks, with 40% Sauvignon Blanc which sees a little barrel fermentation. Mealy and pear fruit, an Asian pear crunch and into a limpid, mouth-filling palate, a lemon rind sense of fat and acidity. Good freshness, with a touch of exotic sweet fruit, but finishing dry.
(2019) A more mineral edge to this than the 2009, a little keener, some herbal and floral nuances. An easier vintage with easier conditions according to Mauro Soldera, with a hot summer, some rain in August, but autumn came good. It has that blood-streaked meatiness again, but a firmess here that is set against an intensely sweet core of fruit and depth of plummy, creamy structure.
(2019) From the Guedes family's Quinta da Torre estate in Monção close to the Spanish border, a region specifically renowned for Alvarinho wines, this is in a much lighter, more saline framework than the Azevedo Reserva tasted alongside, but super-fresh and bursting with personality.
(2019) From a Jeroboam! This is lot number beginning L17033 (disgorged February 2017) and is in fact the 2008 base, and the wine of the tasting. Extolling the virtues of the large format, such precise, anaerobic freshness gives us the opportunity to dive down and examine each individual facet in vivid detail. A focused, finely toasted, and painfully austere wine. This Champagne coats the palate with the sheer intensity of its underlying core of dry extract. It will need a few years in the cellar to develop some creaminess and further complexity, and to move beyond the smoky (reductive), bitter stone fruit flavours. Currently at 91/100, wait until 2023 for the 95/100 experience. Drink until 2033. At time of review, the Jeroboam in stock is on 2006 base.
(2018) This is the only wine that see 100% new oak, all French and all small barrels. 100% Gin Gin fruit is given some skin contact, with some barrels fermented with wild yeasts, others inoculated, spending a further 11 months in barrel, Lovely delicate perfume here, gentle creamy and almond oak influence, a touch of mint. The palate has ripe fruit in a nice mid point between sparky, juicy, tingling acid and a hint of the tropical as the fruit tightens up to mint and lime leafy juiciness.
(2017) Produced at the Quinta do Baixo estate in Bairrada, Syrah from this region is highly unusual and shows Dirk Niepoort's penchant for pushing the boundaries. And he's done that very well with this crisp and agile Syrah, fermented in traditional lagares and aged in large 2500-litre barrels. It is dry with a sense of tobacco-touched red and black berry fruits, a touch herbal and wild, before a palate where the cool finesse of the acidity and lighter tannins give it a refreshing appeal. Really a lovely rendition of Syrah.
(2017) Disznókő is one of the great names of Tokaji, most famous of course for the fully sweet and luscious dessert wines made from grapes affected by botrytis, the 'noble rot'. This is a new and fresher take on the style, made from the same grapes (in this case Furmint), but with only a percentage of botrytised berries, the rest being harvested late but not with the noble rot. It is also given a shorter period of ageing in oak barrels. The nose is gorgeous, suffused with honey and wild flowers, touches of barley sugar and aromatic tobacco, before a palate that is medium-sweet, still with a generous texture and plenty of honey and ripe peach fruit, but a bracing grapefruit acidity, light nuttiness, and fresh finish with considerable length. Watch the video for some surprising food-matching suggestions and more information.
(2017) There’s 4% Cabernet Sauvignon joining the Shiraz, in a wine that spent 17 months in new American oak hogsheads. Fruit came from across South Australia as always. Fabulous concentration, mind-boggling intensity, so many layers packed into this, chocolate and liquorice, coffee and balsamic, meat-stock notes and serious black fruit at the core of it. Very tightly wound at present and unlike the Hill of Grace 2010 it would be criminal to drink this now: it’s a massive Grange of power, concentration and great purity, and will require many years in the cellar to show at its best – and age for 20 years at least.