(2020) The blend for the top red is 75% Tannat, 15% Pinenc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Again from limestone and clay, but also sandy soils, typical of the Bas Armagnac region. A powerful nose of black and sour cherry, with some cool and elegant graphite character. Lots of smoothness in texture, plenty of tannin and bright cherry, great mid-palate sweetness, but the structure builds and grips to the finish, staying fresh and grippy, concentrated and delicious, and surely with ageing potential.
(2020) From a particularly warm vintage, this still displays that tropical, mango and pineapple lusciousness of fruit, a hint of honeysuckle and smoothing layer of almond or oatmeal. Quite full, an extra touch of alcohol adding to the power and richness, but the inherent acidity of these grapes and this north-orientated terroir adds ample cut and support. A full and ripe wine - the fullest and ripest of this small selection - but still very nicely balanced and hugely enjoyable.
(2020) Olivier says 2017 was a great vintage for their white wines, "Maybe one of the best I've ever seen," and a big vintage too, the cooler conditions suiting this wine. It certainly has an edge compared to the 2016, a vibrant, shimmering brightness to the expected exotic fruit character. It is a vivacious wine onto the palate too, sparky acidity and tension playing beautifully against the fruit density and ripe sweetness, very juicy and long. This vintage is just coming into the UK market. Price and stockist for previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) Tank sample. Beautifully creamy nose, hinting at custard, with a melon skin and lemon rind touch of waxiness and subtle lanolin quality, a hint of something more tropical too. A lovely blast of orange fruit on the palate, really juicy and citrussy, but more orange than lemon, the little bit of vanillin barrel rounding the picture. Beautifully balanced into a long, taut finish showing a little spice and a touch of saline quality. Not yet on the market, and will develop more from its primary fruit characte. Lovely and full of potential, my score a touch cautious because this was a tank sample. Price and stockist is for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) Sulphides notes turned down a little compared to some, but fresh and fragrant, a floral character, plenty of light, fresh and tangy fruit. Clean and delicately oaked in a Chablis style, but orange and peach comes through.
(2020) Salinity, flint and creamy minerality to spare in this lovely Chardonnay, smokiness and a little mint humbug buttery quality. The palate is beautiful, ripe pear and apple, a big thrust of lime and tangerine acidity into a long, balanced finish.
(2020) Majority of the Chardonnay grapes came from the Te Awanga vineyard, with 17% from Bridge Pa. Matured in French oak, 34% new. A little more toastiness and buttery/oatmeally quality than the Reserve, a little Jack Daniels note, there is a fat lemony fruit and acid quality, and the phenolic grip and acid gives it fine presence and length, finishing with spice and nuttiness.
(2020) Inspired by the coastal vineyards of Te Awanga, 50% was fermented in 500-litre oak puncheons and 50% in stainless steel. Peaches and stone fruits, passion fruit and star fruit, talcumy notes and then a big blast of orange and pink grapefruit on the palate with mouth-filling, ripe acidity. Price and stockist quoted are for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) Stone, represents the Gimblet Gravels, the source of the fruit for this Syrah, which has a lovely bold and plush appeal, ripe blackcurrant fruit with great juiciness, a hint of floral and peppery lift. Fruit is rich, tannins are silky, and the acidity balanced. Price and stockist quoted are for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) From a great vintage, this is 99% Syrah with 1% Viognier, fruit coming from Gimblet Gravels and the coastal Te Awanga vineyards. Creamy ripe black fruit on the nose, though plenty of pepper and spice, a crack of black pepper. The silkiness of the tannins and plush fruit gives a smooth, dense mouthfeel and great presence. Price quoted is for the 2015 vintage at time of review.