(2022) Elephant Hill is in coastal Te Awanga, but that fruit is blended with a portion from the gravelly, warmer inland soils of the Bridge Pa Triangle, the wine spending one year in French oak, around one-third new. Softly and sweetly oaked on the nose, crushed oatmeal and almond over stone fruits. In the mouth the oak is a little more dominant at this stage, spices and toast, a touch of Jack Daniels character, but that should subsidewith a year or two in bottle, allowing the very pure, ripe peach and luscious pear to come through. Clean lemon-fresh acidity and a trace of saline in the finish. Price and stockist at time of review are for the previous vintage.
(2022) Again 100% Glera, this comes from the calcium-rich soils of the hill of Cartizze. It has a longer second fermentation than the Fagher cuvee, and is Dry, meaning it has at least 18g/l of residual sugar and noticeable sweetness. There is great delicacy here, a little icing sugar and bon-bon note, a gentle biscuity character in the background. Extremely elegant and almost weightless on the palate, the featherlight quality might at first seem too delicate, but there is persistence, balance between sweetness and acidity, in a very charming, high quality Prosecco.
(2021) A lovely wine this, very elegant and refined, discrete and delicately floral aromas, a touch of icing sugar and meringue. The palate is pin sharp, not too much fruitiness means a more gastronomic, though still featherlight style. A very nice Prosecco this with purity and subtlety.
(2021) A wine from a single vineyard block, matured for nine months in larger 350- and 500-litre barrels, all 100% new French oak. Lean soils are credited with producing small, compact and intensely flaboured. More obvious oak here, but it is of lovely quality, creamy and biscuity/toasty, with coffee depth. The fruit bursts through on the palate, really pushing that creamy and toasty character into the background. Very intense and concentrated, it really does have drive: a great acid line here, scything through the richness and fat of the fruit on the mid-palate. Excellent length and intrinsic quality through to the finish.
(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.