(2021) Ruby at the core with a broad tawny rim, Noval's 2007 Colheita is a single vintage Port of very high quality that was aged for 13 years in wooden barrels at the Noval cellar. That means it is a wine with wonderful maturity and instant drinkability, unlike Vintage Ports which often require decades after release to show their best. There are deep, soulful aromas of walnut and old polished wood, a twist of Seville orange and delightful hint of shellac in the mix. In the mouth terrific balance of sweetness and cherry-ripe fruit, with those aged notes, a liquorice intensity and concentration and such a creamy texture, flowing seamlessly into a sweet, beguiling finish with outstanding length. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) The 4th growth Beychevelle from 1985 has been one of my favourite ever wines for three decades now, a bottle from a case bought around 1989 having been drunk every few years. This the last of the dozen. Now the colour is still a lovely ruby, a hint of brick on the rim, though the nose and palate both show some age. There's a little autumn leaf, vegetal note that was not there on the previous bottle seven or eight years ago, but it does not detract: there is still so much to like. The palate still has that quite sumptuous, plummy fruit depth and swirling smokiness and hints of fudge and chocolate generosity, and the framework of tannins and now slightly more angular acidity give it tension and drive, making for a really enjoyable wine. Would I buy more of the 1985 at this stage? I'd say it is definitely just past its peak, but possibly would at the right price. Current price is shown below.
(2021) Having last tasted this 18 years ago, 'en primeur', when I rated it 87/100 and suggested that it was for early drinking, my expectations were tempered. There's still good colour, though that is pale and edged with brick. The nose is gamey and cedary, with a touch of green leafiness, but there is a black fruit in there too. The palate is a touch lean, but I really enjoyed this, a coffee depth of oak and juiciness there to the black fruit, actually the balance pretty solid. Probably not for extended cellaring but enjoyable for sure, perhaps surprisingly so, and proper mature Bordeaux.
(2021) From an east-facing vineyard of limestone soil in the Côte de Nuits, where large blocks of stone give the vineyard its name, vines were planted in 1950-1951. Deep, and relatively saturated garnet in colour, the nose is suffused with spiced black fruits, a little wild cherry note, and sweet earthiness hinting at menthol in this very young wine. In the mouth there's a phalanx of tannin and keen cherry-pit acidity driving for now, the firm, savoury fruit more in the red fruit specturm, a little umami and hard, steely precision of cool concentration. A tightly-wound wine that will need years to properly develop its aromas and flavours, and will cellar for decades. Intensity and balance are both superb already. Price and stockist quoted is for the previous vintage at time of review. Around 280€ per bottle in France.
(2020) Not tasted since 2000, this was decanted off the sediment and poured almost immediately. Shy at first, within 10 minutes in the glass the sweet red and black fruit began to emerge, joining game and light cedary scents that grew and grew, becoming richer and firmer in the glass. On the palate a gorgeous iron-oxide, dried blood streak to this, the finesse of the tannins and acidity just beautifully balanced, the wine structurally elegant and yet muscular, a great depth of savoury fruit really beginning to dominate the mid-palate and the long finish. Superb. Drinking really, really well now, but will hold for several years I suspect.
(2019) First released in 2003, 2013 brought a rainy spring and early summer, but followed by a hot, but not extreme, summer providing ideal ripening conditions. 100% Sangiovese harvested at 34 hl/ha, the wine spent 24 months in Slavonian oak barriques, only 10% of which were new. Perfumed and lifted compared to the Luce, tobacco and spices dominating the sappy cherry. More sour acidity here, proper Italianate acidity, draped with the red and black fruits into a long, spicy finish.
(2019) The dosage here is 6gl, in a wine disgorged in March 2018. Fully mature (perhaps overly so). Honey, apricots, dried fruit, and oxidative spiciness are the themes here, and I certainly wouldn’t age it further. Instead, enjoy the evolved nature of the bouquet by pairing with food. Drink upon release. £622 (case of six), Crump, Richmond & Shaw.
(2018) At 33-years old, in a more or less perfect place for me, pouring with still a healthy ruby at the core and the nose absolutely à pointe with some herbal Cabernet character, but loads of precise graphite and black fruit and a waft of rose-like perfume somewhere in the background. In the mouth still rich and substantial: a wine that has shrugged off its three decades, still a hint of muscularity and taut athleticism, but there is a softening touch to the fruit, a little Muscavado sugar caramel, but lovely, lovely resolution of the tannins and acids into a harmonious and quite long finish. Could it be a tad more complex? Maybe, but I'm very happy to have one more bottle left in the cellarfor drinking over the next few years.
(2018) Mainly Sangiovese with small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this is fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete tanks, before spending around two years in a mix of old 500-litre barrels and concrete. What a lovely nose, bloody and gamy, and yet suffused with ripe summer berries, elegant tobacco spice adds another layer. In the mouth this is really juicy, the black and red fruits combining to give both some lusciousness and freshness, more of that gamy character and cherry-pit acidity into the spicy, long finish. Wine-searcher shows no UK stockists for this particular vintage at time of review, though 2013 is available.
(2018) This is a blend from younger vines, led by Cabernet Franc and Merlot along with Cabernet Sauvignon and some Syrah too, fermented in large oak casks with indigenous yeasts and aged in barriques and French tonneaux for about 14 months, with15% of new wood. I really enjoyed this hugely authentic and expressive wine, very reminiscent of right bank Bordeaux, with a wild gamy, balsamic and stewed plum character, lovely graphite and cedar notes, and a sense of lush generosity. In the mouth it is sweet-fruited, but that gaminess and slightly wild edge adds loads of savoury interest, the sweet tannins and good, sour cherry acid structure freshening and lengthening the finish.