(2023) A blend of Pinot Noir with Trousseau and Poulsard, this has a Cru Beaujolais character perhaps, redcurrant and spices, a sappy touch of briar, a little stripe of rhubarb-like vegatility. The palate has juiciness, again cranberry, redcurrant and a touch of raspberry, but the subtle tannin structure and juicy, crisp acidity give lovely balance. Chill it very lightly if you wish and enjoy its juicy freshness. Watch the video for more information.
(2023) In this bottling, a blend of Chardonnay and Savignin spends 24 months ageing under its veil of yeast. It is bready and nutty, a little wheat beer-like note that adds an edge and interest. In the mouth it becomes lemony and zippy, a sheer brightness to the fruit and acidity, though that nutty and biscuity creaminess sits beneath. Long, there is a salty seasoning to the lemon acidity in the finish.
(2023) A very enjoyable Crémant this, 100% Chardonnay aged over 12 months sur lie, in individual bottles. The nose has a hint of rich yeastiness, some yellow plum, and floral hints to its lemony core. The mousse is persistent, and a hint of ripe, almost tropical fruit sweetness to the mid-palate meet a sheer, citrussy, grapefruit acidity to produce a wine with verve and tang. A refreshing aperitif style, or delicious with fish and chips.
(2023) A blend of Chardonnay, Savagnin and Poulsard, this is a Vin de Paille or 'straw wine', the ripe grapes dried on straw mats to desiccate and slightly and concentrate the flavours. Pouring a deep amber, the nose is laden with fig and honey, some interesting herbal notes too, a touch of aromatic tobacco. In the mouth it is thick and unctuous, a wave of rich apricot fruit flowing across the tongue, but mineral, stony core and thrust of orange acidity that gives it great tension and precision. A delight. Price for a half bottle, and how wonderful this would be with tarte tatin.
(2022) Voirin-Jamel is a grower in the Grand Cru village of Cramant. This 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir spent 24 months on the lees and was bottled with a modest dosage of 6g/l. There's a lovely, cheery robustness about the aromas here, a touch of raspberry lies over hazelnut with a crunch of gravel in the background. The palate shows the sweetness of really ripe fruit, a certain weight and breadth, but a fine sharpening core of zippy citrus acidity. A lovely Champagne at a keen price - on special offer at £25.
(2022) Château Chalon is an appellation for Vin Jaune ("yellow wine") in the Jura region. The wines are vinified under a thick layer of yeast known as Voile that forms on top of the wine as it slumbers in maturing barrels, in exactly the same way that the layer of flor creates the character of many Sherries. Indeed, nosed blind, you would swear this was Sherry, with its walnutty, yeasty, bruised apple character, but unlike Sherry, it is not fortified. In the mouth, wonderfully earthy, dry, and again with that bruised apple and apple skin character, but so juicy too: even with six years of ageing in Mouillard's cellars, it has such a vibrant acidity with a feeling of energy that ripples through this wine into a long, saline and mouth-watering finish. Just fabulous. Watch the Wine of the Month video for more information.
(2022) A Cru vineyard Barolo from a warm vintage, this was aged six months in barrique before being transferred to 2,000-litre Slavonian oak casks for a further 24 months prior to bottling. The soft ruby core moves to brick on a broad rim, and the nose is mellow and developed, a little truffle and rose perfume over ripe autumnal hedgerow berries. Tobacco and a touch of Sandalwood underpin. In the mouth the wine flatters with creamy and soft mature fruits, but then a bit of the steely core is revealed, with very firm tannins and plenty of juicy acidity to enliven the more giving fruit of the mid-palate. A tough one to judge, but I think this still feels youthful and as though there is the balance there for considerable ageing potential.
(2022) Founded in 2003, I Stefanini has quickly built a reputation for quality, this 100% Garganega wine being one of three I Stefani Soaves stocked by Dudley Jones. Surprisingly deep buttercup colour with a flash of emerald, the nose has chamomile and spring flowers, a touch of nuttiness and lemon. In the mouth a delightfully zippy and refreshing wine, very good mouthfeel with a slippery texture and fruit moving from apricot and light honey into a zesty but rich finish. A terrific Soave this, with bags of character. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2022) This is a truly gorgeous dry Riesling from two of Riffel's top vineyards, Kirchberg and Scharlachberg. Perhaps it's the high density of quartzite in the soils that adds to its shimmering vibrancy, but it opens with a little gold to the colour and delicate but pungent aromas of flint and lemongrass, with a suggestion of peachy ripeness beneath. In the mouth there is such dazzling brightness to fruit and acidity that it almost feels petillant (which it is not) such is the fizzing, sherbetty focus of fruit and acidity. No need to serve this too cold. It is quite brilliant and very good value.
(2022) In the same family hands for 10 generations, this 25 hectare estate makes both dry and sweet wines. The first thing that strikes is the oily, rich mouthfeel of the wine, dominated by a fat lemon and lime juiciness. There is a hint of passion fruit from the Sauvignon content, but it is discreet and the wine is more about citrus, a lightly buttery quality on the mid-palate, and a tangy, grapefruity finish for a food-friendly, versatile and inexpensive wine.