(2019) Spring was rainy and mild with early budding, and although summer was dry in general, Montalcino experienced three significant rain events, limiting stress and supporting complete maturation of the grapes. The blend of Merlot and Sangiovese spent 12 months in a mix of new and used barriques. Lovely fruit here, quite lifted compared to the Luce, herb and floral notes joining succulent black fruit on the palate, generous and silky, certainly more approachable at its young age than Luce, but still with complexity and, I suspect, capacity for longevity.
(2018) From Roda's estate on the northern bank of the Duero, this is Corimbo 1, where Agustin places "an emphasis on Roda elegance, well handled oak and freshness." So much more on the rich, intense small black fruit side. Sweet small berries with intensely creamy flavour and texture. Fine, chocolaty tannins and sweet acidity complete a svelte and delicious picture. Great Ribera del Duero and though there are no UK stockists of the 2013 at time of writing, 2010 and 2011 is quite widely available.
(2018) A more or less equal blend of northern Rhône Syrah and southern Rhône Grenache, this comes from 60-year-old vines and is a fine, savoury Côtes du Rhône of quite some style. It is only lightly oaked (I suspect only seeing oak in the form of older and bigger casks), and is liquorice-deep and earthy, but has a fine blueberry and ripe damson plum weight of fruit. Aromatically, it also flits between nuances of goût de terroir and a red fruit lift. On the palate that natural old-vine concentration is effortless, always juicy with its supple, fine tannin and acid structure. Long, the savoury character makes it very broadly food-friendly. Watch the video for specific food matching ideas, and more information on this wine and producer.
(2017) R.D. standing for 'Recently Disgorged', that means this wine spent over a decade on the lees, and is a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend. Fabulously meaty and nicely developed toastiness on the nose, a touch of truffle, then the palate has equal chewy richness, a strong mousse, and yet hallmark Bollinger freshness because of the line of acidity. An excellent wine, drinking really well now, but no reason to hurry it.
(2016) What a terrific Chardonnay, the nose glittering with Chablis-like gunflint minerality, a lime precision and ripe apple beneath. The palate has surprising squirt of tropical, mango-like fruit ripeness, very juicy grapefruit too, then the mineral acidity starts to kick in, and a little creamy component, to give this texture and mouth-feel, the finish long and tapering in a most elegant way. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2016) I've reviewed this wine a number of times over the years, always with scores in the 90s, as it is one of my favourite wines from this family-owned Champagne house. Composed of 50% Chardonnay from the Côte de Blanc and 50% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims, it is aged for a minimum of four years on the lees and always contains around 25% of reserve wines, helping to give it its characteristic richness and finesse. It is delicate, but does have those brioche and apple-pie notes of fruit and pastry, a fine full-bodied texture and pin-sharp acidity, the freshness does not detract from the sense of generosity. A terrific Champagne and chosen as my Wine of the Week as there's a great price at time of writing from Edencroft Fine Wines - it's generally around £45 per bottle. Note Edencroft's price applies only if buying a case of six bottles.
(2016) Michel Chapoutier is one of the best producers of the Rhône Valley in France, but he has also produced wines here in the deep south close to the Spanish border for almost two decades. This terrific blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan is aged only in big, old barrels. Its name - Occultum Lapidem - is Latin for 'secret stones' or 'hidden stones', because this wine is all about terroir - expressing the slate and granite soils as well as the garrigue - the wild flowers and herbs - of the Roussillon soil. It is plummy and rich in fruit, but there's a wonderful spice and earthiness too, a real bittersweet grip and authority, ending with freshness and backbone. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. Normally £15.95 but currently on offer at £13.50 - not bad for a wine graced with 93-95 points by eRobertParker.