(2019) A blend of Rhône varieties, led by Carignan and Shiraz. Extended skin contact for fermentation, followed by 23 months in French, American and Romanian barrels. Quite Shirazy on the nose, quite plush, with a little peppery and floral lift and a little kirsch note to more solid black fruit. In the mouth the fruit does have a bittersweet plum skin and black fruit depth, but there’s a cherry pit freshness and that sense of a little more floral note, a stripe of roughening tannin.
(2019) This is made from Chenin, Muscat, Sauvignon, Rasa deCotnari (a Romanian variety) and has 220g/l of residual sugar, so a full-on dessert style. Big honey and toast nose, nutty seeds and an intense lime marmalade. So luscious, pineapple and mango, very thick in texture, lots of lime cordial sweetness, richness, and a good acid balance here, just a warming creaminess, but a lovely little wine. Price per half bottle.
(2019) Vineyards sit only five kilometres from the sea at False Bay, within the Stellenbosch region, but marginal, and as Pinot needs cooler conditions this is not made every year. Fragrant stuff, a little grilled bacon and definite florals, a little resinous note. There is plenty of red fruit character, seeds and meaty, savoury elements too, in a pleasing, clove-scented Pinot of real character. Chris Williams would typically drink this after another two or three years when tertiary characters develop. It then might well merit a point or two more.
(2019) Quite dark, fabulous sweet richness, a little of that shellac lift, huge core of intense sweetness balanced against scintillating acidity again, rapier thrust of lemon zest and some salt. 74g/l of residual sugar and a thrilling wine.
(2019) Second time I've been lucky enough to taste this, previously scored 99/100. Lots of complex volatile notes here, depth of walnut and Raisin fruit, amazing concentration yet again, Seville orange and such intense wine. Salty again in the finish, but so long, so deeply concentrated.
(2019) And a second chance to taste this wine too, also previously scoring 98/100. A little rancio character, with a little coffee and Seville orange. Green fig and olilve, sultana and then a touch of curry leaf, shellac. Shimmering and delicious. I drank this one.
(2018) One of my favourite of the Torres wines, from a single vineyard (actually a monopole Clos) dedicated to Chardonnay in Penedes. Twelve months in French oak 300-litre barrels (60% new) and a lovely lime jelly purity, gently buttery and waxy nose, very Meursault-like perhaps, a sheen of oatmeal and almond beneath. In the mouth real purity: lime again, but zesty and fresh, the buttery notes adding texture. Could certainly do with an ounce more zip and raciness to really shine, but a terrific attempt at top notch Chardonnay really.
(2018) A stunning, stunning dry Madeira, at 60 years old and what a treat to taste one of the world’s great wines with surely another 50 years ahead of it. Shellac and walnut notes lead on to a bone-dry palate of Seville orange that has searing intensity. Oh, for a bowl of salted almonds with this contemplative wine.
(2018) Tasted alongside the Blandy's 1968 vintage Sercial, a bone-dry but absolutely magnificent sister Madeira, this was just stunning at 71 years of age. Nut brown in colour, the nose a soulful, burnished depth of walnut and Seville orange marmalade, toffee and dark Agen prune notes along with spices and tobacco. With just over 100g/l of residual sugar it is sweet without being cloying, with classic Madeira firmness and vitality, magically tangy and bright with electric acidity perfectly balanced against the sumptuous spices and dark, tea-steeped dark fruit flavours. Wines like this almost defy scores and descriptions. What a treat if you can afford it (price for a half bottle).
(2018) One of my all-time favourite wines from Portugal, Mouchão in 2013 is a bit of a stunner. A blend of Alicante Bouschet and Trincadeira, foot trodden, and made in a big, old oak vats, it always strikes me as a cross between Burgundy and the Rhône, with the perfume and soulful character of the former, and spice and juicy structure of the latter - while, of course, being entirely its own wine. A beautiful medley of ripe black berries, sweet earth, subtle spicing and floral touches leads on to a palate that is sumptuous and deep, yet light in both texture and its freshness: an alert, life-force of a wine, the tannins and juicy acids giving lots of attack and tension, and suggesting this will only improve with cellaring, but already giving great pleasure with its core of firm, savoury fruit.