(2022) From 100-year old vines, this lees-aged Melon de Bourgogne comes from the western Loire, close to the Atlantic coast. It has a golden colour after four years in bottle, and a succulent, nicely maturing character of waxy lemon rind and juicy apple, with a hint of ocean spray. The palate has that juiciness too, a hint of nutty maturity, but lovely mouth-filling texture and balance. Long and delicious. Part of the special 10% off offer for wine-pages visitors until end September 2022.
(2022) From the IGP Pays de Cucugnan in the Corbières area, and a property run by Alexander Sichel, this is Grenache, Syrah and Carignan from vineyards at 350 metres in the Vallée de Cucugnan. It's a dark, brooding, but ultimately very plush and fruity red, creamy tannins and moderate acidity giving backbone. Peppery spice flits around aroma and flavour in a robust but very approachable red.
(2022) A lightly-oaked Nero d'Avola from the Italian island of Sicily that spent a few months in oak barrels. Deep in colour, the nose has a fragrant black cherry lift to the aroma, quite pretty and touching on floral, before a very juicy palate, the ripe blackberry fruit set against a little toast and earthiness, the tannins supple and the acidity giving a fine, dry, plum-skin finish to the wine.
(2022) From Calatayud and vineyards at between 600 and 1000 metres altitude, this is Grenache from vines planted in the 1940s. There's a smokiness and dried rosemary and thyme character to this on the nose, very firm blue/black fruits and polished wood notes. In the mouth the expansive mouthfeel fills with blueberry and damson plum, edged with a liquorice and endive bittersweetness. That slightly herbal charcter adds another edge, as does the concentration, heft of 15.5% alcohol and powerful tannins and acidity.
(2022) A lovely and in many ways typical, fresh and fragrant Provence pink, this is from a well-established producer, but new to the UK thanks to FromVineyardsDirect. Unusually, it is almost all Syrah: 84% along with 16% Grenache. Refined and pale in colour, it has a strawberry bon-bon nose, gently floral and with a touch of citrus zest. In the mouth very fruity and charming, plenty of vivid raspberry and white peach, and long with balanced acidity for gastronomic appeal.
(2022) Yes, you can legitimately say you are serving Eyquem tonight, and just hope nobody notices it is red and dry. From some of the oldest Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in the Right Bank appellation of Côtes de Bourg, there's a slightly funky, gamy character here at first, then black fruit with high-toned notes. On the palate the oak adds toastiness to the picture, with raspberry-edged dark berry fruit, firm tannins and plenty of substance with its 14% alcohol. At its best with a bit of red meat protein I think.
(2022) From Rías Baixas,the very heart of Galicia's Albariño country, and 20-year-old vines planted at altitude. The nose is reminiscent of waxy lemon rind and crunchy apple, just a little whisper of the briney, seaside character that some of these wines express. In the mouth it is quite a ripe and forward style, mouth-filling citrus and peach, with a clean finish.
(2022) A typical blend around Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre from one of the top satellite appellations around Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe. Spicy and peppery with a touch of leather and game to dark, rich bramble fruit. On the palate a little bright edge of raspberry adds a top note, while liquorice and endive underpin the black fruit succulence. This feels as though it is built to age for me, and I would imagine 10 years will be taken in its stride.
(2022) An old favourite this, almost pure Merlot (with 5% Cabernet Franc) from the team at the famous Pomerol estate of Château Clinet, using fruit from surrounding Right Bank appellations. It's a brisk red and black-fruited style, focused on fruit and its tannin and acid structure rather than oak. Ther's a touch of leafiness, a little graphite and cedar, but its a relatively firm, chewy and gastronomic Bordeaux of good quality at a very fair price.
(2022) Harvested late in slow-ripening vintage, but still fresh and light (with only 12% alcohol). There's a whiff of exoticism to the aromas, with lychee and mango nuances to the limey-fresh fruit. In the mouth, masses of peach juice and mango again, little in the way of the 'cat's pee' thiols here, just a juicy mouthful of fruit streaked through with vibrant, food-friendly acidity.