(2024) From 35-year-old vines, this spent 12 month on the lees in stainless steel tanks. It has a very correct and appealing nose, ripe apple and stone fruits over the merest hint of flint. In the mouth the fruit ripeness is striking. Mouthfilling and textured, it is at the same time juicy and tangy, a citrus vibrancy to the fruit and acidity. It's a poised and delicious Chablis though I would have liked a touch more tension and raciness perhaps. Price and stockist quoted at time of review is for the previous vintage.
(2023) What a lovely wine this is, from the 5th generation Vervier family and vineyards close to Pouilly-Fuissé. Denis Vervier replaced the Gamay that his grandfather had planted on this granite plot with Aligoté believing it was an ideal terroir, and on his evidence he was right. It's a delicate wine, but perfumed, with floral and herbal touches to very cool but ripe fruit; spring flowers and fresh apples and pears. In the mouth it is dry and light- to medium-bodied, and though a lemon and salts lick of acidity drives the finish, there is a ripeness without particular sweetness on the mid-palate. Gossamer light, and sets the gastronomic juices flowing.
(2023) 100% Negroamaro from the prized appellation of Salice Salentino in Puglia, the 'heel' of Italy. This weighs in with a relatively lightweight 13% alcohol, which for Puglia, is modest. That gives this wine a certain freshness, and it has a palish ruby colour to match. Herb, cherry and stony aromas are breezy and savoury, but there is sweetness of fruit too. In the mouth it is quite racy, a bittersweet twist of Pontefract-cake liquorice to the red plum juicy fruit. Nicely done, no attempt at being a 'blockbuster', but food-friendly and well-balanced.
(2023) The Vieilles Vignes – ‘Old Vines’ - here really are, the 100-year-old Merweh from a vineyard at 1,400m in the Bsharreh Valley, the 50-year-old Obeidi from Bekaa. Fermented with wild yeast, the wine was made in concrete tank. There's a bit of depth to the colour, and a fruit-skin character rather than fresh fruit aromas, light earthiness and a touch of orange peel. In the mouth it is bone dry and particularly spicy. Again it reminds me of citrus and melon skins, with that dry, savoury as much as sweet character, and plenty of zippy acidity. This is a bit different for sure, and I can imagine it matching mezze or tapas really well. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) These vines truly are vieilles, or 'old', here in the high Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, at 70 years of age. Cinsault was the chosen variety for the Jesuit missionaries who planted cutting here in the 19th century, a slice of Lebanese history in more ways than one. The wine is fermented with wild yeasts, from organically-grown grapes, and is aged partly in large oak foudres, and partly in concrete vats. There's a swirling, smoky, tobacco character as well as classic cigar-box notes to keen but ripe red and black fruits. In the mouth there's loads of fleshy plum, but with a lean and muscular edge. Spices and the oak component adding savoury, smooth tannins and crisp cherry acids to balance the sweet and ripe mid-palate fruit. A lovely wine.
(2022) Nero d'Avola is the signature red wine grape of the Italian island of Sicily, but it has been increasing in popularity world-wide, including in Australia. This is a lovely example from McPherson Wines' Italianate range, Bella Luna, which sees some oak but is very much fruit-forward. It bursts with blackberry and cherry juiciness and aromatics, touches of floral character too, before a flood of fruit on the palate. There is silkiness and depth, but always a nice bright fruit and acid profile along with modest tannins to make for an easy drinking, but classy mouthful of wine. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2021) From 25-year-old vineyards on the slopes between 50 and 180 metres, this comes from Monbazillac in Bergerac, just next to Bordeaux and the famous sweet wines of Sauternes. Using mainly Sémillon plus Sauvignon Blanc and a touch of Muscadelle, this is matured for 24 months after fermentation in tanks. It has a lighter-styled, late-harvest rather than heavily Bortytised nose, some leaf tea and gentle fig notes, then a palate showing loads of juicy exotic fruit sweetness, medium-bodied, a little bitter lemon character comes through, freshening this very nicely. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) Is this a unique wine in the whole wide world? My guess would be yes: it's a Tannat from Uruguay, fortified with brandy much like a Port or Madeira, and infused with aromatic herbs, flowers and spices. The label quotes "winter flowers, Madagascan vanilla bean and wild apple mint." It has a deep ruby colour tinged with tawny, and a fabulous nose: like a cup of hot chocolate to begin with, moving into spicy black fruits and all the time a slightly other-worldly set of estery aromas in the background. On the palate it is rich and thick-textured, with plenty of luscious black cherry sweetness, but again it's as though some dark chocolate had been stirred in, some orange-like bite and acidity, and a long, warming finish. Unusual for sure, and very interesting. Price for 50cls. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) A fabulous rendition of Sauvignon Blanc this, which went down a storm with tasters on my recent online tasting of New Zealand wines, becoming one of the highest scoring wines of any tasting I have presented. It marches to a distinctive beat, being certified organic, and fermented with wild yeast in French oak barrels. Made from a mix of Loire and Bordeaux Sauvignon clones, it bursts with southern hemisphere ripeness, notes of nectarine and juicy ogen melon, creamy almond supporting, and enough lime-like vivaciousness too. In the mouth the picture is similar: so juicy and sweet in terms of the fruit, but underpinned by that broader creaminess of texture and with dazzling acidity streaking through the finish. In many independent retailers as well as some Waitrose stores. Use the wine-searcher link to find other stockists and watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2021) The name of this wine translates to 'Stony Hill', the grapes coming from the rockiest slopes on the Banfi estate in Tuscany. Currants and fresh red berries on the nose, little oak influence if any, just a touch of dusty green olive from the Cabernet component. Plenty of cherry-ripe sweetness on the palate, blackberries too, combining some fruit depth with fresher, lightly herbal notes. Plenty of creamy sweetness here with a sour tang of orange to the acidity.