(2021) A proportion of this Pinot Noir-dominated wine (72%, Chardonnay, 26% Chardonnay, 2% Pinot Meunier) was vinified and aged in oak barrels. It is based on the 2016 vintage, but with 35% of reserve wines in the blend. The dosage is 9g/l and around 7-8% of the blend was vinified as red wine. It has a relatively deep, bronze-pink colour and there is a definite biscuity depth to the strawberries and cream of the nose. Something just a little bit truffly adds extra interest. In the mouth the mousse is rich and cushioning, and the bite of raspberry and a little spicy nuance makes for attracive and balanced drinking. Both savoury and sippable, with good intensity into a long finish, it's a very fine and characterful rosé from Philipponnat.
(2021) From a domaine that can trace its roots back to 1701, this family-run Languedoc estate near Montpellier blends this wine from Grenache, Rolle and Syrah grown on volcanic soils. Sealed with the 'Vinolok' glass stopper it is a beautifully packaged wine, pale peach in colour with lovely salt and mineral flecks to the red berry and citrus fruit. Bone dry, there's real grip here, pithy citrus and the tang of citrus skins, underpinned by redcurrant and finishing with good definition. Quite a grown-up, serious style at a relatively modest price. Watch the video for more information on this wine.
(2021) From Grand Cru Pinot Noir vineyards in Äy, plus 28% Chardonnay from Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oger, this rosé spent eight years on the lees and is Extra Brut with 4.5g/l dosage. 5212 bottles were disgorged in March 2019. It's a remarkable and serious pink, the nose smoky and mineral, crammed with small, tight red berries and streaking citrus, just a little biscuit character too. There's an immediate sense of concentration, borne out on the palate, which is intense and beautifully fruited, with raspberry and redcurrant, again that smoky, stony, mineral base, some natural fruit sweetness gathered up into a sweep of acidity through to the finish.
(2021) From vineyards that rise to 900 metres on the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna, the Nerello Mascalese grape variety is proving to be something of a star. It often shows a pale, Pinot-like character, and that is true in this example, with small cherry and redcurrant aromas, and a definite undertow of briar and truffle. Ageing in barrel adds just a supportive sheen of oak. In the mouth this is dry and arguably lean, but that gives precision and freshness, the gentle red fruits and keen balance of acidity and tannin extending the finish. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) Lovely nose, suffused with cassis and ripe black cherry, there's a mocha depth to this too, a little hint of cedary pencil-shaving, a hint of earthiness, but really quite bold fruit. In the mouth classy and classic Bordeaux character, the black fruit very nicely ripe and creamy, but there is structure, a certain firmness to the tannins and suppleness to the acidity, grippy but the sweet fruit dominating the mid-palate. Very complete, very harmonious.
(2021) In Margaret River, Cullen is one of the leading exponents of biodynamic winemaking. This is their premium red wine, from ungrafted vines on granite and gravel that are now 50 years old, the wine matured for 17 months in French oak, 66% new barrels. Very svelte, an unruffled picture of ripe blackcurrant and lightly gravelly, earthy terroir character, a little floral/herbal edge too. In the mouth it is medium-bodied and quite spicy at first, then the soft creaminess of the black fruit builds on the mid-palate, always that gravelly bit of iron-filings grip and tension being very Bordeaux-like for me. The balance in the finish is very fine, staying savoury and juicy, in a composed and lovely wine.
(2021) From a domaine established in 2005 by brothers Marc and Alexandre Bachelet, this is a pretty fabulous Bourgogne Blanc by any measure, beautifully oaked and sharp as a tack with only 12.5% alcohol. There's a gently nutty creaminess to the aroma, sesame seeds and something sea-salty and river stone-fresh. Tempered white fruits - melon, pear and a citrus thrust - but that nutty and textured creaminess balances and supports beautifully. Terrific minor Burgundy of great class.
(2021) This a monopole vineyard is on a north-east facing slope of clay over limestone, planted 40 years ago. It does not see any oak. Pale green-gold, the aromas are crisp and stoney-mineral flecked, some creamy yeastiness, and just a suggestion of peachy ripeness to the fruit. The palate has a pithy streak of lemon and underripe apple that is dry and succulent, but there's a prettiness to this to offset the nervous acid thrust.
(2021) What a lovely wine, tertiary notes of sous bois and incense delicately woven through cherry fruit. From the Savigny and Pommard communes, and aged part in tank and part in 20% new oak barriques, the wood sits lightly but supports the dry cherry and cranberry fruit very nicely, tannins and good acid adding a bit of heft and the finish is spicy, intense and balanced.
(2021) A rich, ripe and hedonistic red Marsannay, made with 30% whole bunches, the colour is a transluscent bright garnet, and the aromas touched by woodsmoke and spice, but fruit packed on top, lovely incense and floral highlights floating above. Again, plush and sweet on the palate, crushed red berries and a nice liquorice stripe of tannin and acidity, giving cut and length against the weight of fruit. A delight to drink now, but should cellar well.