(2022) It's not the first time I've reviewed a wine packed in the innovative paper 'bottle' - made from 94% recycled paper with a recyclable plastic lining. Weighing just 83g, its carbon footprint is one sixth of a glass bottle. Grapes come from the Redbrook Estate in Essex, and the 11% ABV wine was fermented with the same yeasts commonly used in Marlborough for Sauvignon Blanc. The nose, however, is not pungently Marlborough in style; instead it is more about chamomile and gentle floral notes, some elderflower English hedgerow character and peach and pear fruit. In the mouth the Sauvignon-like, herbal twang is more in evidence, the fruit juicy and quite sweet, sitting against a core of lemony acidity. It's an easy-drinking wine, perhaps a little too sweet for some, but an interesting addition to the English table wine story. £14.99 as part of a mixed dozen. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) A Syrah, Grenache and Carignan blend from the elevated Agly Valley in Roussillon, this is wine does not see any barrel ageing. Instead, it celebrates a floral-touched and juicy fruit brightness, some pepper and nutmeg spice joining plum and dark, glossy cherry fruit. On the palate there is intense fruit sweetness, really mouth-filling, but that spiciness and a herbal tang adds edge and interest, bold tannins and juicy acidity completing a picture of a big, impressive and chewy mouthful of intense and ripe red wine, fit for the barbie, steak or lamb. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) Organically-grown Nero d'Avola from the west of Sicily, there's a firmness on the nose, a hint of something herbal even grassy to red berries. Plenty of bite and grip, a very small hint of 6g/l sugar offsets the acid that comes from higher altitude vineyards.
(2022) From a small estate in Corsica made by a woman winemaker in a family estate. Delicate pale pink, rose-hip and gentle strawberry sherbet, but pure and light. On the palate it is again light and very fresh and nimble, quite dry with its pithy acidity, the red fruit quite subtle.
(2022) An interesting wine this, on one hand yet another Provence lookalike from colour to bottle, on the other a highly unusual blend of Pinot Noir (60%) and Zweigelt, from vineyards in Eastern Croatia. There's some flint and some herbs adding interest on the nose, and the palate balances a hint of peach and more raspberry fruitiness, with a decisive sour plum and lemon thrust of savoury acidity. It is juicy wine, showing salty, taut character that would suit Moroccan tagine perhaps.
(2022) Pale, peachy-pink, this comes from Cramele Recas, the go-ahead commercial winery that supplies a lot of good quality wine under various brands to UK supermarkets and bigger retailers. Blending Feteasca Neagra with Merlot, Pinot noir and Cabernet sauvignon, it is just about dry, with cold ferment pear drop and tutti-frutti aromas, sweetness and peach fruit on the palate, but you know ow what? It's very well done and as a summer in the garden sipper it does a fine job.
(2022) Lovers of the Gamay grape variety have all of Beaujolais to explore, but outside of south-eastern French region, there's not a lot of choice to be had. This comes from a producer in Gaillac in the southwest of France, originally planted to soften some of the more tannic local grapes. Vivid crimson in colour, the nose has a little meat and pepper character to berry fruit, just a hint of florals too. In the mouth the sweetness is what strikes the palate first, a bursting berry sweet juiciness, cherry-ripe and charming. There's no tannin to speak of, but nicely judged acid and a bit of dark chocolate character gives some weight and smoothness to the finish. £10.49 as part of a mixed dozen. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) Also from the decomposed granite slopes of the Helderberg, at 270 to 300 metres above sea level. It aged 26 months in French oak barrels (70% new). Deep crimson edged with ruby, and what an attractive nose, there's an exotic Sandalwood and almost Lily-like touch of florality, over fruit that spans juicy red plum to firmer black fruits. Rounded, sweet and harmonious on the palate, there is loads of spice here, a depth of coffeeish oak, but the supple weight and concentration of fruit plays against crunchy tannins and acidity for a very impressive, powerful, ripe and vivid rendition of Cabernet. Please note price and stockist quoted are for a magnum (1.5l) and an earlier vintage.
(2022) It's from Tuscany, it's Sangiovese, and it's... white. Very unusual, the Sangiovese was picked early and vinified without the grape skins for a crisp, 12.5% alcohol white wine. There may just be the faintest blush to the colour, then aromatics of orange blossom and citrus, a little creaminess, are bright and attractive. In the mouth there is real zest and vivacious personality here, peach and zesty lime flood the palate, with bold texture and plenty of fruit concentration. It zips along nicely thanks to good acids, maybe Pinot Gris being the closest comparison I can think of for this interesting wine - the choice of winemaker Sofia Barbanera.