(2023) An agreeable, easy drinking Cava made from the classic varieties, from a company founded by two Belgian entrepreneurs who moved to Barcelona a decade ago specifically to create an organic Cava brand. The lively mousse subsides to reveal custardy apple notes, some toasted brioche. The palate is crisp, juicy, and very flavourful. It has a vivid personality and a finish balanced between the sweetness if the dosage and nice acidity. Just £9.99 as part of a mixed dozen from Laithwaites at time of review.
(2023) It's well over a year since I last tasted an early bottling of this 80% Merlot Bordeaux which was aged in both clay amphora and different sized barrels. Then I scored it 89/100 and commented on its smooth and fruit driven character, edged with bloody and gamy notes and spicy black fruit. This bottle shows the gamy side a little more, hessian and dried fruit, and hinting at pencil shavings. In the mouth it remains creamy and juicy, a slick of cassis over resolving tannins and nice cherry acidity.
(2023) A nice rendition of mid-priced Malbec, sourced from a high-altitude vineyard in the Maipú sub-region of Mendoza. Here, fruit from 16-year-old vines is cold macerated before fermentation, and this wine does not see oak. It's a particularly smooth and juicy black-fruited wine, blackcurrant and blueberry and a pleasing little ashy or herbal lift. In the mouth plenty of bright fruit, creamy tannin and a juicy acidity into the finish.
(2023) Four Bordeaux varieties in the blend here, led by 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. Blackcurrant on the nose, some eucalypt/menthol notes, and a smoothing sub-frame of the barrel. In the mouth it flows with really sweet, ripe black fruit, the 23% Malbec perhaps adding to the plush depth of the mid-palate. Tannins are suede-like, acidity is rounded but present, and the touch of vanilla and spice into the finish pleases. Mixed dozen price is £16.99.
(2023) From the 'Cru' of La Clape in the Languedoc, a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. Breezy, crunchy, bold red fruits in the nose are appealing. Raspberry and garrigue lift. In the mouth there is bags of fruit, again it's the juicy, buoyant red fruit that drives this, though a sandy weight of tannin and plucky acidity does add a serious note. Quite spicy in the finish, this is a double thumbs up at the mixed dozen price of £12.99
(2023) An organic Cabernet Franc from Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux on the eastern edge of the Bordeaux region, it spent six months in older oak barrels. The surprisingly light 12% abv helps give elegance to the nose, with a buoyant fruit character and delicate florals, a little Beaujolais-like for me. In the mouth it is smooth and medium bodied, quite silky really and pleasingly easy to drink. Tannins are sweet and supple, acid is pert but gentle, and the wine drinks very nicely. £17.99 as part of a mixed dozen.
(2023) Another parcel of mature wine that's nine years old, it's Rioja, but made from Graciano, with not a trace of Tempranillo. There is an earthiness and sense of leathery maturity in this sample, a little leafy and cedary character rather than forward fruit. In the mouth it does reveal more black fruit, but still that leathery note and a background of charry oak. Some black cherry fruit and acid comes through as this opens more in the glass. Quite intriguing this, coming good with a bit of air which suggest decanting perhaps.
(2023) From Falernia, the leading light of the Elqui Valley, way up on the fringe of the Atacama desert in Chile. This is relatively cool-climate country, and here there are notes of rhubarb and beetroot, a certain peppery character over the red and black fruits. The palate bursts with sweet, ripe and plump berries and red plum, little jammy notes of blackcurrant melt into espresso and spicy chocolate too, perhaps some American oak here adding extra sweet nutmeg spice. Bags of personality in a relatively plush and up-front style.
(2023) Not many wines from the Azores make it the UK shelves, but here's one, a blend of Arinto, Verdelho and Terrantez - the latter two being grapes also found on Madeira. Very gently honeyed and mineral, it's a 'quiet' nose, but appealing with ozone and citrus comeing through. In the mouth it is dry and relatively full-bodied, with a searing underripe apple acid core. However, the grapefruity intensity of the mid-palate is there, and the wine is quite long, concentrated and really quite intense, and very interesting.
(2023) Yes, you read that right: a 13-year-old Premier Cru Chablis from one of the top domaines, which has recently been released. The nose has a subtle greengage and citrus character, and an also subtle but undeniable hint of flintiness in the background. In the mouth it really is lovely, defying its decade plus of age with pristine fruit and finely etched acidity. Still feeling quite youthful, but with the weight and hint of honeyed maturity. £37.00 as part of a mixed dozen.