(2022) From a winery that has been heavily involved in aiding refugees from the Ukraine conflict, this is a Charmat method wine, a white sparkling wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon. It's Brut, and opens with quite a distinct fruity yet gently herbal and vanilla-touched aromatic. In the mouth its clean and precise, the acid to fruit balance good and an intriguing fruit, rather sugar, sweetness. At the £7.99 mixed case price this arguably knocks generic Prosecco into a cocked hat.
(2022) From cousins of the famous Anselmi family, this is 100% Ribolla Gialla with fruit from the Veneto and Friuli, and is made in a Prosecco style. It's Extra Dry, so has up to 17g/l of residual sugar. It's very pear-like, juicy and nicely balanced by fine apple acidity. I don't find the Ribolla Gialla makes a huge difference from Prosecco's Glera, but it's a well-made Spumante with a hint of complexity.
(2022) Not a lot of aromatic fireworks as one might expect with these varieties, though Laithwaites will move on to the 2021 vintage soon. Plenty of zip and citrus tang on the palate, an easy drinking and flavourful wine. £7.99 as part of a mixed six.
(2022) All natural yeasts, organic and no added sulphur with 20% in amphora. Yeasty and herbal aromas, lots of skin-contact character, fruit skins and a touch of wheat beer character. Juicy and sweet-fruited on the palate, still has a talcumy, chalky character that is very pleasing. Nicely balanced.
(2022) 'Dawn Felder' is a character invented by Laithwaites to introduce their customers to this unfamiliar variety. Juicy cherry stuff, blueberry and lipstick notes on the nose. The palate has cool fruit, smooth and dry, would suit chilling with its charming cherry fruit and balanced, easy drinking acidity.
(2022) From a small family domaine with a progressive new generation on-board, this from a 1930s Chardonnay vineyard. Nutty and appley, a little fragrance touching on floral but staying very dry and clean, and quite wild yesty complex. The palate is juicy and substantial, with a huge thrust of lemony acidity and lots of personality. Matured in ex Condrieu barrels.
(2022) Cabernet Franc from the limestone soils of Saumur-Champigny and a family winery. Really lovely fragrant nose, with lots of ripeness in this 2017 vintage, a touch of earthiness but clean and ripe black fruits. The fruit dry and savoury, but again such layered creamy black fruit, concentrated and ripe from a low-yielding year. Long and delicious.
(2022) From elevated slopes in Maule, this is made in concrete eggs with natural yeasts and minimal use of chemicals in the vineyard. There's also 15% Cinsault in the blend. It has a lifted, floral and kirsch aspect on the nose, but quite herby too, all about red fruit beneath. The palate has so much juiciness and bursting berry succulence and freshness, lots of Amarena cherry and a bit of cherry-skin acidity to the finish.
(2022) From vineyards close to the ocean and cooled by sea breezes. There is vherry and red plum freshness but a meatiness too, a dry ashy and chalk quality to the tannins and acidity adds to the savoury freshness.
(2022) From a winery that is a monastery on the Santiago Pilgrim Route, this is 100% Tempranillo similar to Crianzas from nearby Rioja. Ripe and quite vibrant, plenty of dark, vine fruits and a touch of smokiness. The palate is firm, structured and juicy, the oak ageing adding a dark and smoky edge to a finish of taut tannins and acids.