(2019) A bone dry white wine made in the Tokaji region, from one of the varieties that is a mainstay of the region's famous sweet wines, this has a subtle creaminess but is mostly about minerals and sea-shells, a dry apple core character that is very 'serious' in the way that a good Chablis would be, the juicy apple fruitiness always tensioned and restrained by its acidity and taut, linear structure. A banker for white fish and seafood, with Sole meunière or a big bowl of mussels an absolute dream. Watch the video for more information.
(2018) The vintage I have drank the most (more than 20 occasions) and a wine that is developing so slowly that it appears to be held in suspended animation. When first released, this was zesty and mouth-watering, the bracing acidity held in check with a decent level of sugar in the dosage: compact, cool-fruited, and very tasty. The acidity has calmed down in the intervening years, aromatic volume and complexity is building, although the tiny spike of greenness is ever-present in the background. Becoming nicely toasty. Such a shame there are no magnums! Drink 2018-2035.
(2017) What a contrast in styles between this and Churchill's, the other major Port name to declare 2014. It is lighter, not just physically in terms of texture (and a drop or two of alcohol) but with some herbal, even floral notes lined-up against the Churchill's brawny depth. In the mouth beautiful raspberry ripple lift and creaminess sits over a more dense, plum and chocolate depth, some tobacco, fig and spice developing and quite a serious tannic structure. There is not a huge amount to separate these in my mind on absolute quality, but quite a gulf stylistically.
(2016) A modern, fresh interpretation of late-harvest and partially Botrytis-affected Tokaji style, this is thrilling and delicious in equal measure. Light gold in colour it has aromas of honey, glycerine and delicate barley sugar, the palate medium-bodied but still luscious, there's a delightful creaminess to the texture and the gently exotic fruit, trickled with honey, is beautifully balanced by the acidity. Match to lighter, fruitier desserts, foie gras or simply sip on its own after dinner. Price for 50cl.
(2016) From the volcanic soils of Tokaji, this is a seriously bone-dry interpretation of the dry Tokaji style, with some delicate floral and mineral salt aromas and lots of apple fruit, but then a bitter lemon grip of acidity, that's pithy and searing through the mid-palate, just always constraining the juiciness of the fruit, clamping it in a youthful, hugely vigorous grip. In some ways reminiscent of a premier cru Chablis with its hints of flint and its rigour. Intense stuff that might well age quite nicely for a few years.
(2016) From the Val do Salnés sub-region, Eidos de Padriñán's Albariño comes in a no-nonsense Bordeaux-shaped bottle, and being a 2012 pours with a darker golden colour. There's a breadth to this, a fulsome peach and ripe apple fruitiness that fills the palate, though the lick of mineral salt to the acidity gives lovely definition. Drinking really well, savoury but still pin-sharp. Stockist and price quoted is for the 2014 vintage.
(2016) Some proportion vinified in 600 litre older barrels, one third. From a parcel on limestone. Barrels from Burgundy used for gentle oxidation not flavour. Lovely nutty character, but a buoyant fruitiness of yellow plum and cut apple, but then the minerals and the salts kick in, giving this a delicious flinty, gunsmoke finish.
(2016) The vines are more than 50 years old, Stephane's grandparent's vineyard. Has the lovely wild yeast, cool and earthy aromatic. Bread notes and lemon. Fine saltiness here, juiciness and a sour plum bite. Juicy, savoury and taut, and delicious.
(2014) Aged in old oak foudres, this is a wine from an estate that produces a mere 700 cases annually. The vines are 40 years old. Bold crimson colour and a vinous nose with bright red fruits and certainly a sappy, briary edge, but there's a sense of ripeness here, even a hint of vanilla in there. In the mouth it is cool and precise, plenty of spice and a warming weight of tannin and earthy structure. That cool, stone and mineral freshness of the acidity balances a nice cherry fruitiness.
(2011) A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the chalk slopes of Hampshire, this new label is a project by Christian Seely, Managing Director of Axa Millésimes and his friend Nicholas Coates, a retired City executive. Soon a blanc de blancs and possibly other cuvées will join the portfolio, but this first release for July 2011 is already causing a stir, not just because of an excellent reception for the quality of the wine, but because the pair have proposed 'Britagne' as a new generic term to describe British sparkling wines, much like the French have 'Champagne'. I have just tasted this wine and thought it was quite beautiful, with a gossamer light construction, pale in colour with scents of rose-hips and strawberry, but a fabulously vibrant palate which teases with sweet fruitiness and its very fine mousse, before ravishing acidity through to the finish. One of the great English sparkling wines in its first release.