(2021) What a lovely wine this is. Abundantly fresh, green herb-flecked lemon and crunchy apple aromas lead on to a palate that is also cool, elegant and crisp, but has texture and presence too, a supple ripeness, mid-palate sweetness and creaminess to the fruit, but the dazzling, salt-licked freshness of the finish powers through. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) This is a large estate upstream from the town of Pinhão, rehabilitated by Christian Seely and his investors who took over when it had fallen into some disrepair. Dark and opaque, quite a meaty and herbal nose here, less overtly sweet-fruited, an immediate sense of serious concentration. The nose pretty accurately predicts the palate here: there is sweetness and abundant black fruit flesh and ripeness, but as well as that blackcurranty richness of fruit, the ashy herbs, the leather and the meatiness give a more savoury character. Good freshness, though the tannin and acid axis is a little softer than some, making this meaty wine surprisingly approachable in its youth. Indicative price based on the previous vintage.
(2020) Pale but saturated colour, very fine perfume with a hint of game and plenty of dry berry and cherry fruit. The palate has lots of savoury, dry tannin, a really gastronomic mouthwatering style, meaty and a touch herby, but savoury to the last. Price and stockist quoted is for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) Just softening in colour, not the decaying fragrance of very old Pinot, but a rounder, slightly more giving quality, the plushness and the sweetness of the fruit - again cherry and red plum developing more flesh, but gorgeous juicy character, long. This vintage not available in the UK, so price and stockist is for the current vintage at time of review.
(2020) From schist soils, this has a fine cherry aroma, a taut precision and juiciness, just a lovely line of tannin and acidity. Lovely acidity pulls this through to the finish, deep and quite muscular fruit, but an edge of articulation and detail. Price and stockist is for previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) Here's another New Zealand Sauvignon that bucks the stereotype, 50% barrel-fermented in old barrels. Only a minimal herbaceous character, much more about stone fruit, a touch of cherry and beautifully saline, pure and citrussy acidity. Fine texture too. Price and stockist for previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) Intense, generous, flowing but pure, a Riesling showing the ripeness of a warm vintage. Creamy, with custard apple and the merest hint of sweetness from a little residual sugar. Fabulous dry finish, stony, a touch of apricot and peach stone dryness against the saline acidity. Terrific. Price and stockist is for the previous vintage at time of review.
(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.