(2021) Organically certified, this is Kim Crawford's estate, and the wine is given a 'hands-off' treatment, fermentation stopped at 12.5% abv when the wine was in balance, leaving 5.2g/l or residual sugar. There's a touch of pinky-bronze to the colour here, and a confectionary nose, all icing sugar and raspbery ripple. In the mouth the sweetness pushes through, with a sense of coolness to this, Asian pear and lemon, though for me it lacks the charm of the Pegasus Bay Riesling.
(2021) Organic, this is given a painstaking vinification: different portions fermented in a concrete egg, amphorae, and neutral old French oak barrels, all with wild yeast. Little bit of a deeper colour here, and a very different nose from those made with commercial yeasts. It's a tiny bit reductive/flinty, salt and apple rather than anything green or tropical. In the mouth the texture is an obvious difference too, more creaminess, some oatmeal and nutty apple. There is sweetness here (almost 7g/l of sugar) which frankly I could do without, but it has a tangy, sour lemon finish and that does work quite well so the final impression is the citrus character in a more complex take on Marlborough SB. A point or two off for being just too sweet.
(2021) An organic wine, but unusually, Loveblock use the antioxidant properties of green tea to protect this wine rather than sulphur: every time the juice / wine was exposed to oxygen 5 mg/L of green tea powder was added before the wine was racked to barrels. 6.10g/l of residual sugar. Very unusual on the nose. I guess it is the green tea giving this unusual, herbal, chamomile and, yes, gree tea notes. On the palate a substantial weight and loads of flavour. Again I can detect that unusual tea character, and again too much residual sugar for my palate. In the finish the dry tannin-like and umami quality of the tea against the sweet stone fruits, sugar and sour acid makes for a very unusual wine. Interesting, but personally I wouldn't rush for a second glass.
(2021) Fruit was run over a sorting table straight to the tank, without crushing, and fermentation commenced on its own yeast. Approximately 50% of this wine was aged in oak. Medium-pale garnet colour, not giving a lot on the nose, some plummy fruit comes through, a little briar, quite earthy, maybe just a hint of rose perfume. On the palate quite full, dark-fruited and a touch meaty, the tannin and acid profile here combine to give this a fresh edge, but sweet fruit and fleshy density persist. Medium finish.
(2017) A blend composed mostly of Grenache and Syrah, this bottle was pretty closed and a touch reduced when first opened, but after a couple of hours in a decanter it transformed rather wonderfully into a rich, ripe but serious wine of the south, meaty and lightly herbal edges to dark, plum and ripe black berry fruit. The palate is medium- to full-bodied, with spices and a grip of tannin, but the fruit is dark and juicy, and it is the savoury fruit that drives to the finish. Stockists given for current vintages.
(2017) From one of the iconic names of Rioja, this is ripe and rich, the tawny rim of age on the colour, the open and oxidative complexity against tobacco and cocoa and pert red berry fruitiness. The palate has a racing freshness - zero weight here, gravity-defying freshness and crunch in another terrific López de Heredia wine. Also in Waitrose Cellar a couple of pounds cheaper.