(2021) Banfi's Rosso is aged for around 12 months, partly in French oak barriques and partly in large Slavonian oak casks. The nose is vinous and dark, but reveals very little about the wine initially. In the mouth it is powerful and savoury, edged with bitter cherry and with a plummy character, the tannins are quite finely grained but grippy, and the classic Italianate bite of the acidity joins the finish. This could be cellared for a few years or decanted if opening now perhaps. Note Majestic may be stocking the 2019 in some stores, but their 'mix six' price is a sharp £16.99. Watch the video review for more information.
(2020) From the Languedoc, some nice lees ageing is obvious on this Pinot Gris, giving a gentle breadiness of aroma and flavour and more texture than your average Grigio. There's a touch of exotic fruit on the nose as well as spiced apple and fresh pear, the palate showing some weight and mouth-filling texture, more of that white fruit flavour edging into tropical, with good acidity that takes a grip of the finish and sharpens things up. The headline price is a little steep, but knowing Majestic you will pick it up for £8 or £9 regularly.
(2020) A 'Vin de France' so grapes could come from multiple regions, though I supect this is Languedoc fruit, the grapes "grown in clay-limestone soils in vineyards with dry and sunny exposures." The result is a raspberry and violet-scented wine that is certainly fruit-forward and inviting, a nice little touch of herby, twiggy character in the background. In the mouth it is light-bodied and flooded with more of that sweet summer berry fruit, but there's good balance thanks to cherry-pit acidity and just enough of a tugging stripe of tannin. Note, this is on offer at just £6.99 at time of review, and that is the target price: the headline price of £10.99 is too much to pay. Watch the video for more information.
(2020) There's normally around 7% oak fermented wine in Cloudy Bay, but this year was so good that it was pulled back to 4% to showcase the fruit. There is pea shoot and fresh leafy green herbs, a touch of elderflower, but also peachy, ripe and quite exotic fruit. The palate has beautiful balance, with arguably less 'aggression' than a brand new Marlborough Sauvignon might exhibit, a beautiful purity and focus, grapefruit and orange, and a long, shimmering finish of lime peel and salts. A very good Cloudy Bay this.
(2020) From the vineyards that surround the Poggio alle Mura castle, this spent two years in French oak, plus a further three in bottle. It has a deep red colour, but a little paleness on the rim, then a deep and quite curranty aroma, some volatile lift, and cherry fruit beneath. In the mouth it is smooth and sweetly-fruited, there is liquorice, and again that intense raisined quality. Taut and juicy, the finish has a purity, with oak subsumed by the sweet fruit and elegance of the tannins and acidity.
(2020) From a cold, wet year before the drought started, but long hang time allowed full ripening. Grapes are de-stemmed but not crushed, so around 20% whole berries. Long cool ferment. There's a fine Cabernet expression here, with a touch of olive and background herbaceous character, but much more minty black fruit and a touch of violet perfume comes through. The palate is medium-bodied and super juicy, lots of zip and freshness, plus there's a gamy, ripe nuance to the black berries. There's a smoothing, chocolaty quality to the oak and to the tannin profile, giving this creamy and supple qualities too. A lovely style. £15.99 as part of a mixed six.
(2020) This spends eight months in Louis Latour barrels, partly from Meursault, mostly two and three years old. Gorgeous crushed oatmeal and flint nose, a touch of vanilla toast and honey, and very fresh pear and apple fruit. The palate has limpid, pure and quite plush fruit and juiciness, but that fine stony, flinty character adds a lovely edge, the acid lemony and fresh, but with that saline touch that is so mouth-watering and fresh. There is density to the fruit, and concentration, but great finesses and freshness. £15.99 as part of a mixed six.
(2020) Viognier wines made outside of its Rhône homeland often used to disappoint me, but more and more examples are capturing the vivid fruit character of the grape and its full texture, but with excellent freshness and elegance, including this excellent example. From close to Carcassonne, this is aged for a few months on its lees which adds to the texture and hint of yeasty complexity on the nose, but really it is all about surging peach and very ripe pear fruit, just a little floral nuance too. In the mouth it has weight and a limpid, creamy texture, that intense fruit concentration with a little hint of spice, but then fine and lightly saline acidity streaks through to freshn and balance this 13.5% abv wine. A fine expression and only £7.99 as part of a mixed six from Majestic. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) This Sicilian rosé is certified organic, and is a blend of the local Nero D'Avola and Frappato varieties. Santa Tresa say it has taken time to perfect this style - let's broadly describe it as Provençal - given the hot conditions of Sicily. The colour is relatively pale with a little warmth to the hue, the nose delicately cherry-scented, very much focused on small red fruits, a touch of cherry bubblegum. Dry and tangy on the palate, raspberry tartness adds a refreshing twist, a touch of cool watermelon, and a concentrated and bone dry finish. £9.74 as part of a mixed six.
(2020) Champagne house Pommery were early investors in English vineyards, with their own 40-hectare site about to come on stream. For now, they are buying English fruit from Hampshire and making this wine in facilities borrowed from Hattingley Valley estate. It's a traditional method wine, made from the Champagne grapes, and it is beautifully pitched: there is a hint of biscuit and truffle on the nose, but much more about citrus and English orchard fruit. The palate shows lovely fruit sweetness, and the dosage adding an extra element of approachability, but the acid balance on persitence of the mousse if excellent. Not cheap, but a nice way to celebrate English Wine Week, which starts today. Watch the video for more information.