(2022) Coming from Riverland vineyards in South Australia, and Certified Organic vineyards, winemaking is similar to the Y Series. This has a very fragrant and delicate aromatic, peachy and ripe pear aromas, to me a little more purity than the Y Series. Really lovely sweetnes and ripeness on the palate, again a rich but not quite such an oily texture, but again that light phenolic grip of the skin contact and citrus acidity drives on. Very good value at under £10.
(2022) A very nicely done, Fairtrade accredited Chardonnay from Stellenbosch, aged eight months in French oak. It is really nicely pitched, the light custard and almond sheen of oak over creamy golden delicious fruit leads on to a palate that has medium-bodied texture, plenty of juicy orange fruit and citrus acidity, and enough toasty and creamy oak to add polish. There's a well-judged hint of flintiness too. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) A decade or so ago Picpoul was relatively unknown outside of its Languedoc homeland, but it rather burst onto the scene and soon everyone I met was talking about this new kid on the block. Here's a classic example of what people like about the variety, a fresh and zippy white, with plenty of crisp apple, pear and a touch of peach fruit, a typical herby twang and very nicely pitched acidity. There's a similar wine from the same producer in Majestic at time of review too. Watch the video for more information and food=matching ideas.
(2020) Pretty pungent, thiols, elderflower and gooseberry, turns into juicy peach and nectarine on the palate, hinting at mango, a touch of orange to the acidity. Nice. Price and stockist for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2019) The vineyards for Petit Chablis are scattered around the periphery of the main Chablis appellation, mostly close to the treeline at the top of the famous slopes, and rarely on the Kimmeridgian soils that are synonymous with the flinty, oyster shell quality of 1er and Grand Cru wines. But do not look down your nose at the best examples, still made with care from 100% Chardonnay and usually, as in this case, unoaked. It's a very smart wine made by M&S winemaker Sue Daniels, marrying very fresh, lightly grassy and boldly lemony aromas with a fuller, riper fruit character on the palate, a creamy texture and hints of mango and exotic fruit soon licked into shape by the citrus and, yes, slightly salty, acidity. Watch the video for more information and food matching suggestions.
(2018) If you catch up with winemaker Giles Cook at my Glasgow or Edinburgh Festivals of Wine where Thistledown are pouring their wines, he might well be sporting his 'Gorgeous Grenache' tee-shirt. A zealous advocate for the quality of old vine Grenache in Australia, Giles has sourced old vine fruit from across South Australia for this entry-level bottling. It's a truly lovely wine, brimming with ripe black fruit, spices and a chocolate depth, soft tannins and a hint of gingery heat, finishing with pert cherry acidity. That all adds up to an easy-drinking but deep and soulful red, heaven sent for summer barbecues. Even better, buy two six-packs from M&S at time of review and the price falls to a bargaintastic £7.50 per bottle. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) From on of the Languedoc's traditional appellations, this is a typical local blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvêdre. Richly-fruited and spiced on the nose, this deeply coloured wine is immediately inviting, with aromas of crushed red and black berries and hints of cocoa and liquorice. In the mouth there's a surprising crispness to the flavour and texture, the good level of acidity no doubt aided by the fact that the fruit was harvested in the cool of the night. It is a fairly sumptuous, expansive style nevertheless, with red and black fruits and that hint of spice in the background. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2016) This is a Marks & Spencer exclusive, made by Torbreck with input from M&S's winemaker Belinda Kleinig. At time of review the 2014 vintage is about to change over to this 2015 in stores and online. It's a really very good white Rhône blend, with all the creamy polish, succulence and weight of these varieties, plenty of pear, apricot and nuttiness in the background, but the full and substantial weight of the palate tempered by very good acidity, a leesy bite of richness and a lingering finish.
(2016) A Grenache Mourvédre Shiraz blend from Torbreck, it is creamy, spicy and deeply red fruited, a little whisper of something meaty and peppery too. In the mouth the sweetness of the fruit is immense, though perhaps the acidity, alcohol and grippy tannins feel just a touch more astringent in the finish than I might hope for.
(2016) Brazil may not be the first country you think of for wine production, but a lot is made there, including plenty of sparkling wine. So what better way to celebrate the Rio Olympics in August 2016 that with a couple of bottles of this - I say a couple because throughout August there's a two for £12 deal on the wine in M&S. It's made from the same grape as Prosecco, it's cheeky Riosecco name giving that clue, and is a typically frothy, icing sugar and lemons concoction that slips down a treat in its off-dry, undemanding way. Not fine wine, but perfect for Olympic-themed parties and picnics. Watch the video for full information on the background to this wine and its unusual name.