(2022) A new vintage of Cloudy Bay's iconic Sauvignon Blanc is always eagerly awaited, and luckily for fans, this 2002 nicely reflects the quality of the vintage. The nose opens with a surge of exotic fruit: mango, guava and lychee, fused with elderflower and a little herbaceous green bean, but all integrated and harmonious. The palate has a full texture and plenty of weighty fruit concentration, a mouth-watering pink grapefruit core of keen acidity balancing nicely. You cannot deny the quality here.
(2022) Whole bunches were upped from 25% to 35% for this vintage, with around 7% or 8% new oak. Beautiful pale and transluscent garnet to crimson in colour, and what a fantastically aromatic wine this is, pomegranate and a whole pot-pourri of spices and wild flowers, touches of rhubarb and beetroot earthiness. A core of succulent red fruit comes through, while the oak adds just a little coffee edge. The palate has weight and succulence to spare, a stripe of lean tannin and dry, pithy grapefruit acidity give this energy and length. Lots of spice, lots of espresso flitting around the edges, a hessian dryness to finish in a delicious and fascinating Pinot with a truly intriguing perfume, possibly enhanced by those whole bunches in the ferment. Price and stockist is for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2022) From the best areas for this variety, a mix of Mediterranean and more Alpine conditions. There's plenty of juicy yellow apple and lemon, but also hints of straw and minerality. It has quite a mouth-filling creaminess, less than 3g/l of sugar, but real juicy sweetness through the mid-palate. Delicious and quite full, yet the acidity is crisp and very nicely integrated.
(2021) 2020 is shaping up to be a great vintage in the Marlborough region, especially for Sauvingon Blanc, where some winemakers I have spoken to rate it as one of the best harvests of recent times. This is also the best Sauvignon Blanc I have tasted from Allan Scott, and one of the most perfumed and aromatic too. Loads of vivid, scented talcumy tropical fruit leaps from the glass, passion fruit and mango and lychee, florals too with so much fragrance. The palate bursts with similar exotic fruit, nicely pitched acidity, juicy concentrated fruit and great balance into a long finish. £9.99 from N.D. John at time of review. Watch the video for more information.
(2020) A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah, 15% Carignan and 5% Cinsault, this is fermented with native yeasts and made in concrete vats, unflitered and unfined to give what Tourelles describe as "A true expression of the Bekaa Valley." There's an honest, rustic authenicity about it, plum and cherry fruit, damp earth, a suggestion of briar wood and herbs. In the mouth the sweet ripeness of the fruit is striking, a big and bountiful plateful of black cherries and summer berries, but those firm tannins, good juicy acids and a bit of serious, sinewy structure give it some food-friendly heft and probably fair longevity too. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. Quite widely available.
(2019)
A blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, plus Merlot, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot, aged for 20 months in Nevers oak, 65% new. Big and luscious from the first sniff, a little bloody and herbal, but loads of black fruit and sweet, graphite finesse. Lovely buoyant cherry-edged fruit, etched with that bloodiness and tart cherry acids, but the sweet creamy depth is lovely.
(2017) From Lodi in northern Californian, just inland from San Francisco, comes this fragrant and fruit-filled old vines Zinfandel, which would make an interesting Christmas day alternative to classic Bordeaux or Burgundy wines. It has a really arresting fragrance, high and floral notes, incense-like with raspberry and sasparilla, moving through to a fleshy plum sweetness of fruit, silky-smooth tannins and a nice acid balance that give it the edge to be food-friendly and not at all overblown. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.