(2014) >From vineyards fifteen kilometers north-west of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this is a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Carignan and 5% Mourvèdre and Cinsault. It pours a striking and vivid deep purple colour, with a beautiful lift to the nose, a real white pepper fragrance, touched with herbs and flowers, and sappy cherry fruit. On the palate it has delightful juiciness and a creamy red fruit flavour, the ripeness and fruit sweetness is apparent, and the finish quite gentle, with spice and pepper, smooth tannins and a freshness to the acidity. Really delicious stuff.
(2014) The 'GSM²' refers to the blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mataro and Merlot, from McLaren Vale in South Australia. It is aged for a year in various sizes of French and American oak, and weighs in with a moderate 13.5% alcohol. Pouring a rich but not opaque earthy red, it has a lovely perfume: immediately fragrant with exotic spices, Sandalwood, bright red fruits and briar. It flirts with floral aromas in a very distinctive profile. On the palate there's a full and rich core of sweet berry fruits, but it retains that little edge of spice and woodland earthiness, the soft but grainy tannins and the balanced cherry acid bite give very nice balance too.
(2014) >From clay and limestone vineyards planted to 85% merlot and 15% cabernet franc, vines are on average 50 years of age. Classic stuff, there's a touch of mineral, iron-oxide bloodiness on the nose, a hint of leafiness and cedar, and then a lean core of bramble and blackcurrant fruit. On the palate it is very grown-up claret, with a tensioning grip of tannin and powerful acidity, the spices and the sinewy black fruit coming through on the mid-palate. The wine finishes on savoury fruit and spice, in delicious Bordeaux style.
(2014) This estate produces red, white and dessert wines from 25 hectares of vineyard, certified organic since 2003. The blend is Sémillon and Muscadelle, with botrytised fruit picked in successive 'tries'. It has a classic nose, all flooded with apricot and honey, a suggestion of leaf tea and barley sugar. On the palate it is sweet but not cloying, the medium- to full texture is rich and mouth-coating, but there is masses of acidity and a warming, gently toasty character adding layers to the integral sweetness of the fruit. Beautifully balanced and with excellent length, it is a terrific Sauternes alternative.
(2014) What a delightful Sancerre this is: crisp and elegant with 12.5% alcohol and bursting with aroma: gooseberry, a touch of elderflower and fresh-mown grass, hints of talcum and minerals, and sheer citrus fruit. On the palate it is punchy and vivacious, a lovely burgeoning ripeness hinting at the tropical, but so much clarity and precision, shimmering into a delicate but purposeful, long finish.
(2014) >From a 14-hectare family estate in Beaune, farmed with the minimal intervention philosophy of lutte raisonnée, this is an ultra fresh and crisp Chardonnay, just a trace of faint honey and nuttiness betraying some oak, but with a direct and piercing freshness of fruit. On the palate it is firm and juicy, the oak adding a touch of warming toast, but the firm fruit quality, tight texture and acidity all pushing through smartly. The finish is long and balanced between hints of sweet and ripe apple and the structured, grippy acids in a serious and gastronomic wine.