(2010) This Loire Sauvignon Blanc is very lightly handled by Alain Cailbourdin, fermented using indigenous yeasts with a cool ferment and no soaking of the grapes to capture a light, fresh style. The nose has real delicacy, with stone fruit aromas of yellow plum and peach, a suggestion downy softness but of juicy freshness as well. On the palate it has pristine, very fresh fruit, with a tangerine and lime tang and vibrancy, and a long finish where zesty lemon and a touch of minerality push through. Delightful stuff, and very carefully done.
(2010) >From the up and coming Bierzo region of northwest Spain, this old vine Mencia is a dramatically dark colour and offers deeply-set aromas of black cherries, ground spices and a subtle, earthy smokiness. The palate is medium-bodied, and has an elegant black fruited juiciness. It is dry and savoury, with a light, liquoricy touch to the tannins and good acid balance, with a long finish that offers delicate spice and black fruits that intermingle very elegantly. Made by Martin Codax (who also produce the Burgans Albariño, and do not believe the Oddbins web site which says it is 100% Monastrell (Mourvèdre) - the label says it is Mencia, a specialist grape of Bierzo.
(2010) This certified organic wine, a half and half blend of Syrah and Grenache, comes from the Rhône Valley. It has a wonderfully bright, lifted nose, with a distinctive pepper and re liquorice edge to racy red fruits, kirsch and summer pudding. It is lovely I have to say. On the palate that light, juicy, particularly fresh and spirited character flows through, the crunchy, vivid fruit and dry, mineral edged tannins and acidity offering plenty of life and vitality. What a terrific little wine.
(2010) This Grenache-dominated Corbières also has 15% each of Syrah and Carignan in the blend, and is made with natural yeasts and minimum sulphur. The nose is elegant and classic, with a touch of schisty, smoky character, a sprinkle of cracked black pepper and a racy, raspberry fruit quality beneath. It is firm on the palate - perhaps even a touch austere - with a the raspberry fruit staying keen and focused, but plenty of tannin, acid and alcohol just rasping very slightly.
(2010) A decade ago, the idea of an established French winemaker making wine in Australia was almost unheard of, apart from a few big Champagne houses. But cross-cultural collaborations like this are a little more common nowadays, and in fact, Chapoutier has been in Australia with his Mount Benson project for some time. This Syrah/Shiraz from Victoria has a beautifully graphite-like lift on the nose, with a delicate smokiness, some floral notes and a clear blackcurrant fruit. The wine is unoaked, allowing the fruit to sing through on the palate, where it is medium-bodied and savoury, with the juicy, tart quality of biting into a fresh plum or black cherries, and a fresh, food-friendly finish.
(2010) >From the Costers del Segre region, high in northeast Spain close to the French border, this is an unusual blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Carignan and Marselan (the latter a cross of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, now quite common in the Languedoc). It is aged in new French oak barrels. The nose has a swirling, enticing, Sandalwood and cassis density with a little lift of kirsch and very ripe blueberry fruit. On the palate this is a big, fruit-packed wine with a creamy, balsamic richness, the smooth, fragrant and spicy oak adding layered depth and the tannins overtly chocolaty and dense. It is big and bold, but there is good balance in a showy but successful style. At the mixed case price it will have considerable appeal.