(2019) Very slightly lighter in colour than the Ribolla, but delightful lemon peel, hay and straw like aromas, a little 'brighter' than the Ribolla, but perhaps lacking a little of the intensity. It certainly has more vivacious brightness on the palate, still that dry tobacco and tannin finish, a dry Fino character, but that little bit more orthodox.
(2019) Very smooth, but immediately involving nose, with a slightly purer, less Botrytis character than the 2008, but lovely purity of fruit here, as well as the complex phenolic characters from the skin contact. Apricot and orange, marmalade-like quality of bittersweetness, delicious, the fruit almost nectarine like, but of course wrapped in more complex earth and salt flavours, spices too.
(2018) A nicely clean and fresh style, slightly more open than the other Chardonnays, opening to good fruit and creamy golden oak notes. A touch of flintiness. Really drinking well, the balance is all you could look for when marrying Californian sunshine with astute and careful winemaking. Precise.
(2018) Fruit goes straight to press as whole clusters and then to barrel for fermentation, which normally takes 4 to 6 weeks. The wine goes through malolactic, but there is no lees stirring. After one year the wine is decanted to steel for an additional six months. Andy says some herbal element in this wine is encouraged by close planting and a slightly shaded canopy. This wine is both a vineyard selection and barrel selection with a lower pH (higher acidity) than might be found in white Burgundy for example. Very subtle oak, just an oatmeal sheen and a touch of lime and apple skins, a little wild yeast lightly earthy character, there is a fruit skin grip and texture, notable acidity and grip, fullness and an orange zest tang, really nicely balancing grip and richness with steely freshness.
(2018) A blend of two vineyards, Ritchie (66%) and Lorenzo, one sandy and giving full, rich fruit, one clay and giving more lean structure. Same vinification as the Estate wine. Slightly broader, more creamy character, a little more toast and almond, the fruit still keen and citrussy, but that nuttiness and softness differentiates. Much more ripeness and golden, luxurious Chardonnay character, but still plenty of grip and acid freshness.
(2018) This contains a proportion of Hyde fruit, from the Wente Clone. Absolutely delicious golden Chardonnay, with deep buttery notes but such delicious freshness, creamy ripe and so moreish, the slippery texture and ripeness making this hugely drinkable, nutty and citrus fresh in the finish. A wine with a huge instant gratification quotient: great drinkability and balance.
(2018) From the famous Hyde vineyard, this block planted in 1982 and organically farmed. A wine that took 10 months to complete fermentation according to Andy, in Chassin-coopered barrels. Deep and 'dirtier' aromas, lots of earthy almost chocolate aromas here, wild herbs and some juicy tangerine quality, but again the zipping freshness of the acidity and note of flint is thrilling. What a layered and complex, terroir-driven Chardonnay.
(2018) From young vines a fruity and youthful style - Andy says "You cannot make profound wines from very young vines." So this is aimed at early drinking and is apparently very popular as a by-the-glass wine in upmarket restaurants. It comes from an old massal selection of vines. Only 10% sees oak, and I thought it had just lovely buoyant cherry and red plum fruit, nice spice and a touch of tobacco. Similar palate, juicy and vital, delicious tang and cherry flesh and juiciness, finishing with a kirsch like intensity but lovely balance and energy. OK, not the layering of the other Pinots perhaps, but delightful.
(2018) A blend of two vineyards, the Occidental Road Vineyard, a 1990 planting of a Massal selection, plus their own sandy vineyard, O'Connel. Andy describes it as "A crafted wine, rather than a grown wine," with some whole bunches in the ferment, very few punch downs, more gentle remontage, and a long fermentation. It sees 45% new French oak. Fantastic glossy, deep black nose, almost cassis ripeness, Some char and coffee richness, graphite too. Delicious balance again, with the ripe plushness and just a touch of briar character, again texturally rich and dense, but the cherry freshness of the acidity cleanses beautifully. This tastes very youthful, but has such obvious quality.
(2018) Gorgeous perfume of violet and fragrant floral character, bursting cherry and cherry-stalk briar notes. Then delicious sweetness in the mouth, touches of mocha and plush, ripe fleshiness, pure and long, the tangy and bittersweet cherry skin quality extends the finish against the sweet fruit.