(2019) A Pinot Noir-dominated blend with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, this is aged on the lees for up to three years.Tasmania truly is Australia's darling for sparkling wine production, with one of its coolest climates. This traditional method fizz (or Méthode Tasmanoise as they would have it) has a very pale, delicate colour and nose that balances rosy red apples and a summer pudding berry fruit. On the palate it is straightforward and the fruit drives it, but the acid really is well-balanced and the dry finish where around 10g/l of dosage means it is quite soft and approachable.
(2019) Paler and more delicate colour, rather more raisin and dried fig aromas, smokiness and tobacco. Immediately more luxurious, a velvet texture and pure, sweet, the luscious plump fruit and nuttiness giving complexity and richness against the acidity. Fabulous.
(2019) A little more caramel and light dustiness, walnut husks and dry in character. The palate has that intensity ramped up slightly, but it's a lovely bitter orange tang of acidity. Long and so intense.
(2019) The 2015 edition of Seveb Springs lightly-oaked Chardonnay is a really good one I must say, nutty and gently toasty notes atop generous tropical fruit, but there's a hint of a steelier character of cooler orchard fruits too. In the mouth it is expansive and ripe, but far from over-blown, the juiciness of the acidity and a salty lick of minerality off-setting the creamy depth of fruit.
(2019) Chardonnay from the south Burgundy, this has very little oak that I can detect, though there is perhaps a smidgeon giving a creamy almond and pastry touch to the ripe orchard fruits, maybe just a fleeting glimpse of something floral too. In the mouth it has medium body and a typically versatile combination of sweet fruit - but not too much of it - creamy texture and refined balancing acidity. Long with just a whisper of toast, it is fresh and appetising.
(2019) A Manzanilla, made from the Palomino grape grown in Jerez, and aged in a solera system in the humid conditions around Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Tasted from a white wine glass, this pale yellow, 15% alcohol Sherry does have the distinctive iodine tang of briny sea air, as well as dry nut husk and apple notes. On the palate it is intense and oh so dry, but it is rich, again it is nuttiness that floods the palate here, with that fresh and vital salty acidity giving great length. Pound for pound in terms of world wine quality, these Sherries remain such a bargain. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas. Price and stockists below for half bottles. Full bottles in Waitrose and others, at around £11.00.
(2018) A small proportion of the Chardonnay for this cuvée from Nyetimber was barrel-fermented, and the wine was released only after a full five years on the lees. Pale straw/gold, with very small bubbles, the yeasty development is inviting, a touch of biscuit against the crisp summer orchard fruit. In the mouth it seems to have quite a sweet edge to the fruit, perhaps towards the top of the 'Brut' range I'd guess, and that, plus the creamy lees character, gives a slightly softer finish despite the wine retaining good zippy acid. It also makes it a very pleasing wine to sip, or match with white fish and sushi.
(2018) A deeply coloured wine with an attractive blackcurrant pastille ripeness and peppery lift on the nose, certainly fruit-driven. On the palate there's a light meat-stock character to the supple black fruit, quite soft tannins and a juiciness to the acidity, thought the 14.5% alcohol does show through a little in the finish.
(2018) Very deep, crimson/black stuff, this comes from a single vineyard on the slopes of the Hawekwa Mountains in Wellington. It is meaty, dense and quite closed on first pouring, but opens up to blackcurrant and spices, a touch of graphite and cedar, but stays meaty and dark. In the mouth the ripe sweetness of the fruit powers through, a fleshy richness, with the tannins and spiciness from the barrels filling in beneath, the 14.5% alcohol this time being soaked up rather better by the fruit and structure, to finish on spice and sweet fruit.
(2017) It is still relatively rare to see a single varietal Petit Verdot: one of Bordeaux's minor varieties rarely gets star billing. In Bordeaux small amounts are used to add spice to the blend, but here under the South African sun it gains extra fruit concentration, ripeness and smoothness. The colour is deep and saturated, and the nose shows plenty of spice and pepper, a clove and nutmeg character and glossy black cherry and plum. In the mouth that spiciness continues, and despite its 14.5% alcohol, it is braced by tight, fine tannins and a pert cherry pit acidity, that works against a creaminess and depth to very nice effect.