(2020) I see from my database that I did taste a Sauvignon/Semillon blend from Hollick way back in 1998, but it was still something of a shock to see this: a Sauvignon Blanc from Coonawara, normally associated with South Australia's premium Bordeaux-style red wines. It's certainly packed to the rafters with character; abundant and pungent herbaceous and elderflower aromas, pea-shoots and tropical fruit, then the palate showing just a little bit of a sweet-sour character for me, the vivid exotic fruit surely a little residual sugar against lemon-jelly acidity.
(2020) A Californian cab that brought a huge smile to my face: the epitome of what a generous, sweet-fruited wine from the Sunshine State should offer, but with a bit of class too. From vineyards in the homeland of the Sonoma Valley, but also further afeild as far south as Monterey and Paso Robles, it spends time in Frenach and American oak (40% new) and is really rather glorious: aromatically OTT with rich blackberry and chassis, patchouli, sandalwood and menthol, soaring from the glass, then a lush palate of sweet and ripe, succulent black fruit, smooth and creamy tannins and juiciness to spare. Sometimes a wine just has to be delicious, and that's what this offers in abundance.
(2020) Another stylish bottle for this blend of Syrah, Grenache and a little of the white variety, Rolle. Pale in colour, and an intense nose of lime peel, small red fruits and something quite mineral and concentrated, maybe melon skins. In the mouth again there is an impressive level of fruit concentration here, more intense and powerful than many Provence rosés, but it does not lack clarity or finesse, or fresh acidity. Very good. Price and stockist quoted at time of review is for the previous vintage.
(2019) Spicy, bold, quite a deep colour, bold fruit and spice-driven, some aromatic tobacco notes, the palate creamy and rich, the figgy sweetness offset by the acidity. Lovely freshness with unobtrusive spirit just warming the finish.
(2019) Aromatic, a little more floral lift than the 2013 for sure, a touch of kirsch and that fleshy sweet black fruit over the big powerful tannins. Wonderful balance here, and length. Very fine.
(2017) This is the first still wine I have tasted from Prosecco producer Sentio, and you know it is a rather good one: it's a northern Italian Pinot Grigio with a bit of weigh and substance, the clear juicy pear aroma (not pear drops, but succulent fruit) leads on to quite a full palate, a bit of lime, and the merest hint of sweetness is from ripe fruit, not sugar, and is soon swept up in matching acidity to leave it dry, moreish and very easy to drink.
(2017) What a beautiful Champagme from Marc Hébrart, a blend of old vine Pinot Noir (around 60%) and Chardonnay, the vines more than 40 years old. It has a richly toasty nose, plenty of depth and lightly earthy, terroir substance here, the crispness of the mousse giving fine initial attack on the palate. Everything comes sharply into focus here, an incisive, thrusting core of citrus and taut Asian pear, but that coolness balanced by real depth of creaminess and that powerful, much more broadly painted toast. A touch of salinity completes a very complex but utterly delicious Champagne.
(2017) Only 1760 bottles of this wine were released (this was bottle 1749), a decade on from its first release. It's an almost-all Merlot Bordeaux blend, an homage to the great 'Right Bank' clarets, and though big-scaled (as are many St Emilions and Pomerols) it is an extremely credible effort: smoky, cedary and with a fudge-like depth, warm autumn and summer berry fruits flood the nose, a touch of graphite, before a chocolate-infused palate that also has grip and tension, thanks to a plum-skin bittersweetness to the fruit and plenty of fruit and oak tannins. Sumptuous. Price and stockist quoted is for the 2012 vintage at time of review.
(2016) A fine, upfront Pinot from the Adelaide Hills, Riposte is the label of Tim Knappstein, ex- of his eponymous label Tim Knappstein of the Clare Valley, but now forging his own way in the Adelaide Hills. Tim uses a signigicant proportion of whole berries in his fermentation for this wine giving the fruit brightness of carbonic maceration, with very little oak. It has fabulous aromatics, cherry and kirsch, and buoyant, fresh black berries, briar and spicy truffles. Joyous fruit ripeness and sweetness on the palate, it is super sweet and buoyant, but framed by its acidity and a fine, gentle tannin to support.
(2015) Just 12.5% ABV and 100% Chardonnay from old, dry-farmed bush vines. Very lovely crushed oatmeal and gentle earthiness, that dry and mellow concentration again with a blast of cool orange acidity. So juicy and vital, this is a mouth-watering Chardonnay.