(2020) What a nice fizz from the organic vineyards of Charles Baur, a blend of 40% Pinot Blanc, 40% Pinot Auxerrois and 20% Chardonnay, it is made by the traditional method with 24-months on the lees, and is as approachable and crowd-pleasing as you like, but really rather fine. Clean, crisp orchard fruits on the nose with just a suggestion biscuity quality, then super fresh but generous and not at all tart or acidic on the palate, a little herbal note along with the apple fruit into a clean, fresh finish. Food-friendly stuff too - for fish and chips perhaps?
(2020) From 30-year-old vines grown on silty soils over chalk, this wine matures on the lees for several months. That adds some weight and texture to this otherwise crisp and zingy-fresh Riesling, pale in colour and offering scents of fresh-cut apple, a touch of blossom, and a suggestion of Epsom salts in the background. In the mouth it has some weight and concentration, but the citrus zest vitality and delicate sense of minerals in the finish keep it focused and long into the finish. A lovely rendition of a classic style.
(2020) Chardonnay is not one of Alsace's noble varieties, hence this is not an AOC wine and is MMXVII - it cannot be sold as a vintage wine. Unoaked I think, but has creaminess and some buttery character from lees ageing presumably, and it is a pretty, floral-edged and clean orchard fruit style, wild yeast fermenation just adding an earthy, herbal nuance. It has texture and some mouth-filling weight, a touch of sweetness or just very ripe fruit, which gives a tropical edge on the palate, but a balanced and easy finish, the acidity doing its job admirably in an enjoyable rendition of Chardonnay.
(2020) Muscat d’Alsace may not be the most famous variety of the region, but it is distinctive and in the hands of a producer like Baur, makes for fascinating and delicious drinking. Very pale in colour, the nose offers up thos musky, floral aromas so typical of the Muscat family of grape varieties, but there's a hint of a more serious, grippy fruit skin character too. In the mouth the merest hint of sweetness in a basiclly dry wine, but such lovely tang and clarity, mouth-watering lemon zest acidity and little spice and grapefruit pith notes too in an impeccably balanced wine.
(2019) The credentials here are solid, from a vineyard adjoining the famous Miraval estate and with winemaking guided by Jean Louis Bavay, who gained his rosé expertise at the legendary Domaine Ott. It's a classic Provence pink, mostly Grenache and Cinsault along with 20% Syrah, about 8% of which is fermented oak. Maybe that gives the little hint of spice on the nose, but it's mostly driven by small red berries - cranberries, redcurrants - watermelon and rose-hips, but there's zestiness too. In the mouth it feels quite substantial, though very crisp and fresh, lots of lemony zip and vigour, a peachy softness to the fruit, but always dry, mouth-watering and food-friendly in style. A fine example of Provence Rosé at a very fair price. Free delivery on 12 bottles. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2019) From an interesting collaboration between the top Pessac-Léognan estate of Domaine de Chevalier and Stephane Derenencourt, this is mostly Merlot with 30% of Cabernet Franc, so presumably from 'right bank' vineyards given that blend. It's a deeply spiced and plummy wine, offering instantly appealing depth of aroma, touched with cedary olive character, but mostly about the plummy Merlot fruit. In the mouth the silky texture, soft creamy tannins and weight of mid-palate fruit flow across the tongue, before a bright finish where pert acidity and a bit of structure pull the wine through to a long finish. Approachable Bordeaux, but more substance than many at a similar price.
(2019) You know, for its price, this really is a particularly good Bordeaux, 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, from chalky and clay soils. Bold purple in colour, there's a refined graphite note on the nose, just a hint of cedar, and plenty of ripe fleshy red and black fruits. In the mouth the pleasure continues, a lovely dark stripe of bittersweet liquorice underpinning plum and pulpy red berries, spices, acid and tannin all harmonious in the finish. It feels as if it will cellar for a few years too. A little star at under £10.
(2019) From organic vineyards in Campo de Borja, an appellation in the north of Spain, this is pure and joyful Grenache, undoubtedly the star grape of the region. Brimming with perfume, ripe cherries and incense smoke join with floral notes for a heady opening salvo. In the mouth its a seductive wine, full-bodied creamy and silky in texture, sheer tannins and softly insistent acidity offset the weight of plum and blackberry fruit in a terrifically gluggable wine with real personality. A barbecue stunner for the summer, very lightly chilled.
(2019) From the seaside vineyards of Sanlucar, again eight to ten years old on average from a Solera composed of around 10 stages. Lighter aromatically than the Fino, more floral and less marked by the flor, almond and candied peel, elegant and briney. In the mouth dazzling freshness and bite, there is a little bread dough softness in there, but it is a dry, concentrated style, a note of verjus, with a tang of bittersweet orange peel and very good length.
(2019) Not much information on the Piñero website about this bottling with its bright golden colour, but it comes from a solera with an average age of around 20 to 25 years. Lovely nose, the complex oxidative notes do not dominate but add a lovely walnutty richness, a touch of caramel and cappuccino, olive too in a layered set of aromatics. In the mouth very dry, though not as uncompromisingly dry as the Fino for example, the long ageing having smoothed the framework into a nutty, Seville orange marmalade richness, though still cut by lemon and salt mineral acidity.