(2020) From the genuinely cooler coastal region of Limarí, this is fermented and aged 12 months in Burgundian oak barriques. Oak aromas, however, are tempered and refined, with delicate hazelnut and honey, just a hint of toast lightly spread with lime marmalade, a more ripe and exotic fruit just hinted at on the nose. On the palate there really is a welter-weight of fruit ripeness and juicy sweetness, again that lightly toasty and spicy creaminess from the barrel, but the acid is precise and mineral, leaving this with a lip-tingling freshness against the still sweet fruit.
(2020) Argentina does Cabernet Franc very well as a rule of thumb, this from two vineyards at 950m and 1,120m elevation, fermented with wild yeasts and spending 12 months in oak barrels. Plush, deep and filled with polished black fruit, there's a tug of earthy spices too, then the wine surges across the palate with sweet-edged blueberry, damson and black cherry, smooth and silky with its oak-polished tannins, and the acidity nicely judged. A serious bottle of wine at its £10 offer price in Tesco unil 2nd january 2021, even better if you buy before the 16th December in England with the 25% off six bottles deal. Could take on roasted fowl, game or beef. Maybe decant this one for an hour before serving just to open it up some more.
(2020) Fermented in stainless steel with "a short maturation in French oak," fruit is sourced from both the Limestone Coast and Grant Burge's Barossa homeland. Fruit is to the fore, melon and apple, just a small suggestion of oak, the wine quite crisp in the finish with pear-drop hints always in the background. I have to say it's a wine that feels just too 'manufactured' - constructed in Australia to be commercially appealing, bottled here in the UK, and I'll expect to see it 'on promotion' at £7 or £8 fairly regularly.
(2020) From the Western Cape, a blend of Cinsault and Pinotage (itself a cross-breed of Cinsault and Pinot Noir) coming in a 1.5 litre bag-in-box, and stressing it's eco-credentials of low carbon footrprint, recyclability and sustainability, and if that's not enough a percentage of sales goes to social upliftment in South Africa. The stuff inside? Well Bruce Jack knows what he is doing and this is a plummy, fruity and spicy gluggable party wine, with a perfumed character and balanced fruit. Enough tannin and acidity to make it food-friendl, it's on offer in Tesco until 28th December 2020 at £10 - £5 per bottle equivalent - so although it ain't no fine wine, it could be of interest. For more information watch the video.
(2020) For me one of the absolute 'banker' Grand Marque Champagnes, of excellent quality and yet widely available and often on discount. Shop around to find it for £25 or so, but until 2nd January 2021 it is just £21 in Tesco and that is bargain central. It's a superbly refined blend of mostly black grapes, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, with 15% - 20% of Chardonnay and 9 - 10g/l of dosage. Around 10% -20% reserve wines give depth and a certain biscuity richness, but it is a direct, focused wine with wonderfully clear fresh-cut pear fruit quality and pristine acidity. There is nuttiness and a fine line of smokiness into a long tapering finish that is very elegant, classy, but also fruity and terribly easy to drink.
(2020) Named in honour of Nicolás Catena Zapata's father, Domingo Vicente, this range comes from historic family vineyards, all planted at altitude, in this case from 950- to 1450-metres in the Andes foothills. Fermentation was in stainless-steel, after which the wine spent six months maturing, partly in French oak barrels, with batonnage (stirring) of the lees. The nose offers that attractive and harmonious blend of crushed oatmeal and almond over lightly exotic, peach and Ogen melon fruit. There is delicate spice too. In the mouth there is plenty of fruit, really quite unctuous and juicy-ripe, the oak adding a little vanilla and toast and the acidity doing enough to freshen the finish. Big without being blowsy. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas - and there's a fine Malbec and a Cabernet Franc in the same range.
(2020) With a bright, primary character, the subtle use of oak here just adds a smoothing character, letting the firm black plum and blackberry do its stuff. There is a nice little lift of violet and black pepper, the combination of Limestone Coast and Barossa fruit seeming to give this depth and a bit of brightness. Fruity, dry, with some spice on the palate, look out for deals on this as a reduction to £8 finished recently.
(2020) Typical varieties for this region of Southwest France, Colombard and Gros Manseng, were harvested during the night for maximum cool freshness, which gives this wine a bright, punchy and elderflower-scented Sauvignon-like aromatic, some of those thiols giving a touch of cat's pee on a gooseberry bush, a phrase so memorably coined by Oz Clarke to describe New Zealand's Sauvignons Blanc. The palate has both a ripe, tropical fruit lushness and streaming, citrussy acidity, the whole thing light, bright and straighforward verging on obvious, but it does a fine summer-in-the-garden job. Look out for discounts, as it is often available with 50p or £1 off. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) An absolute classic, made by the Torres family in Spain since the 1950s and yes, don't worry, still with a small eco-friendly plastic bull attached, despite the fact this is now under screwcap and thoroughly modern in style. It's a blend of 65% Grenache with 35% Carignan, and has a enjoyale blend of copious, sweet, buoyant red and black fruits that really brough a smile to my face, along with a bit of rustic grip adding some lovely mouthfeel and food friendliness. There's a litte spice, and little briarwood but it finishes balanced and fruity. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2020) Yalumba released their first organic Viognier in 2006, and 14 years on this lovely wine comes from organic vineyards to the north of Adelaide, and is made with minimal intervention. There's certainly a more gastronomic, savoury and saline character here compared to the Y Series. Juicy and well-fruited, with a lovely sense of purity and the merest touch of RS just broadening the feel of the dry finish.