(2021) From a unique Provence terroir on the Trévaresse volcano, winemaker Michel Fabre has made this wine from vineyards grown on soils composed of black rock, basalt and clay-limestone. The blend is Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, and the nose has a distinct floral lift, plenty of rose and violet, and a peach and passion fruit. There'salso a flinty touch that's quite Chablis-like somewhere in the mix. The palate is dry and vividly fruity, watermelon and pomegranate, with very food acidity that does show a mineral sense of the volcanic soils. No UK stockists listed at time of review.
(2021) Garrus is made from a single vineyard of nearly 100 year-old Grenache vines, blended with a little Rolle (Vermentino), and fermented in new and second-use French oak barrels of 600-litres, where it is aged for a further 10 months with batonnage. The colour is still delicate and appealing, but the nose is intriguing: the herbs and light floral and summer fruit scents are there, but it seems deeper, it seems as though it is a rosé that is holding something in reserve and not putting it all there from the start. In the mouth it is bone dry, and though there's a hint of passion fruit and even mango, that is soon tempered and calmed by a serious bit of structure, salts and lemon acids yes, but also an intensity of small red berries from cranberry to redcurrant, the concentration seeming to build in the mouth. It's a wine that plays mind-games with you, seeming like a typically fresh, floral and herb-strewn Provence pink one minute, perhaps a delicate and feminine Pinot Noir the next, and yet with the texture and balance of a fine white wine. Truly something exceptional and will cellar positively too.
(2020) Noval's Late Bottled Vintage is unflitered and unlike many LBV's will improve in the bottle as it cellars, but is best decanted off of its sediment. Having spent over five years in barrel, it's a glorious wine, crimson-black in colour, with a soaring perfume of cherry and violet, blackcurrant, vanilla and spices. In the mouth there is abundant sweetness, ripe black and red berries, with a chocolaty density, super-smooth tannins and a pert cherry acidity to keep it on its toes. With around 90g/l of residual sugar this is definitely sweet, but retains a lovely freshness too. For mince pies or Christmas pudding, also hard and blue cheeses, a banker.
(2020) A late picked wine, Botrytis-affected, made from the uniquely Australian variety, Taminga, bred to retain acidity in hot conditions, and found to be very susceptible to Botrytis, thus suitable for making such inexpensive sweet wines. Honey, glycerine and a wisp of barely sugar on the nose, bold citrus and some floral aromas, are all very inviting. In the mouth it has some weight and lusciousness, the fruit between juicy nectarine and orange, more honey, and while it doesn't have the complexity or finesse of something like the Disznókő Tokaji also reviewed, it is balanced by good lemony acidity and delivers a helluva lot for the modest price. Price for 37.5cl
(2020) From the Coteaux Bourguignons appellation in Beaujolais (though vinified at Latour's HQ in Beaune), this grows on clay and limestone soils, which also have some 'terra rossa' iron-oxide influence. After fermentation in open vats it spends 10 to 12 months ageing in a combination of stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. Lovely cherry bright and briary nose, floral and lightly herbal characters adding freshness and light to the aromas. The fruit is deliciously sweet as it strikes the palate; pert and pretty, it is firmly in the red fruit spectrum of cherry and a touch of raspberry. Spicy, dry tannins and very good, juicy acidity adds length and balance. Deliciously drinkable.
(2020) Based on 50% Cinsault with Syrah and Grenache, this Rhône rosé is a full-flavoured and full bodied rendition, but not without delicacy. The colour is pale and attractive, the nose has a little confiture and watercolour paintbox lift, and the dry palate loads of small, dry, raspberry and reducurrant fruit flavours, sliced by fresh lemony acidity with a little salty edge into the finish.
(2020) From Cinsault vines grown in the Languedoc, this is another pale and Provençal-style rosé, there's a little bit of candy, amylic aroma here from the cold ferment (not uncommon in many of the palest rosés), and then cool and pretty watermelon fruit, touching on peachiness. Good, lemony acidity sharpens up the finish, with sweet small red berries.
(2020) Beautifully fragrant, all florals and cherries, all the elegance and lift you could ask for but a sweet red fruit character beneath the smoky oak. Beautifully balanced and clean, the fruit perfectly poised between depth and crispness, the oak wonderfully integrated, and the finish so taut and precise. A fabulous wine.
(2020) 10% whole bunches and 100% French oak for 13 months, 33% new barrels. Nice pale colour, warming with a touch of maturing colour. Great nose, with some exotic spices and a touch of clove, the fruit is autumn berries and now a pleasing note of truffle and forest floor. The palate is dry, the tannins very fine with good balancing acids, the fruit is red berries and cream. Price and stockist quoted at time of review are for a previous vintage.
(2020) Old fashioned in its way, this is light (12.5% abv), subtle Pinot Noir with a touch of chestnutty, autumnal warmth and a red fruit profile. In the mouth the tannins and acidity give this firmness, arguably a slightly lean quality, but that savouriness with a hint of sour orange and firm, small red berries is also its appeal. A 'proper Pinot', or rather, 'proper Burgundy' at the entry level, with a certain briary, stalky austerity.