(2019) In Italy it's name is Pinot Grigio, but the grape variety is also known as Pinot Gris in France, and in recent decades world wine producers who grow and bottle the variety have tended to use these terms as a sort of short-hand for style - sometimes even quality. It's fair to say that the reputation of Italian Pinot Grigio has suffered from cheap, over-cropped and commercial wines that have become the staple of by-the-glass white wine in pubs and bars, the fairly indiscriminate choice of people who just want "an inofessive glass of white." So Pinot Grigio - as opposed to Gris - has an arguably deserved poor reputation among some wine lovers, but that does a huge diservice to many very good, very carefully made examples from the variety's heartland in the north of Italy, but also wines like this, made much further south, in Tuscany. Banfi's Grigio comes from vineyards in the southern part of Montalcino, and has genuine fruit sweetness and ripeness (rather than residual sugar) and a fair degree of concentration. Fleshy stone fruits and citrus on the nose lead on to an expansive palate, with Ogen melon and more lemon rind weight and citrus intensity, the acidity gentle but persistent, giving this easy drinking appeal for sure, but a bit of class, weight and authority too. A very nice example.
(2019) A lovely perfume here, buoyant black berries, ripe and full-bodied, there’s just the faintest touch of green in the background, but that is perfectly a pointe here, because the chocolate-ripe fruit is what drives this wine. Smoky and chalky tannins, a great ripe character, chewy but. Not at all tough or extracted. A lovely wine.
(2019) A still wine, made from 55% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Semillon and 20% Chardonnay grown at altitude in the Bekaa Valley. It has a really pretty nose, much more on the summer flowers and exotic fruit spectrum than anything more grassy given the majority Sauvignon in the blend, delicate spice and pot-pourri notes add interest. In the mouth some oak-ageing is evident (presumably the Chardonnay proportion) adding toast and a butteriness, but a big thrust of pithy lemon and grapefruit pushes through crisply. Highly quaffable, highly enjoyable.
(2019) This spends 15 months in French oak, around 10% new. 50% Shiraz, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot. Lovely nose, overflowing with fruit a little lifted volatile character, some toasty oak beneath. Silky and smooth on the palate, there is plenty of sweet red and black fruit density, a stripe of tannin and good balancing acids. Good value from independents at around £11-£12, Majestic list it at £13.99 at time of review.
(2019) From 51-year-old vineyards. Fermented in Austrian oval casks and 9 months on the lees. There's A touch of green fig and smokiness, lots of green bean, oily and rich, the palate rounded and pungently flavoursome, great acidity but such lovely punch and vibrancy in a Graves style.
(2019) Michel Rolland misunderstood Andre, who was looking for 3000 cases, but Michel thought it was 3000 bottles, so they had to suddenly blend 33,000 extra bottles. 17 months in all French oak, 50% new. High, pepper, cedar and bright cassis fruit. Very juicy blackcurrant fruit, slicked with chocolate, deep plum fruit, a little balsamic, but very pure, and lovely polished tannins and svelte fruit.
(2019) Sauvignon Blanc 60%, Assyrtiko 40% and super-fresh and citrussy, good pure Sancerre-like Sauvignon aromas. Lovely running-water clarity, peach and nectarine verging into pineapple. Deliciously appealing style, so much sweet fruit but excellent acid balance.
(2019) A 50/50 blend of Assyrtiko and Semillon, which was barrel fermented and aged in oak, 50% of the barrels new. The barrels give a creamy and lightly minty character, then some green and passion fruit notes. The palate has more texture, and a real keen lime fruit and lime acidity. Long and the limpid texture and freshness, that works beautifully with food.
(2019) A Moschofilero and Roditis blend, made in stainless steel, this is fresh and yet ripe with a fleshy fruit character. Fruity and bright, lots of elegant fat lemon and orange fruit, a hint of the exotic and I like the long and bright finish with a little weight and texture too.
(2019) Four months in a blend of Acacia wood and French and American oak barrels. Still a little of that elderflower, but clearly more complex, oatmeal and cream and floral characters. Dry and bold lemon and lime fruit and intense acidity power through to a lightly spicy and saline finish. Savoury, gastronomic and complex.