(2017) Made from old bush vine, from once overgrown and abandoned vineyards as Grenache fell out of favour. Older French and American oak just adds a touch of spice and earthiness, but its all about buoyant fruit, grape spice and a long finish that stays juicy, taut and very moreish.
(2016) "The most radical wine in our portfolio," says Felipe. It began as a project with just 10 rows of vines, but the first few years were hit or miss, with some greenness. So they have planted new vineyards in the highest part of the vineyard - this is still young vines - and it clearly must be picked early with only 12% alcohol. 16 months in barrels with spontaneous fermentation and only gentle extraction. A touch funky and a touch reduced. Felipe thinks it is still too young. Fine charcoal and peppery notes do come through, with a touch of leather and bacon fat, a touch of cedar/graphite and certainly a nose full of aromas. The palate has lots of dry, earthy, dry red fruit character, refined and savoury with good length. Available only by the half case.
(2016) The flagship wine, from a very specific block on white chalk soil that is free draining and friable. Lovely flinty minerality joining passion fruit and subtle tropical fruit, but there's a sense of grip and depth too and a touch of green bean character. A very small proportion is barrel fermented which aids the textural feel in the mouth, the vegetal, asparagus flavour but ripe too and dry, with good acidity showing a little saline touch.
(2016) Half of this blend was fermented in barrel with wild yeasts. Felipe describes it as a very low yielding variety that they harvest several weeks after the Sauvignon Blanc. Has a fair bit of green bean and asparagus character, but typically for Gris it has a slightly earthy, less exuberantly fruity nuances, but is very inviting. The palate is beautifully appealing, a lot of fruit sweetness and ripeness, a broad texture but pin sharp finish slicing through the fruit richness. 4g/l residual sugar. Note the price per bottle is shown, but available by the half case only from this supplier.
(2016) Planted in the bottom of the vineyard in clay. More vigour but also prone to frost - so 2015 wiped out for example. Felipe says they are considering abandoning this block and moving gewurz to the hillside. Not the most perfumed Gewurtztraminer, but subtle toffee and exotic notes do come through, with just a hint of florality. 20% is barrel fermented. The palate is rich and full, maybe just - just - off-dry, a slightly sticky finish through its extract and hint of sugar. Price shown is per bottle, but available only by the half case.
(2016) Felipe says the Riesling produces very small bunches and a low production, and he makes the wine without skin contact to retain purity. Pale colour, fresh clear aromas of lemon blossom, chalk and salt, some fresh red apple skins. The fruit has lots of Mandarin orange brightness and it is dry with a terrific core of waxy lemony acidity. Long and beautifly balanced, there's a hint of sweetness right in the finish (just 4g/l residual sugar).
(2016) Ten months in older barrels for this wine which was harvested early. Rather reduced, sulphur aromas with some florality coming through, a hint of chestnut. The aromas do begin to emerge with black cherry. The palate has a dry, quite meaty character, with a firmess to the black fruit. Lovely juiciness comes through.
(2016) Fourteen months in French oak, 20% new, from chalk soils. A meatiness and obvious wild yeast earthiness here, and just a touch of reduction again. The fruit comes through very sweetly on the palate, still meaty and warmly earthy, but a touch of vanilla and fine tannins, some fat but lovely acid clarity. Stops just short of being a bit to heavy and full for my Pinot Noir tastes. Price is per bottle, but available only by the half case.
(2016) Another example of Marlborough's shifting shape, a barrel-fermented, natural yeast treatment loads the wine with minerals, smoke and flint, very much of the complex and super dry mould. Massive assertive grapefruit finish and such formidable presence. Bravo to Ben Glover, the winemaker here at his family estate, for an exceptional effort.
(2016) A superb 2015 bottling of this 'En Rama' Sherry, bottled without filtration and when the flor is thickest. The same wine is bottled in small batches at different times, and the bottling date is not always identified by the retailer. Having said that, every bottling we've tasted has been superb. Fabulous meaty nose, loaded with dry nutty aromas and the seaside saltiness that can only be Manzanilla, a real basic instinct sense of life and vitality in a superb, complex wine. Price for a half bottle.