(2017) From Sicily and made from a blend of grapes including the local Insolia and Cataratto, but also a little Chardonnay, this is like walking through a lemon grove into an apple orchard. It's all about filigree lightness and clean, delicate flavours in a light-bodied format, and yet there is some real fruit concentration on the palate and a long, crisp finish as those lemon groves hove into view again. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2017) Who'd have thunk it? A fresh as a daisy, zipping and vibrant white wine from the baking heat of the Douro Valley, engine-room of big robust reds and, of course, Port. The secret here from Port maestros the Symington Family is altitude, grape choice, and early picking. A blend of aromatic varieties including Voishino, Malvasia and Moscatel, it has a heady perfume, all white flowers, tropical fruit and citrus - maybe even a hint of a Sauvignon-like elderflower in there too. The palate has a bit of weight, but lovely freshness, ensured by a grapefruity bite of acidity. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2017) The 75th anniversary release of this wine (the 1942 was the first release) which blends Tempranillo with around 20% Garnacha from Ardanza's own vineyards. Three years ageing in barrel gives minty chocolate notes, tobacco spices and exotic Sandalwood over elegant berry fruit, just edged with a gamey, cedary touch. In the mouth it delivers a big, personality-packed mouthful of ripe, plush, expansive berry fruit, but the elegance is undeniable again, a certain firmness to the cherry acidity, a bite of bittersweet cocoa and plum, and the swirl of toast and smoke into the long finish. Classic and utterly delicious. For more information and food-matching suggestions, please watch the video.
(2017) Another pale wine in the Provençal idiom. this comes from the Languedoc and blends two local grapes to excellent effect. Delicately touched by pink grapefruit, redcurrant and raspberry on the nose, the creamy but light-bodied palate shows more delicate fruit - wild strawberries and raspberries - but a lovely freshness to the acidity to give it a shimmering, lacework finish.
(2017) Made from 60% Aglianico and 40% Montepulciano grown in the volcanic Basilicata area of southern Italy, this is yet another deeply coloured, more traditional rosé. Vinous on the nose, a little cherry with a briary, herby touch, the palate is lovely: quite creamy in texture, a touch of meatiness and gastronomic dryness, savoury fruits and altogether dry, a touch rustic and grown-up, food-friendly in style.
(2017) Some people 'own-label' wines carry a certain stigma, but The Wine Society's Exhibition range is made by some of the world's best producers, and members can see past the label with ease. Proving yet again how English sparkling wine has really come of age, this Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier blend is gorgeous: light brioche and pastry aromas mix with citrus and a touch of English hedgerow flowers and fruits, before the palate fills with a creamy, textured mousse, more of that biscuity hint of richness and a dazzling sweet fruit and crisp acid combo that extends this through to a crystal clear, but very easy-drinking finish. Stylish to the nth degree and good value. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) One of the stars of this excellent range, a prime example of the 'new' Australian Chardonnay eschewing the excesses of ripeness and oak, but at the same time avoiding becoming too lean or ungenerous. The pitch is perfect, with ripe pear and juicy melon aromas, a touch of sour green apple to give bite, and the gentlest creaminess of oak. In the mouth there's fine fruit sweetness but balanced by a great core of acidity, a lick of salt, and a balanced, long finish.
(2017) GSM - Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre - is a classic blend not only of the Rhône Valley, but of McLaren Vale in South Australia. There's a lovely ripeness and roundness of black fruit on the nose - not jammy, but full and juicy, with a hint of pepper and spice. In the mouth the dry, fresh, slightly ashy character is offset beautifully by blackcurrant pastille fruit. A nice weight of spicy tannin and freshening acidity sets the whole, easy drinking barbecue-friendly style very nicely.
(2017) Alongside Grenache, Mataro - aka Mourvèdre - is now stealing a little bit of the limelight from Syrah in McLaren Vale. This has quite a similar nose to the GSM blend, a little bit of raspberry/strawberry lift to the fruit. In the mouth the spice and savoury richness of the fruit is good, a bit of chewy tannin and plum skin character, the sweetness of the fruit again nicely balanced by the acidity.
(2017) There's such a range of 'alternative varieties' planted in Australia now, and Victoria seems to be home to more than most. Indigenous to northern Italy, this Barbera is typically deep and vibrant in colour, and driven by its racy, Indian inky cherry skin fruit that is bittersweet with the bite of cherry skin tannin and acidity against the sweet flesh of the fruit. There's a pleasing herb or coal dust dry mineral quality to add interest too in a highly quaffable style.