(2021) From the southern part of Baden, a warm, southerly area this is essentialy the entry level of Martin Wassmer's three Spätburgunders (Pinot Noir), which buyer Marcel Orford Williams says is his prefered cuvée. There is a really lovely cherry and floral-edged perfume here, pot-pourri spices to the fore, a touch of something herbal or mineral way in the background. In the mouth the fruit is sweet, but there's a firm, slightly beetrooty earthiness, a touch of dry, hessian character that I presume comes from inclusion of stems in the ferment, and makes it savoury while slightly blunting the initial fruit sweetness. With a nicely grown-up touch sourness to the acidity to play against the sweet fruit, It feels like a very authentic Pinot this.
(2021) A very attractive rendition of Muscat this, not lacking in the distinctively floral and nettle freshness of the varietal aromas, but with plenty of crunchy, vivid, bone-dry apple fruit and a great searing core of citrus acidity that drives the finish with a bit of real personality. Quite full bodied, it's a long and powerful wine, finishing punchy and pithy.
(2021) Made by the Adega Monção in the heart of Vinho Verde's best Alvarinho terroir in the far north of Portugal, this is from a very ripe vintage, but buyer Jo Locke was very happy with the freshness too. I have to say I found this a scintillating summer sipper, a tiny hint of spritz adding to that fresh appeal, but aromatic combination of some Reisling-like waxiness and lime peel zest is lovely, then the palate streaks with that limey purity, hints of nectarine sweetness, and excellent acid vibrancy into the finish. A sheer delight.
(2021) I visited Künstler many years ago when they were in the vanguard of the new wave of drier German Rieslings and was very impressed by the quality, so nice to see this Wine Society bottling on very good form, a lovely purity of fruit, all sliced pear and waxy lemons, the palate creamy and limpid, and if there is any residual sugar it is swept up in the flow of mouth-watering acidity.
(2021) Buyer Marcel Orford Williams says 2016 is the best vintage he has seen in the Rhône in recent years, this from the very small region of Brézème just south of Crozes-Hermitage, is 100% Syrah. What a delightful perfume on this, hints of violet and rose, a cool fleck of pepper, and firm and juicy red fruits beneath. Aromatically complex, it follows onto the palate with silky tannins and pert, vital acidity, both keeping very good freshness against the savoury fruit and hint of meatiness, spice and tobacco. Long and a little star.
(2021) A classic, traditional method blend of Macabeu, Xarel·lo and Parellada, spending 40 months on the lees before disgorgement. Buyer Pierre Mansour says he's on a 'bit of a mission' to support Cava, given the market share and prominence it has lost, especially with the boom of Prosecco, and my goodness this is proof that he has a point: Brut Nature, so dry and without dosage, it has the honeyed, buttery and waxy note I often get from quality Cava made from the traditional varieties, a full, generous mousse, and a mouth-filling breadth of creamy and lightly biscuity character with excellent yellow plum and citrus fruit and acidity to finish. Very fine, very delicious.
(2021) A blend of 55% Moschofilero and 45% Roditis from Nemea on the Greek mainland, this is an aromatic white, definitely showing something waxy and Riesling-like, with rose-like perfume as well as citrus. On the palate it is surprisingly full-textured and weighty for a 12% alcohol wine, but the pithy lemon and lemon rind fruit and sheer acidity gives it great clarity. At under £9, it is very appealing and a bit different. Great with fish and seafood, from calamari to mussels.
(2021) Concha y Toro do a great job at all sorts of price levels, and this from their upmarket Marqués de Casa Concha range comes from vineyard at 650m altitude. It is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with 17% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot, and aged 16 months in barriques. Winemaker Marcelo Papa estimates it will cellar well for 20 years, but right now it delivers a big, deep, sonorous glass of wine, plum, blackcurrant and sleek spices carry through to a palate of dense fruit, slicked with vanilla, creamy and black fruit concentration and a broad base of tannin. It's a concentrated mouthful of wine for sure that needs a steak or something off the char-grill, but big-scaled, serious and intense stuff. Watch the video review for more information.
(2020) Only the second vintage of this 'Small batch' wine from Hampshire, made by Jacob Leadley, ex winemaker at Hattingly Valley from the Champagne grape triumverate of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This is a serious contender for joining the top echelons of English sparkling wine. Opening with a vivacious citrus blast of keen, clean fruit, there are plenty of autolytic notes of biscuit and freshly picked mushrooms, a refined and lightly earthy - and very Champagne-like - character. In the mouth there is fantastic fruit sweetness and generosity, with 8g/l of residual sugar and 20 months on the lees, but it is dry, the lemony, zesty clarity of the finish flashing through a sweet and ripe mid-palate with terrific style, the finish long and fine. A hugely enjoyable first taste of this producer for me. Available from 9th October 2020.
(2020) Made from the local Encruzado grape in the mountainous Dão region of Portugal, this was made by winemaker Carlos Lucas in association with Wine Society buyer Jo Locke MW. Unoaked, the nose is immediately fresh and herb-tinged, but has a certain nuttiness and hint of weight and richness too, the fruit mostly about citrus and no doubt the 370-metres altitude of the vineyards adding to the sense of vibrancy. In the mouth it is full-textured and quite luscious, hinting at Ogen melon and ripe red pear, but the flashing citrus and hint of mineral salts to the acidity extends the finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.