(2019) A Manzanilla, made from the Palomino grape grown in Jerez, and aged in a solera system in the humid conditions around Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Tasted from a white wine glass, this pale yellow, 15% alcohol Sherry does have the distinctive iodine tang of briny sea air, as well as dry nut husk and apple notes. On the palate it is intense and oh so dry, but it is rich, again it is nuttiness that floods the palate here, with that fresh and vital salty acidity giving great length. Pound for pound in terms of world wine quality, these Sherries remain such a bargain. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas. Price and stockists below for half bottles. Full bottles in Waitrose and others, at around £11.00.
(2018) From a low-yielding vintage, this is a fabulous wine from Taittinger, a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with 9g/l of residual sugar. Chardonnay is sourced primarily from the Grands Crus of the Côte des Blancs, and Pinot Noir primarily from those of the Montagne de Reims. Fabulously toasty and nutty on the nose, there's an all-encompassing feeling of luxurious depth, then the palate bursts through with a deal of sweetness - fruit rather than sugar, and electrifying acidity, a gorgeous, fleshy plum fruitiness and lovely weight and texture, the finish long with more of those toasty notes to beguile. Use wine-searcher to find plenty of independent stockists, plus big names like Majestic and John Lewis.
(2018) Nothing remarkable about this Prosecco from The Wine Society, and nothing objectionable either: pre-requisite fresh pear, lemon and icing sugar aromas, a lively and sherbetty palate, and it is Brut, so a bit drier than your average supermarket label, which is for the good. Very decent quaffing Prosecco.
(2018) A remarkable wine this in many, from the producer of one of Portugal's rarest and most expensive table wines, Barca Velha. Barca Velha is a red, as might be expected from the heat of the Douro, but here in Planalto we have an inexpensive, crisp and refreshing, delicate white. The secret to that is altitude, with numerous indigenous grape varieties grown on the upper slopes and picked early to retain acidity and freshness. The result is a wine with a delicate floral and lime freshness and limpidity, but gorgeous texture and big thwack of seaside salinity and pithy lemon to finish. Just terrific - flavour, elegance and enjoyment in this modestly-priced wine. Note that the Wine Society also sells in half bottles. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2018) I’m fed up of recommending Champagnes from 2008 (almost), it would be far easier to simply list the bad wines! Another lovely wine, this has the authority and resonance one has come to expect from this vintage. A fragrant bouquet of apple, supported by a note of almond. A palate redolent of crunchy red-fruits, aromas of plum and quince emerge from the glass as the wine warms. Impeccably balanced, the aromatic volume is cranked up for the Pinot Noir dominated finish. Superb, but a real baby that is currently hovering around the 92/100 mark. Should start drinking well from around 2021 until around 2032.
(2018) A wine that is drinking well out of the gate: lush fruit leaning towards the tropical, supported by a baseline of buttery richness. An easy-going Champagne to be enjoyed in the medium term, and although a rated lower than the 2008 overall, a solid effort none-the-less, and still a bargain. Currently scoring 92/100, with a little a bit of upside potential. Drink from 2018 until 2024.
(2018) There is 35% of reserve wines in this cuvée, and a dosage of 9g/l. Quite a developed yeastiness, with lots of russet apple, nutty and juiciness, but then white flower and nettle. Very delicate, a gentle mousse, with lovely orangey acidity and fruit freshness, very crisp and tapering. Whilst dry, not austere.
(2018) From an estate-grown single vineyard, and predominantly from the Gin Gin clone. The wine was barrel fermented and aged in a mix of new and used French oak. Very discreet, just gentle spearmint and toast but the fruit fresh and pristine. Juicy and firm on the palate, the acid is the spine of this, apple and taut and fresh salt and mineral flavours persisting into a balanced finish.
(2018) How fascinating to return to a wine I last reviewed 11 years ago, and which is another 'forgotten' bottle retrieved from my own cellar where it has lain quietly for over a decade. The colour is now much paler with a touch of warmth to the ruby core. Although it certainly has not stood still under screwcap in 11 years, it seems clearly to be the same wine, with the softening development I would hope for and expect. An autumnal, earthy and woodland character that is very Pinot Noir has joined the fruit, still in the cherry pie and spice spectrum, the creamy and slightly coffee-ish oak is still there but has also mellowed, and the nice sour orange acid framework sits very well to balance. I never intended to cellar this modestly-priced Pinot for 11 years, and arguably it may be on the down-slope now, but my word what a delightful discovery, giving plenty of enjoyment. Price and stockist quoted at time of review is for more current vintages.
(2017) Rather a nice and unusual Pinot, the fruit being sourced from three different California appellations, mostly from Monterey, just south of San Francisco, and also from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara tracking south towards Los Angeles. Lots of aromatics here, Chinese dried plums, clove and tobacco, touches of floral character and quite bright cherry too. In the mouth the tobacco warmth of oak adds depth but the silky, supple palate continues to please and impress, smooth, spicy tannins and plum-skin acidity giving a rounded, mellow and most enjoyable finish.