(2023) These terrarossa vineyards are 20 years old on average, the fruit fermented in stainless steel-lines concrete tanks. Red liquorice springs to mind on first nosing the glass, maybe even a touch of beetrooty character, but pure black fruits show through, touched with mint. The palate has a sinewy, taut character, no flab here at all with tight tannins, juicy and intense acids and the fruit staying in a dry, savoury spectrum. Note stockist and price given is for the 2019 vintage at time of review (which I recently scored 92/100).
(2023) From two vineyards planted in 1973 and 1990 respectively on terrarossa. A little Petit Verdot (4.8%) was blended "to add aromatic lift." It spent eighteen months in French oak, 52% of which was new. Very appealing nose, expressing the fragrant side of Cabernet (and that Petit Verdot) with a herb-touched, glossy cherry character as well as blackcurrant. In the mouth the tannins are powerful, and the charry toast of the oak adds another bass note, but the firm black fruit and very crisply framed acidity maintains a strict, fresh line to the finish.
(2023) From 70- 80-year-old vines, where the root system is believed to be over 300 years old, 10% of the blend is made up of Athiri and Aidani. Fermented in large, second-use oak barrels, it stays on the lees for 16 months, with some batonnage. There's a creamy and custardy aspect to the aroma, plenty of nutty oak evident, but then that mineral salts character comes through, along with ripe apple and pear. In the mouth there's plenty of presence, with a really tangy oranges and lemons fruit and acid, something a little bit flinty and herbal - maybe sage - then a long, quite rich and full finish where the acidity is perfectly balanced.
(2023) Barossa fruit is sourced from across the region and the wine matured for 12 months in a selection of French, Hungarian and American oak. A vibrant crimson colour, it is rather subdued on the nose compared to the big trophy wines here, but there is elegance, red berries and redcurrants, a light smoky or ashy edge giving a savoury hint. In the mouth it is a very nicely composed wine, with plenty of fruit, medium-body, and enough structural tannin and acidity to offset the supple fruits that dominate. The oak is worn very lightly, adding a little roundness and smoothness. 2021 vintage in Waitrose priced £12.99 at time of review.
(2023) Like the Cab/Merlot in this range, there's also a dollop of Malbec here in a wine that spends eleven months in French oak. There's a deeper seam of blackcurrant fruit here, not so much of the olive character but more of a fragrant herbal undertow hinting at mint leaf. On the palate the fruit is quite racy and bright despite the 14.5% alcohol, edged with a sour lemon and orange acidity, and a certain salinity, that gives savoury tang.
(2023) Very old barrels are used for this Syrah and Grenache blend, beginning with spontaneous ferment in open barrels. More dense than the 2020 Grenache, has the sizzling bacon fat character, olive and more red fruit and garrigue.
(2023) The iconic FMC was one of the Cape's truly great Chenins of the modern era, and this is another gorgeous release. Viticulture is painstaking, Ken explaining that a complex process of filming vines in infra-red to determing they are picking the ripest fruit may be completed eight or nine times depending on the season. Whole bunch pressed and fermented spontaneously in barrels, this is so refined, touches of hessian, almost viognier-like perfume, but then terrific zest and fruit on the concentrated but elegant palate.
(2023) From Millton's certified organic range of wines, this has a touch of gold to the colour, and an open nuttiness on the nose. Viognier peach and almond is expressed aromatically, with a touch of guava or something more exotic. In the mouth, textured and quite full-bodied, and that exotic fruit note is there, but driven along by a firmer white fruit and lemon acidity that keeps this taut through the mid-palate and finish. Price and stockist quoted for previous vintage at time of review.