(2021) From their Pago del Cielo vineyard at 895 metres altitude in Ribera del Duero, this Tempranillo spent 12 months in a mix of French and American oak. There's a lovely lift of kirsch and violet at first, chocolaty and vanilla oak notes too, and deep black fruits. The palate offers more of the same, that is a depth of creamy and smooth black fruit and chocolate, but a little elegance too, a raspberry and cherry skin brightness with dry, sandy tannins and good balancing acidity. Flavoursome and good value. The 2018 vintage is in Waitrose at £12.99.
(2021) This is Torres' single vineyard wine from Costers del Segre in Penedès, known for its arid, extreme climate and harsh conditions. It is a blend of Garnacha, Carinena and Syrah, aged in French oak (40% new) for 18 months. Dark crimson in colour, there's a classy graphite edge to plummy black fruit, a little vanilla softens the picture. In the mouth it is concentrated and quite intense, the black fruit juicy and sweet-edged, but darker, toast and mocha notes fill in. Tannins are fine but firm and the acid balance, like plum and cherry skins, is good.
(2021) We're in very light, raspberry-scented and relatively dry sparkling wine country here, with a Fairtrade-accredited wine from Chile made using one of the 'Criolla' historical grape varieties, País. It is made by the traditional method, but with a relatively short period on the lees so it's much more about fruit and freshness than any yeasty character. Nimble, with some rose-hip and refined red fruit, then good acid balance.
(2021) Ravasquiera suggest good longevity for this top wine, a single vineyard blend of Syrah and Touriga Franca, aged 20 months in new French oak barrels. Deep, deep crimson, the nose is so elegant: there's graphite and a hint of cigar box, refined but ripe black fruit and that little suggestion of florality in the mix. In the mouth it has the intensity and the concentration, but it has such a lovely fruit profile, juicy with blackberries and plums, edged with bittersweet dark chocolate and bolstered elegantly by smooth tannins and a ripple of acidity. A really very, very classy wine. Price and stockist quoted is for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2021) A big blend led by Syrah along with Grenache, Petit Verdot, Merlot and both Cabernets, this spends 18 months in 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill barrels. Dark crimson in colour, the nose has pepper and spices over firm black fruit, touches of tobacco and black olive too. In the mouth this is both savoury with a touch of grilled bacon fat and boldly fruity with a depth of firm black berries. Good juiciness, the tannins spicy and ripe and the acid adding lovely balance.
(2021) Primarily from Nautilus's Clay Hills vineyard, 18% whole bunch grapes were fermented with indigenous yeast in open-top fermenters and aged in a mix of new and older French oak Barriques for 11 months. Saturated crimson, the nose has a sheen of polished wood, cool cherry scents and Pinot truffle and floral nuance. Much less dominated by the oak than the Opawa, but still slick and smooth, the ripe blackcurrant and cherry fruit given a bit of spice and bite from the more obvious tannins and perky acid presence, finishng dry and juicy if just a tad short.
(2021) A combination of 70% Gin Gin clone, along with Davis and Bernard clones for this wine, fermentation partly with wild yeast, in Burgundian-coopered barriques, where it aged for 10 months, 35% new, with no malolactic. Lovely crushed almond and oatmeal, quite subtle oak, but it marks this wine with a touch of buttery softness, creamy and feels like a touch of background flint, even talcum notes. Lovely fruit on the palate, with very juicy and ripe pear, a sweetly-fruity tangerine quality too, then a much more incisive lemon zest and grapefruit acidity, touching on salts, a little nuttiness from the oak adds to a balanced finish.
(2021) Merlot makes up 8% of the blend here, with nine months of barrel maturation for around 30% of the blend, then separate parcels blended for further maturation in Bordeaux-coopered barriques. It spent twenty months in total in oak. Seeply coloured and relatively youthful, there's a real cassis lift to this, flirting with floral, and lightly herbaceous, perhaps green olive aromas. It certainly has a cool climate feel to it. On the palate it is cool and assured, that savoury but also sweet-edged fruit nicely defined by acidity and gentle, tugging tannins. There is juiciness here, though it finishes quite dry. Probably for drinking over the next 5 years.
(2021) Just 1% Malbec in the blend here, and again nine months of barrel maturation before blending and further maturation in Bordelais barrels, 50% new, for a total time in barrel of 22 months. From a dry-grown vineyard, the gravelly Block 8, which is the original 1975 planting. More luscious aromatically, a deeper, more plush black fruit character, some tobacco spice and curry spice notes, a touch of herbaceous character way in the background just to add an edge. In the mouth it is supple and luscious again, but there's a tart, firm and grippy plum-skin grip to this too, very tight tannins, and a lovely cherry acidity that adds tang and juiciness. Lots of substance here, great balance, and should be a wine for extended cellaring. A beautiful wine.
(2021) Kooyong's Chardonnay comes from vineyards just 12 kilometres from the ocean in the south of Victoria State, on clay loam soils and vines around 25 years old. Whole-bunch feremented with wild yeasts, it spent nne months in French oak barriques, only 7% new, and only 10% was put through malolactic fermentation. Quite a pale straw/gold colour, charming nose, a little buttery and nutty, not overtly flinty though there is a touch of wet river stones, and the very juicy peach fruit comes through nicely on the palate, running into a lime acidity that's incisive but not too sharp.