(2021) Recent attention on high-end 'natural' renditions of Chenin Blanc has all been about the trending young bucks of Swartland, but here, one the Cape's most established Chenin experts proves that they can play along with the best. This is a fabulous wine, fermented with wild yeasts, unfiltered and unfined, it has a golden colour and beautifully honeyed yet stony nose, some gentle toast and apricot. On the palate there's a fat, confit lemon waxiness, loads of sweet, ripe apple and a lovely mouth-filling texture. Acidity is perfectly balanced in a rich, concentrated yet supremely elegant wine.
(2021) Classic barrel-fermented Chardonnay first produced in 1989, this vintage seeing bine months in barrel, 30% new French oak and full malolactic. Loads of almond and crushed oatmeal, and interesting nutty notes, toast and spices, but the fruit is nicely judged - on the palate it becomes quite peachy and succulent, the fruit and a very nice pithy lemon and lime acidity giving cut but generosity too. This is a nicely pitched Chardonnay, creamy and quite hedonistic, but with a bit of steel at its core.
(2021) Albariño vines were first planted in 2007, with the first release in 2010. There's a nice combination of fresh pear and more peachy fruit here, lightly touched by honey. On the palate there is a sweeter tone that a typical Galician wine, more texture and lusciousness too. Not so saline and crisp as a typical Spanish wine, but has a larger-scaled and sweet presence that is a different but very lovely expression of Albariño.
(2021) Very much in the style of an Alsace blend, this is composed of 67% Gewürztraminer, 22% Riesling and 11% Pinot Gris, and is just off-dry with 6g/l of residual sugar. It is a co-fermented 'field blend', with all of the varieties planted and vinified together. Lovely Gewurz spice leads the way here, then relatively subtle florals and fresh herbs, fruit quite cool but gently exotic, like Asian pear and fresh lychee. In the mouth it is the Gewürztraminer that dominates again, a big surge of grapefruit giving the required sourness and freshness to offset more tropical mid-palate fruitiness. Quite grippy in the finish, some fruit skin firmness to round things off.
(2021) From the granite soils of the cool Grampians region, this spent 14 months in French oak, 35% new barrels. Deep in colour, it's another of the more lifted, floral and berry fruit styles here, very charming with its peppery notes and just a background hint of sizzling bacon rind. In the mouth a flood of plush and juicy fruit, tangy sour-edged blueberry and plum, but so much balancing fruit sweetness. There's a firmness through taut tannins and juicy acidity, giving this a fresh and appetising finish. Price and stockist quoted at time of review is for a previous vintage.
(2021) Marching to a different beat here, a wine made in stainless steel that sees no oak. Certified organic, plantings range from 1987 to early 1990s, on free-draining stony loam soils and black clay. Very vibrant purple in colour, the youth of this is obvious and it will need a little time: at the moment it is slightly closed and a touch reduced, but with coaxing some bold black fruit does come through. There's a chalkiness to this in the finish, the tannins dry and the acidity quite keen, but the fruit on the mid-palate is indeed pure, black and sweetly ripe. Maybe just a touch of noticeable alcohol heat in the finish. Note that price and stockist quoted are for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2021) From various soils including clay, sandy loam, red-brown earth and sand over limestone, part of the blend includes fruit from 100-year-old vines. The wine spent 17 months in French oak barrels, 35% new, of varying sizes. Vinous, dark, fragrant, with blackberry and plum, a suggestion of real ripeness and sweetness on the nose. Refined oak aromas. The palate has lovely weight and plushness of texture, but an elegant mix of sandy tannin and pert, juicy acidity slices through a more opulent mid-palate, giving this lovely overall appeal.
(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.