(2022) From Barossa vineyards, 53% is Caberent and 47% Shiraz, the oldest plantings dating from 1925. The wine spent 21 months in barrel, 28% new French barriques plus an assortment of different sized older barrels from France, America and Hungary. Creamy and ripe blackcurrant dominates the nose, with an undertow of spices and tobacco, a little graphite firmness suggested too. In the mouth it is sweet-fruited and smoothly-textured, so much blackcurrant flavour but edged with a gravelly intensity, some plum skin grip and bittersweetness of tannin and acidity playing against a touch of espresso from the barrels, into a long and harmonious finish.
(2021) Harvest for this cuvée takes place in October, with well-ripened, fully mature grapes, so a touch of sweetness would be expected. It is vinified in oak barrels where the wine ages on fine lees for 11 months. In practice the wine is sweet only in terms of fruit ripeness, a certain weight to the texture too, but clean and bright Chenin aromatics running from apple into firm peach, a little lusciousness on the lips before very good acidity kicks through. Could work with aromatic Chinese food this one.
(2020) A blend of several Premier Cru parcels from Beaune, this has a fine, rich garnet colour and a lovely and welcoming nose suffused with soft red berries and sweet smoky vanilla. There's a nice tobacco and herb, almost floral edge too. In the mouth there's plenty of ripe, sweet and plush berry fruit that is mouth-filling and velvetty, in a full, hedonistic and strawberry-touched fruity Burgundy. Lovely.
(2020) Touraine, towards the centre of the Loire Valley, tends to produce well-balanced Sauvignon Blanc from its clay, flint and limestone soils. This example is perhaps a little punchier and more herbaceous than is typical of the regional style, the elderflower and passionfruit character to the fore. In the mouth there's loads of lemony fruit and acidity, it perhaps suffers slightly from a bit of sweet 'n sour character, but the overall effect is zesty, fruity and fresh.
(2020) Masi are masters of appassimento, most of this wine fermented as normal, but part of it re-fermented with 25% dried grapes. It spent 18 months in mostly large, Slavonian oak barrels. Made with 70% Corvina along with Rondinella and Molinara it has delicious aromatics, dried cherry and red liquorice. Smooth but concentrated on the palate, a touch of umami meatiness, but finishes on sweet black fruit and that stripe of digestible acidity. Down to £9.74 until 2nd June 2020. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) Lovely pale garnet colour, from a wine made with 15% carbonic maceration a la Beaujolais. Has some leafiness, some redcurrant and spice, a touch of aniseed. The fruit is pure and raspberry and cherry-ripe, that touch of fennel and salt is there to give the finish both freshness and a little grip.
(2019) From a fantastic vintage, the Chardonnays for this wine are sourced from villages of the Côte des Blancs, Sézannais, Montgueux and Montagne de Reims. It was aged for eight years in bottle and has a dosage of around 8g/l, so towards the drier end of the Brut scale. The pale gold colour also shows plenty of tiny bubbles, and the nose has biscuit and pastry, and a delicate yeastiness to baked apple pie fruit. There's a lighter touch of floral character in there too. In the mouth it is racy and long, a really good, elegant and dry core of white fruits, a roundness and hint of richness and a long, shimmering finish. A lovely 2008. Apparently this is also in John Lewis in a fancy neoprene carry-bag, but at time of review I saw only the straight vintage (not Blanc de Blancs) on the JL website.
(2019) Again, 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. Now made with a blend of fresh and dried grapes instead of Ripasso. 15 months in 600-litre and giant 9000-litre vats. Delicious aromatics from a 5* vintage, dried cherry and red liquorice. Andrea says this should age for 20 years without a problem. Delicious smooth palate, glycerine and touch of umami, but finishes on sweet fruit.
(2019) From bush vines that are up to 63 years old, this spent 18 months in French oak, 75% of it new. Rich, ripe red berries and smoky, fragrant and cedary oak. A really sumptuous style, coffee deep and the fruit is black and glossy. Silky in terms of texture and te fruit, tannin and acid structure, spicy and ripe into the finish.
(2019) At this point the bush vines were 57 years old. This spent 16 months in French oak, 75% new. Similar recipe as the 2016 tasted alongside. Has more of the estery character associated with Pinotage, but there’s an earthier quality through the ageing, the sweet fruit is there on the palate, a stripe of dry tannin giving extra grip, a fresh finish. More Pinotage personality perhaps, though less slick and modern in feel.