(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.
(2018) The team behind Mirabeau explain that they created this, their first commercially available sparkling wine, at the request of Waitrose, and experimented with the traditional method (with second fermentation in individual bottles) but in the end chose the charmat or tank method, as used in Prosecco, to make a fresher and fruitier style of fizz. This blend of Syrah and Grenache is really successful of its style, only gently sparkling and with some residual sugar to give a sweetness that matches its charming summer pudding berries and floral profile, so delicate and quaffable for summer in the garden, and of excellent quality. Watch the video for food matching suggestions and more information.
(2018) This Syrah from the always impressive Craggy Range spent 17 months in French oak barrels, 26% of which were new. Deep crimson and glossy, there's a refined fragrance, violet, delicate kirsch and a sprinkle of white pepper, just a sheen of balsamic oak there too. In the mouth the substance of the wine comes through powerfully, with a dark sinewy and savoury fruit, a real liquorice and endive grip to the tannins and acidity, and a long, fruity but meaty and umami finish. Note: price and stockist at time of writing is for the 2013 vintage.
(2017) Despite hailstorms just around harvest time affecting some producers, 2015 seems to have been a very good vintage for Chablis following an excellent 2014. This has some classic flint and green-flecked, mineral notes, with a ripe, smooth orchard fruit quality beneath. On the palate that searingly dry mineral and lemon pith core drives through, but there's a hint of fat about the texture of this too, and the fruit, which is quite juicy and almost peachy, before the strict core of acidity reasserts.
(2017) From an estate that farms its vineyards organically, and governed by phases of the moon, this is from Fixin, an appellation north of Gevrey-Chambertin, and is firm, sappy, stalky and a touch green, but all that is charming and gives a certain precision to the nose and palate. Again that stemminess on the palate, a brisk, firm tannin and acid structure but there's a touch of smoothing oak and plenty of cherry-fresh fruit to give this charm as well as seriousness.