(2019) Classic white Bordeaux from the Pessac-Léognan Cru of Graves, this is Sauvignon Blanc, fermented and aged in barrel. From a very good year - the third warmest since 1900 - with above-average monthly temperatures. The oak is very discreet, giving just a sheen of almond nuttiness to the cool orchard fruit and lemon, a little hint of something like soft, leafy herbs in the background. In the mouth pure and sweet fruit drives this, quite a full texture, a lemon and mint freshness, and tapers to a fine point in the finish. It is a discreet, elegant and understated style with nothing too showy, but beautifully done. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) 30 months on the lees for this blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from the limestone hills of Smith & Evans Somerset vineyards. There’s a lovely golden glow to the colour, and plenty of streaming, tiny bubbles. Yeast and bready, it has fine autolytic notes, salts and nutty apple. In the mouth the balance is very good, a drier style, with some sweet mid-palate ripeness moving through to a lemons and salts acidity. Very attractive.
(2018) How to judge a wine like this is an interesting conundrum: little is revealed about grape varieties or the exact provenance of the wine, except that it is made in Germany and goes through a post-fermentation process to remove the alcohol. How do the bubbles get there? Again there is no information but I could only guess by adding CO2 before bottling. It is lightly effervescent, and has a pleasant pear and citrus aroma, before a palate that clearly lacks complexity and texture, but which has a lightly grassy herbal character, some mid-palate peachy sweetness and a dry finish, a little sherbetty, and clean. I try to score wines on an absolute scale, not relative to price or style, and this is a good effort and a pleasant drink, and could be appealing to the Prosecco drinker looking to avoid alcohol, or as summer in the garden grown-up soft drink. Look out for deals - £3.30 in Asda at time of review.
(2018) Much more mealy and salty, immediately seems a little more serious with those leesy notes, more green to both colour and aroma too, giving a touch of figgy richness. So fresh on the palate, beautiful firm white fruit, more structured, more dense, but that saline tang and fresh, firm lemon acidity are delightful on the finish.
(2018) Sourced from Toledo, not far from Madrid in northern Spain, this comes from old bush vines planted at around 700-metres. There's a touch of smokiness to the deeply-scented black berries of the nose, something slightly leafy too, then a really quite firm, slightly chewy palate, the wine just a touch hollow in the centre, with a rasp of tannins and acidity, some slightly bubblegummy lifted fruit character, but it just needs a bit of somethig to fatten out the middle.
(2018) Argentinian Malbec is where the Beefsteak Club started, and this magnum bottle comes from the Uco Valley of Mendoza, feremented in small conctrete tanks with lees ageing. Dark and solid in colour, there is good depth aromatically, quite meaty and dense, a touch of beef stock appropriately enough, a glimmer of brighter black fruits and a whisper of Malbec's floral quality. In the mouth it is fairly chewy and a touch rustic, but there is a fine gravelly umami dryness to this, and the riper black fruit does reassert in the finish to leave a pleasing impression, some spicines too. Price is for the 1.5-litre magnum.
(2018) Sourced from the Tierra de Castilla in the south east of Spain, this blends Verdejo and Sauvignon in a clean, crisp style. On the nose a little bit of elderflower and thiol pungency, but it is not overdone. In the mouth there's a bit of dilution that means the slightly aggresive acidity is at odds with the rather sweet character, with not much to bind them. It's just a bit generic rather than being bad, but it's not a wine I could get too enthusiastic over.
(2018) A de-alcoholised wine from Torres, made using technology to remove the alcohol from a 'normal' wine, this presses very nice Muscat buttons aromatically, light, floral and herbal, and fairly indistinguishable from a regular Muscat wine. The same can't be said for the palate however, but it's not an entirely negative picture: it feels lightly effervescent in the mouth, more fruit-juicy than winey, but it is off-dry, balanced and enjoyable in its way.
(2018) A lovely blend of 60% Grenache with Syrah from vineyards at 300-400m altitude, planted on clay and limestone soils, this is a most delicate and dry rosé, passion fruit and watermelon aromas touching into the tropical, a saline hint in the background. In the mouth that sweep of peach and grapefruit fresh but full fruit meets more delicate rose-hip, a lovely tart acid background pushing out the finish to a fine point.
(2018) Made from Syrah (60%), with Grenache (35%) and Cinsault (5%), this is more robustly fruity than the 'Pure' bottling, but that's not to say it is in any way clumsy or crude. Very pale in colour, tha aromas are of lychee and raspberry, clearly more fruity than the Pure, but with a sense of breezy freshness too. On the palate the limey acid core is excellent, in a dry wine that frames the summer berry fruits with citrus, an ozoney lick of salty mineral character adding some grip in a slightly nore powerful, but delightful pink.