(2022) Grenache and Syrah from the named villages of the Côtes du Rhône, unoaked but aged for several months in tank before release. It's a smooth and buoyant style this, creamy with plum and berry fruit, a little tobacco-like spice, and a twang of dried herbs to boot. In the mouth it is soft and enveloping, a smooth and creamy mouthful of dark, spiced plum compote. There's chocolate too, in a very crowd-pleasing, easy-drinking style of big-hearted wine with only moderate tannin and acidity to bolster the finish. Watch for this on promotion, as it is at time of review down to £7.49.
(2022) Victoria's Yering Station produce this Pinot which, I have noted, has some less than favourable reviews on the Waitrose web site (it's exclusive to Waitrose). It might not be the world's greatest Pinot, but I suspect those claiming it is 'thin' and 'vinegary' really, really don't understand Pinot Noir. It is pale to medium in colour, with a nose of twigs and bracken, damp forest floor, cherries and light tobacco spices. It's certainly no fruit bomb blockbuster, but that's as it should be for this delicate variety. In the mouth there is more of those red fruit tones, a little smoky oak character and fairly lean and grippy tannins and acids. That does give a certain spicy austerity to the finish, but in turn that makes it food friendly. On offer at £9.99 until 27th December 2022.
(2022) These Languedoc vineyards enjoy both oceanic and Pyrenean influences, with clay-limestone and gravel soils. Aromatically the wine is fresh, but rounded, showing Asian pear and lightly tropical aromas, and a little gooseberry punch. In the mouth that peachiness comes through, but there is a salt-licked, lemony vivacious acidity too, that sense of minerality that delivers an interesting and quite complex mouthful at such a modest price.
(2022) Interesting to see a 2017 Chardonnay on the shelves of two big supermarkets. Petaluma was established by legendary Australian winemaker Brian Croser, but passed out of his hands many years ago. This wine coming from the elevated vineyards of the Adelaide Hills, fermented in barriques and larger hogshead barrels, seeing only partial malolactic fermentation to retain more of its crisp acidity. It has an appealing nose melding stone fruits and lemon with creamy oatmeal notes. On the palate there's an initial sweetness, a juiciness of peach and good acids, just hinting at a flinty character. It's a middle of the road style to be fair, but stylishly done and food friendly for sure.
(2022) It's a lightly-oaked Chardonnay and far removed from the oak- and fruit-bomb style of old, and yet I found this to be too generic and too 'manufactured' to be able to really get behind it. Aromas of nutty peach and fragrant, more tropical fruit lead on to a palate that has sweetness of fruit and a sour lemon hit of acidity, but all feeling a bit hollow, a bit soulless, and lacking character for a supposed £12.99 bottle. £9.99 on offer.
(2022) The wines from the Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España remain classical in structure. This very young Rioja Reserva in their Cune range is a just a tiny bit uncompromising at the moment, so drink with food or cellar for a few years to enjoy at its best. It is a lovely wine: around 85% Tempranillo, aged 24 months in a combination of French oak (partly new barrels) and American barrels. There's an immediate firmness to this densely coloured wine, black cherry and polished wood, but taut and muscular on the nose. In the mouth there is real succulence - like biting into a bittersweet ripe plum, cherry again, and dark, nutty toast and tobacco spices. Acid, fruit and oak are beautifully done and this will surely cellar for a decade. £12.99 on a 'mixed six' deal at Majestic. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) Made from Viura and fermented and left on its lees for four months in American oak casks. That treatment 'tames' the sometimes very aromatic Viura, adding instead a sheen of light almond over slightly waxy lemon rind and peach. The oak is less dominant than I remember from previous tastings of this, and that adds to the freshness of the palate which is more about nicely sour lemon and sweeter apple and peach.
(2022) Coming from Riverland vineyards in South Australia, and Certified Organic vineyards, winemaking is similar to the Y Series. This has a very fragrant and delicate aromatic, peachy and ripe pear aromas, to me a little more purity than the Y Series. Really lovely sweetnes and ripeness on the palate, again a rich but not quite such an oily texture, but again that light phenolic grip of the skin contact and citrus acidity drives on. Very good value at under £10.
(2022) First released in 1982, Noble One has become one of the world's most famous Botrytis Semillons wines, certainly outside of Sauternes, the inspiration for its creation. Again Winemaker Julie Mortlock talks of unusual climate/ripening in recent years, with the harvest much earlier than usual. Vines range from 20- to 60-years old, grown on sandy loam. After 12 months in barrel the wine is bottled with 250g/l of residual sugar. Full on, barley sugar and marmalade Botrytis onslaught here, with that dry mushroomy undertone. The oiliness and weight of the palate is in contrast to the Berton's lighter style. So much flavour and texture, the luscious tropical richness shot through with juicy orange, plenty of acidity and the oak adding a custardy creaminess. Terrific stuff as usual from this cuvée. Price for a half bottle, and for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2022) It's 80 years since the iconic Mateus brand was founded by Portuguese producer, Sogrape. To mark the occasion, the wine has been bottled with three new liveries, each reflecting a style of music: Portugal's own 'Fado', rock and dance music. It's unclear to me why these specific genres were chosen, but the colorful, cartoon-adorned bottles might appeal. The wine inside is the standard Mateus, which means it is gently effervescent, with just a slight spritz, a little bit of sugar making it off-dry, and filled with a summer berries and confectionery, easy-drinking fruitiness. It is a perfectly pleasant, summer in the garden sipper with only 11% alcohol. The musical-themed limited edition is in most major supermarkets.