(2020) I'm a fan of Torres' aromatic white version of the Viña Esmeralda and I have to say this wine put a broad smile on my face. Pretty and pale pink in colour, it is 100% Grenache from Torres' vineyards in the Penedès, and is fragrant with old roses, pomegranate and strawberry. On the palate some residual sugar makes it summery and very easy-going, the tang red fruit and citrus acidity balancing nicely, so that it finishes basically dry, and quite pure and long.
(2020) The 2002 Belle Epoque is 50% Chardonnay, 46% Pinot Noir with 4% Pinot Meunier. Some critics have claimed it is too soft and too forward for a deluxe cuvée from the outstanding 2002 vintage, but I have to say I found this to be both seductive and beautifully pitched. The colour has a little golden hue and there is loads of creamy, nutty, gently toasty development, but ripe rosy apple fruit too. In the mouth it is generous and sweet-fruited, a pillow of soft mousse flows across the tongue, then suddenly there's an initial spark of citrus and salt, that develops nicely into a long tantalising finish playing sweetness against sharpness delightfully. Possibly not a wine for extended cellaring, but a joy now.
(2020) Fruit is from Bridge Pa, 100% Syrah that spends eight months in barrel. Pale crimson colour, nice stony, mineral character, small, dry redcurrant fruit, little spicy notes, a touch of cream and flesh fills out the palate, but the acidity of tart raspberry comes through to keep this fresh and agile.
(2019) The blend here is 60% of the red-skinned hybrid, Rondo, along with 32% Pinot Gris and 8% Pinot Noir. The wine has a dosage of 9g/l, and pours a medium-pink with good small bubbles. There's an attractive cherry bright and strawberry shortcake aroma, a nice creamy suggestion, then onto the palate a nicely balanced combination of small, dry red berry and orange fruitiness, and a line of citrussy acidity that gives it a fresh and balanced appeal, the dosage swept up by good acidity for a long, quite elegant finish.
(2019) The blend here is 50% Chardonnay, 28% Pinot Noir, 11% Pinot Meunier and 11% Pinot Gris, with a dosage of 8g/l. Lemony colour, small bubbles, and plenty of yeasty biscuit and nutty notes, a little bit of a ripe peachy character but much more about orchard fruits and lemon zestiness. The palate is well-balanced and has very good fruit. It is essentially fairly straightforward, but that risks damning with faint praise, because the nutty Cox's pippin fruitiness, sheer lemon acidity and fine length and clarity are all very good indeed and it's a pleasure to drink.
(2019) This new Gran Reserva from the historic La Rioja Alta joins their tremendously good portfolio of wines. It is utterly classic Gran Reserva in many ways, opening with those fragrant American oak barrel notes of marzipan and coconut, but a terrifically plush depth of fruit that also hints at game and truffle. A blend of 95% Tempranillo from forty-year-old vines with 5% Graciano, there is concentration and elegance on the palate. The wine remains juicy and vital to the core, shimmering with spices and depths of velvetty fruit, smooth tannins and creamy acidity. Beautifully balanced, what a treat this would be if you are looking for something special for Christmas. Watch the video
for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) From the original 'cool climate' valley of Chile, Casablanca, where morning mists and proximity to the ocean moderate temperatures, this is lightly-oaked, and spends four months on the lees, giving it breadth and texture and a certain creaminess. Aromatically there's a bit of almost Sauvignon-like passionfruit, peach and notes of more exotic tropical fruits. In the mouth that leesiness gives a mouth-filling texture, and again the fruit is ripe and exotic, with mango and papaya, as well as a grapefruity note that continues into the finish to add a welcome acid counterpoint. Quite long, and a lovely style really, blending ripeness and openness, with a stylish, dry finish. Watch the video
for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) Same winemaking as for the 2005 (from 2006 fermentation and ageing switched to amphora), fermented in open barrels with 10 years in large barrels and bottle before release. Drier and less open than the 2005 at this stage, a very dry, bloody and lightly iron oxide character - not oxidised, but that ferrous edge. Again, less openly giving, but deep in there are balsamic strawberries and herb and floral nuances, and all the hallmarks that this will be terrific with time, when the score might notch up a point or two.
(2018) From the Languedoc, Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Merlot and Mourvèdre in the mix for a medium-pale rosé, with a fairly simple and straightforward strawberry and raspberry fruit, the palate fruity and generous, a little briary leafiness and a slightly astringent quality to the acidity stopping it a little short, but keeping it fresh.