(2020) Unlike the more austere examples of the Clare Valley in South Australia, this Western Australian wine has a gentler acid profile and the merest, softening nuance of sweetness too. It opens aromatically with lime, blossom and minerals, a touch of beeswax polish, but that little nod towards generosity sings on the palate, loads of freshness and there is absolutely no shortage of driving acidity, but the whole picture is balanced, tempered and approachable.
(2020) Made by Yalumba since the early 1990s, and one of the most popular wines among the Yalumba staff. There are vine components here from plantings that span the 1890s through to the 1970s, the average age of vines for the wine has been calculated as 75 years old. A hugely juicy, again leafy and earthy style, that basil or curry-leaf component is there again, and that fairly striking tart raspberry juiciness with an axis of red fruit and acid. Tannins are a little smoother than the GSM, but it still grips the finish giving that savoury appeal.
(2020) Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre is the trio of Rhône grapes on which Barossa’s reputation was partly founded. This wine was first made in 2010, and the 2016 is led by 55% Grenache (a similar blend having previously been led by Mourvèdre ). A nice, quite transparent ruby colour, there’s loads of juicy, summery fruit and spice on the nose, a little slick of vanilla smoothing things out. In the mouth there is grip here, a bit of basil and leafiness as well as a savoury fruit character, quite a creamy texture. Keen acidity and a rustic, savoury bite of tannin gives great gastronomic possibilities. This sees a mix of barrels for ageing, from barriques to large oak vats, but overall only around 15% of oak is new.
(2020) Aged in American oak barrriques, but long seasoned, "which gives less of the mocha character," according to Damien. Gamy, wild berries, some deep, deep blackcurrant and a nice floral lift too. So juicy, fresh, grippy and dry, fine but sandy tannins, endive and liquorice oak, the texture juicy but with a bit of grip. Price and stockist are for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) Elston is a single vineyard, and this is 100% barrel fermented, with 100% malolactic fermentation. Creamy, oatmeal and a touch of vanilla, but the lemon and gentle peach flavours, grapefruit and mandarin orange acid is assertive but generous into a long finish. Substantial and yet elegant. Available from quoted stockist at time of review, by the six-bottle case.
(2019) What a great example of how Margaret River is helping to redefine Austalian Chardonnay. Whole-bunch pressed, fermented in French oak with natural yeasts, and matured in a combination of small and large French oak barrels for nine months. It opens with a whiff of flint and gunpowder over ripe peach and pear, just a touch of creamy oak too. In the mouth it is sweet-fruited and intense, but there is great clarity and drive here too, the acid nicely judged and a taut precision to the finish. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2019) Brolio means ‘Clos’ in the local dialect, this is a single vineyard IGT Veronese wine. Same blend as Toar, and a small production. More ripeness and richness compared to the Toar, with 30% dried Corvina and 24 months in 600 litre casks giving both meatiness and openness, the initial hit of sweet plum and cherry fruit giving way to lovey acidity and firm tannic structure.
(2019) A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese, this is a perfumed and very pleasing red, a touch of herbs and graphite, the ripeness of black Cabernet fruit, and the tangy vibrancy of Sangiovese cherries all present and correct. In the mouth there is a sweet and creamy edge to this, substantial but with a creamy softness to the tannins and acidity that give it enough structure while leaving it pizza and spag-bol friendly.
(2018) I was surprised in some ways to see that there are around 80 tasting notes for Bouchard wines in my database, because as an important Burgundy producer and négociant they do stay slightly under the radar compared to the likes of Jadot and Louis Latour. I was also surprised to see that I hadn't tasted the Côte de Beaune-Villages since the 2000 vintage, as it is a lovely minor Burgundy (yes, even at £20 a bottle that's minor for Burgundy). With a bright cherry perfume backed up by some deeper, sweet earth and briar, but really it is all about the fruit. In the mouth, truly vinous with cherry and grape fruitiness, quite a substantial mouthfeel, ripe but relatively chunky tannins and good cleansing acidity.
(2018) A highly unusual sparkling wine from Masi, masters of Amarone, who have used the same appassimento technique, drying grapes on straw mats, for the 25% Verduzzo in this blend, which is fermented along with 75% freshly-harvested Pinto Grigio. It's made by the charmat method as used in Prosecco, and has clear similarities to a good Brut Prosecco (this has around 9g/l of residual sugar), just a gentle effervesence and more of a herby and lemon peel grippiness on the palate, pear fruit and a bit of interesting texture too before a dry, nicely tart apple finish.