(2023) The main difference between this wine and the 'Grand Ardeche' Chardonnay is that this cuvée sees no oak, spending 10 months in stainless steel before release. Full malolactic has given this plenty of creaminess and a light oatmeal sheen. In the mouth the fruit is super ripe and sweet; the sweetness actually detracts for me, making this rather cloying before a blast of acidity that really doesn't sit very elegantly in the picture. Sorry Louis Latour, but not my favourite of your normally very reliable white wines. Costco members can buy for £11.15 at time of review.
(2023) Made by Yalumba since the early 1990s, there are vine components here from plantings that span 1929 to 1972, the average age of vines around 50 years old. It comes from a smaller than average vintage, the wine matured for six months in older French puncheons and in French, Hungarian and American hogsheads. It's a Grenache in a relatively pale-coloured and Pinot-like style (though with 14.5% alcohol it's no lightweight). Roasted chestnuts, truffle and mint spice lead the aromatics, fragrant almost lavender notes, then a melange of black and red fruits. In the mouth there's an espresso-like depth to this, so creamy and full-textured, but the nipping spices and acidity give lovely balance. The fruit is generous, melting into those mocha coffee notes in the finish. Big scaled but with a soft side, and could be a Christmas dinner wine. Watch the video for more information.  
(2023) This blend includes Viognier skins co-fermented with the Shiraz, and the blend was matured for 14 months in 23% new French oak hogsheads, the balance in one year and older French oak. There's more pepper here than in the Octavius, but also more lift of florals and even peach, presumably from the Viognier. In the mouth it is super-ripe and sweet, a substantial wine with texture and a depth of red and black, smooth and supple fruit. There is plenty of spice here: clove and tobacco, a keen edge of acidity and quite creamy tannins to offset the bittersweet finish of fruit skins and cocoa.
(2023) From vineyards aged from 10 to 35 years old, this is matured for 12 months in 26% new French, American oak barrels of various sizes, the balance in older larger barrels. A very lifted style this, all violets and kirsch cherries, very much more perfumed than the Galway bottling. Smooth and creamy on the palate, it adds a plummy, fleshy depth to the brighter fruit notes, and plenty of pepper and spice. The finish brings some grainy tannin and pert acids, finishing on fruit and spice.
(2023) This Barossa blend was matured for 11 months in 19% new French and Hungarian oak hogsheads and barriques, the rest in older French, American and Hungarian barrels. There is a classic eucalypt note here, with rich, spiced plum compote fruit. The cream and coffee of the oak sits nicely in the picture. In the mouth it's the spiciness that makes an impressions first, the dense fruit sweet and velvetty. Tannins are creamy and the acid adds a refreshing cherryish bittersweet tang. This is superior easy-drinking, a perfect summer barbie stuff.
(2023) Marlborough's Southern Valleys are more recently planted that the original Wairau vineyards, and Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are something of a specialism as they take advantage of the clay soils and hillsides. A small proportion saw whole bunch fermentation with indigenous yeasts before it was aged in French oak barrels for one year.It's a spicy, quite meaty Pinot this, of lovely quality. Almost minty in its ripeness aromatically, the palate has some density with a plummy side to the fruit, but it has freshness too, with cherry, a little briar and truffle, and again spices into a long finish.
(2023) Grown on red clay over limestone, this was fermented in open American oak barrels, then matured 18 months in the same barrels - which were water bent, rather than charred. Ripe blueberry and mulberry on the nose, a certain lift and fragrance, a creaminess to the fruit and oak treatment. In the mouth that sweetness surges across the palate. A hedonistic style, super-smooth and crammed with spice and cocoa-licked dark fruits, the tannins very chocolaty and dense and acid so smooth it barely ripples the surface. A beautiful wine of its style.
(2022) From the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain, Blue Lady is a selection of the best Cabernet Sauvignon from French oak barrels (25% new), where it has been aged for 27 months. Super-heavy statement bottle, the colour is a crimson-black. Again there's a ripe, buoyant feel to the fruit here, blueberry and blackcurrant, but a nice floral edge and slightly exotic spiciness. Ripe and mouth-filling fruit, there's a little more flesh and succulence, but again drying, fine tannins push through the finish, the extra year on this 2017 has perhaps helped to smooth the texture and finish, where acid, tannin and fruit are in very nice balance. Powerful.
(2021) Vasse Felix is one of the great names of Margaret River in Western Australia, and I was super-impressed by their top 'Heytesbury' Chardonnay 2019 recently (94 points), but this is their estate wine at around half the price but it runs its big brother close on style and quality. Plenty of flinty, cordite nuances to the ripe and fleshy peach and cooler Asian pear fruit, a nougat softeness adding another layer. In the mouth it strikes that lovely balance between oak-derived coffee and toast, sweet and succulent fruit, and that nervy edge of cool mineral acidity. Very stylish. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) A year older than the Left Field example, and substantially deeper in both colour and aroma. There is some straw and hay-like character here over apricot and pear. In the mouth much more exotic and unctuous than the Left Field, guava and scented, super-ripe Ogen melon, lots of tang and orangey vibrancy to the acidity too. A bit of a show-stopper for the often reserved Albariño.