(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.
(2018) Distinctly off-dry with 23g/l of residual sugar, from the famed Hill of Cartizze where Bisol is the largest vineyard owner. Very pale, the bubbles are are tiny and persistent, aromas ultra-delicate, with white flowers, icing-sugar and candied lemon. In the mouth that sweetness is balanced by a rapier core of acidity, fine, incisive, giving real cut to the sherbetty and light peach fruitiness. A very fine Prosecco in such a different style to a wine like the Case Bianche for example.
(2018) A subtle but very fine and, in the end, charming Chardonnay this, it is a négociant wine made from fruit and must bought from long-term contracted growers, and only a small proportion of the blend sees oak. Apples, but ripe, a little pastry or vanilla covering, and hints of more tropical fruit are gentle and welcoming. In the mouth it is not the most concentrated of complex of white Burgundies, but the silky, vanilla-touched fruit and texture and the sweet fruited finish are most enjoyable.
(2017) What an absolute treat to open this 11-year-old Cabernet from Margaret River, and the family estate of Leeuwin. Under screwcap it is in perfect condition, showing a plum and sweet gamey character, notes of tobacco and herbal, gentle leafiness along with graphite adding complexity and precision. Clearly the product of a cool year, that leafy character is overpowered on the palate by the concentration of blackcurrant fruit, very pure and again precise, with really firm, tart, plum and cherry skin biting tannin and acid to tension the whole picture. Drinking beautifully. Note the price and stockist given is for the current vintage at time of writing.