(2023) Fourth generation wine producers, the Desbourdes, make this organically certified Cabernet Franc. Vivid crimson-purple in colour, it has intense, sheer, red fruit with a hint of sappy, peppery character. Juicy on the palate, there is the tartness of raspberries, but a satin texture and suggestion of a little cocoa depth to the fruit flavour. The finish is long and pure, gentle tannins and unobtrusive acidity giving freshness while maintaining its easy drinking appeal.
(2022) This is the GinGin clone with its famous 'hen and chick' grape size variance, very popular in Western Australia in particular, grown on gravel over clay in a vineyard planted in 1985. It was wild fermented in French oak of various formats and spent over nine months in barrel. Very little malolactic or lees stirring. A little more flint here, but also that wild ferment adds a little sauvage quality, a light earthiness and yeasty and much more flinty aspect. Again on the palate this sparks into life, a vivid citrus punch to both fruit and acidity, sherbet-bright over the peachier tones and subtle Brazil nut butteriness. Big salty lick of minerality in the finish. Note: Yapp Bros is currently retailing the Forest Hill wines but is not showing the Block 8 cuvée at time of review.
(2018) 30 months on the lees for this blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from the limestone hills of Smith & Evans Somerset vineyards. There’s a lovely golden glow to the colour, and plenty of streaming, tiny bubbles. Yeast and bready, it has fine autolytic notes, salts and nutty apple. In the mouth the balance is very good, a drier style, with some sweet mid-palate ripeness moving through to a lemons and salts acidity. Very attractive.
(2013) 60% Petit Courbu, 40% Petit Manseng. From chalky soils and certified organic, no sulphur added until a little at bottling, this sees 12 hours of skin contact. It has that earthy, wild yeast character, a touch of herbs a touch of medicinal, clove quality, dry and apple-scented. On the palate this has plenty of ripe, quite weighty fruit, a certain oily, herbal quality a touch of fresh cherry is quite Italianate (Italian red that is!) in a textured, powerful wine with bags of flavour.
(2013) 13% abv. Fresh, instantly appealing nose, has that Italianate cherry brightness - almost Chianti like. The palate has a dry tannin structure and dry fruit extraction too, with a medium-bodied, but chocolaty smoothness. This is a suave and sophisticated, commercially appealing style, and very nice drinking too. Tannat does force its grippy personality on the finish, but really it is beautifully balanced and fresh. 90
(2013) 13.5% abv. Organic, 40% Tannat, 38% Cabernet Franc, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon. 24 months in oak. Lots of oak evident here, but there is the fruit and meaty, earthy concentration behind it, a touch of leather and tobacco, but also of fleeting floral and herb glimpses that add real complexity. The palate has a bloody concentration and smooth, delicious fruit quality. Big, sour cherry and lemon finish with robust but refined tannins.
(2001) Much more developed syrah nose with notes of bacon-rind, pepper and a schisty, earthy quality. This has a deep, dark palate, again with a tight, liquoricy grip, richer berry and blueberry fruit and a little raspberry brightness too. Good tannins and this is long, delicious and drinking well. Very good indeed.
(2001) St-Joseph sits opposite Hermitage, on the other side of the Rhône river. It is a large appellation. producing good quality syrah reds at much lower prices than Hermitage or Côte-Rôtie. This has a slick of vanilla on the nose, over tight, slightly liquoricy, herbal, peppery fruit. On the palate it is tight and leathery, with a deep seam of serious black fruit, with more ripeness and openness towards the finish. Balanced and promising.