(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.