This selection of wines was supplied for me to taste. FVD delivers free in the mainland UK for orders of 12 bottles or more. There’s a small charge for deliveries of fewer bottles. Full details on FromVineyardsDirect.com.
Morador, Navarra Blanco 2013, Spain
An unspecified blend of indigenous grapes, the 12% alcohol of this northern Spanish wine suggest it will be fresh, and indeed it is. There’s a touch of peardrop and bubblegummy youthfulness, a hint of very ripe Ogen melon, and plenty of zesty citrus. On the palate it is vibrant and keen, with good fruit personality, and its inherent sweetness punchily counterbalanced by orange acidity. Easy to drink and nicely pitched for aperitif or lighter, salad, seafood and fish dishes. 86/100. £6.95, FromVineyardsDirect.com.
Tenuta Giustini, Fiano ‘Illuminato’ 2012, Italy
From Puglia in the heel of Italy, where the Fiano variety made famous in the nearby province of Avellino, is gaining importance. With only 12.5% alcohol and unoaked this is a beautifully aromatic rendition, with perfumed, lightly floral character reminiscent of rose hips and summer blossom, and clean, fresh yellow plum and apple fruit. In the mouth it is textural and has a pleasing, peachy softness, but there’s a bit of steel at the core with dry apple and citrus acidity and a hint of salty minerals. A very nice example this. 88/100. £9.95, FromVineyardsDirect.com.
Val Do Sosego, Albariño Rias Baixas 2013, Spain
With its light (12.5% alcohol) body, clean texture and straightforward apple and citrus flavours this may seem a touch underwhelming at first, but then the subtle mineral character, teasing glimpse of vivacious sweet fruit and perfectly balanced acidity work their charms – especially with fish, seafood or spaghetti con vongole perhaps. 87/100. £9.95, FromVineyardsDirect.com. Domaine du Bicheron, Mâcon-Péronne Vieilles Vignes 2013, France
From the south of Burgundy near Pouilly-Fuissé, this Chardonnay has a concentrated and finely perfumed nose. There’s something hinting at the exotic, but a pure apple and ripe Ogen melon white fruit character too. On the palate it really does have good intensity, the ripeness is there, and almost orangey brightness of fruit plus acidity, and just a teasing glimpse of more tart greengage and lemon. There’s a custardy roundness, though perhaps just from lees rather than oak, and the powerful finish sustains. Lovely white Burgundy at a modest price. 89-90/100. £10.95, FromVineyardsDirect.com.
Schloss Reinhartshausen, Riesling Trocken 2012, Germany
From the Rheingau, this is just a brilliant Riesling – brilliant in all senses of the word, from its burstingly fresh aroma to its explosively fruity palate. It’s ‘trocken’ which means dry, and with 12% alcohol certainly most of the sugar has been fermented here. The nose sings with summer meadows, crunchy ripe apples and zesty lemon, before a palate that is pristine and cool as a cucumber, yet with plenty of fruity punch and a dazzling citrus finish. Just delicious with a creamy risotto. 90/100. £12.95, FromVineyardsDirect.com.
Clos des Lunes, Lune Blanche Bordeaux Blanc 2013, France
An attractively packaged, handsome wine, coming from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc vineyards in the Sauternes region, and made by Domaine de Chevalier. It is just beautifully done, the sheen of oatmeal and ground almond over lemon rind and fresh, mouth-watering apple fruit. On the palate it has good texture and substance, the very vivid apple fruit driving through, flirting with orange and lime, and with lovely acid balancing the creamy weight and ripeness. For dinking now, but should cellar for a few years too. 90/100. £13.95, FromVineyardsDirect.com.
Morador, Navarra Tinto 2013, Spain
From vineyards in Navarra, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, this unoaked and youthful Tempranillo has plenty of deep colour and a super-fresh, curranty and crunchy nose of black berries and cherries, with a hint of charcoal adding a dry, serious note. On the palate there’s plenty of sweet black fruit, bursting with ripeness, though medium bodied and retaining freshness into a long finish of gentle tannins and cherry-juice acidity. Deliciously quaffable, vital stuff and great with chorizo or, indeed, chilli con carne. 86/100. £6.95, FromVineyardsDirect.com. Esterházy, Estoras Zweigelt 2011, Austria
From vineyards of the venerable and noble Esterházy family, this Burgenland red is a very dark, purple colour and the nose has that classic, dry, coal-dust and blueberry character of Zweigelt, a lovely creamy and smoky note underpinning and yet floral and kirsch top-notes filling in too. On the palate it is rich and spicy, with a fairly prominent oak influence giving sweet cedar and vanilla, but the savoury and spicy black fruits filling the mouth too. Long, with a chewy tannin depth and good acidity, it’s an impressive wine at the modest price and crying out for a steak. 89-90/100. £9.95, FromVineyardsDirect.com.
Château de Fayolle, Sang du Sanglier Bergerac 2011, France
Watch out for the surprising 15.5% abv in this wine from Bergerac, just inland from Bordeaux. Made from only the “best and oldest Merlot vines,” and aged in barrel for 12 months, it has a very deep, saturated colour and is loaded with plum and quite fragrant black fruit notes on the nose. Remarkably enough (given that alcohol) it retains loads of juicy freshness on the palate, the dark, ripe and plummy flavours smoothed with vanilla and chocolate. Not fantastically complex, but a lovely big mouthful of red wine (if you can take the alcohol). Really rather good – and balanced. 88/100. £11.65, FromVineyardsDirect.com.
Domaine de l’Ermitage, Menetou-Salon Rouge 2011, France
12.5% abv, 100% Pinot Noir aged for 13 months in Tronçais oak barrels. Immediately cool, scented and vegetal, this Pinot Noir from the Loire majors on beetroot and sappy aromatics, a touch of cherry, before a palate that is lively and mineral. Dry and medium-bodied, there’s a touch of smokiness and toast against the firm tannin and acid, and whilst I might look for a little more generosity, the purity of the red berries asserts in a juicy and understated Pinot. 88/100. £14.95, FromVineyardsDirect.com.
Saint-Julien, Bordeaux 2010, France
Since launch FromVineyardsDirect have used their extensive Bordeaux connections (co-founder Esme Johnson owned Château de Sours) to source these generic appellation wines from seriously top classed growth vineyards. They are coy about the sources, but part of the fun has always been trying to figure out who made the wines. In this case, a ‘Super-Second’ is credited, and those guessing Ducru-Beaucaillou stand as good a chance as any – if not better. From a top vintage it is dark and plush, the aromas of cassis and ripe black plum layered with cherry and kirsch perfume, cedar and earthiness. On the palate it is remarkably structured, a fine framework of tannin, ripe acids and that plush fruit depth all nicely balanced along with a touch of vanilla and toast. Long, serious and delicious claret, and will cellar for another decade surely? 91/100. £19.95, FromVineyardsDirect.com.
Pauillac, Bordeaux 2012, France
The Pauillac comes from the 2012 vintage and “from the most famous 1st Growth in the appellation,” which I will others to figure out. A blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot the nose is deep and lustrous, a sheen of quality oak and subtle fragrance of violet, ripe cassis and a touch of smoke and game. Complex and compelling, the palate has terrific sweetness of fruit; of course it is not as concentrated as a Lafite for example, but it has real intensity and a fine, long finish with refined tannins and a juicy black cherry acidity. This should cellar well for a decade also. 91-91/100. £20.95, FromVineyardsDirect.com.