Joseph Drouhin (Burgundy), St. Véran 1997 – £7.50
Pale green/gold colour. Very fresh. Apples, pears and white fruits on the nose, hints of sherbet and melon. Full-bodied and quite alcoholic with keen lemon fruit filled-out with background creamy oak. Long citrus finish is a little bit “hot” and raw. Good.
George Pico, Chablis Domaine de Bois d’Yver 1996 – £8.00
Very pale straw colour. Dry, mineral nose. Some yeasty nuances and lemon fruit peaks through. Beautifully balanced, with ripe pear and apple flavours and some rounded, plum-skin tartness. Nice long finish with pure lemon acidity.
Christian Salmon, Sancerre 1997 – £8.00
Extremely pale straw colour. Piercing nose of grassy, straw-like aromas. Fruit a bit buried. Lean on the palate and sharply defined by citrus fruit. Though there is decent acidity, it is just a touch flabby in the finish.
Coopers Creek (New Zealand) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 1997 – £8.50
Pale straw/yellow. Pungent, quite complex nose, redolent of green beans with citrus and confectionery notes. On the palate plenty of lemon and lime fruit, though a little simple and short, not quite living up to the nose.
De Bortoli (Australia) Windy Peak Chardonnay 1994 – £8.50
Much deeper, even yellow colour. Loaded with toasty oak and butter on the nose, hints of ripe banana and a slightly vegetal note. Super-ripe, super-sweet peachy fruit with a marzipan element. Bags of vanilla oak leads to a sweet and sour finish. Decent length.
Joseph Drouhin (Burgundy), Rully 1996 – £9.00
Glossy pale-to-medium crimson red colour. A little bit of sulphury bottle-stink blows off to reveal raspberry and strawberry fruit and a dank, earthy edge. On the palate a pure seam of red fruits with a softening cloak of tannins and creamy oak. Becomes quite velvety and full after an hour in the glass. This will be an even nicer wine in a year or two.
Château Bel Air (Domaine Martin), Haut-Médoc 1993 – £8.00
Very dense purple/crimson. Sweet rasberry and blackcurrant fruit on the nose with some new-sawn oak and a nice cedary note. Fine structure, with a palate of savoury, mature flavours – quite gamey. Medium body with good length and a toasty, oaky finish. The same owners as Château Gloria.
Château Beaumont, Cussac, Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois 1993 – £9.00
Youthful, dense colour. Slightly more restrained, animal nose but then good cassis fruit with a sweet, minty edge develops. Good body, quite dry with a leathery, savoury character but fruit is there too. Quite a long, smooth finish. A little bit rustic but very flavourful and drinking well with food.
Marqués de Griñon, Rioja Reserva 1993 – £8.50
Dark, dense, youthful and vibrant colour. Just a hint of brown on the rim. Terrific pure nose of blackcurrant with a distinctly “New-world” mint and eucalyptus edge. Very smooth on the palate with a pure and persistant seam of fruit, a soft tannic structure beneath and good length with gentle acidity. I would never have spotted this as Rioja Reserva in a blind tasting – I would probably have plumped for an Australian cabernet blend! Very much new-style Rioja.
San Pedro (Chile) Selección del Directorio Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 1996 – £6.50
Dark purple/black. Richly oaky with charred, toasty aromas. There is blackcurrant and plum fruit on the palate and a deep vanilla and cream oakiness, but it is a little hollow and there is a lack of integration of oak and fruit. Extract and depth, but a little bit disjointed.