Fromvineyardsdirect – wines tasted

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Launched in 2006, FromVineyardsDirect is the brainchild of David Campbell and Esme Johnstone, two men with fascinating and extensive experience behind them. Campbell is the man behind the Everyman Library publishing house, who also launched France’s leading wine guide, Le Guide Hachette, whilst Johnstone revolutionised the UK wine trade when he launched Majestic Wine warehouses, and then going to have huge success when he purchased Château de Sours in Bordeaux.

Their portfolio is deliberately limited in size, as they tend to work with growers with whom they have a close relationship. The range is principally sourced in France and imported direct from the growers, but it has expanded organically to Italy, Spain, Portugal and even into the New World. As they sell directly to the public, prices are always competitive.

STOP PRESS: FromVineyardsDirect are offering a mixed, six-bottle case containing some of my favourite wines from this tasting, with a discount price AND free delivery in the UK mainland, exclusively for wine-pages’ visitors. See this special page on the FvD website to buy the case. It contains one bottle each of the wines marked with an asterisk below, for a special price of £62.00 including delivery.

The wines

White

Domaine des Lauriers, Picpoul de Pinet 2014, Languedoc, France
Picpoul is a grape variety that has zoomed to the top of the popularity charts in recent years, and I can fully understand the appeal of these wines from a traditional appellation of the Languedoc. This is an excellent example, with an extra ounce of pungent, almost Sauvignon-like herbaceous and tropical intensity, some notes of lychee and mango, and a blast of citrus. In the mouth it is refreshing and zingy, with crunchy fruit juiciness, and that big, fresh-squeezed grapefruit tang to the acidity. Delicious summer drinking. 87/100. £7.95, FromVineyardsDirect

La Grange, Tradition Grande Cuvée Blanc 2014, Languedoc, France
Here’s an unusual white blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay that has been given a little oak-aging. That has given a subtle background nuttiness to the wine, but it is very discreet, the aromas to the fore are rosy red apple and a touch of peach. On the palate it is cool and clear, the freshness of the Sauvignon and citrus and orchard fruit clarity coming through nicely, just a rounding and smoothing effect of the oak into the crisply defined finish. 87/100. £9.95, FromVineyardsDirect

Château de la Jaubertie, Bergerac Blanc 2013, Bergerac, France *
What a lovely wine this is: a very similar wine to those great white Bordeaux wines of the nearby Graves region, it is a blend of organic Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and a touch of Muscadelle. It is a wine that is about elegance, precision and a certain understatement, the nose is full of keen, ripe lemony fruit but note the nuances of wild flowers, oatmeal and nuttiness with subtle layers of complexity. In the mouth seamless citrus and juicy apple fruitiness, but such a lovely thrust and cut of acidity and rounded, lightly creamy mouth-feel, in a long, poised finish. Extremely elegant. 90/100. £9.95, FromVineyardsDirect

Domaine de l’Ermitage, Menetou-Salon Blanc 2014, Loire, France *
Farming with “as organic an approach to viticulture as the climate allows,” this is Loire Sauvignon Blanc from an appellation near Sancerre, where vineyards are planted on similar Kimmeridgian clay soils. The nose does have a punch of gooseberry and nettles, leafy green herbs, but also a lightly creamy lime fruit quality and just hints of the tropical. In the mouth the fruit is abundantly ripe and sweet, washing across the tongue quite luxuriously, though the steely and salty lick of the acidity balances the long finish. Very stylish. 90/100. £12.95, FromVineyardsDirect

Rosé

Mas de Cadenet, Rosé de Provence Sainte Victoire 2014, Provence, France *
Composed of a majority of Grenache, along with Cinsault and Syrah, this is a lovely and in many ways typical Provence rosé, but the crunching freshness is superb, with gravelly, mineral nuances to the raspberry fruit, a touch of wild herbs and leafy green too. The palate is bone-dry and savoury, but that is not to say it lacks fruit: that soft yet precise red fruit freshness is all there, a very gentle tannin support and of course vivid acidity is crying out for summer drinking – on its own in the garden or with a garlicky, tomato and chilli pasta perhaps. 89/100. £10.65, FromVineyardsDirect

Domaine de l’Ermitage, Menetou-Salon Rosé 2014, Loire, France
A pale cherry-pink hue to this rosé Pinot Noir, with a very fresh cherry nose too, the elegant, cool fruit showing some nicely mineral and grassy edges, but that red fruit is the key here. In the mouth it has copious fruit sweetness; a whole fruit bowl of summer berries, but such a nice lick of acidity to add a dry, savoury grippiness to the finish, the medium-bodied, quite creamy texture finishing with fine citrus juiciness. A savoury and delightful rosé. 89/100. £12.95, FromVineyardsDirect

Red

Rioja Vega, Rioja Crianza 2011, Rioja, Spain
Tempranillo, with just a little Garnacha and Mazuelo, this Crianza displays a lightness of touch, the colour not too dense and the nose lifted with tobacco and cherry fragrance, floral hints, and a touch of wild strawberry. In the mouth it is seductive stuff, its pretty fruit profile flooding the palate with summer berries and cream, but then you note the support that emerges from some smoky, charcoally oak character, really good tannins structure and the tensioning orange-zest acidity. It is really quite long, the integration of oak and fruit quite seamless. Impressive. 90/100.£9.25, FromVineyardsDirect

Tenuta Giustini, Vecchio Sogno Negroamaro 2012, Puglia, Italy *
Negroamaro may not be so familiar as Primitivo from Puglia in the ‘heel’ of Italy, but it is one of the main grapes of the region and certainly capable of greatness. This IGT Salento example has real perfume, a heady mix of bloodiness and flowers, a touch of clove and wild berry fruit in a complex layering. In the mouth it is soft and caressing, a great wash of black berries and cream across the palate, before the juiciness and firmness of the structure just tightens things up, giving the finish a long, spicy, but keenly juicy freshness. Really terrific. 90/100. £9.95, FromVineyardsDirect

Domaine La Grange, Tradition Clos Prat Bibal 2013, Languedoc, France *
An oak-aged blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, from selected vineyard plots, this has a dramatically dark colour and immediate meatiness, earthiness and savoury density on the nose. On the palate a real juiciness of red berries emerges, coated in a smoothing, vanilla-touched coating of the barrels, but all given lovely tension by a tight, plum-skin tannin roughness, juicy acids and a tobacco and spice note. 90/100. £9.95, FromVineyardsDirect

Bodegas Tionio, ‘Austum’ Ribera del Duero 2013, Ribera del Duero, Spain *
This is 100% Tempranillo, from near the town of Pesquera in Ribera del Duero, just lightly oaked to preserve its freshness from this organic estate. There’s a very refined tobacco, ash and briar note at first, elegant and gently lifted, though a weight of blackberry fruit begins to assert. In the mouth that refined, cedary, gently olive-like quality marries with the sweet black fruits, a delightful freshness from crisp, black cherry-skin acidity and tight tannins, really extends the finish. Lovely, cool and sophisticated. 90/100. B£10.95, FromVineyardsDirect

Château du Taillan, Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois 2009, Bordeaux, France
In the same family hands for five generations, Taillan’s 2009 (a great Bordeaux vintage) is composed of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc, and spent 18 months in barrel. There’s a big, plummy onslaught of ripe fruit immediately, showing the copious ripeness of the vintage (as does its 15% alcohol). Really rounded and polished, the nose leads on to a palate where chocolate and liquorice wrap that plummy fruit in extra silkiness and a bite of bittersweetness. Tannins and acidity brace the sweet fruit, into a long, powerful finish that nevertheless has some charm and generosity. This will cellar for a decade. 89-90/100. £15.95, FromVineyardsDirect

Domaine de Pignan, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009, Rhône, France
A wine I absolutely loved I have to say. This is Châteauneuf at its maturing, softening, seductive best, where it has shaken of the brawn of youth to become something much more mellow and complex. A relatively pale hue with a tinge of brick on the rim, it has a soaring and soulful nose with game and truffle joining peppery spice-cupboard aromas, and a lovely weight of ripe berry fruits. On the palate everything is soft and luxurious, with a flood of fruit tinged with coffee and tobacco, a fine grip of tannin showing it has time ahead of it yet, and perfectly judged acidity. A very ‘complete’ wine and a delightful example of Châteauneuf at its most alluring – at a highly reasonable price – limited stocks, so do not delay. 94/100. £19.95, FromVineyardsDirect. *N.B* Sadly this wine has now sold out.

All wines available from FromVineyardsDirect.com. Tom Cannavan takes no commission or referral fees for sales of these, or any wines reviewed on wine-pages.com.

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