(2021) Cereza is the variety here, coming from a vineyard planted in 1940 on sandy soils, farmed organically and fermented in concrete 'eggs' with natural yeasts. Unusually for a red wine, it does not go through malolactic fermentation. The grape skins are also removed part-way through fermentation to give a very pale, deep rosé colour as much as red, offering herbal and underripe cherry aromas, subtle and earhty, a light undergrowth character too. In the mouth it has that higher acid style that reminds me of some red Vinho Verde made from Vinhao, though mid-palate sweetness of fruit emerges, cherryish again, with a very light finish of negligible tannin and fresh, juicy acidity. Very unusual, and for me very enjoyable if approached with an open mind. Watch the video for more information and use the wine-searcher link for lots of other independent stockists.
(2021) Made from vines that are 60 years old on average, and quite different from the white label, made with wild yeasts and with lees ageing. Distinctive, slightly more wild and herbal aromas, pungent, smoky and flinty, lemon rind and peach stones. The palate has a a Chablis-like character, again that flint, ripe apple and lemon, a full texture and quite slippery, oily mouthfeel with excellent concentration, length, and a saline, mouthwatering finish.
(2021) Described by La Scolca as the most tradtional of their Gavis. It is 100% Cortese from the high hills of Rovereto Superiore di Gavi, this is feather-light with 12% alcohol and delicate citrus, fresh-cut apple and some floral nuances. In the mouth it has a fine, juicy, mouth-watering core that is citrus again, but not aggressive, something more peachy comes in as the slightly saline acid fills the finish to give a little richness.
(2021) Arguably the most interesting thing about this wine is not the stuff in the bottle, but the bottle round the stuff: 100% recycled plastic, it is also recyclable and weighs just 63 grams when empty - about 87% less than a standard glass bottle. It is also a unique, letter-box-friendly flat shape, said to take up around half the volume of a standard glass bottle when being shipped, all of which give very attractive eco-credentials. The wine itself is a rather sweet Merlot with soft strawberry and summer pudding flavours, vanilla and a little dustiness, and barely perceptible tannins but decent balancing acidity. Some oak influence (almost certainly staves or chips rather than barrels). In many ways it's a shame this unique supermarket package doesn't contain a more interesting wine, but then it is a crowd-pleasing style and maybe that's what counts for people who pick a bottle up, attracted by the unusual packaging. Watch the video for more information and to see the bottle.
(2021) From Victoria in Australia, a take on the Italian/French variety Vermentino (also known as 'Rolle'). It is scented and citrussy, a little floral aspect but bright and zesty. The palate follows a similar course: citrus, but more lime and orange or pink grapefruit rather than sharper lemon, good texture and a fine, reasonably long finish.
(2021) Chateau de Figuières has its vineyards near the top of the slopes of La Clape, one of the most important 'Crus' of the Languedoc region. With a strong maritime influence (the sea is only five kilometers away), soils are marl and limestone, and yields kept very low at 30hl/ha. This wine blends 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, vinified and aged in stainless for nine months. Crimson/garnet in colour, there's a fine sense of the garrigue, of herbs and flowers here, refined aromas that are cool and gently dusty. In the mouth the fruit is ripe and sweet, but stays very lightly-balanced, enough creaminess and depth, but with agility, very juicy black fruit-skins grip of fine tannin and acidity, in a really lovely wine that is expressive and attractive. A UK listing is being sought for this wine at time of review.
(2021) This Brut sparkling wine from Graham Beck is a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, 80% from their home vineyards in Robertson, the rest from coastal vineyards of the Western Cape. There are few more experienced producers of MCC that Graham Beck, and this is lean, linear and lovely. There's a suggestion of bread and biscuit after 18 months on the lees and with around 10% of reserve wines in the blend, but pin-sharp lemon and rosy red apple aromas. On the palate, this has a great zesty length of lemony-fresh fruit, a salty and nutty aspect adding some layering into the finish. Dosage is 9g/l, but with no malolactic it is one of crispest, most refreshing wines in this line-up. Watch the video for more information. On offer at £10 in Waitrose until April 6th 2021, and in Majestic and other retailers too.
(2021) A wine I haven't tasted since the 2016 vintage, and what a lovely wine it is. Abundantly fresh, green herb-flecked lemon and crunchy apple aromas lead on to a palate that is also cool, elegant and crisp, but has texture and presence too, a supple ripeness, mid-palate sweetness and creaminess to the fruit, but the dazzling, salt-licked freshness of the finish powers through. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) Furmint is the main grape of the famous sweet wines of Tokaji in Hungary, but more and more dry white wine examples are appearing on the shelves, including this very well priced and classy example that brims with succulent pear and apple fruit, a touch of herbal character, and a palate that has some weight and texture, a deal of sweet, ripe stone and orchard fruits, and excellent, gently saline acidity. For me the white wine star of the small selection from Lidl's Wine Tour tasted here.
(2021) Fior d'Arancio means orange blossom in Italian, and yes, this sweet and low alochol sparkling wine from the Veneto region of northeast Italy does indeed show a little of that character. The always floral Moscato Giallo grape variety is no doubt responsible for that, in this fragrant take on the familar Moscato d'Asti style of Piedmont. Frothy, sweet and eminently drinkable, who could not love a wine like this at under £6, balanced as it is by gentle but effective acidity? Match it to fruity summer desserts, but otherwise, stick a bottle in the fridge as soon as summer sunshine is forecast and plan a long day doing very little in the garden.