(2019) Part of Lidl's 'Wine Tour', limited stocks in stores from 23rd May 2019, this is a blend of Alvarinho and Trajadura, spritzy and vivacious with lots of zingy citrus and herbs, a fine mouth-filling presence despite the lowly 12% abv, and a clean, refreshing and summer finish with that lick of salts and lemon peel to freshen.
(2019) From an interesting collaboration between the top Pessac-Léognan estate of Domaine de Chevalier and Stephane Derenencourt, this is mostly Merlot with 30% of Cabernet Franc, so presumably from 'right bank' vineyards given that blend. It's a deeply spiced and plummy wine, offering instantly appealing depth of aroma, touched with cedary olive character, but mostly about the plummy Merlot fruit. In the mouth the silky texture, soft creamy tannins and weight of mid-palate fruit flow across the tongue, before a bright finish where pert acidity and a bit of structure pull the wine through to a long finish. Approachable Bordeaux, but more substance than many at a similar price.
(2019) A tiny domaine located in Cramant in the Côte des Blancs, farming grand cru Chardonnay vineyards since 1746, and a very early example of a 'grower Chamagne' house, bottling since 1907. Perlé is a rarely-seen but traditional style, bottled with around 4 bars of pressure rather than the usual 6 bars. This is 2013 base with 35% reserve wines, disgorged autumn 2017 and with only 5g/l of dosage, so Extra Brut. The mousse dissipates quite rapidly to leave a gentle effervesence, the nose pure and driven by clean Chardonnay minerals and white fruits, though there is a sense of creaminess and just a touch of yeastiness. In the mouth it is fresh, light, but concentrated, the acidity driving the wine, but with such lemon and lime juiciness runnning into that salty mineral tang of the finish. Arguably a little on the austere side, but so beautifully made and singing along with some pan-fried seabass.
(2019) From the seaside vineyards of Sanlucar, again eight to ten years old on average from a Solera composed of around 10 stages. Lighter aromatically than the Fino, more floral and less marked by the flor, almond and candied peel, elegant and briney. In the mouth dazzling freshness and bite, there is a little bread dough softness in there, but it is a dry, concentrated style, a note of verjus, with a tang of bittersweet orange peel and very good length.
(2019) From organic vineyards in Campo de Borja, an appellation in the north of Spain, this is pure and joyful Grenache, undoubtedly the star grape of the region. Brimming with perfume, ripe cherries and incense smoke join with floral notes for a heady opening salvo. In the mouth its a seductive wine, full-bodied creamy and silky in texture, sheer tannins and softly insistent acidity offset the weight of plum and blackberry fruit in a terrifically gluggable wine with real personality. A barbecue stunner for the summer, very lightly chilled.
(2019) Not much information on the Piñero website about this bottling with its bright golden colour, but it comes from a solera with an average age of around 20 to 25 years. Lovely nose, the complex oxidative notes do not dominate but add a lovely walnutty richness, a touch of caramel and cappuccino, olive too in a layered set of aromatics. In the mouth very dry, though not as uncompromisingly dry as the Fino for example, the long ageing having smoothed the framework into a nutty, Seville orange marmalade richness, though still cut by lemon and salt mineral acidity.
(2019) You know, for its price, this really is a particularly good Bordeaux, 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, from chalky and clay soils. Bold purple in colour, there's a refined graphite note on the nose, just a hint of cedar, and plenty of ripe fleshy red and black fruits. In the mouth the pleasure continues, a lovely dark stripe of bittersweet liquorice underpinning plum and pulpy red berries, spices, acid and tannin all harmonious in the finish. It feels as if it will cellar for a few years too. A little star at under £10.
(2019) A still wine, made from 55% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Semillon and 20% Chardonnay grown at altitude in the Bekaa Valley. It has a really pretty nose, much more on the summer flowers and exotic fruit spectrum than anything more grassy given the majority Sauvignon in the blend, delicate spice and pot-pourri notes add interest. In the mouth some oak-ageing is evident (presumably the Chardonnay proportion) adding toast and a butteriness, but a big thrust of pithy lemon and grapefruit pushes through crisply. Highly quaffable, highly enjoyable.
(2019) What a lovely Bordeaux lookalike this is, blending 60% old vines Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot, and aged in new French oak. There's a rich, primary black berry fruit density on the nose, but spice and hints of game and cedar too, a lovely hint of tertiary development just starting to creep in. In the mouth espresso backs up the seam of blackcurrant, a tingle of clove spice and very polished tannins give volume, and the acidity is excellent, drawing the wine to a long, fine finish.
(2019) A bit of a ringer for a Sauvignon Blanc, this is made from Bacchus, a German cross of Riesling and Müller-Thurgau that is popular in England because of its ability to ripen well in cooler climates. Fresh and grassy on the nose, with that elderflower and English hedgerow character, before a crisp and very dry palate, a grapefruit juice tang and juiciness, perhaps just a touch dilute in terms of texture and mid-palate weight.