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(2019) Made by Michel Fabre, French owner-winemaker for Fabre-Montmayou in Argentina, and his own excellent estate in Cahors, this blends Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon and Ruby Cabernet. A deep violet/crimson colour, it's a bit more classical, more European in style than the Don Guerino Malbec for example, with meatier black fruit, though still with a cassis ripeness and a bit of violet lift emerging. In the mouth a leathery, coffeeish, deeply-hued set of flavours, a lot of fruit sweetness here though, the finish quite sweet with smooth texture and rounded tannin and acid balance.
(2019) The northern Italian variety Teroldego, grown here in the hills of Serra Gaúcha. Black as pitch, the nose here is smoky and meaty, a wisp of bonfire smoke, but then a more floral, exotically spicy aspect comes through, a touch old roses and a deep blue-black fruitiness. In the mouth there's a juicy cherry and raspberry intensity here, that smokiness wreathed through the fruit, the tannins firm but not stern, and the balanced acidity giving a long, fruit-driven finish.
(2019) Throughout central Europe, wines labeled 'Riesling' are often made from Welschriesling rather than the Rhine Riesling of Germany's top wines, an unrelated grape variety that tends to produce aromatic and crisp, easy-drinking wines. Such is precisely the case here, a particularly fragrant example with lemon verbena, apple and a touch of floral character. In the mouth it is all about the zesty freshness of apple and lime, but gentle, the acidity matched by just a touch of background sugar perhaps.
(2019) A muscular, meaty, meat-stocky aromas for this Brazilian Tannat from the Pizzato family, who are of Italian origin. A woodsmoke and vanilla character, loads of spices and warming fireside tones, just glimpses of a ripe, more vibrant black fruit beneath. In the mouth this is an all-encompassing, bear-hug of a wine, ripe and sweet black fruit floods the mid-palate, that creamy and smoky depth of oak supporting, but the edge of freshness to the tannins and the nippy, alert acidity gives lovely balance.
(2019) Having trained in Burgundy and worked in California, Michel Fonné took over his uncle René Barth’s estate in 1989. As is very common with Alsace Pinot Gris, there’s definitely some sweetness here, in a wine that is full-bodied and voluptuous, and the antitheses of more neutral Pinot Grigios. With a wisp of smoke and fat, beeswax and apricot fruit on the nose, the palate explodes with ripe stone fruit flavours, a limey acidity that is purposeful but not sharp, and the sweetness offsetting a touch of spice and plenty of powerful fruit intensity. A fine example of a style Alsace does so well. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese, this is a perfumed and very pleasing red, a touch of herbs and graphite, the ripeness of black Cabernet fruit, and the tangy vibrancy of Sangiovese cherries all present and correct. In the mouth there is a sweet and creamy edge to this, substantial but with a creamy softness to the tannins and acidity that give it enough structure while leaving it pizza and spag-bol friendly.
(2019) Chardonnay from the south Burgundy, this has very little oak that I can detect, though there is perhaps a smidgeon giving a creamy almond and pastry touch to the ripe orchard fruits, maybe just a fleeting glimpse of something floral too. In the mouth it has medium body and a typically versatile combination of sweet fruit - but not too much of it - creamy texture and refined balancing acidity. Long with just a whisper of toast, it is fresh and appetising.
(2019) A Manzanilla, made from the Palomino grape grown in Jerez, and aged in a solera system in the humid conditions around Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Tasted from a white wine glass, this pale yellow, 15% alcohol Sherry does have the distinctive iodine tang of briny sea air, as well as dry nut husk and apple notes. On the palate it is intense and oh so dry, but it is rich, again it is nuttiness that floods the palate here, with that fresh and vital salty acidity giving great length. Pound for pound in terms of world wine quality, these Sherries remain such a bargain. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas. Price and stockists below for half bottles. Full bottles in Waitrose and others, at around £11.00.
(2019) Old vine Pinot Noir from 1er Cru vineyards in Vertus, this is made by bleeding some colour from the Pinot grapes at the start of fermentation. It's Extra Brut, so dry with only around 3g/l of sugar, but ageing for two years on the lees and six more months on the bottle adds richness. Filled with small, taut red fruit aromas - redcurrant and raspberry - it is vinous for sure, the PInot heritage clear as it strikes the palate with real authority: tight, crisp tannins and acids, the little bullets of hard red fruits giving crunch and presence, and the mousse and touch of leesy creaminess softening the picture into a long, crisply-defined finish. Terrific, thought-provoking pink Champagne.
(2019) Owner Mario Geisse was in charge of winemaking at Moet & Chandon’s Brazilian operation before setting up n his own in 1979, with vineyards at 800 metres, growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Aged 24 months on the lees, this really is a beautiful, and classic traditional method sparkling wine, 70% Chardonnay and rich with confit lemon, almond and creamy, biscuity richness, the mousse plush and mouth-filling. On the palate there's pin-sharp precision of flavours and acidity, but a generous personality too, the intrinsic sweet ripeness of the fruit perfectly matching the razor-sharp acidity. A class act this, Franciacorta softness meets Champagne precision.