(2020) From a cold, wet year before the drought started, but long hang time allowed full ripening. Grapes are de-stemmed but not crushed, so around 20% whole berries. Long cool ferment. There's a fine Cabernet expression here, with a touch of olive and background herbaceous character, but much more minty black fruit and a touch of violet perfume comes through. The palate is medium-bodied and super juicy, lots of zip and freshness, plus there's a gamy, ripe nuance to the black berries. There's a smoothing, chocolaty quality to the oak and to the tannin profile, giving this creamy and supple qualities too. A lovely style. £15.99 as part of a mixed six.
(2020) This spends eight months in Louis Latour barrels, partly from Meursault, mostly two and three years old. Gorgeous crushed oatmeal and flint nose, a touch of vanilla toast and honey, and very fresh pear and apple fruit. The palate has limpid, pure and quite plush fruit and juiciness, but that fine stony, flinty character adds a lovely edge, the acid lemony and fresh, but with that saline touch that is so mouth-watering and fresh. There is density to the fruit, and concentration, but great finesses and freshness. £15.99 as part of a mixed six.
(2020) Fondrèche selects the very best parcels of Syrah (90%) and Mourvèdre for this cuvée, grown on their rocky, limestone soils. It is matured for 12 months in a combination of smaller barriques and large foudres. It's white partner too, the Persia Blanc, is also outstandingly good, and also available from Cadman Fine Wines. It has a gorgeous amalgam of supple, elegant black fruit and earthiness, a sprinkle of pepper on the nose. In the mouth it's a very grown-up style of wine: plenty of bittersweet plum and cherry, but a stripe of meaty tannin and pert, bright acidity giving the overall balance of a structured but fruity wine. £17.99 as part of a mixed six. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) This second-growth from Pauillac was last tasted five or six years ago. It's still youthful, decanted off the sediment for an hour or so, showing classic pencil shaving, blood and deep black and red fruit aromas, a wonderfully evocative bouquet. On the palate it has masses of fruit depth, always savoury, gamy, blood and iron-oxide-streaked, with terrific structure: the tannins here are still firm and commanding, the juiciness of the acidity is keen, and the overall balance is excellent. I'd say this is still on the upslope, is still chewy and firm, and will be brilliant with some lamb or rare roast beef.
(2020) A blend of Roussanne (90%) and Clairette, the colour is straw yellow touched with gold, partly the product of barrel ageing and time on the lees, this top white from Fondreche has a really beautiful nose, hints of almond nougat and faint toast, but clear, saline character tempered with ripe pear and buttery peach. In the mouth full textured and mouth-filling, but it has that clarity and intense concentration of leesy but taut fruit, that streaking pithy lemon and salts acidity and a long, beautifully tapering finish. Really very good indeed. £16.99 as part of a mixed six.
(2020) This top white from Domaine de Fondrèche is mostly Roussanne, with 10% Clairette in the blend. It is aged for a year in larger oak barrels, and comes from Fondrèche's sustainably managed vineyards in the Ventoux. There's a hint of gold to the colour suggesting richness, the nose invitingly deep and fruity, plenty of Ogen melon and peach, but something taut and firm too, just delicate background hints of flowers and herbs and a little buttery character. In the mouth it is a concentrated, intense mouthful of white wine, a fruit skins grip to the acids and touch of tannin, the very juicy apple and stone fruit mid-palate swept up in saline acidity to the finish. The oak is barely perceptible, just adding some weight and creaminess of texture.
(2020) Deeply saturated purple/black, there's some similarity to the Romaneira aromatically, with those herbal and ashy nuances to the black fruit, a great sense of concentration and purity too. Just superb in the mouth. The gloss and the weight of the black fruit is fabulous - silk and satin, but the cocoa and damson depth is given additional luminescence by a sweet confture blueberry, before the suede-like, very fine tannins wrap themselves around the finish, the juicy acidity already very well integrated. This is a sensuous and fully-realised young Port, surely with decades ahead of it. Available in-bond, as a six-bottle case, from many fine wine merchants in the UK at time of writing.
(2020) Another very dense and dark wine, staining the sides of the glass. Darker, earthier and more leathery than the Offley, brooding is the word, liquorice and tar and dark mulled fruits. In the mouth super sweetness here - sweeter than the Offley in perception at least, with a dusty, chocolate-deep edge to the mulberry and blueberry fruit. Smooth and chocolatey in terms of its tannins too, that sweetness carries through confidently, set against a juiciness of cherry and cherry skins acid, spices too, in a very deeply flavoured and powerhouse Port that will need time. No UK stockists of this listed at time of review, but Hic! wine merchant has the 2016 so an indicative price has been based on that.
(2020) This is a large estate upstream from the town of Pinhão, rehabilitated by Christian Seely and his investors who took over when it had fallen into some disrepair. Dark and opaque, quite a meaty and herbal nose here, less overtly sweet-fruited, an immediate sense of serious concentration. The nose pretty accurately predicts the palate here: there is sweetness and abundant black fruit flesh and ripeness, but as well as that blackcurranty richness of fruit, the ashy herbs, the leather and the meatiness give a more savoury character. Good freshness, though the tannin and acid axis is a little softer than some, making this meaty wine surprisingly approachable in its youth. Indicative price based on the previous vintage.
(2020) Very deep and opaque in colour, there's a fascinating floral and honeyed note to the aroma, perhaps herbal, but not green, more a slightly exotic touch of pot pourri perhaps. In the mouth this is dense and beautifully sweet and smooth, with a balsamic richness and intense sweet blueberry fruit. Luscious, the firm line of acidity and grippy, spicy tannin kicks in to remind you this is a baby. The wine has richness and weight of sweet fruit concentration, but structure too. It's an approachable and 'pretty' Port this, giving masses of immediate pleasure. Will be shipped October/November 2020.