(2021) 2020 is shaping up to be a great vintage in the Marlborough region, especially for Sauvingon Blanc, where some winemakers I have spoken to rate it as one of the best harvests of recent times. This is also the best Sauvignon Blanc I have tasted from Allan Scott, and one of the most perfumed and aromatic too. Loads of vivid, scented talcumy tropical fruit leaps from the glass, passion fruit and mango and lychee, florals too with so much fragrance. The palate bursts with similar exotic fruit, nicely pitched acidity, juicy concentrated fruit and great balance into a long finish. £9.99 from N.D. John at time of review. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) Ten months in a combination of American and French oak for this wine, which I'd certainly describe as classic Barossa Shiraz. That's to say it is bountiful and crammed with fruit, but it absolutely does not lack in freshness or vibrant personality. There's elegant, floral lift and raspberry brightness to sit against the creamy depth of vanilla-infused berries. In the mouth it has a racy acidity, firm, slick tannins and loads of almost mindlessly pleasurable chocolate-smoothed dark berries. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) Soils are mainly sand and silt on sandstone and schist, this cuvee aged in French oak barrels for 12 months, followed by a further 4-6 months in tank. There's a really appealing stony, mineral and taut character here, apple aromas span nutty Cox's pippin to green apple, the picture balanced between richness and alacrity. Gorgeous palate too I must say, textured and creamy, but with brilliance and a long, very fresh and vibrant finish that is mouth-watering.
(2021) 'C.M. 1993' is not a vintage date: it refers to the 1993 metre height of the Col de la Madeleine. In 2013, when the components of this wine were assembled, it was one of the 'Hors Categories' climbs of the Tour de France. Ninety percent of the base wine was barrel fermented, in new barrels from forests in Champagne. A slightly lower liquor de tirage has also reduced the pressure slightly, for a less aggressively bubbly style. It is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 15% Chardonnay from 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. 5,100 bottles were disgorged in July 2019 with a dosage of 6g/l. A terrific nose, where there is vanilla and a touch of toast overlaid on mushroom and truffle, confit lemon and a suggestion of sweeter peach. It is fresher than the C.C.F 2067, for me it has more nerve and vitality, the rolling mousse leading onto mouthfilling but super-fresh flavours, a beautifully elongated palate where acidity shimmers to a fine, tapering point.
(2021) This cuvée named after the Col de la Croix de Fer, the Hors Categories stage of the Tour de France, where riders climbed to 2067 feet to the summit. That was in 2012, when this wine was laid downm to be disgorged in May 2017. It blends 45% Pinot Meunier with 40% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay, with 85% of the blend being 2010 vintage (fermented and aged for a year in barrel), along with 15% from 2011. Only 3,600 bottles were produced, and once again a lower tirage means it has lower pressure than most Champagnes. Dosage is 5g/l. Somewhere between butercup yellow and gold, the nose shows lots of vanilla, dominating a light earthiness and bruised apple fruit. In the mouth it is gently effervescent, and the maturity of this bottle, #3,151, gives more of the lightly oxidative but honeyed style, before freshening citrus and apple acidity, plus a lick of saltiness, balances the finish.
(2021) South Africa's most famous exponent of Chenin Blanc, the Old Vine Reserve from Ken Forrester comes from vineyards planted in 1976, and is made in a nicely balanced style where partial barrel fermentation (20% new French oak) adds a lustre to the aromatics and palate, creaminess, light toast and almond over ripe and honeyed fruit. In the mouth there is an expansive texture, creaminess again, but pristine flavours of crisp apple melt into more sweet, tropical tones, before a vivid core of acidity powers the finish. Delicious stuff and versatile: watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. On offer at £13.30 at time of review.
(2021) From the second-oldest, dedicated Champagne house founded in 1730, this is 48% Pinot Noir (mostly from Les Riceys), 39% Chardonnay, the balance Pinot Meunier. Coming from a cool year, but now with seven years under its belt, there is some gold to the colour and an attractively creamy, nutty and bruised apple fruit quality. On the palate the dosage is apparent, giving a sweet attack, but a fat and juicy lemony fruit corew and acidity sweeps through. The finish shows a little salts and minerals, in an easy drinking and stylish vintage Champagne. £24.99 as part of a mixed six at Majestic at time of review.
(2021) This review is for the 2020 vintage, but note that some retailers are currently on the 2019. There's also a wide range of prices on offer, from £10 to £14, for this wine. It's a modern, sparky take on Grüner, a hint of spritz adding to that impression of liveliness and punch. The fruit has clear and ripe pear, yes, a little hint of pepper, and plenty of cirtussy freshness. The palate has that spritz, but also plenty of sweet, ripe, apple and pear and a zesty finish. A fine, modern Austrian wine. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) From a winery seen as a bastion of traditional, more tannic Naoussa, this spends 12 months in French oak, 40% new, but fully 30 months more ageing in bottle before release. More brick and amber to the colour here, some leafy, slightly green-flecked aromas, herbs and seeds and plummy, olive-touched fruit. On the palate the 2016 fruit is really sweet, creamy and forward, though it butts against strident tannins and acidity, the sides of the mouth drying, but that holds the fruit together in a powerful, structured food wine.
(2021) A very small production for this wine, from a winery producing a total of 13,000 bottles annually. Vines here are 40 years old, it spends two years in French oak, 40% of which is new. A slightly deeper ruby colour again, lots of pencil shavings and dustiness on the nose over black fruits, a little bit of old rose perfume somewhere in there. The palate has lovely fruit: supple and ripe, that cedary quality is on the palate too, the tannins grippy and dry and the edge. Arguably slightly austere acidity might be too much, but the fruit weight and suppleness really does make for a big, satisfying wine.