(2024) It may come as a surprise to learn that Germany is now the world's third biggest producer of Pinot Noir, aka SpÃ¤tburgunder, the variety now accounting for around 12% of Germany's vineyard area. This from the cousins Hanewald-Schwerdt is made from 30-year-old vines grown on their patch of limestone soil. Fermented with natural yeasts in large oak casks, it then spends time in smaller barriques, 20% of which are new. Medium garnet in colour, this has beautiful fragrance, with red berries and a juicy, ripe cherry, also a little floral lift. But there are all sorts of nuances, with some truffle and smokiness, briary, autumnal characters developing. In the mouth quite substantial and meaty, delivering a spicy but still pure, red fruited glass of Pinot of excellent character for its modest price. The finish is smoothed by a little vanilla, ripe tannin and a juicy orange acidity. Watch the video for more information.
(2024) In the funky wine spectrum for sure, this non-vintage wine is 82% Chenin Blanc and 18% Grenache Blanc, 60% from the 2022 vintage, the rest from components going back to 2016. Some portions saw skin-contact, others were deliberatly maderised or aged under flor. Lemony in colour, the nose has butter and lanolin notes, considerable complexity with ripe golden delicious apples and subtle nuttiness too. On the palate a richness to the texture, fat lemony fruit and a delightful balance between fruit ripeness and sheer, sherbet lemon acidity. A lovely, dry, gastronomic finish.
(2024) From producer Luigi Scavino, a wine made in a combination of barriques and large botti, with minimal new oak. The colour has an elegant age, with amber on the rim of medium-pale garnet. The nose is lovely, rose-hip and violet nuances oven through raspberry and a touch of cedar. The plate is medium-bodied and quite firm, the acid relatively prominent along with spicy wood and firm, endive-like tannins. But there is most certainly fruit too, with small red berries and a slightly sauvage quality of bramble and wild strawberry. The finish is again quite grippy with that tannin and acid axis. I don't know this producer and wine well enough to guess at its potential longevity, but it drinks really well, if a touch lean, at time of review.
(2024) Rogers & Rufus is a partnership between English entrepreneur Rufus Clevely and Australian Rogers Hill-Smith - you may recognise the Hill-Smith name as owners of Yalumba and its associated brands. The wine was designed as a summery, lunch-time sipper with only 11.5% alcohol, and is made from unirrigated bush-vine Grenache in the Barossa Valley. It's an homage to Provence, though the nose has a little more passion fruit and even nuances of lychee than might be found in the south of France, the palate bright and peachy but shimmering with an elegant, stony acidity that leaves it bone-dry in the finish. A successful rendition of this style. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. A few stockists have it a bit cheaper by the six-bottle case.
(2024) From my cellar, and 19 years old when drunk, this was fabulous. The colour has a broad rim of amber, and the nose is suffused with truffle and game, dried leaves on a forest floor, with a fine red fruit weight and hints of vanilla beneath. In the mouth it is resolved and smooth, a chocolate richness to the tannins and the acid gently propelling the autumnal berries of the mid-palate. Just a lovely wine. Note that price and stockist given are for the current vintage at time of this 2024 review.
(2024) A single vineyard wine from very old vines in the Hunter Valley. Lemon, custard and a leafy, dill-like herbal note. Thereâ€™s a sense of honey and â€˜fatnessâ€™ to this already, some sesame seed-like nuttiness, which will develop over the next decade. The palate is all zipping lemon and lime at the moment. Thereâ€™s a lovely sour lemon acidity that puckers the mouth, but there is weight and that honeyed sense of fullness to the mid-palate. Again toast â€“ even hot buttered toast to stretch the analogy (but I think valid) â€“ lingers along with that fat, lemony juiciness of fruit and acid at the core. Potential for a higher score.
(2024) Chablis producer Simonnet-Febvre produces this Chardonnay-based sparking wine, matured for 24 months on the lees. Fresh and lively on the nose, crisp apple and lemon notes with just a background layer of biscuity autolysis. In the mouth this has quite a fruity appeal, ripe apple and pear, with a gentle nuttiness playing against the dosage and acidity of the finish.
(2024) According to the Faustino web site this iconic wine represents three out of every 10 bottles of Rioja Gran Reserva sold in the world. It is certainly the most recognisable and, between that and its ubiquity, is so easy to overlook a wine like this in favour or newer or less familar names. Although there are notes on 300 Riojas in wine-pages database, this one has never featured. Aged a minimum of 24 months in French and American oak and 36 in bottle, there's surprisingly little of the coconut and vanilla character one might expect from a 14-year-old, traditional Rioja. Instead it is cedary and spicy, with red fruits that are plummy and savoury. In the mouth it again doesn't have the sumptuous softness that I think I recall from previous tastings. A little mocha coffee does underpin, but the firm acids and grippy tannins dominate though balanced by some solid, plummy fruit. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas. Costco is the place to buy at Â£15.49, though widely available including Asda and Tesco at Â£18-Â£19.
(2024) Another fabulous slice of Australian heritage, this is a fortified wine of unknown age â€“ possibly 1970s? Note of hessian or new laid carpet, caramel and walnut, but is there a hint of Sauvignon zip? There's a streak of espresso bittersweetness that acts to cleanse and propel this. An intriguing wine and holding up really well. Enjoyed this rarity. No alcohol level was stated on the label, so a guess at 15% has been entered by me. It's also difficult to say with this great age whether the wine was lightly fortified or naturally sweet.
(2024) Dry, gentle aromatics, becomes quite smoky and nutty, a peppery quality. Fruit is about prunes and fresher glimpses of blackcurrant. It is moving into a faded, slightly rancio character but really enjoyable. Possibly a blend of Shiraz and Touriga Nacional.