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(2017) The 75th anniversary release of this wine (the 1942 was the first release) which blends Tempranillo with around 20% Garnacha from Ardanza's own vineyards. Three years ageing in barrel gives minty chocolate notes, tobacco spices and exotic Sandalwood over elegant berry fruit, just edged with a gamey, cedary touch. In the mouth it delivers a big, personality-packed mouthful of ripe, plush, expansive berry fruit, but the elegance is undeniable again, a certain firmness to the cherry acidity, a bite of bittersweet cocoa and plum, and the swirl of toast and smoke into the long finish. Classic and utterly delicious. For more information and food-matching suggestions, please watch the video.
(2017) From the long-established négociant house of Chanson, this is an impressive Chablis, showing much more of the flint and minerality one might hope for on the nose compared to some Chablis at this price, and with an intensity to the palate, the fruit showing even a hint of tropical ripeness, but all constrained and restrained by its acidity, sharp lemony focus and sweeping acidity. Rather a good wine this from head winemaker Jean-Pierre Confuron, and the purchase of Chanson by the Bollinger family seems to be stepping up quality impressively.
(2017) KWV is one of the great old names of South African wines and spirits, but today is a very modern winery with a youthful winemaking team, access to great fruit, and some excellent wines. They are also part owned by a Black Empowerment business, so represent the modern South Africa too. This is exuberant, explosive stuff with fruity and bright aromas of stone fruits and red apple, before a palate overflowing with fruit - more of that nectarine juiciness - and a good bedrock of acidity to offset the ripe sweetness of the fruit. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) Another pale wine in the Provençal idiom. this comes from the Languedoc and blends two local grapes to excellent effect. Delicately touched by pink grapefruit, redcurrant and raspberry on the nose, the creamy but light-bodied palate shows more delicate fruit - wild strawberries and raspberries - but a lovely freshness to the acidity to give it a shimmering, lacework finish.
(2017) The second new sparkling wine is not Prosecco of course (the Prosecco DOC does not cover rosé wines), made from the Raboso red wine variety blended with other local white wine grapes. It has around 13g/l of residual sugar. Fashionably pale, the bubbles are fairly large, and the nose offers a charming icing sugar and small red fruit medley, then a lightly creamy palate of quite dry, small red berries with plenty of zippy lemon acidity to offset that hint of sweetness. Very easy to drink.
(2017) This is a clever pink from Jonathan Maltus of Châteaux Teyssier and Le Dôme, pretending to be Provençal, when in fact it comes from Bordeaux and is a cast-iron Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Pretty in colour, light and bubblegum fresh aromas, cherry and strawberry, but a little more serious, mineral and gravel edge too. In the mouth the initial impression of approachable sweetness is joined by plenty of lemony acid, its modest 12.5% alcohol suggesting an element of early picking that has retained a bit steel at the core.
(2017) A Rhône blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan, this has a vibrant medium-deep colour and immediately fruity aromas of cherry and raspberry: definitely on the more vinous rather than strawberry/bubblegum spectrum. In the mouth a direct acid core sets the tone for a fairly serious, food-friendly pink, though there is a creaminess and touch of softer strawberry to the fruit too. Stylish and long.
(2017) A blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah, this Côtes de Provence pink is certified organic and has a pale peachy-pink colour. On the nose it has delightful fragrance: small red berries like redcurrants and a touch of downy peach skins, with the mineral hint of sea breezes. In the mouth it is both concentrated and elegant, certainly plenty of sweet and ripe fruit to fill the mouth, but that clarity of the acidity, that saline hint, all giving lovely gastronomic appeal too, finishing bone dry with plenty of verve and tang.
(2017) From Miguel Torres' long-established Santa Digna outpost in Chile this sparkling rosé is made from 100% País, a local variety, made by the traditional method and given nine months lees-ageing in bottle. It's a deliciously quaffable style, pale, pale pink in colour and redolent of hedgerows and raspberries, a gently creamy citrus note too, the same onto the palate, soft, a flattering dosage of sweetness and a finely tuned finish. Moving a Prosecco drinker onto this would be an easy baby step towards Champagne :)
(2017) A delightful Rose this, mostly Pinot Noir with a little Pinot Meunier. One third of the blend is fermented in oak barrels for around six months before being transferred to bottle for its lees ageing. A pale, peachy-pink colour, small, delicate red fruits dominate the nose, leading on to a palate that is crystal clear, a foamy cushion of mousse and the raspberry-fresh combination of mouth-watering acidity and sweet fruit driving through to a lovely balanced finish.