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(2024) Essex's Lyme Bay Winery makes some lovely still wines and I've rated their Bacchus, SHoreline blend and Pinot Noir quite highly before. This Chardonnay was fermented in a mix of stainless steel and oak and was matured nine months in oak (33% new). Creamy and mealy aromas also show ripe yellow apple and a little hint of fig and dried apricot. In the mouth the sweetness of fruit is good, again ripe orchard apples and pears, a hint of more tropical nectarine. The acidity is elegant and the cream and oatmeally richness of the barrels fills in. It is a little expensive in out and out terms, but that's a factor in quality English wines. It is very good indeed.
(2024) This zero percent drink started off life as a blend of Airen and Tempranillo from La Macha, with the alcohol subsequently removed. It is blended with natural ingredients including elderflower and ginger. The nose is fairly neutral, with a little hint of something herbal but not much in the way of fruit. In the mouth, like all such products, it just feels dilute and rather anonymous; there's a lemony acidity and again some herbal flavours and a hint of redcurrant.
(2024) I preferred this to the Elan rosé also tasted. It's a similar product, wine from La Mancha in Spain with alcohol removed, blended with ingredients including ginger and elderflower. Those aromatics come through on the nose, along with a gentle peachiness. In the mouth it does feel dilute, but also reminiscent of a dry Muscat or perhaps a simple Airen or Albillo from the La Mancha region with lemon and some herb and lightly salty notes. It has more wine-like character than the pink for me.
(2024) Torrontés was making quite an impression a decade or so back - I recall writing a piece called 'Is Torrontés the new Pinot Grigio' for Decanter magazine. But somehow it never really grabbed mass market appreciation, perhaps its overtly floral nature being too much for some? This comes from vineyards in Cafayate, Salta, arguably the strongest Torrontés terroir in Argentina, planted at 1800 metres. This opens with so much ginger spice on the nose, that joins white flowers and fruit that moves between lemon and peach. It's not as flowery as some, but makes up for it with spice that continues onto the palate. It is an intense wine for sure, with a searing core of acidity and the heat of ginger again. Quite unusual, and I am thinking a banker for spicy Thai or Szechuan cuisine perhaps. Watch the video for more information.
(2024) Another new English name for me, a single estate wine from East Sussex composed of 47% Pinot Noir, 47% Chardonnay and 6% Pinot Meunier, part barrel fermented and with 24% reserve wine. This bottle disgorged 22/11/2023 after 20 months the on the lees. There's a baked apple pie character, creamy and generous, with ripe yellow apple notes. On the mouth that high proportion of reserves adds depth, a lovely biscuity richness but cut with plenty of crisp lemon and apple. Long, well-balanced, and I have to say, if buying at £28, very good value.
(2024) I very much enjoyed this 100% Trebbiano from Abruzzo, made in stainless steel and fresh as the proverbial daisy. Lime and blossom on the nose, a breezy whif of ozone freshness. In the mouth the fruit is ripe and sweet, but retains that citrus and cool, crisp Asian pear bite into a long, clean finish. (£8.99 MIX 12)
(2024) From Côte des Bar récoltants manipulants, Champagne Guilleminot, this is 100% Pinot Noir with around 30% reserve wines in the blend. It is bottled with 9g/l dosage. Nettle and fresh, crunching small berries with a subtle biscuit background. In the mouth this is super fresh. There is texture, with a foamy mousse filling the mouth, then the combination of sherbetty lemon and redcurrant fruit and acidity creates a zingy, vibrant style. The dosage adds an easy drinking hint of sweetness, for a useful all-rounder Champagne of good quality.
(2024) A crowd-pleasing, easy-drinking and thoroughly pleasant blend of 90% merlot and 10% semillon. 12g/l dosage gives an edge of sweetness, though the acid balance is good. Toasty, creamy and peachy, the generous mousse and fresh apple zip works well.
(2024) This is a 'Sec' or dry Chenin Blanc from the central Loire, and a vineyards on clay/limestone soils. Having said that, there's just a hint of sweetness on the palate. Before that, a subtle apple and nutty nose with a hint of wet river stone minerality. That little sweet edge on the palate sits against orchard fruit juiciness, the finish fresh and decisive with its concentrated acidity and subtle richness.
(2024) From various linestone-rich terroirs of the Mâconnais, this is made without the addition of sulphur at any stage. It has a natural wine feel, stony, creamy and lightly earthy and spicy aromas, rather than anything overtly fruity. The palate too is dry, like apple cores rather than sweet flesh, yet there is juiciness here too. The texture is quite creamy and rich and the finish clean and fresh. An interesting wine, unlike most conventional Mâcon Chardonnay, but intriguing and food-friendly. I'd be thinking chicken with tarragon or morels perhaps.