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(2018) Luis Pato, the king of Barraida wines, is surely some sort of genius, crafting unusual white wines like this from Bical, Cerceal and Sercealinho (a cross of Cerceal and Alvarinho) with 12% alcohol, a modest price, yet capable of such significant ageing. In truth this was a re-discovery of a wine I'd rather forgotten about in my wine racks, but what a treat: aromatically it has so much in common with a fine dry Riesling, that whiff of minerals and beeswax, clear apple fruit, and a lovely sherbet-lemon tang. On the palate it is light and lissome, plenty of zesty acidity but a dazzling fruit-salad palate finishing long and glittering. Note, price and stockist are for a more current vintage at time of review.
(2018) Made in stainless steel tanks and 100% Verdejo, this is the pungent, straightforward, Sauvignon Blanc-like face of Verdejo, from vineyards planted in 1998. Elderflower and passion fruit on the nose leads on to quite a full, texturally rich palate, where some creaminess has been formed by lees ageing, the fruit spectrum from tropical to a lime-like, slightly waxy finish that is citrussy and clean with plenty of ripe fruit sweetness.
(2018) A year older than the straight Rueda Blanco, but the Collection cuvée is also fermented in new French oak barrels rather than steel, so is quite a different prospect. Creamy, mealy on the nose, there's a touch of chalky quality and elderflower pungency has been tamed to good effect, just a touch of gooseberry and a hint of more tropical lychee against the barrel-influenced creaminess. In the mouth it has an almost Chablis-like firmness and minerality at first, though the fruit character of the Verdejo does come through to add more zing and vivacious punch, into a long, firm finish.
(2018) With 14.5% alcohol and a minimum of 18 months in new French oak barriques, this 100% Tempranillo red is given a bit of real welly, rich, deep and overflowing with black fruit and creamy oak notes on the nose, the palate too is a symphony of chocolate, creamy blackcurrant and swirling smokiness. It's substantial OK, with ripe but fairly blocky tannins, but a nice cherry acid does add a little light and air. Long, spicy and fruity, it's big in scale, still youthful and tight, and very well done of its style.
(2018) The largest production red wine in the Loess portfolio, with 50,000 bottles, but still with all of the Tinta del Pais (Tempranillo) from their own vineyards. It spends nine months in lightly-toasted French oak, and the nose is very much about tight, glossy, black plum and damson fruit, a touch of fine graphite character, a touch of balsamic character. In the mouth it is firm, both fruit, and the tannin/acid framework, and finishes just a touch more harshly than I'd ideally like.
(2018) The 12 months in new French oak certainly marks this aromatically, much more so than the 'Inspiration' cuvée, but it's a lovely quality of cedary, Sandalwood and plump, glossy black fruit, that is bold, spicy but fruit-filled and appealing. The palate has a beautiful sweetness and ripeness of plump, succulent black fruits, a sheen of creamy oak overlaid, and a nice sense of juiciness thanks to tight tannins and a balanced acidity. This is certainly more sleek than the 'Inspiration', not to obvious as the 'Collection', and is arguably my favourite of the three reds. Price is approximate: it's €16.50 shipped from Spain.
(2018) Yalumba have long been masters of the Viognier variety, now quite widely planted outside of its Rhône Valley home, but sometimes producing wines that verge on being 'blowsy' and too alcoholic. Not here, with this 13% abv rendition from the cool-ish Riesling heartland of the Eden Valley. It doesn't miss out on the exotic and quite flamboyant aromatics of the variety, with lychee and a touch of sweet potpourri spice, nectarine fruit and yet a lightly flinty, smoky note too. In the mouth it juxtaposes sweet stone fruits with a lemon and lime-rind acidity, and that lightly salty and stony note adding definition. For more information and food-matching ideas, please watch the full video review.
(2018) As a lover of the Pinot Noir variety, some of my greatest wine experiences have been with very expensive Grand Cru wines of Burgundy, but I am always on the lookout for affordable and good Pinots for everyday drinking. Lidl's effort from Marlborough in New Zealand certainly fits the bill, its moderate to light colour being perfect for Pinot, and the dry, lightly briary nose of cranberry and spiced orange fitting the bill too. Very lightly chilled (or rather, not too warm) it offers a fine, juicy, lightly earthy and leafy genuine Pinot experience, avoiding some of the strawberry sweetness of many cheap examples. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) A really lovely Merlot from Colli Euganei, an appellation of the Veneto, From organic-certified vineyards planted on limestone and sited at 290 metres above sea level, it spends 24 months in French oak barrels and a further six months in bottle before release. Despite the plushness of ripe fruit and creamy oak, the bit of altitude and the soils also give a mineral, graphite and iron steeliness and freshness, the plum and blackcurrant fruit and some tobacco spices on the nose moving through to a full and rich palate, the velvety weight of fruit tensioned by firm tannins and a juicy rasp of acidity just giving a nice roughening grip to the wine into the finish.
(2018) This large nêgociant and estate owner makes some very good Burgundy wines, including Chablis under the Albert Bichot and Long-Depaquit labels. Cool, clean, clear and restrained, the aromas here are of lightly creamy apple and citrus, not a lot of Chablis flint in evidence. On the palate it is elegant and understated stuff, a fine, intelligent Chardonnay, but not singing of Chablis terroir.