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(2017) From on of the Languedoc's traditional appellations, this is a typical local blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvêdre. Richly-fruited and spiced on the nose, this deeply coloured wine is immediately inviting, with aromas of crushed red and black berries and hints of cocoa and liquorice. In the mouth there's a surprising crispness to the flavour and texture, the good level of acidity no doubt aided by the fact that the fruit was harvested in the cool of the night. It is a fairly sumptuous, expansive style nevertheless, with red and black fruits and that hint of spice in the background. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) Seven Springs has come a long way in a short time, including scooping a 'silver' in the Decanter World Wine Awards for this wine. Aged in 300-litre barrels for a year, it has toast and vanilla, but the cool harvest has also created a touch of green - fig and greengage - that gives lovely tension and aromatic complexity, the wild yeast ferment adding a savoury aspect. In the mouth it has bold, fresh acidity to offset the ripe stone fruits, teetering on tropical, but drier and more restrained as it finishes with fine clarity.
(2017) There's a delightful subtlety to the way the oak has been handled here, adding sheen and gentle creaminess to the ripe, supple fruit, a hint of Pinot truffle and briar. In the mouth nicely fresh and agile, a spine of acidity, a touch of oak charriness, and the savoury fruit and spice finishing quite long.
(2017) Not the most expensive wine in the Seven Springs line-up, but you know I really enjoyed this. Only 12.5% alcohol, but crammed with flavour and a lovely creamy texture too, it flirts between nectarine sweet juiciness and the zest of fresh squeezed lemon, and slipped down very easily indeed with chicken in a garlicky, lime and ginger-spiced marinade.
(2017) Always one of my favourites in the Seven Springs range, this powerful 14% Syrah has youthful exuberance to spare, with a bold, ripe black fruit aroma, underpinned by notes of chocolate and tobacco, but there's a hint of violet lift in there too. Smooth and creamy on the palate, the weight of that fleshy berry and plum fruit is there, tight, fine tannins and juicy acids completing a deliciously easy-drinking yet quite structured young wine that will cellar for a few years.
(2017) As always, the Sauvignon Blanc from Seven Springs is about intensity and concentration, about drive and minerality as much as flamboyance. Having said that, there is an edge of cut grass and nettles on the nose, as well as a hint of tropical fruit, along with plenty of citrus and apple skins. On the palate delicious intensity, a streaking mineral and lemon zest freshness, dry, with a shimmering quality of fruit giving shine and brilliance. The best vintage yet for this I think.
(2017) From Sicily and made from a blend of grapes including the local Insolia and Cataratto, but also a little Chardonnay, this is like walking through a lemon grove into an apple orchard. It's all about filigree lightness and clean, delicate flavours in a light-bodied format, and yet there is some real fruit concentration on the palate and a long, crisp finish as those lemon groves hove into view again. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2017) What an absolute treat to open this 11-year-old Cabernet from Margaret River, and the family estate of Leeuwin. Under screwcap it is in perfect condition, showing a plum and sweet gamey character, notes of tobacco and herbal, gentle leafiness along with graphite adding complexity and precision. Clearly the product of a cool year, that leafy character is overpowered on the palate by the concentration of blackcurrant fruit, very pure and again precise, with really firm, tart, plum and cherry skin biting tannin and acid to tension the whole picture. Drinking beautifully. Note the price and stockist given is for the current vintage at time of writing.
(2017) There have been several quite successful attempts recently to introduce a new generation of drinkers to the delights of fortified wine like Sherry, Port and Madeira. Here's a novel idea, where Croft have blended Fino Sherry with aromatic elements based on English spring water and cordials, introducing gentle fizz and notes of elderflower, mint and lemon. With only 5.5% alcohol it opens with a definite note of the Fino, nutty and saline, but also those hedgerow aromas that are very summery. In the mouth that dry Sherry nuttiness continues, a lovely underpinning to the delicate sparkle, sweeter flavours from the cordial, and plenty of citrus and mint freshness. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) It's pretty much unbelievable that this review covers a Champagne priced - for two days only - at only £7.99 (2nd & 3rd September 2017). Though that's only a £2 reduction on its regular price, this is a wine that has gone down very well on Lidl's stand at my Festivals of Wine, a bona-fide Champagne from the Lanson and Besserat de Bellefon stable, it is a blend of the three main Champagne grapes, and has a fine, lemony nose, just a trace of biscuity development and creaminess, then a palate that shows plenty of sweetness. It is presumably close to maximum dosage for Brut, but there's no denying its easy-drinking pleasures, the oranges and lemons freshness of the finish being absolutely correct. My score cannot reach the dizzying heights of Decanter magazine's 91/100, but with quite smart packaging and more than acceptable quality, it is an astonishing value Champagne that will not disgrace your dinner table. Be quick on the 2nd as I suspect it will fly off the shelves for those planning parties or fish and chip Fridays.