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(2024) A rosé from Rioja Alavesa, 100% Tempranillo, wirh a relatively deep colour. There's a jammy cherry ripeness to this, plenty of fruit sweetness moving into strawberry. Quite weighty in texture, but balance is good with sufficient acidity to offset the sweet fruit that could otherwise verge on the slightly cloying. No UK retail stockists at time of review.
(2024) Virgilius labelThe great grape of Condrieu in the northern Rhône was almost unknown outside of the appellation until relatively recently, and Yalumba was a real pioneer and advocate for the variety in South Australia. From the elevated slopes of Eden Valley, the fruit for this, their top cuvée, comes from a vineyard planted over 40 years ago. Gorgeous nose, all the luscious, lightly caramelised pear and exotic nectarine and mango you could wish for. There's a creamy oak overlay and hints of the exotic, from sesame seeds to summer blossom. On the palate it is textured and rippling with fruit, full-bodied but not over-bearing with its 13.5% alcohol. It's a wine that manages to be both slip down very easily and offer some structure, depth and seriousness, hints of ginger spice and a limey lick of acidity cleansing the finish.
(2024) d'Arenberg is one of the iconic names of Australian wine and has been a constant presence on UK wine shelves for decades. This is 100% biodynamic Grenache, foot trodden two-thirds of the way through ferment and pressed in a basket press as is d'Arenberg's way. It was matured in French oak for nine months. It has a terrific nose, straddling a buoyant, crushed red berry fruit with masses of fresh-cracked black pepper and a certain meatiness. In the mouth it has substantial tannins and fine acid core, but the weight of fruit is equal to that all the way, giving this lots of drinkability as well as a bit of serious gastronomic usefulness. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2024) This is 100% Merlot from 31-year-old vines grown on clay, with medium-high limestone content. Vineyards face south/south-east at 150 metres. It matures for 18 months in oak barrels from Allier, Never, Limousin and Tronçais. Deep, saturated colour, the nose overflows with black berry fruit, spiced and peppery with some floral nuances. Very fragrant oak quality. Full, sweet-fruited and rich on the palate, there's a deep layer of black fruit, but some raspberry tartness to the fruit and acid alos adds interest. The creamy, coffeeish oak and supple, fine tannins make for a velvetty, hedonistic style. No UK retail stockists listed at time of review.
(2024) From iron-rich clay and limestone soils, this is 100% Tai Rosso from 18-year-old vineyards. The wine is matured for six months in 3rd use, 228 litre French oak barrels. Colour a little deeper than the Pegoraro, the aromas more subdued, showing a gently meaty plum and blackberry, but a little floral edge does show through. The palate appears to be much drier despite a touch (3.2g/l) of residual sugar, but the sandy tannins, background cedary oak and good acidity all combine to give a dry, savoury character. No UK retail stockists at time of review.
(2024) A blend of 30% Cabernet Franc from 32-year-old vines and 70% Cabernet Sauvignon from 13-year-old vines. It is aged 12-months in medium-toast, Alliers oak barriques and larger barrels. A ruby to purple colour, this opens with very fine, classic Bordelais character. There's some light and shade with more than a hint of raspberry and leafiness, then cassis and some cedary depth. In the mouth it is glossy, ripe and touched with mocha and cocoa, the fruit sweet and still those little lifted characters giving lovely freshness and definition. No UK retail stockists listed at time of review.
(2024) Inama is a well-known name for Soave, but here we have 100% Carmenère grown onhigher, south/south-east slopes of iron-rich clay over limestone. It was matured in 35% new French oak barriques, plus second use barrels, for 12 months. It spends around 30 months in total being matured, before being released onto the market. There's a plush and sophisticated feel to this wine immediately, notes of violet and cassis over cedar with some tapenade notes. Velvety and smooth on the palate, the creamy black fruit is firmed by dusty tannins, and perfectly pitched saline acidity. Coffee and chocolate bottom notes complete a convincing picture.
(2024) Made by the Cielo e Terra estate from fruit from partners from across Colli Berici. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Tai Rosso, partially dried to concentrate flavour, sugar and tannins. It spends one year in French oak barrels and a further year in vats before bottling with 4g/l of residual sugar. Quite a soft, mulberry colour, the nose deep and plummy, tobacco spices and some prune-like fruit character. In the mouth the hint of sweetness is there, but the wine is savoury with plummy-dark fruit, a base of charry spices and overall, a fairly soft tannin and acid base.
(2024) Seeing no oak, but matured six months in tank before bottling, this wine is fermented with natural yeasts. The wine has a bright and vibrant, light cherry colour. It is fragrant, with a bon-bon character, rose-hip and more cherry-like aromas.  Sweet-fruited and nimble on the palate, there's some herbal nuancs and the gentle tannins and pert acidity make this enjoyable and easy to drink. No UK retail stockists at time of review.
(2024) Marimar says she experimented with a Tempranillo for a decade before deciding quality was right. This, with seven years under its belt, is glorious with a beautiful quality of oak from 12 months in French oak barrels, 50% new, coopered by Magreñán from the Vosges forest. It was bottled in August 2018. This has a fabulous nose, bloody and game-streaked over really ripe, deep berry fruit, a slick of chocolate underpinning. The palate has bountiful fruit, depth and texture with that touch of roasted coffee bean adding plushness. A Rioja Reserva of the highest level would stand alongside this, and it does have that extra ounce of Californian fruit intensity perhaps.