(2020) From its traditional home in the northern Rhône Valley, Viognier often makes very full-blown, ripe and rich wines tipping 15% alcohol. But here's a very different take, with only 12.5% alcohol I presume it is picked quite early, though the jasmine and lightly tropical aromas are expressive and typical of the variety. In the mouth there's a peach and apricot fruit character, though zesty, quite pithy acidity soon sweeps that up into the finish.
(2020) Launching for the first time in the UK, and a young, multi award-winning winery, this is a seriously exciting find. It comes from the highlands of São Paulo state, just north of the Tropic of Capricorn, where it is too hot and wet to harvest in the usual month of March, so an extra pruning delays the onset of fruit so harvest takes place in August's cooler and drier conditions. All Syrah, aged nine months in French oak, the vineyards sit at 900-1200 metres altitude on granite soils. The colour is deep crimson, and the nose offers a creamy weight of black fruit, silky cocoa and a little touch of violet lift. In the mouth the supple, smooth creaminess of the fruit and tannins is beguiling, but this is medium-bodied and elegant rather than a blockbuster, a note of leaf tea and thyme adding to the sophistication into the long, lightly-spiced finish.
(2020) Arguably my favourite wine of this selection, only 2,000 bottles were produced of this rare Brazilian Semillon, aged in barrels made with oak staves but acacia wood heads, which does seem to add a little extra fragrance to the wine. Toasty notes prevail, along with lemon meringue pie notes of citrus and pastry, and something cool and herby, reminiscent of camomile tea. With 12% alcohol it puts me in mind of a young Hunter Valley Semillon, the palate showing bags of juicy citrus fruit and acidity, but something sweeter and more peachy just touching the mid palate. Finishing with plenty of creamy, almondy weight, it is a delightful wine.
(2020) It's still relatively rare to see a varietal Alicante Bouschet, one of the tienturier varieties that has deep red flesh, making it a useful blending component to add colour to a wine, but in a few places including the Alentejo and here in Brazil, it is celebrated and making excellent wines. The colour is suitably saturated and dark, and the aromas are of spicy oak, plum and and grilled meat. There's a direct, smooth and mouth-filling rush of dark, earthy black fruit on the palate, with grippy but ripe tannins and a nice edge of bittersweet cocoa and plum skins to give bite. Despite a modest 13% alcohol it's a big, full-on style with plushness and oaky depths to spare.
(2020) Dry, with less than 2g/l of residual sugar, this Riesling from Washington State spends some time on the lees in older oak barrels just to add a little texture, and that works: it is brimming with bright citrus and rosy apple, a little floral aroma, a tang of lemon sherbet and lots of zest. The palate has that bit of weight and texture, but those sweeping acids fire through the peachier, slightly more tropical tones, but shimmering and long and delightfully zippy and fresh. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas. Costco members can buy this for around £11.70 per bottle. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) Washington State sits somewhat in the shadow of its southerly neighbour Oregon perhaps, but here on the border with Canada cool aromatic varieties do exceedingly well, such as this off-dry, Kabinett-style Riesling. Lemon and lime and a peachy charm, gossamer light and perfect as an aperitif or to match with spicy Thai or Szechuan cuisine, it's fresh and balanced and very easy to like.
(2020) This 100% Tempranillo wine was aged for 12 months in new oak, a mixture of French and American barrels. The Caesus brand celebrates a modern, concentrated and fruit-dominant style of Rioja, but also elegance. This has very refined aromatics, floral-tinged black fruits, vinous and firm, but with a spicy background of oak and great charm with its delicate violet nuances. In the mouth it is supple, intense, the core of fruit firm, sweet but savoury, a little touch grilled bacon fat adds a lovely warmth, a dusting of cocoa too, in a balanced and serious red wine with structure and keen acidity, but all the fruit and texture to match. Watch the video for more information and food matching idea. Note: if buying a mixed six bottles from Cadman, the price of this falls to £12.99.
(2020) The largest producer of organic wines in the Mendoza province with 305 hectares of its own vineyards certified organic, Bodegas Argento's new wine blends 70% Malbec with Cabernet Franc. 20% of the Malbec is aged in French and American oak, and 30% of the Cab Franc in French oak. The wine is also Fairtrade accredited. Saturated and dark in colour, there's a touch of coffee and gravy browning, solid and spicy black fruit, and with swirling a little hint of something floral and violet-like. In the mouth it is dense and rich, sweet curranty fruit bolstered by a roughening edge of tannin. Powerful stuff, that really has to be matched with robust foods. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) A much creamier character than the LBV, vinous too, black as well as red fruits. Nice earthiness. The sweetness and purity is excellent. So much pretty floral aroma and flavour here. The acidity and tannin starts to grip and play against the fruit into a long, poised finish.
(2020) Great sipped with ice or made into a long drink with tonic and lemon. Tasted on its own, the mose is all about creamy orchard fruit and waxy citrus. Sweetness is full and the spirit gentle on the palate, nice texture and finishing with good acidity.