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(2019) A blend of 40% Chardonnay, 37% Pinot Noir and 23% Pinot Meunier, this seems meatier, less overtly summer berry fruity than the 2009 on the nose, but the palate shows dazzling acidity that seems more taut than the 2012. Really good intensity, thrust and focus here. Long, shimmering grapefruit zest acidity gives this real vitality too.
(2019) Deep and meaty aromas compared to the 2009, rounder, less sharply - crisply - lemony, but there is good thrust and fruit precision too, quite a bright orange character, then some delicate toast and spices. The blend is 41% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir and 26% Pinot Meunier. Excellent potential here if cellared for a few years.
(2019) There is 50% Pinot Noir in this blend, Chardonnay having dominated previous vintages, with 36% Chardonnay and a relatively low 14% of Meunier. A powerful wine, this also spent seven years in the cellars before release. Real salinity, yeast and biscuit, candied lemon and lime. Lovely sweetness on the mid-palate, the thrust of citrus and salt surge through to the finish.
(2019) Quite a deeply coloured rosé, lovely red fruits, summery raspberry and strawberry, strawberry shortcake, then the gorgeous freshness and zip comes through on the palate. Creamy mid-palate and that dazzling orangy freshness. The blend is 42% Pinot Noir (of which 13% of the total blend is red wine), 23% Pinot Meunier and 35% Chardonnay.
(2019) I've often found the Verdjo wines from the Rueda region in northern Spain to be a bit too imitatative of New World Sauvignon Blanc, but here Ramón Bilbao is trying to do something different with the grape and the region. Made from the estate's oldest vines, it was fermented in concrete 'tulip-shaped' vats then aged in French and Hungarian oak, with regular batonnage. That has resulted in an obvious creaminess on the nose (unexpected in Rueda Verdejo), subtle nut and honey notes to tropical fruit with a more subdued elderflower and passion fruit character. In the mouth the sweet ripeness of the fruit is the first impression, but that nutty and creamy underpinning of both flavour and texture adds an extra layer. Acidity is well-judged, a gentle lime and red apple presence to extend the finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) Though the estate was sold by the Ratcliffe family in 2017, this wine still bears the title that referred to co-founder Norma Ratcliffe. It is essentially unoaked, and the alcohol is moderate at 13%, and yet it has a richness and touch of the 'golden Chardonnays' about it, with ripe fruit and stirring of the lees in tank building sweetness and texture. Fruit touches on the tropical, but is more about juicy melon, with a fleshiness and yet good balancing acidity.
(2019) We rarely see Aligoté - Burgundy's 'other' white grape - on the shelves very often, and that's a great pity when it is as delicious as this. With only 12% alcohol I guess it was picked fairly early, and that has given it terrific vim and vigour, despite a certain creamy leesiness on the nose and a generous breadth of fruit on the palate. But it tightens up smartly, saline and citrus peel pushing through, into a long and balanced finish in a very moreish wine - especially with richer seafood dishes, fish pies and the like.
(2019) A slightly warmer than usual spring with well-distributed and regular rainfall, the pattern following through into summer giving homogenous ripening. Slightly lower yields of 30 hl/ha compared to 2015, again a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot, with 24 months in barriques, 85% new. Gorgeous perfume, some floral notes, also a pleasing edge of game and bloodiness that adds a lovely layer of complexity. Such deliciously sweet fruit, and while that sour cherry acidity and the steely core of tannin is there, there is a supple, slightly more feminine character that drinks beautifully. Will cellar 10 years+
(2019) 2015 experienced a sunny and dry growing season, the hot summer mitigated by intense August rainfalls that provided ideal conditions for uniform, stress-free ripening. A blend of Sangiovese and Merlot with a yield of 35 hl/ha, and aged 24 months in barriques, 85% of which were new. A robust, firm character on the nose, plenty of polished oak, dark and liquorice character. The tannins are firm and very grippy at this stage, a big structural wine, the tannin and acid framework a touch angular right now, though softening notes or spices and obvious fruit concentration suggest it would be best approached in another five years perhaps.
(2019) A mild spring was followed by a long cool summer, with good rainfall but dry condition in September and October for good development in the grapes. The yield was 30 hl/ha, and the recipe was for 18 months in barrique, but with 100% new French oak. This was the second bottle after the first decanted bottle was corked, so closed and needing oxygen, but obvious concentration and packed sweetness of fruit, very smooth tannins, beautifully resolved, and the Merlot dominating strangely, almost certainly down to the bottle having just been opened. Obvious coffee depth and structure. Drinking beautifully.