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(2022) Philippe Vermorel's Domaine de Rochemure Crémant is 100% Chardonnay from vineyards in the Beaujolais region, and is a remarkably dry, mineral and featherweight style. It has some biscuity quality, but the rush of lemony and fresh fruit, and zipping, mouth-watering acidity is delightfully crisp and gossamer-light. Perfect as an aperitif, base for a kir royale, or with fish and seafood.
(2022) A left-bank blend coming mostly from vineyards in St-Estèphe, a blend of Merlot, both Cabernets and Petit Verdot, with élévage in large barrels (30% new). With five years under its belt, it holds a youthful, solid colour, with meat-stock and black fruit aromas, an intriguing touch of Nori character and good depth with a wisp of tobacco. In the mouth it is substantial and fleshy, a savoury, very St-Estèphe wine, with a certain robustness, but high quality oak and a juicy black cherry acidity layering the finish. Punches above its weight this one.
(2022) Musso produces its Barbaresco from its 10 hectares of family vineyards. Pale to medium Ruby in colour, the nose has crushed red berries, like cranberries and redcurrants, with floral tones and a certain peppery quality. In the mouth a fine, mineral-etched, dry and savoury character, the hint of juicy red fruit sweetness swept up in orangey acidity, that pepper again, and firm tannins adding a bit of sinewy grip.
(2022) Little brother to the superb 2016 'Binger Quartzit', there's a family resemblance here without a doubt, and at half the price this has massive appeal: the electric frisson of the Binger is dialled back for sure, but it shares the classic purity and lime and lemon zest focus, offering a delightfully dry, filigree Riesling experience that is very satisfying.
(2022) David Dudley-Jones describes this as "Barbaresco by any other name," coming from younger vines of the Crus Pora & Rio Sordo. Lovely pale to medium colour, but youthful, with a delicate nose of violets and old roses, something that reminds me strangely of candy floss, and then a nutty, chestnut note beneath. That complexity does continue on the palate, where really grippy young tannins and tart black cherry acidity frame succulent red plum and cherry, some leather and firm spices into a long finish, ending on fruit and acidity in lovely harmony.
(2022) Though he has vineyards in various of the Cru villages, apparently winemaker Philippe Vermorel rates this as his personal favourite. I can see why with its joyous, smile-inducing aromas, so sleek and bursting with firm black cherry and zippy raspberry, the merest touch of lipsticky, more floral lift in the background. On the palate it really is a smooth devil, copious fruit is layered from start to finish, with a lovely gentle balance of tannin and acidity barely ruffling the picture.
(2022) Unoaked Chardonnay from clay soils, just south of the Mâconnaise, and a lovely, limpid wine reminiscent of the wines from further north. Pale yellow in colour with plenty of succulent fruit aromas, a little like spiced pears and with some interesting floral top notes too. In the mouth it hints at the tropical, peach and even touching on mango, but stays sharp and well-defined with crisp apple and citrus the finishing flavours. Nicely done at a modest price.
(2021) A Malbec from the Uco Valley of Mendoza in Argentina, this is a big, dark and plummy wine with some spicy fruit cake character and a hint of chocolate. That, says its producers, makes it a perfect candidate as a mulled wine base. On offer at £7.00 at time of review. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) From several vineyards in the Willamette Valley, this organic wine is aged mostly in steel with a small proportion in oak. Deep in colour and deeply fruited in aroma, there's a juicy plushness of red plum and blackberry, a pleasing floral lift too. In the mouth it floods across the palate with supple fruit and spiciness, a bit of tannic grip and roughening edge of plum skin acidity. An honest, fairly rustic, but very enjoyable Pinot.
(2021) An organic blend of mostly Riesling made in a variety of vessels from concrete eggs to Austrian oak to amphora, blended with a little Gewurztraminer. There is certainly some aromatic perfume here, hints of lychee and summer blossom, lime and a touch of mango exotics. But the amphora/egg ageing and, I presume, wild yeast ferment does add that dimension of yeasty, light earthy character too. In the mouth there's surely a little residual sugar, but such a phalanx of iodine, mineral salts and zesty lemon flavours that the wine is savoury and multi-layered, fresh and juicy with lovely hints of orange and chamomile into a long finish. Unusual and delicious.