(2019) The colour is deep and saturated, the nose offering plummy aromas, a touch of dark chocoalte and a little highlight of brighter cherry. In the mouth the wine is dense and feels quite powerful, and yet is driven by its fruit and rich texture, both tannins and acidity good, but in the background, giving the wine a creamy sense of richness.
(2019) The first vintage from Adrien Surain, the latest generation of the family to take over the reins of the estate, this is boldly packaged in a Burgundy-shaped bottle, no doubt meant to disrupt the classic Bordeaux scene as much as the name 'Popcorn'. A powerful wine with 15% alcohol, it has an intensely deep and dark crimson/black colour, the nose vinous with black vine fruits and plum, a nicely spicy tobacco edge too. In the mouth it is smooth and dense, but does seem to have a little edge of tannin and acidity to give a touch more structure, a touch more energy compared to the 2015 for example, a twist of liquorice joining the plummy dark fruits.
(2019) Again, 100% Merlot for this vintage, and an appealing nose, the touch of spicy-chocolate to the ripe, dark vine fruits, is there a hint of charred toast there too? Quite plush and ripe on the palate, the tannins a tiny bit grippier than the 2015, giving a crisp edge to the finish, perhaps just a little extra length too with fresh acidity. Enjoyably honest and fruit-forward.
(2019) Neither is a grape you think of immediately for sparkling wine, but coming from Bordeaux here we have the entirely local blend of Sémillon and Cabernet Franc from the chalk/clay soils of the Entre Deux Mers, and made by the traditional method with nine months ageing on the lees in bottle. Bubbles are moderately small, and the nose offers a nice biscuity character along with soft lemon and green apple fruit. In the mouth it is fresh and zippy, reminiscent of a Prosecco with its easy approachability, but the ageing does add a creamy layer before a smooth finish, framed by soft-ish acidity. An alternative to Prosecco, rather than to Champagne. A party buy - especially if there are discount deals on this for Christmas. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) There's no such thing as a poor vintage of Yquem, such is the care taken over the fruit selection and winemaking in even the worst vintage conditions, but although this 2002 is not rated as a 'top' Yquem, I thought it was absolutely outstanding. Loaded with smoky, dried apricot depths of Botrytis, there's also lovely exotic spice and marmalade/Seville orange brightness of fruit. More of that on the palate too, in an Yquem of great depth, burgeoning with bittersweet flavours that entirely fill the senses, and yet great freshness too, pinpoint and clear acidity leads into an extremely long finish. Marvellous and totally satisfying.
(2019) From an interesting collaboration between the top Pessac-Léognan estate of Domaine de Chevalier and Stephane Derenencourt, this is mostly Merlot with 30% of Cabernet Franc, so presumably from 'right bank' vineyards given that blend. It's a deeply spiced and plummy wine, offering instantly appealing depth of aroma, touched with cedary olive character, but mostly about the plummy Merlot fruit. In the mouth the silky texture, soft creamy tannins and weight of mid-palate fruit flow across the tongue, before a bright finish where pert acidity and a bit of structure pull the wine through to a long finish. Approachable Bordeaux, but more substance than many at a similar price.
(2019) You know, for its price, this really is a particularly good Bordeaux, 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, from chalky and clay soils. Bold purple in colour, there's a refined graphite note on the nose, just a hint of cedar, and plenty of ripe fleshy red and black fruits. In the mouth the pleasure continues, a lovely dark stripe of bittersweet liquorice underpinning plum and pulpy red berries, spices, acid and tannin all harmonious in the finish. It feels as if it will cellar for a few years too. A little star at under £10.
(2019) Classic white Bordeaux from the Pessac-Léognan Cru of Graves, this is Sauvignon Blanc, fermented and aged in barrel. From a very good year - the third warmest since 1900 - with above-average monthly temperatures. The oak is very discreet, giving just a sheen of almond nuttiness to the cool orchard fruit and lemon, a little hint of something like soft, leafy herbs in the background. In the mouth pure and sweet fruit drives this, quite a full texture, a lemon and mint freshness, and tapers to a fine point in the finish. It is a discreet, elegant and understated style with nothing too showy, but beautifully done. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) At 33-years old, in a more or less perfect place for me, pouring with still a healthy ruby at the core and the nose absolutely à pointe with some herbal Cabernet character, but loads of precise graphite and black fruit and a waft of rose-like perfume somewhere in the background. In the mouth still rich and substantial: a wine that has shrugged off its three decades, still a hint of muscularity and taut athleticism, but there is a softening touch to the fruit, a little Muscavado sugar caramel, but lovely, lovely resolution of the tannins and acids into a harmonious and quite long finish. Could it be a tad more complex? Maybe, but I'm very happy to have one more bottle left in the cellarfor drinking over the next few years.
(2018) A delightful and classic Sauternes, made for C&B by Château Giraud, a blue-blooded estate of the Sauternes aristocracy. A blend of Semillon with Sauvignon Blanc, it has the rich glycerine and honey aromatics of gentle Noble Rot, a touch of curry leaf and raisin, but plenty of apricotty fruit. Not too heavy on the palate, the juiciness of citrus cuts the richer, sweeter flavours and texture, to give this lovely presence, and clean, fresh finish. Price is for a 37.5cl half bottle. Watch the video for more information.