(2021) The blend here is Zinfandel, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Grenache in a big and generous style. No mention of the oak regime in the notes for this but it certainly sees some oak influence with a mocha coffee and fudge-depth to the aromas. Sweet and creamy on the palate this is formulaic, a dollop of sugar, super-ripe berries, tannins surgically removed and acid balanced on fresh cherry. It's fairly cynical, but fire up the barbie and it will be a winner.
(2021) A certain dustiness and sweet plummy fruit depth here, a touch of tapenade and also some sweet floral aspects as cassis asserts. Smooth and silky on the palate, more toast and nutty oak components showing through, but everything polished and creamy, tannins and acids integrated with the substantial fruit. Stylish. Price and stockist quoted is for a more recent vintage at time of review.
(2021) Made only in stainless steel ('Acero') with no oak contact, Marimar selects the most intense fruit from the coolest, ocean-influenced sites for this cuvée. The nose has a gentle creaminess, presumably from some lees ageing, nutty and creamy apple fruit and a zesty hint of lemon. On the palate good bite and freshness here, clarity to the fruit and acidity, which is well-balanced without being aggressive. It's a wine that does not have the sharp precision of the best Chablis (unsurprisingly) and arguably should or could be a few pounds cheaper in my opinion, but it is elegant, restrained and delicious.
(2021) A blend of four Pinot Noir clones, 31% Dijon 667, 29% Pommard, 20% Dijon 115, and 20% Swan, destemmed and fermented in stainless steel followed by ageing in French oak, 46% new barrels. A rich and fulsome Pinot, 14.5% alcohol and ripe, but not without finesse and a certain elegance. The nose has graphite and some herb and briarwood notes, but there is refined black fruit too, plenty of it, compote and a hint of cherry to give some freshness. In the mouth that balance of substance - fruit extract, tannin and cherry-pit acidity - but a savoury, quite agile quality too. Long, fresh and focused on fruit and acidity in the finish.
(2021) First produced in 1989, three different Chardonnay clones are picked and whole-cluster pressed and barrel-fermented in French oak, 40% new. This wine sees 100% malolactic fermentation. The buttery and lightly-toasty richness of the oak is quite apparent on the nose, giving an impression of depth and generosity. On the palate, the rush of sweet, ripe stone fruit fill the mid-palate, the wine full and textured, but a good level of acidity fills in on the finish, a hint of nutty barrel component, in a very satisfying Chardonnay.
(2021) This organically-grown Russian River Chardonnay is whole-bunch fermented in French oak barrels (44% new) where it matures for a further 11 months. With a tinge of gold to the colour it it a fairly buttery and opulent style, some delicate tobacco spice and cool orchard fruits. In the mouth there is toast and spicy richness, a weighty and textured wine, but the fruit profile retains that cool edge, juicy and ripe, but restrained by the acidity into a very pure finish.
(2020) A really lovely, elegant Chardonnay from the Oak Knoll District of Napa California, part barrel-fermented and aged nine months in barrels, but only 13% new oak. Malolactic fermentation was more or less blocked (4% only went through malo) adding to the crispness of the wine. Lovely aromas of lightly buttery lemon and confit lime, a subtle biscuity warmth but all about zippy fruit and an overall quite steely presence. In the mouth the undoubted ripness of the fruit comes through, juicy pear and ripe Ogen melon, but that fine citrus core of acidity unwavering through the finish to give this poise and freshness. Stylish, reminiscent of a lightly-oaked Chablis style perhaps, and very good.
(2020) A Californian cab that brought a huge smile to my face: the epitome of what a generous, sweet-fruited wine from the Sunshine State should offer, but with a bit of class too. From vineyards in the homeland of the Sonoma Valley, but also further afeild as far south as Monterey and Paso Robles, it spends time in Frenach and American oak (40% new) and is really rather glorious: aromatically OTT with rich blackberry and chassis, patchouli, sandalwood and menthol, soaring from the glass, then a lush palate of sweet and ripe, succulent black fruit, smooth and creamy tannins and juiciness to spare. Sometimes a wine just has to be delicious, and that's what this offers in abundance.
(2020) A big and bountiful Californian red blend of 80% Zinfandel, with 10% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petite Sirah, blended and matured for 16 months in American oak. Creamy, spicy and voluptuous on the nose, there's tons of blueberry and plum fruit, before the palate that is sweet-fruited and Christmas-cake spiced, rich and full, but with a fairly firm tannin background and cherry-pit acidity giving more spice and savouriness on the finish. A juicy steak or anything from the chargrill with this one.
(2019) From Lodi in the northern central valley, between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the blend is 79% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah and 1% of the red-fleshed Alicante Bouschet. Matured for 18 months in French oak, it comes from vineyards first planted 100 years ago, and is a big fruitcake-rich style of wine, overflowing with plum, spice and plump Agen prune, the palate delivering a bucketload of fruit, all given an edge by a keen raspberry acidity, the alcohol big and powerful and the finish coated with a sheen of oak.