(2023) From Patagonia, an open and slightly oxidative style here for me. Tobacco, dusty black fruit. The fruit is so sweet on the palate, surely a little RS? That sweet and ripe blackcurranty fruit finishes with acid and tannin quite tight and not too forceful, the sweet fruit and spice pushing the finish. Residual sugar later confirmed as 3.5g/l.
(2022) From the French winemaking family Fabre, who have been operating in South America for decades, this comes from 30-year-old vines in Rio Negro and spent a year in French oak barriques. Chocolatey and creamy on the nose, there's plenty of plush oak but also a depth of black fruit, very classy, the marriage of freshness and tang from the acids and tight tannins against the weight and creaminess.
(2018) Not a million miles away from that other great medium-sweet, gently sparkling wine style, Moscato d'Asti, here Torrontes presents a fragrant bouquet of wild flowers, nettle, orange and peach, before a palate that has plenty of sweetness and a light, gossamer mousse, before bright mandarin orange acidity balances the finish. Very unusual, great for Christmas morning with a mince pie, or with Thai cuisine.
(2015) From relatively cool Patagonia in Argentina, hundreds of miles south of Mendoza, a handsomely packaged Sauvignon Blanc that comes from barren desert vineyards. This is Sauvignon in a much more European rather than Kiwi style, the nose flooded with citrus and flinty, stony minerals with just hints of the leafier character and some cool stone fruit and lime. In the mouth it is richly textured with its 14% alcohol, but that biting clarity continues, touches of leafiness, hints of tropicality, but driving through with that core of lemon, apple and salty ozone character. A fine Sauvignon.
(2010) 8.0% ABV, cork. Made with an all-natural infusion of Patagonian strawberries in a sparkling base of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Moscatel. The wine pours a deep crimson pink, and has lifted aromas of strawberry and a touch of patchouli, leading onto a palate where the strawberry flavour persists but sits nicely within quite a crisp, elegant acidity and the wine staying fresh and breezy to the finish. There's got to be room for fun products like this in the sometimes serious world of wine surely?
(2008) Fantastic chocolaty and mocha nose, with a flood of very svelte, ripe, deep-seated black fruit, with little hints of the violet and kirsch of the grape, and plenty of spicy and cedary nuances. The nose is endlessly fascinating, with layers of fruit and tertiary aromas. The palate has that plump, seductive, intensely sweet and concentrated fruit, with beautiful spices and glossy fruit, and fabulous concentration and length. Lovely nuanced, layered finish. Power, finesse, concentration and simply outstanding.
(2008) Barrel sample. The 2005 was declassified after a freak frost ravaged the vineyard. Very schisty, mineral, highly promising nose, with very nice quality of oak, and a focused seam of ripe black fruit. The palate betrays a little oak dominance at the moment, but there is wonderful concentration without extraction, and copious layers of coffee and earth, minerals and fantastically ripe, fine, chocolaty tannins and that bright, elongating acidity. A baby of course and needs to integrate, but superb.
(2008) Second label. Declassified grapes of 32. Lovely rich, concentrated and glossy Pinot fruit. Touches of blackcurrant and very pure and glossy. The fruit is rich, sweet and very pure, with liquoricy concentration and lovely finesse. Very tight grained and firmly spicy.
(2008) Has a lighter, more fragrant nose, with more truffle and earth and sweet black fruit. The palate has lovely savoury acidity with a very refined fruit and that nutty, cherry and redcurrant fruit, with very nice warmth from smoky oak and good, ripe tannins.
(2008) The "Cincuenta y Cinco" from the 1955 vineyard, has a very nice nose here, with lovely cherry freshness. There's a touch of liquorice and black plum skin bite on the palate, with a lovely crisp acidity and very nice, smooth and svelte tannins with a lovely juicy fruit and acidity. Very firm black fruit. Lovely finesse and quality.