(2020) From an estate owned by Scottish industrialist Sir David Murray, this is a Cinsault and Grenache-led blend from Varois en Provence, where 350-metres of altitude provide relatively cool conditions and clay and limestone soils some added freshness. It is elegant and perfumed, some floral notes and cherry fruit, a softer hint of pulpy strawberry too. In the mouth red fruits but a keen acid framework that adds a cleansing, quite pithy lemon freshness too. Stylish and good value.
(2020) The very minimalist packaging of this Provence rosé is explained by the eco-conscious brand behind it: made by Château Pigoudet, like all Sea Change wines each bottle purchased results in a donation to marine conservation charities to fight plastic pollution. No plastics are used, the bottle coming without a capsule, its label made from plant cellulose. The wine is suitably pale in colour and has a very vibrant, and very appealing nose, with plenty of zestiness but also a vivacious fruit salad character with juicy mango and peach to the fore. In the mouth there's a touch of confectionary tutti-frutti character, but that juicy peach dominates and the balance really is very good, a crisp citrus freshness leaving the finish dry and moreish. The price drops to £13.99 for a mix of six Sea Change wines.
(2020) The blend here is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah and 2% Mourvèdre, fermented in oak vats like the Lady Severine, but spending 24 months in barrique. In many ways it's a more 'serious' wine than the Lady S, certainly more dusty, concentrated intense Cabernet Sauvignon tannins and dark fruit. Aromatically there is plushness and a depth of black berry fruit, on the palate that is fat and juicy on the mid-palate, then those tannins, a stripe of acidity and a toasty touch of charry barrel kick in. As I say, a more serious style and would benefit from decanting. Price if bought by the case of six falls to £21.60
(2020) Cuvée Sasha is Viognier blended with 20% Rolle (Vermentino) and aged in Alliers oak barrels. It has a fabulous and seductive nose, vanilla and buttery toast underpinning floral, honeysuckle and yellow plum and apricot, with Sandalwood spices running through it. In the mouth the exotic nature of the fruit, fully ripe and sweet-edged is a delight, and those components of buttery pastry and spices combine, freshened by gentle but incisive acidity into a long, creamy and sweet fruited finish. Terrific and irresistable stuff. £13.50 equivalent when bought as a case of six.
(2020) Deep, dark, sleek and sophisticated, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah with a splash of Mourvèdre was fermented in oak vats and spent a year in Alliers oak barriques. The nose has a pleasing hint of rosemary and thyme, but is mostly about black fruit and a sheen of polished oak. In the mouth plenty of juicy dark fruit, edges with bittersweet cocoa and damson plum skins, the tannins fine but persistent. It's a big mouthful of wine, but has elegance too and, I would guess, several years of cellaring potential. A 10% discount on buying six bottles brings the price down to £18.90.
(2020) The Cronk family from England moved lock, stock and barrel to Provence in 2008 and quickly established Mirabeau with the assistance of Master of Wine, Angela Muir. In their beautifully presented range of rosés, Etoile is stocked by Sainsbury's in the UK, though Waitrose and many independent merchants stock other cuvées too. Very pale and pretty in colour, there's an exotic note on the nose, lychee and a touch of watercolour paintbox, and juicy ripe apple fruit. Lemony acidity - and fruit - balances that peachy and red berry fruit into an elegant finish. Watch the video for more information.
(2020) The subsequent vintage of this wine has a slightly different blend - this time 86% Viognier and 14% Rolle, half a percent more alcohol, but it seems to me that the oak has been reined back. Certainly the vanilla and toast on the nose of the 2014 gives way here to a purer fruit quality, notes of acacia and stone fruits, light honey, and just a biscuity and creamy oak in the background. In the mouth the wine is weighty and textured, the freshness is very good again and the alcohol carried lightly, some fat citrussy acidity adding balance. Again a 10% discount on a six-bottle case brings the price down to £15.40. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2019) The credentials here are solid, from a vineyard adjoining the famous Miraval estate and with winemaking guided by Jean Louis Bavay, who gained his rosé expertise at the legendary Domaine Ott. It's a classic Provence pink, mostly Grenache and Cinsault along with 20% Syrah, about 8% of which is fermented oak. Maybe that gives the little hint of spice on the nose, but it's mostly driven by small red berries - cranberries, redcurrants - watermelon and rose-hips, but there's zestiness too. In the mouth it feels quite substantial, though very crisp and fresh, lots of lemony zip and vigour, a peachy softness to the fruit, but always dry, mouth-watering and food-friendly in style. A fine example of Provence Rosé at a very fair price. Free delivery on 12 bottles. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2019) The latest incarnation of a regular favourite and one that, in the opinion of d'Esclans founder, Sacha Lichine, is the best ever made. Sadly, it is also the last made by celebrated winemaker Patrick Léon who died in December (Patrick was winemaker at Mouton Rothschild before creating Whispering Angel in 2006). A blend of Grenache, Rolle and Cinsault, is the colour a touch deeper than usual? It certainly has bags of fruit in the aroma, not only tangy citrus peel but small red berries and a delicate more floral and rose-hip perfume. In the mouth it is bone-dry, with precision to the fruit and a sense of both substance and finesse. Watch the video for more information.
(2018) A lovely blend of 60% Grenache with Syrah from vineyards at 300-400m altitude, planted on clay and limestone soils, this is a most delicate and dry rosé, passion fruit and watermelon aromas touching into the tropical, a saline hint in the background. In the mouth that sweep of peach and grapefruit fresh but full fruit meets more delicate rose-hip, a lovely tart acid background pushing out the finish to a fine point.