(2018) Pouring much the same colour as the 2008, and with the same touch of age showing aromatically, this is a blend of 59% old-vine Macabeu and 18% Sauvignon Blanc, along with Grenache blanc, Chardonnay, Malvoisie and a touch of Vermentino. Mostly made in stainless steel, 28% saw time in new and old 500-litre barrels. Rich, golden in colour and aroma, leesy cream and baked apple, but a brightness to the fruit beneath a touch of oxidation, quite ethereal floral nuances flit in and out. Nice palate, again similar to the 2008, medium- to full-bodied, generous, but still with a core of excellent cirtus peel, fatter acidity.
(2018) The blend for this 10-year-old wine 55% Carignan, 35% Syrah and 10% Grenache Noir, with a minuscule yield of 14 hl/ha, two thirds spending 21 months in 500-litre barrels, old and new. Similar colour to the 2010, maybe slightly more dense though with a little more ochre apparent on the rim. Obviously more ripe, more dark berry fruit-driven than the 2010 with a plushness that the 2010 is missing. The palate shows a good tangy orange and cherry acidity, riper and smoother tannins and that density if fruit. It's a really close call, but if pushed I'd marginally prefer the slightly more weighty yeet balanced style of this vintage, though going back to the 2010, the leaner, more mineral style also has great appeal. Again drinking well now and I would not cellar for much longer.
(2018) Substantially more Carignan in this 2010 (71%), again from 65-year-old vines, along with 25% Syrah and 4% Grenache Noir. Yields of 13 hl/la and 71% of the blend spending 20 months in 500-litre barrels, old and new. It's a full percentage point lower in alcohol, and pours a medium plum colour, woth a broad, light rim. Fine graphite and dried blood character to red fruits on the nose, becoming very nicely sweet-fruited on the palate, ripe summer berries and a firm tannic underpinning. There's a dry, liquoricy touch of extract, but then freshness too with elegant acidity. Long and enjoyable now, but I probably would not cellar too much longer. Tanners has the wine as an 'oddment' at time of writing but there are other by the case stockists.
(2018) Syrah, Carignan, and Grenache is the recipe for this wine from Roussillon, the French appellation just across the border from Spain, but this is a selection of the best small plots of vines. Fabulous depth on the nose: a shimmering pool of red and black fruit, slicked with a little smoke and vanilla, but a fascinating touch of meat-stock just in the background. This is clearly serious stuff, layered and complex in the mouth, though it explodes with a ripe blackcurrant bittersweetness. Bold, chewy and quite a mouthful of wine.
(2017) A blend composed mostly of Grenache and Syrah, this bottle was pretty closed and a touch reduced when first opened, but after a couple of hours in a decanter it transformed rather wonderfully into a rich, ripe but serious wine of the south, meaty and lightly herbal edges to dark, plum and ripe black berry fruit. The palate is medium- to full-bodied, with spices and a grip of tannin, but the fruit is dark and juicy, and it is the savoury fruit that drives to the finish. Stockists given for current vintages.
(2017) The Roussillon is a wonderfully dramatic vineyard landscape, with rugged hillsides planted with vines right up to the edge of cliffs over the pounding Atlantic. This comes from such a vineyard, planted on slate soils, and is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. It has a deliciously expressive spice and red fruit nose, full of life and energy. Is there a hint of iodine from that sea spray? In the mouth it is both sweetly ripe and mouth-wateringly savoury, the medium bodied finesse and subtle yet precise axis of tannin and acidity balancing perfectly. Watch the video for food matching suggestions and more information. Please note: this is a special parcel in Majestic so limited supply, and it's £10.99 as part of a mixed six.
(2016) The rugged hills of the Roussillon region run to the Mediterranean sea in the deep south of France, close to the Spanish border. Here the fame of the Maury appellation was founded on fortified wines: the sweet, Port-style wines made from old, unirrigated vineyards of mostly Grenache. Now, more producers are making dry Maury, and this is a beefy but plush and fruity example of great quality, haunting creamy raspberry and strawberry notes mix with spice and wild herbs, before a powerful, full palate of smooth fruit that is deep and sweet, with fine tannins and acidity. Watch the video for much more information and food matching ideas.
(2016) Made from 60-year-old vines of Grenache Gris, fermented with wild yeasts and weighing in with an uncompromising 15% abv, this rosé marches to Amistat's excellent and incisive beat. Pale and peachy in colour, it is hugely intense on the palate, not oxidised, but earthy and concentrated with red berries, Grenache nuttiness and a huge punch of minerality and dry, orangy intensity to the acidity. A powerhouse rosé with a nip of tannin and distinctive indeed,
(2016) Michel Chapoutier is one of the best producers of the Rhône Valley in France, but he has also produced wines here in the deep south close to the Spanish border for almost two decades. This terrific blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan is aged only in big, old barrels. Its name - Occultum Lapidem - is Latin for 'secret stones' or 'hidden stones', because this wine is all about terroir - expressing the slate and granite soils as well as the garrigue - the wild flowers and herbs - of the Roussillon soil. It is plummy and rich in fruit, but there's a wonderful spice and earthiness too, a real bittersweet grip and authority, ending with freshness and backbone. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. Normally £15.95 but currently on offer at £13.50 - not bad for a wine graced with 93-95 points by eRobertParker.
(2015) This blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan is bottled under a synthetic cork. It boasts 14.5% alcohol by volume and the back label indicates it comes from old vines. It has a subtle but pleasing nose, subdued aromatically, but deep and creamily dark fruited. In the mouth it is nicely done: a rasp of roughening tannin, pert acidity and yet a good weight of fruit and chocolaty richness to leave it spicy and smooth in the finish.