(2021) The blend is 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc, the fruit organically grown and the wine fermented with wild yeasts. There is a crisp gooseberry, nettle and lemon character on the nose, vivacious but not pungently green. In the mouth, a lovely style and balance here, with more of the gooseberry sharpness to the fruit, a little infill of juicier peach, but the finish tight and nicely defined by citrus and green apple bite of acidity to leave a mouth-watering finish.
(2021) Apparently there's a little bit of Malbec in the blend here, which perhaps adds just a hint of more black fruit to the otherwise buoyant, juicy red berry aromas and flavours, a pastille quality to the character, the nose all about the fruit with just a background whisper of vanillin oak. In the mouth the fruit surges forward again, very sweet, smooth and juicy, quite chocolaty, with a bite of more tart raspberry to the acidity. So fruit-filled, but with a bit of heft and 14% alcohol to give it red meat, or even curry-matching credentials.
(2020) Unlike the more austere examples of the Clare Valley in South Australia, this Western Australian wine has a gentler acid profile and the merest, softening nuance of sweetness too. It opens aromatically with lime, blossom and minerals, a touch of beeswax polish, but that little nod towards generosity sings on the palate, loads of freshness and there is absolutely no shortage of driving acidity, but the whole picture is balanced, tempered and approachable.
(2020) From a selection of the best vineyard plots of Vasse Felix's estate, the lenedary 'Heytesbury' was aged in French oak barriques, 53% New. It strikes a fine, fine mid-way point between schisty and smoky minerality and ripe fruited generosity, notes of flint and cordite melding with peach and honeydew melon. On the palate medium-bodied and creamy in texture, the acid balance is perfect really, tensioning a picture of hazelnut and ripe, juicy apple and nectarine, a shimmering freshness extending into a long, delicate, but intense finishe. Note that Ocado lists the 2016 at £39.95, so this new vintage may become available for a little bit less in due course.
(2020) From selected vineyard parcels of Gingin clone, aged 25 years on average, this was whole-bunch pressed to barrel with solids, spending nine months in oak with some batonnage. The aromatics are loaded with flint and oyster shell, a layer of almond and oatmeal, and creamy orchard fruit. The acid line is slightly less aggressive than the pungent Flametree Chardonnay tasted alongside, lots of citrus peel and salts, but that bitter orange edge to the fruit plays against a peachier tone, into a balanced finish that stays fresh and finishes on salts and frut. Superb.
(2020) This spends eight months in Louis Latour barrels, partly from Meursault, mostly two and three years old. Gorgeous crushed oatmeal and flint nose, a touch of vanilla toast and honey, and very fresh pear and apple fruit. The palate has limpid, pure and quite plush fruit and juiciness, but that fine stony, flinty character adds a lovely edge, the acid lemony and fresh, but with that saline touch that is so mouth-watering and fresh. There is density to the fruit, and concentration, but great finesses and freshness. £15.99 as part of a mixed six.
(2020) Margaret River in Western Australia is synonymous with high quality Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blends for its white wines, and it is rare to see one for less than £12 or so from this premium, ocean-influenced region. This is a 2020 vintage, harvested just a few months ago, so obviously not a wine that has seen extended and expensive barrel ageing, but in fact I thought it was lovely, the cut and vivacious, zesty punch of the Sauvignon showing a touch of oily green bean weight on the palate, with very good fruit and a fine, slicing citrus core of acidity. Really rather delicious summer drinking with just 12.5% alcohol, and dry in the finish.
(2019) What a great example of how Margaret River is helping to redefine Austalian Chardonnay. Whole-bunch pressed, fermented in French oak with natural yeasts, and matured in a combination of small and large French oak barrels for nine months. It opens with a whiff of flint and gunpowder over ripe peach and pear, just a touch of creamy oak too. In the mouth it is sweet-fruited and intense, but there is great clarity and drive here too, the acid nicely judged and a taut precision to the finish. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2019) Voyager Estate's 2016 Chardonnay is a class act, matured in French oak for 11 months (only 36% new barrels), and a complex blend of nine Chardonnay clones, naturally fermented with native yeasts. In many ways it is an exemplar of modern Australian Chardonnay, not over-ripe or over-oaked, with earlier picking lowering the alcohol and increasing the flinty, mineral-etched character of the wine. Some toasty and coffee-ish oak sets against stony, salty notes and lemon fruit, before the palate punches through, bright star fruit and Asian pear against more tropical fruits, the dazzle of pithy, zesty acidity, and all the time a lightly spicy and tobacco-infused infill from the time in barrel. A lovely Chardonnay, drinking well and it's savoury character bringing broad food-friendliness. Note: stockist at time of review is for an earlier vintage.
(2019) Just 6% merlot and 4% Petit Verdot qualify this as a Bordeaux blend, the 90% Cabernet Sauvignon hand harvested from the best vineyard plots and matured in fine grained French oak barrels for 20 months, 50% of the barrels new. A particularly dry and fine ripening season for the fruit, from 1978- and 1995-planted blocks. The colour is a deep crimson, and the nose is fragrant with a plush black berry fruitiness, intense cassis and lift of violet, and just a sheen of chocolaty oak. In the mouth the wine is concentrated, refined and juicy, there is a big backbone here, tight, fine tannins and crisp-edged acidity, as well as the tobacco and exotic spice of the barrel, but pure black fruit drives through the mid-palate. A wine that drinks beautifully now, but which will cellar for a decade and more. Note, stockist quoted at time of review is on a previous vintage.