(2022) The blend explains the name: even for the Murray River region (home to Andrew Peace wine) where everything is grown, blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo with Italian relative obscurity, Sagrantino, is indeed out of the ordinary. There's quite a mature feel to this 2020 already, mellow and autumnal berries and a touch of drying leaves on the nose, then a sweet, smooth, quite silky palate of ripe fruit. Not particularly long and the acid is a touch harsh, but interesting and decent value.
(2022) Shiraz from the Murray River in Victoria ("with a touch of Tempranillo"), this is the colour of cranberry juice, and aromas are a mix of red and black berries. In the mouth its a gluggable mouthful for the barbecue or to wash down a pizza, enough easy-going fruit to make up for the hint of harshness from, I would guess, adjusted acidity and a little oak chip exposure, but you know what? £5.75 is nothing to pay for a bottle of wine given the UK's duty and taxes, and this is as quaffable as it should be at that price.
(2022) From their vineyards in Pézenas, Olivier Coste produces a range of wines with very contemporary names and labels, but really quite classic composition. This is 100% Carignan, grown on limestone and clay with temperature controlled fermentation and ageing only in concrete vats. I thought this wine suited being lightly chilled, which enhanced its fruitiness, accentuating the raspberry and blackberry quality on the nose, which also shows some spices and smokiness, and gives a refreshing clarity on the palate. The tannins are fairly robust which, along with acidity and plenty of oomph from the 14% alcohol and concentrated character, makes for a big mouthful of wine that certainly needs food to show at its best.
(2022) Winemaker Sue Hodder celebrates 30 years with Wynns, and this wine represents the pinnacle of her portfolio. It is only made in the best years from the best 1% of their Cabernet fruit. The nose is very refined, very classic, cedars with polished oak over ripe, creamy black fruit. A little graphite and olive lift is lovely. On the palate it is medium-bodied and lithe, as supple and sweet dark fruits are supported by creamy-chocolate tannins and ripe cherry acidity. The quality of French oak is subtle and integrated. A very poised, fine wine that will retail for around £110 when released through La Place in Bordeaux in September 2022, appearing in retailers soon after.
(2022) 27-year-old vines on top soil over a bed of gravel, extending to clay. 94% is Cabernet Sauvignon, with 4% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. A small proportion was wild fermented and the wine stayed in barrel for fully 20 months, all new French Oak. The oldest wine in this small selection, showing minimal colour development. Lots and lots of graphite and cigar-box, a very firm and taut blackcurrant fruit, again those small herbaceous notes adding interest. In a similar vein to the Cape Mentelle, the sweet ripeness of fruit striking the palate is surprising, a mouth-filling succulence, but very classy and elegant support from tight, creamy oak tannins, keen and slightly saline acidity, and a long and very pure finish of spice, fruit and freshening acidity.
(2022) Free draining soils with high ironstone gravel content were planted 17-47 yearsa ago with Cabernet Sauvignon (90%), plus 5% each of Petit Verdot and Merlot. The wines were matured for 18 months in selected barriques (mainly French with a tiny amount of Hungarian wood), of which about 58% were new. Just beginning to show some colour development on the rim, this has a graphite steeliness to the aromas, the fruit taut and black, a hint of leafiness and mint. On the palate there is copious sweet black fruit; there's a ripe confiture character, plenty of upfront approachability, but the savoury aspects of tight barrel aromas, fine and sandy tannins, and cherry-pit acidity balance very nicely.
(2022) Biodynamically farmed on tiny, gravelly block planted in 1999. It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon pressed to French oak barriques, 40% of which were new, for 16 months before bottling. A little development of colour here, and tapenade aromas, earthy and deep with black fruit, but cedary and savoury rather than brightly fruity. Creamy textured, the fruit does come through with mid-palate sweetness, then that restrained, coffee and sweet leathery spice dominates. Balanced and has real gastronomic appeal.
(2022) The blend includes Petit Verdot 8% and Malbec 2%, 20 - 40 years old grown on well-drained gravel loam soils. A small proportion saw carbonic maceration, and the wine was aged in French oak barriques (44% new) for 18 months. A year since I last tasted this, and the impression is much the same: lifted and fragrent, the olive/tapenade hint of the herbal adds a smoky savouriness to the sweet and solid black fruit. On the palate a tongue-coating raft of thick black fruit and creamy tannin, smokier barrel components combining with brighter cherry acid for a long, fruit and acid-driven finish.
(2022) Vines here were planted in 1978 amd 1995, 94% Cabernet and the balance Merlot, planted on free-draining gravel over clay. The wine was in French oak barrels for 17 months, 50% new. A year older than the Xanadu Black label also tasted, and visible softer and lighter on the rim. Lovely nose, a hint of briar and herbs over ripe and succulent black fruit. Tiny lift of menthol. Sweet and plush fruit on the palate, a thick blackcurrant ripeness, but the creamy and toasty oak underpinning is offset by firm, fine tannin and juicy acidity for a very satisfying and balanced wine.
(2022) From vines with an average age of 25 years grown on predominantly gravel soils. There's 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec in the blend and the wine spent 14 months in French oak, 40% new barrels. It's a rich, deep, cherry- and blackcurrant-scented wine, with a definite, firm herbal and cedary edge. In the mouth quite buoyant and ripe black and red fruits, a lean spine of acid and fine tannins, leaving it fresh and quite racy on the finish.