(2018) Though labelled as an IGT Toscana, most of the grapes for this Sangiovese come from Romitorio's own vineyards in the Scansano region of the coastal Maremma. Its a big, warm-hearted Sangiovese that opens with lightly herbaceous notes of earth and twigs, that briary character joined by sweet plum and cherry fruit. In the mouth it is firm and dry, the tannins giving lots of grip, keen cherry-pit dry acidity too adding to the savoury, food-friendly appeal. If it sees oak it must only be in older, larger barrels, as this maintains an edge of sappy freshness and core of fruit through to a dry, nutty finish. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas, and note that Daily Drinker club members can buy this wine for £11.70
(2018) A fabled wine, now selling for £600 or so per bottle (but that's not what I paid almost 20 years ago). The colour is certainly faded, a broad, pale rim, but definitely still some garnet at the core of this. Immediately on opening and pouring a small taste to check the wine I thought it was fairly oxidised, but pouring the first proper glasses around an hour later and the wine seemed to have drawn itself together as if by magic. There is a touch of leafiness, a touch of roasted chestnut, some spice and a touch of dried blood, some firm red fruit too. Over an hour or so of drinking it opens, the palate perhaps just a moment past its prime, but such lovely mineral precision to this, the acidity so perfect, tannins sweetly resolved, and the impression left is of dry redcurrant fruit, but a building warmth of spices and some weight, really quite richly satisfying despite the ethereal red fruits and light gaminess that float into the ether as you drink.
(2018) Over the past couple of years I have reported on a few wines being made by Scottish winemaker Andrew Norrie, who after spending some years working with Pinalta in the Douro Valley, moved there and is now making a small range of wines. Interestingly, this wine (and a whisky) was made/blended for a British hard rock band called Burnt Out Wreck, and is being marketed to their fans, I suspect a project and musical genre close to Andrew's heart. The wine is 80% Touriga Nacional and 20% Touriga Franca from the Tua Valley, foot trodden in lagars before four months in French oak. Deeply coloured, there's a lovely violet edge to the fruit, pepper and a sense of elegance to red and black berries. Very pure, essence of blackberry fruit on the palate, a nice biting edge of cherry skin and plum skin acidity. Tannins do a good job here, nicely roughening the vivid fruitiness, in a balanced tangy finish. Anyone looking for more information can link up with Andrew on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/andrew.norrie.3.
(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) A blend of Grenache and Syrah made in stainless steel, this is all about the dense and deep black cherry and clove-infused plum compote fruit on the nose, moving smoothly through to the palate where a very nice axis of creamy but firm tannin and juicy cherry-skin acidity cuts through the creamy ripeness of the fruit. Tangy, quite spicy and long, the palate has it's serious side for sure with the extraction nicely judged to give a bit of real grip.
(2018) Also from the Terrasses du Larzac's clay and limestone soils, a blend of 20-year-old Syrah and Grenache with just 2% Mourvèdre, this cuvée vinified in stainless steel. Crushed raspberry notes add lift to the black fruits here, a hint of camphor, of leafy twigs, all quite different from the Velour cuvée aromatically. In the mouth the two draw closer, as the meaty substance of the ripe fruit darkens the picture, but there's a dimension of juiciness, traded against the smoothing breadth of the Velours, that makes this equally appealing. Is the alcohol a touch more prominent in this differently structured wine? Maybe, but for me it retains balance and even some elegance.
(2018) Here we have 98% Syrah, from 35-year-old vines in Montpeyroux, harvested at just 20hl/ha - a very, very low yield and only 6,000 bottles produced. This cuvée spends eight months in oak barrels from Nièvre. Another densely-hued wine, the ramping up of concentration is noticeable immediately, dark, tightly-wound aromas of damson plum, peppercorn and liquorice, muscular and dense, but with a glimpse of brighter raspberry and violet, a wisp of curling bonfire smoke. Super stuff in the mouth: such a beautifully slick but firm and grippy, youthful palate, etched by its acidity and tannin framework, but the effortless concentration of fruit suggesting significant ageing potential too.
(2018) Syrah and Grenache with a touch of Mourvèdre, this cuvée comes from the Terrasses du Larzac appellation in the Languedoc and is aged in oak barrels. Dark and saturated, meatiness, a touch of sizzling bacon fat, is added to the plummy dark fruit. In the moouth the sweet ripeness of the fruit impresses, a flood of bittersweet cherry and blueberry, the oak adding just a sheen of smokiness and roundness to what remains an essentially fruit-driven (and delicious) wine.
(2018) "Almost 100% Syrah," according to the back label, this comes from 60-year-old vines planted clay-limestone soils. Again the yield is tiny, and the wine was vinified in new Alliers oak. Côte Dorée is a special selection and limited release, and though this 2011 is currently unavailable from Ten Acre Wines, the 2013 is listed at £19.95. If the Côte Rousse is dark, deep and sensuous, then at seven years of age this is all that and more: a deep pool of polished black fruits and spices, again we have that tiny lift of pepper and floral character, but it's a hugely tightly-wound wine that needs a little air and/or a little time. In the mouth the age has softened the edges, but still this is a concentrated, ripe but bittersweet melange of black fruits, savoury meatiness, and tangy cherry skin acidity that keeps the finish fresh and lip-tingling. A huge wine in its way, but with 13.5% alcohol and perfect balance, deeply impressive. The Rousse has a little more light and shade, this is a walk further into the dark side.