(2019) 2015 experienced a sunny and dry growing season, the hot summer mitigated by intense August rainfalls that provided ideal conditions for uniform, stress-free ripening. A blend of Sangiovese and Merlot with a yield of 35 hl/ha, and aged 24 months in barriques, 85% of which were new. A robust, firm character on the nose, plenty of polished oak, dark and liquorice character. The tannins are firm and very grippy at this stage, a big structural wine, the tannin and acid framework a touch angular right now, though softening notes or spices and obvious fruit concentration suggest it would be best approached in another five years perhaps.
(2019) A slightly warmer than usual spring with well-distributed and regular rainfall, the pattern following through into summer giving homogenous ripening. Slightly lower yields of 30 hl/ha compared to 2015, again a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot, with 24 months in barriques, 85% new. Gorgeous perfume, some floral notes, also a pleasing edge of game and bloodiness that adds a lovely layer of complexity. Such deliciously sweet fruit, and while that sour cherry acidity and the steely core of tannin is there, there is a supple, slightly more feminine character that drinks beautifully. Will cellar 10 years+
(2019) A mild spring was followed by a long cool summer, with good rainfall but dry condition in September and October for good development
in the grapes. The yield was 30 hl/ha, and the recipe was for 18 months in barrique, but with 100% new French oak. This was the second bottle after the first decanted bottle was corked, so closed and needing oxygen, but obvious concentration and packed sweetness of fruit, very smooth tannins, beautifully resolved, and the Merlot dominating strangely, almost certainly down to the bottle having just been opened. Obvious coffee depth and structure. Drinking beautifully.
(2019) Luce say this was an vintage excellent both in terms of quality and quantity, a cool and rainy spring replenishing underground waterways, a cool early summer then heat during August and September to compensate for the initial delay in the vegetative cycle. The Merlot and Sangiovese were harvested at 35 hl/ha, and the wine spent 24 months in barriques, 90% of which were new. Nice camphor high note here, classic pencil shaving finesse, the palate has lost a touch of its fruit and shows more cedar but has lovely texture and balance of tannins and acids, so that it finishes with spicy length, a really lovely wine for current drinking though I can find no UK stockists of this vintage at time of review.
(2019) Spring was rainy and mild with early budding, and although summer was dry in general, Montalcino experienced three significant rain events, limiting stress and supporting complete maturation of the grapes. The blend of Merlot and Sangiovese spent 12 months in a mix of new and used barriques. Lovely fruit here, quite lifted compared to the Luce, herb and floral notes joining succulent black fruit on the palate, generous and silky, certainly more approachable at its young age than Luce, but still with complexity and, I suspect, capacity for longevity.
(2019) Spring brought abundant rains and lower than average temperatures, then a hot summer. During the flowering in June, rain and wind resulted in clusters with fewer berries, then the summer was hot and sunny for optimal ripening. Luce reported "outstanding quality in the harvested fruit." Yields of 30 hl/ha, 24 months in barriques of which 90% were new. Fine spices and sweet damp earth over the more figgy black fruit, this has breadth and sweetness to spare, massive coffee and sweet black fruit, it is a more upfront style, but delightful. I can find no UK stockists for this vintage at time of review.
(2019) After heavy spring rains the summer was almost ideal, with dry days and significant day-night temperature differentials to ensure balanced, concentrated berries. The Sangiovese and Merlot was harvested with a low yield of 28 hl/ha, and ageing once again for 24 months in 85% new French oak barriques. Back slightly more onto the firm, taut, precise black fruit style, sveltee and glossy with a slightly balsamic note too, and though juicy and with that tangy sour cherry to the acids, just a little less giving than the 2014.
(2019) First released in 2003, 2013 brought a rainy spring and early summer, but followed by a hot, but not extreme, summer providing ideal ripening conditions. 100% Sangiovese harvested at 34 hl/ha, the wine spent 24 months in Slavonian oak barriques, only 10% of which were new. Perfumed and lifted compared to the Luce, tobacco and spices dominating the sappy cherry. More sour acidity here, proper Italianate acidity, draped with the red and black fruits into a long, spicy finish.
(2019) Louis Jadot is one of the great names of Burgundy, producing wines from terroirs throughout the region, up to and including some of the best Grands Crus. This Pinot Noir is sourced from vineyards across Burgundy and a proportion is aged in barrel, whilst part is aged in tank to retain its fruity freshness and approachability. On the nose it is crammed with berry fruit, but also that authentic Burgundian earthiness, with hints of rhubarb and beetroot, as well as a gently smoky spice. In the mouth there's copious sweet fruit, but the elegant tannins and brisk acidity give it definition and energy. It's a lovely, less expensive red Burgundy, on sale quite widely at around £17, but with the retailer below at just £12. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
Footnote: I chose this wine as my Wine of the Week because an online retailer was offering it at just £12 per bottle. However, one of my visitors ordered the wine immediately and a different vintage - the 2016 - arrived. I have not tasted the 2016, so cannot vouch for it.
(2019) The traditional appelations of the Languedoc-Roussillon region have lived slightly under the shadow of the dynamic 'Vin de Pays d'Oc' (later changed to IGP d'Oc), classification that relaxed the rules about what varieties could be planted and style of wine made, to put a new breed of wines on the map. This comes from the best villages of the Roussillon, a blend of fairly equal parts Syrah, Carignan and Grenache, from low-yielding vineyards. It's a particularly fragrant example, unoaked to allow the lightly ashy lift and bright cherry and blackcurrant fruit shine through. On the palate it is generous and smooth, a creamy and chocolaty texture and depth with loads of sweet black fruit, easy tannins and gentle acidity, giving it balance and charm. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.