(2017) Made from 100% Tempranillo - known locally here in Toro as Tinta de Toro, this is another jammily-fruited, copiously-endowed red with massed of crushed berries and a light sheen of vanilla. Coming from 60- to 100-year-old vines, there's a natural concentration, and a bit of real grip as well as all that supple black fruit. Another delicious wine in this neat and excellent range, and a bit of a bargain if on a shelf near you at anywhere around a tenner.
(2017) From Almansa in Castilla-La Mancha, in the southeast of Spain, this has an extremely vivid, deep and vibrant colour, and aromas to match. Ripe, juicy plums, black berries and a touch of meaty spice leap from the glass, presenting a bottonless pool of dark fruit aromas. In the mouth the sweetness of ripe fruit is buoyant and full, but there's a fine background of earthy tannin, a touch of savoury, spicy oak, and good plummy acidity too. Really lovely drinking this, and possibly my favourite of the three Botas de Barro wines tasted.
(2017) Though Bindi Segrardi's Chianti Classico Riserva 2014 is a stunner, I really enjoyed the herbal, lighter character of this wine sourced from Bindi Segrardi's vineyards across the Chianti region. The nose has rhubarb, beetroot and basil, giving that vegetal, herby edge to the light tobacco and cherry fruit. On the palate it is medium bodied, with a nice silky texture, and plenty of sweet fruit is underpinned by a roughening edge of tannin, pert acidity and more of that herby character. A classic style, and please watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2017) This is a négociant wine from Louis Latour, where growers on long-term contracts supply the Pinot Noir grapes and Latour makes the wine. From 30-year-old vines and unoaked, it has a haunting, expressive fragrance, briar and stalkiness, mushroom and then also clear cherry and red berry fruit. A touch of pepper and herbs adds more interest. Very fresh on the palate, there's a lovely juiciness to this wine, more of that pert red fruit and nicely precise tannins and acids to finish. It's a lovely village Burgundy in a restrained but fruit-forward style. Watch the video for more information.
(2017) Pinot Noir remains something of a holy grail for both wine lovers, and winemakers, the grape requiring specific growing conditions and a delicate hand from the winemaker to give of its best. While the top red wines of Burgundy represent the pinnacle of Pinot perfection, it's always nice to find a good example at a modest price that is widely available. From Marlborough, this wears cooler climate credentials with a birary, truffle and twig character on the nose, small, dry red berries like redcurrant and cherry, and a wisp of smoke. In the mouth it is delicate and light, those truffly characters matched by more of that pert cherry fruit, a line of tannin and more of that smokiness to balance nicely. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2017) From on of the Languedoc's traditional appellations, this is a typical local blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvêdre. Richly-fruited and spiced on the nose, this deeply coloured wine is immediately inviting, with aromas of crushed red and black berries and hints of cocoa and liquorice. In the mouth there's a surprising crispness to the flavour and texture, the good level of acidity no doubt aided by the fact that the fruit was harvested in the cool of the night. It is a fairly sumptuous, expansive style nevertheless, with red and black fruits and that hint of spice in the background. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) There's a delightful subtlety to the way the oak has been handled here, adding sheen and gentle creaminess to the ripe, supple fruit, a hint of Pinot truffle and briar. In the mouth nicely fresh and agile, a spine of acidity, a touch of oak charriness, and the savoury fruit and spice finishing quite long.
(2017) Always one of my favourites in the Seven Springs range, this powerful 14% Syrah has youthful exuberance to spare, with a bold, ripe black fruit aroma, underpinned by notes of chocolate and tobacco, but there's a hint of violet lift in there too. Smooth and creamy on the palate, the weight of that fleshy berry and plum fruit is there, tight, fine tannins and juicy acids completing a deliciously easy-drinking yet quite structured young wine that will cellar for a few years.
(2017) What an absolute treat to open this 11-year-old Cabernet from Margaret River, and the family estate of Leeuwin. Under screwcap it is in perfect condition, showing a plum and sweet gamey character, notes of tobacco and herbal, gentle leafiness along with graphite adding complexity and precision. Clearly the product of a cool year, that leafy character is overpowered on the palate by the concentration of blackcurrant fruit, very pure and again precise, with really firm, tart, plum and cherry skin biting tannin and acid to tension the whole picture. Drinking beautifully. Note the price and stockist given is for the current vintage at time of writing.
(2017) Another deeply-coloured wine, organic certified and coming from the traditional Corbières appellation. It blends 40% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 20% Carignan and 10% Mourvèdre, all aged in oak barrels, 60% of which were new. It's immediately serious and savoury on the nose, vinous and darkly-hued, with damson and black cherry, a wisp of smoke and a bit of graphite in there too. Solid and powerful in the mouth, the vanilla of the oak helps soften the tannins, but it is a structured wine, crying out for beef or lamb - either that or give it some time: the fruit, black olive savouriness, density of texture and structure suggest to me this will cellar well for five years.