(2020) Cono Sur produced some of the first Chilean Pinot Noir that I ever came across, with my first tasting note from the 2000 vintage. Then the wine came from Casabanca, and was not organic certified like this 2018 vintage, so things have changed. Grapes come from San Antonio and Chimbarongo in Colchagua, home to the first Pinot Noir plantings in Chile. 70% was aged in oak barrels for eight months. It's a Pinot in the earthy, smoky and vegetal mould, aromas of beetroot to the fore, with a little rhubarb. That's a totally legitimate profile for Pinot, though a sweet cherry fruit character comes through nicely on the palate, the texture quite creamy, and the finish juicy and appetising. Note the price is down to £7.50 in Sainbury's until the start of July 2020. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) The blend here is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah and 2% Mourvèdre, fermented in oak vats like the Lady Severine, but spending 24 months in barrique. In many ways it's a more 'serious' wine than the Lady S, certainly more dusty, concentrated intense Cabernet Sauvignon tannins and dark fruit. Aromatically there is plushness and a depth of black berry fruit, on the palate that is fat and juicy on the mid-palate, then those tannins, a stripe of acidity and a toasty touch of charry barrel kick in. As I say, a more serious style and would benefit from decanting. Price if bought by the case of six falls to £21.60
(2020) South African born Manfred Ing has been at the winemaking helm of this biodynamic estate for many years, in that time further refining their already exquisite wines, red and white. From an excellent year, this is Sangiovese from vineyards in Greve, Radda and Gaiole, and it spent 14 months in barriques and larger barrels, all French oak, with 5% new. I love the refinement and distinction of the nose here, that reminded me very much of a fine Pauillac, with graphite and a touch of cedar and black olive over pert, but ripe black fruits. In the mouth it is beautifully balanced: racy and alert thanks to the finesse and juiciness of the tannins and acidity, and the keen cherry and raspberry edge to the black fruits adding even more precision. Fabulous and cellar-worthy.
(2020) This Tuscan red sees Sangiovese blended with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, grown in the coastal Maremma, with only around 10% spending time in oak. It's something of a fruit-bomb this - not at all overblown, but filled with a buoyant, creamy blast of ripe, fleshy cherries and blackcurrant that soars from the glass, backed up with just a hint of pencil-shaving finesse. In the mouth that joyous explosion of ripe but nicely savoury fruit comes through, all supple and smooth black fruit flavours, but a chocolaty tannin and bright cherry skin acid axis offers a lovely counterpoint. Approachable, delicious, and it put a warm smile on my face.
(2020) This is a classic Primitivo from Salento in Puglia, and a particularly bold and juicy example emphasising the exuberant dark fruit profile of the wine. Spices, damson plum and blackcurrant on the nose suggests a certain plushness, and that's borne out on the palate, where a creamy weight of black fruit and supple texture fill the mouth, great sweetness to the fruit, but a very nicely sour and savoury edge of bittersweetness: plum skins and tangy orange acids, the chocolaty tannins and six months in oak barrels adding even more smoothness to the finish. Great value here.
(2020) From one of the biggest names of Barolo and Barbaresco, but here turning his hand to the more humble Docletto, but still a serious interpretation that spends 12 Months in French oak barrels, 25% new. Really vibrant, deep purple in colour, the nose is highly aromatic, lifted, violet-touched and elegant, but with a core of juicy blueberry and ripe plum, a hint of Amarena cherries and some depth of cocoa too. In the mouth it is smooth, ripe and full of wonderfully bittersweet flavours, the agile acidity and taut tannins giving a bit of authority, but the sweet-fruited joy of the wine always threatening to break free. Given the heritage I am sure this will cellar for a few years too.
(2020) Musar famously releases it's wines only when they think they are ready to drink, typically seven years after vintage. So this is the latest release at time of review, a blend of Cinsault, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon from very old vines grown at over 1,000 metres altitude in the Bekaa Valley. It seems to me to be an outstanding Musar, filled with gently lifted aromatics of kirsch and blackcurrant, all framed by a graphite and cedar notes of serious, savoury and Bordeaux-like character. In the mouth the sweet, ripe fruit is enveloping, but the wine has such fabulous concentration and supple, firm structure at its core, all polished tannins and gastronomic acid-balance, the pure, sweet fruit persisting to the elegant, very long finish. A wonderfully impressive young Musar this, irresistable now, but capable of substantial cellaring too, Musar tending to transition from something like Bordeaux, to something closer to Burgundy, over decades.
(2020) I haven't tasted Banfi's Brunello since the 2000 vintage, an excellent wine that I scored 92. This comes from an official 'five star' vintage, and Banfi predict it will cellar well for 20 to 30 years. It is 100% Sangiovese, the vineyard hand-harvested three or four times to select the ripest fruit, and aged only in large format oak barrels. There's an earthy, dried blood tone to the colour, and a spicy, Sandalwood and cedar component on the nose, some Chinese dried plums and a fresh cherry note. In the mouth the sweet ripeness of the fruit is delicious, a succulent fleshy plum note, but the grip, the spice, and the tight tannin framework does indeed suggest significant ageability. Many stockists are selling by the six-bottle case at time of review, but more will be moving on to this vintage.
(2020) Masi are masters of appassimento, most of this wine fermented as normal, but part of it re-fermented with 25% dried grapes. It spent 18 months in mostly large, Slavonian oak barrels. Made with 70% Corvina along with Rondinella and Molinara it has delicious aromatics, dried cherry and red liquorice. Smooth but concentrated on the palate, a touch of umami meatiness, but finishes on sweet black fruit and that stripe of digestible acidity. Down to £9.74 until 2nd June 2020. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) Solid ruby at the core but tawny towards the rim, this has a mellow, currant and sweet plum flesh nose, that undertow of game and sauvage quality is there, a firm graphite note still discernable. No sign of the slightly more animal character of a couple of bottles drunk many years ago. Lovely sweetness on the palate: pure blackcurrant and savoury, plum skin and bitter orange, tannins still spicy and taut, acidity balanced and gastronomic, and the wine drinking really well. I'd guess this is at, or has just peaked, and is for drinking now. Really very good indeed - complete mature Bordeaux experience.