(2019) A single estate wine made from the Cortese grape, this comes from Banfi's vineyards in Piedmont. It's a gentle wine, opening with soft and discreet notes of yellow plum and pear, a touch of lime perhaps. In the mouth there's a sweet concentration of fruit, and a very good, vibrant, tangy bite of juicy lime fruit and acidity, a touch of green apple too into a lingering, fruit-dominated finish. I was given an RRP of £17.99 for this, but at its sub-£15 price it's a better proposition.
(2019) I've often found the Verdjo wines from the Rueda region in northern Spain to be a bit too imitatative of New World Sauvignon Blanc, but here Ramón Bilbao is trying to do something different with the grape and the region. Made from the estate's oldest vines, it was fermented in concrete 'tulip-shaped' vats then aged in French and Hungarian oak, with regular batonnage. That has resulted in an obvious creaminess on the nose (unexpected in Rueda Verdejo), subtle nut and honey notes to tropical fruit with a more subdued elderflower and passion fruit character. In the mouth the sweet ripeness of the fruit is the first impression, but that nutty and creamy underpinning of both flavour and texture adds an extra layer. Acidity is well-judged, a gentle lime and red apple presence to extend the finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) Though the estate was sold by the Ratcliffe family in 2017, this wine still bears the title that referred to co-founder Norma Ratcliffe. It is essentially unoaked, and the alcohol is moderate at 13%, and yet it has a richness and touch of the 'golden Chardonnays' about it, with ripe fruit and stirring of the lees in tank building sweetness and texture. Fruit touches on the tropical, but is more about juicy melon, with a fleshiness and yet good balancing acidity.
(2019) What a lovely Sauvignon Blanc, and quite a different expression from the Loire big hitters of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Part of that is down to the 18 months this unoaked wine stayed on the lees, meaning that even with only 12.5% alcohol it has texture and creaminess as well as vivid fruit.  There's a touch of honey and apricot to the otherwise pristine apple and citrus aromas and flavours, nuttiness from the lees ageing rather than anything grassy, and a rounded, balanced finish.
(2019) Around the mouth of the River Loire, the slate and granite soils of Muscadet produce wines prized for their freshness and tang. I don't come across too many sub-£6 wines that I can recommend these days, but this is one: it is not a Muscadet 'Sur Lie' so misses some of that yeasty, more saline character, but the fruit is bright and clear, all dry apple and lemon with an apple core bite of dryness to the acidity of the finish making it very seafood and sushi friendly. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) Sub-titled 'Painter of Light', this delicate but intense Chardonnay comes from clay soils planted with Burgundian clones. Whole-bunch pressed into oak with natural ferments and natural malolactic, with lees stirring. Biscuit and breadiness, a fat lemon and touch of orange. Good richness. On the palate, very clean, a touch funky, a nice pithy lemony character, the acid pure and touched with salty minerals. Long, and super fresh.
(2019) From the original 'cool climate' valley of Chile, Casablanca, where morning mists and proximity to the ocean moderate temperatures, this is lightly-oaked, and spends four months on the lees, giving it breadth and texture and a certain creaminess. Aromatically there's a bit of almost Sauvignon-like passionfruit, peach and notes of more exotic tropical fruits. In the mouth that leesiness gives a mouth-filling texture, and again the fruit is ripe and exotic, with mango and papaya, as well as a grapefruity note that continues into the finish to add a welcome acid counterpoint. Quite long, and a lovely style really, blending ripeness and openness, with a stylish, dry finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) Mostly Garganega and made in stainless steel tanks, with 40% Sauvignon Blanc which sees a little barrel fermentation. Mealy and pear fruit, an Asian pear crunch and into a limpid, mouth-filling palate, a lemon rind sense of fat and acidity.  Good freshness, with a touch of exotic sweet fruit, but finishing dry.
(2019) A wine from Trentino, further west than Valpolicella and closer to the Austrian border. The Conti Bossi Fedrigotti family has 600 years of history on the estate, making wine for more than 300 of them, and today, like Serego Alighieri, Masi takes care of winemaking and commercialisation of the family's wines. Mostly Chardonnay with Traminer, it's not quite as aromatic as I expected, but there is a trace of floral character that blossoms on the palate. The oak is discreet and gently oatmeally, but the crisp orchard fruit, just edging towards exotic, balances with nicely judged, dry and lightly saline acidity.
(2019) long-gully-semillonIt's a common misconception that Australia is a country with a very young wine industry and, therefore, only very young vines. In fact, vines have been established for almost 200 years, and with Phyloxerra never reaching many vineyards regions it also boasts some of the oldest, still productive, vineyards in the world. The label here declares 'Ancient Vine', and that's no marketing BS: this Semillon vineyard in the Barossa Valley is an astonishing 130 years old. Made by David Franz (son of the legendary Peter Lehmann), it is unoaked, but spent 10 months on the lees in tank to build flavour and texture.


Pale lemon in colour, it opens with notes of lemon jelly and pollen, the bee theme continuing with a touch of beeswax, something a litle creamy too. On the palate it burst with vivacious flavour. There's a surge of lemon - fat and sweet rather than tart and thin - plenty more peach and citrussy, orangey flavours too, and the rich, slightly chewy texture adds to the intrigue. The natural concentration of these old vines is apparent, the intensity never letting up into a long finish, that flits with sweetness, but indeed finishes dry, licked by salt and lemons. This 2015 is listed at Harvey Nichols at time of review though not on their web site, but the 2017 has slightly wider distribution.