(2022) Suggested by Laithwaites as a good mixer for a long drink with tonic and a sprig of rosemary, this is a relatively unusual rosé Port, made by Alvaro van Zeller. Quite delicate rose-touched floral aromatics over berry fruits. There is good sweetness on the palate, a touch of creamy toffee, but the gentle bite of the spirit and very good acidity combine to give a refreshing finish. Would also do well with cheeses I think.
(2021) Ruby at the core with a broad tawny rim, Noval's 2007 Colheita is a single vintage Port of very high quality that was aged for 13 years in wooden barrels at the Noval cellar. That means it is a wine with wonderful maturity and instant drinkability, unlike Vintage Ports which often require decades after release to show their best. There are deep, soulful aromas of walnut and old polished wood, a twist of Seville orange and delightful hint of shellac in the mix. In the mouth terrific balance of sweetness and cherry-ripe fruit, with those aged notes, a liquorice intensity and concentration and such a creamy texture, flowing seamlessly into a sweet, beguiling finish with outstanding length. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) A white Vermouth (think Martini or Cinzano Bianca) but this one from Spain and emphasing more of the local citrus fruit in its aromas and flavours. Aromatic herbs and the peel of several different citrus fruits are macerated for several months then blended with an aged white mistela (sweet wine) to give a sweet but very grown up Vermouth full of interesting nuances. There's angelica, anise and basil, lots of leafy green herbs and that citrus hint of lime and mandarin orange. In the mouth there's no mistaking the concentration and intensity here, or the 18% alcohol, but the layers of smoky, fruity and herbal flavours run with delightful acidity to the finish. Drink on its own with ice, or as the base for Martinis and other cocktails. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) Is this a unique wine in the whole wide world? My guess would be yes: it's a Tannat from Uruguay, fortified with brandy much like a Port or Madeira, and infused with aromatic herbs, flowers and spices. The label quotes "winter flowers, Madagascan vanilla bean and wild apple mint." It has a deep ruby colour tinged with tawny, and a fabulous nose: like a cup of hot chocolate to begin with, moving into spicy black fruits and all the time a slightly other-worldly set of estery aromas in the background. On the palate it is rich and thick-textured, with plenty of luscious black cherry sweetness, but again it's as though some dark chocolate had been stirred in, some orange-like bite and acidity, and a long, warming finish. Unusual for sure, and very interesting. Price for 50cls. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) Noval's LBV is a serious wine, for drinking or extended cellaring, coming from a single vineyard. The fact that it is unfiltered means it will throw a sediment and may need decanting at some point, but that also increases its capacity to age. A sumptuous nose of liquidised blackcurrants and ripe black cherries shows plenty of chocolaty depth, and high quality spirit gives warmth without any alcoholic burn. In the mouth it is utterly delicious, with copious sweetness, a dry and firm tannin and acid framework that adds some rigour and length, and beautiful balance into a very long finish.
(2021) A deep burnished gold in colour, this is 100% Palomino, the average of the wines in the blend being 17 years. Truly fabulous nose, toast and butter, walnuts and Demerrera sugar, a suggestion of Seville orange too. Equally aluring on the palate, the wine has a real softness, a lanolin touch to that nuttiness, and an endlessly long finish with mineral and citrus acidity teasing out the walnut and caramel of the mid palate.
(2021) Pedro Ximénez, or 'PX' grapes are used to make this style: the darkest, stickiest, sweetest and richest of Sherries. The fully-ripe grapes are dried to increase their concentration, which results in a wine that pours mahogany brown, with raisin, chocolate and dried Chinese plum spiciness on the nose, and an engine-oil thick texture in the mouth. Flooded with sweet, plump dried fruits, a lovely edge of coffee and walnut, and just the right zesty orange and lemon acidity, balances the finish. At £12.95 for a full 75cl bottle this is a bargain, for sipping after dinner or matching to rich chocolate or Christmassy-style puddings. Watch the video for more infortmation and food-matching ideas.
(2020) This recently released wine is currently available by the six-bottle case, with equivalent per bottle price shown. It will become more widely available, but note: the excellent 2003 vintage is currently £10 off in Ocado, down to £32.99, until 2nd January 2020.
(2020) This is a Manzanilla 'Pasada', so a slightly darker, older style of wine and a little nuttier than a typical Manzanilla. This is also 'en Rama', so bottled unfiltered, basically straight from the cask. It has a light- to medium gold colour and arresting nose of chamomile, shellac, walnut and bruised apple fruit. There's a liniment-like pungency. On the palate it is dry, but richly-textured, with walnut and nutty Cox's pippin fruit, a hint of orange too, and a delicious saline and citrus finish. This would be a terrific festive aperitif with olives or nuts perhaps.
(2020) Noval's Late Bottled Vintage is unflitered and unlike many LBV's will improve in the bottle as it cellars, but is best decanted off of its sediment. Having spent over five years in barrel, it's a glorious wine, crimson-black in colour, with a soaring perfume of cherry and violet, blackcurrant, vanilla and spices. In the mouth there is abundant sweetness, ripe black and red berries, with a chocolaty density, super-smooth tannins and a pert cherry acidity to keep it on its toes. With around 90g/l of residual sugar this is definitely sweet, but retains a lovely freshness too. For mince pies or Christmas pudding, also hard and blue cheeses, a banker.