(2019) With 190g/l of residual sugar, this is a fully sweet, Botrytis-affected dessert wine, which comes in a half bottle. Fermentation and ageing was in a combination of new and old French oak barrels. Light gold in colour, gentle Botrytis aromas without any overt Sauvignon character. The palate is glycerine-rich, with plenty of honey and lime marmalade flavour, some apricotty fruit too, then a clean, zesty finish of lemon and lime.
(2019) Rebel Pi is the brand of Canadian entrepreneur and ex-The Apprentice candidate, Jackie Fast, the wine made for her in the Okanagan Valley by Pentâge winery. It is 100% Roussanne, harvested whilst frozen, with reputedly 1/10th of the yield of super-concentrated juice that such a vineyard would normally give. It has a tinge of gold to the colour, and a warm, yellow plum and apricot aroma, a hint of honey and marmalade, some floral highlights too. In the mouth it is super-sweet for me, probably as sweet as most Vidal or Riesling counterparts, but the Roussanne does give a little more weight and texture perhaps, the fruit luscious and exotic, the intense sweetness just about balanced by the lime-clean acidity, so that this does freshen up in the finish, despite the 233g/l of sugar, glycerine and honey richness. Will stand up to the sweetest desserts, maybe tarte tatin being the most obvious foil. Price is for a half bottle.
(2019) An extraordinary Vino de Tavola, Ribolla harvested on Sunday 23rd November 2008, Thursday 12th November 2009 and Friday 15th November 2010, all Botrytis grapes. Not destemmed or crushed, aged in old barriques. Burnished tawny gold, laden with honey and mocha, apricot and touches of bergamot and clove. Such lovely warmth and spice about this, but an intense fruitiness too. Gorgeous slippery texture and intense sweetness, with a cherry tang to the acidity, and that salty note adding lovely freshness along with the definition of the acidity. 126g/l of sugar and only 1200 bottles made which, a few Italian merchants are still offering at around €400 per bottle (use wine-searcher link).
(2019) Selected parcels of Ortega were harvested late to give 150g/l residual sugar, and treated like an ice-wine with the must chilled to -8ºC before pressing and fermentation and ageing in barrel for 6 months. This has no botrytis, but instead a bright orange and lemon sherbet nose, immediately reminiscent of a Canadian icewine, but less rich and unctuous. That freshness and zip counterbalances the sugar very nicely in the mouth, with pear juice and peach flavours, a touch of honey, and a cleansing lemon zest acidity. For lighter desserts, and though rather expensive for the half-bottle, a lovely wine.
(2018) From typical grapes of the Pacherenc appellation, 50% Gros Manseng plus Petit Manseng, Courbu and Arrufiac, this is a light, fragrant dessert wine, not too sweet, but honeyed and quite exotic with papaya and mango aromas, the palate quite creamy and full-textured, clean limey flavours and a good balance of acidity into the finish. For the lightest, least sweet desserts, foie-gras or more subtle blue cheeses. Price for a 50cl bottle.
(2018) A delightful and classic Sauternes, made for C&B by Château Giraud, a blue-blooded estate of the Sauternes aristocracy. A blend of Semillon with Sauvignon Blanc, it has the rich glycerine and honey aromatics of gentle Noble Rot, a touch of curry leaf and raisin, but plenty of apricotty fruit. Not too heavy on the palate, the juiciness of citrus cuts the richer, sweeter flavours and texture, to give this lovely presence, and clean, fresh finish. Price is for a 37.5cl half bottle. Watch the video for more information.
(2018) Introduced by Château Suduiraut a few vintages ago, 'Lions' is not so much a second wine, as a contemporary alternative to the slightly richer, age-worthy traditional Sauternes. Still made from Suduiraut's own immaculate vineyards of botrytis-affected Semillon (with a touch of Sauvignon Blanc), the glowing golden colour leads on to a glorious nose, soaring from the glass with ripe apricot, honey and glycerine, a marmalade richness following through to the palate, a little biscuity rounding of vanilla from its time in oak, then lemon rind, zesty acidity to cut through the rich texture. It does have freshness and directness, making it very appealing now, but I'd wager there's cellaring potential too. Price quoted for a half bottle. Watch the video for food-matching ideas and more information.
(2018) From the organic vineyards of Count Degenfeld, this is 'Szamorodni'. That means it was vinified from bunches containing a good proportion of Botrytis-affected grapes, unlike Tokaji Aszú, which is made only from hand-picked Botrytised grapes. Sweet and clean, with plenty of honey and light tobacco notes, dried apricot and zesty lemon. Lightly silky rather than viscous on the palate, it has a fine delicate but definite sweetness, a touch of chamomile tea, lovely fruit and excellent acidity. It's reminiscent of a later harvest New World Riesling in some ways, but delightful and all set for lighter, fruity desserts or blue cheeses. Good value at the Wine Tour price (for 50cl).
(2018) At 31 years old this is in marvellous condition and magical form. Cellared by me for the past 20 years or so, the colour is a bright, rich gold, and the nose is laden with botrytis notes of honey and glycerine, barley sugar and tea. There's a minty echo of oak and ripeness, but it is gloriously pure. In the mouth it is weighty without being sticky, with those lovely glycerine tones to the peachy, apricot and then lemony fruit, the sweetness perfectly balanced against the fresh, long, dry acidity that elongates the finish. What a lovely wine. Available as listed below at time of writing.
(2017) An exceptionally fine Tokaji this, last tasted by me at the winery back in 2011, and now absolutely singing with clear notes of honey, glycerine, tea and bergamot, deep notes of coffee and high notes of white flowers. In the mouth luscious and sweet, the tang of Seville orange marmalade, but a shimmering, silky acidity and energy gives wonderful balance as it flows across the tongue. An absolute treat now, but will age for decades. Price is for 50cl. For more information and food matching ideas, please watch the video.