(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.
(2017) A wine I always enjoy, and this 2016 vintage is a good one, 175g/l of residual sugar putting it fully in the dessert wine category. Made from late-harvested grapes and made in steel tanks, its a pristine style, though laden with honey, glycerine and nectarine fruit. On the palate it has richness of texture without being 'sticky', and real intensity: there's keen acidity at the core to ensure that, put the lush tropical and very ripe pear fruit flows towards the finish impressively. Price for a half bottle. For more information, please watch the video.
(2017) I'm a fan of the wines of Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh, the appellation of Southwest France that covers exactly the same footprint as Madiran, but whilst Madiran is for red wines, Pacherenc is for whites, many of which are dessert wines like this one. From the super-co-op that dominates the neighbouring area of Saint-Mont, the Producteurs Plaimont, it is made from late-harvested Gros Manseng grapes. It has honey and a touch of leaf tea and tobacco on the nose, a suggestion of apricot or yellow plum too. Sweet on the palate for sure, but not heavy, those stone fruit flavours persist, touches of honey and barely sugar, but a lovely tangy marmalade orange acidity to balance makes it a banker for blue cheeses, fruity desserts or foie gras. Price is for 50cl.
(2017) A white wine, but a burnished tawny colour after three weeks of sun drying on mats. Very low yields through that concentration. Skins are included in part of ferment, and it could potentially reach 17 abv, but part of must is fermented separately at lower abv. Four months in American oak. Lovely raisin and orange aromas, luscious with walnut and spice, clove-studded Seville orange. So easy to drink, unfortified, with a cherry freshness and red fruit brightness, but so much sweet syrup richness and sweetness, but retains that freshness. 350g/l sugar.
(2017) Also from dried grapes and unfortified, but from the ancient solera started in 1918. More oxidised and chocolaty, spicy with some burnt toast, some marmalade, but dark, with more bittersweet promise. There's a dustiness and earthy character, that fine spice and raciness. Price is also for a half bottle.