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    Tasting: Wine
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    Chris Wilson: How should physical wine tastings be run post-Covid?

    Personal spittoons and personal sommeliers… it’s the return of physical wine tastings. Fifteen months on from attending a physical wine tasting, journalist and winemaker Chris Wilson headed to London for not one but two physical tastings – the Georgian wine trade tasting and the Wines From Spain annual tasting. Both events were run on entirely different models –a walkaround style close to ‘old school’ wine tastings and a sit-down style where personal sommeliers serve you. So what were the key benefits and disadvantages of both models?

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    Tasting: Wine
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    Geoffrey Dean visits six leading Portuguese winemakers

    Managing to evade the rigours of Lockdown, quarantine and self-isolation, Geoffrey Dean travelled to the Wines of Portugal Challenge in Santarem. His job was to take part as a judge but he also managed to get out and about and get a snapshot of contemporary Portuguese winemaking through the eyes of six very different winemakers – from the small and unrepresented in the UK, right through to the second largest producer in Portugal. On top of getting an idea of what the challenges are facing the winemakers here, Dean also got a chance to try many wines and recommends the ones that stood out on the day.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Wines From Spain Annual Tasting

    Justin Keay: highlights of the 2021 Wines From Spain Annual Tasting

    After 18 months of Zoom tastings and mini samples, this July’s generic Wines of Spain tasting was an opportunity to experience the real live thing, albeit through Covid-safe protocol. Here Justin Keay found further proof that with closer attention to soil, climate, altitude and the nuances of individual grape varieties Spain is truly becoming one of the world’s most interesting producer nations. The tasting covered all of the country’s regions providing an exciting opportunity to taste lesser-known wines from increasingly-improving regions of Ribeiro and Txakoli. Afterwards Keay had an audience with Paula Fandino from Mar de Frades.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Lugana

    How Burgundy is aped by Lugana Riservas and Bardolino reds

    Wine expert LM Archer discovers Lugana Riserva white wines and Bardolino reds from Northern Italy from producers Le Morette, Le Fraghe, Rizzardi, Zenato, and Ca’ Lojera and argues that they are a match for red and white Burgundy at a fraction of the price. The Consorzio di Tutela Chiaretto e Bardolino has been busy of late, putting its weight behind a charm offensive to promote this ancient wine region at the southern tip of Lake Garda, showcasing its two-year aged white Riservas and reintroducing three historic sub-zones developed during the 19th century. These include the northern foothills of Montebaldo, the morainic, more Mediterranean, lakeside hills of La Rocca, and – warmer still – the, southern, gravelly hills of Sommacampagna.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Clos des Mouches

    Why the Clos des Mouches is still Joseph Drouhin’s beating heart

    Every wine producer has a vineyard or site that gives that little bit more and works that little bit harder – with the wines produced from it being synonymous with the name of the estate. For the great Burgundy producer Joseph Drouhin that place is the Clos des Mouches, a 14 hectare vineyard acquired 100 years ago by Maurice Drouhin, that sits between Corton Charlemagne, Pommard and Puligny Montrachet. The red and white Premier Cru wines that come from this rare monopole are legendary in Burgundy, but that wasn’t always the case. In the 1980s the family realised the soil was dying and something had to be done quick to bring it back to life.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Sartarelli

    ‘In Verdicchio Veritas’: Douglas Blyde in praise for the wines of Sartarelli

    The fine wine world is increasingly taking stock of the great Italian white wines that are on offer, as their quality improves. One case in point is Verdicchio which often used to be just about the Anfora bottle and nothing else – this was a white wine that punters used to chill with ice cubes. One of Italy’s leading Verdicchio producers, Sartarelli, showed its latest vintages to wine consultant Douglas Blyde, who explains the background to the wines and why this Marches-based producer is consistently picking up the major gongs at the wine competitions.

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    Tasting: Wine
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    David Kermode: Diverse Grower Champagnes of Les Riceys

    There is a real underdog quality to the Champagne growers of Les Riceys. Once the preferred tipple of Louis XIV, the wines in this Eastern French commune are now overshadowed by the great Champagne Houses of the North – which only serves to make them more diverse, idiosyncratic and with a point to prove. David Kermode introduces us to five producers of these Grower Champagnes: Champagne Batisse-Lancelot, Pascal Manchin, Péhu-Guiardel, Arnaud Tabourin and Vincent Philpaux, who have collectively formed an Alliance to better promote their wines to the outside world.

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    Tasting: Wine
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    How Wine Australia helped make Riesling flavour of the month

    Wine Australia has used its Connect website to focus on Riesling throughout the month of July. Our contributing editor, chef and New World wine specialist, Roger Jones, tastes his way through six top Clare Valley Rieslings, with food-pairing suggestions for each. He also explains the thinking behind a new series of videos made for Wine Australia that showcases the versatility of Australian Riesling, especially when it comes to matching them with food.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Roussillon

    Justin Keay: why Roussillon wines deserve more prominence

    The Roussillon region of South West France, is a vinous treasure trove with many exciting wines to discover, argues Justin Keay. As a region it was only officially uncoupled from the Languedoc five years ago, and its identity as a producer of quality table wine has only really taken place in the past 20 years. But its roots as North Catalonia, with its rich historical and cultural past run much deeper. So too do the wide variety of winemaking styles, benefitting as they do from a patchwork of micro-terroirs and a multitude of different soil types. At a press and trade tasting, Keay explores the wines of 12 different producers and recommends which wines need to be on your radar.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Hors Catégorie

    Peter Dean on Hors Catégorie cycling & winemaking

    With the Tour de France riders passing over the Hors Catégorie climb of Mount Ventoux this week, our drinks editor and cycling nut Peter Dean looks at the psychology of why you would willingly cycle up a mountain that is ‘beyond category’ and why Castelnau has chosen this as the concept for its top Champagne. C.M. 1993 – as it is called – is the third in an adventurous series of prestige cuvées that is inspired by cycling to the highest level, and allowing the winemaker to break all the rules.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Accolade Fine Wines

    Roger Jones on Accolade’s new prestige wine portfolio

    The flagship wines from House of Arras, Houghton, Grant Burge, St Hallett and Hardys made up the tantalising selection of prestige wines from Accolade Fine Wines, that were showcased at its second Pre-Release Introduction tasting. Part of Accolade’s Global Vintage Release Programme for 2021, the tasting allows key buyers and selected press to assess and confirm their allocation ahead of the release of the wines later in the year. Roger Jones, our retired Michelin Star Chef and Aussie wine lover tastes through the full portfolio.

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    Tasting: Wine
    lanchester trinchero napa cellars

    California’s Somm Session with Trinchero & Napa Cellars

    It’s not just the excuse to transport yourself to the iconic world of Californian wine that has made the California Wine Institute Somm Sessions such a success over the long months of lockdowns, it has been the consistent high quality of the wines, winemakers, producers and sommeliers involved in the events. The recent Trinchero Family Estates tasting, in association with Lanchester Wines, was a case in point. The chance, as David Kermode explains, to see just how far Californian wines have come in recent years and why sommeliers are increasingly turning to them as ideal gastronomic wines.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Tastin' France French Rosé & French Organic

    The pick of the wines from ‘Tastin’ France: Rosé & Organic’

    Picking top 10 wine lists is never an easy task, especially when there are 146 wines to taste from 25 producers at an event covering Provence, Champagne, Beaujolais, Languedoc, Rhône and the South West. But that was the brief for Justin Keay who went to discover new Organic wines from France and new Rosés at ‘Tastin’ France French Rosé & French Organic’ – the latest tasting organised by Business France, an organisation that showcases solid, often family-based wine producers with a good following at home but lacking name recognition abroad and wanting to grow their market. There were many new grape varieties that even Keay hadn’t tried before, unexpected blends and cuvées that were delightful ‘curve balls’.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Taylor’s 1896 Single Harvest Port

    Peter Dean on tasting Taylor’s 1896 Single Harvest Port

    125 years after it was made, Taylor’s has released a 1896 Single Harvest Port, the third in a thrilling series of very old tawny ports from the Nineteenth century. 1896 was one of the greatest-ever vintages, and has historical significance for Taylor’s on a number of fronts. But how does the company prepare such an old port and, most importantly, what does it taste like? Peter Dean was one of the lucky few to receive a vial of this priceless liquid and has an audience with Taylor’s managing director Adrian Bridge and its head winemaker David Guimaraens to explain the thinking behind its release. Caution! this feature may contain a few superlatives…

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    Tasting: Wine
    Tenuta Sette Cieli

    Tenuta Sette Cieli: bringing a new coolness to Super Tuscans

    Italian fine wine may be at the top of the investment pyramid right now, but have consumers and critics started to tire of the Super Tuscans? Justin Keay seems to think so, arguing that wine drinkers are moving away from varieties and styles that are concentrated and oaky. Just as he was putting that theory to bed along comes the wines of Tenuta Sette Cieli, made by the talented winemaker Elena Pozzolini, that illustrates how the Super Tuscans can bring a new freshness to their wines – and a sense of cool – even when climate change is making this increasingly difficult.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Daou

    How Daniel Daou has discovered the European soul of Paso Robles

    With a life story that runs like a Netflix box set, Daniel Daou has finally found his true vocation – making the Bordeaux-style wines that his Lebanese father treasured so much… in the Californian region of Paso Robles. Just don’t ask him whether the area is too hot or not – he prides himself on having found ‘European’ soil with altitude, where the nearby Pacific breezes help to make the DAOU wines some of the most sought-after in the Golden State. To celebrate the release of the new crown jewel of the estate, Soul of a Lion 2018, Daniel Daou hosted a real life mini-vertical tasting of the wine as well as a horizontal tasting of portfolio highlights. David Kermode was one of the lucky ones at the event.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Chile

    Carmen: a standout in Tim Atkin’s top 16 wines from Chile

    Only one of Tim Atkin MW’s top 16 wines from Chile was a Cabernet Sauvignon this year – and even then only 6% of the wine was made up of the variety. Given that a third of the country’s vineyards are planted with Cab Sauv this was some going, even by adventurous Atkin’s standards. Instead, for the top 16 wines that he had chosen for his annual showcase, there were three single varietals you wouldn’t normally associate with Chile – Cinsault, Petit Verdot and Grenache – plus plenty that you would. For Geoffrey Dean it was the three red single varietals that really stood out, especially the Cinsault made by half-British winemaker Emily Faulconer in the Itata Valley.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Clos du Temple

    Clos du Temple: the world’s priciest rosé’s official launch

    Gérard Bertand’s Clos du Temple has asked questions of the fine wine world ever since it was launched two years ago. The wine is a barrel-aged rosé (from a blend of grapes) from the South of France that costs over £190 a bottle. Quite apart from whether this specific wine is worth the price, Clos du Temple has put the spotlight on rosé as a wine category in its entirety, and asked whether rosé can ever be considered as a serious, fine wine in the same category, say, as the fine white wines of Burgundy? To launch the new 2020 vintage, only the third, Gérard Bertrand invited a select few to taste all three vintages of the wine in the newly-built Clos du Temple winery. It seemed only fitting that Elizabeth Gabay MW, one of the world’s leading experts on rosé should cover the event for The Buyer.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Provence rosé Long Read

    Whole Lotta Rosé: Peter Dean’s pick of Provence rosé 2020

    Provence fared better than any other French wine region in 2020, exports-wise. In the UK, especially, we can’t get enough of the pink stuff with exports of Provence rosé shooting up 50% last year. As summer begins and lockdown begins to end, so the new 2020 vintage of Provence rosé is landing on these shores. A tricky year for growers, the wines are pretty and elegant without the robustness of the 2019s. But the consistency and the quality are both there. With wines from all three of the region’s key appellations featured, Peter Dean picks his ‘flirty dozen’ with full tasting notes and details.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Red Bandol

    How Mourvèdre comes of age in new-style red Bandol wines

    It used to be that red Bandol wines were like Bordeaux and Barolo – magnificent as they get older but big and tannic in youth. The tannin management with these wine has changed, however, with more exact harvesting dates, better understanding of extraction and working with wood for the obligatory 18 months in barrel. To see how the style has changed and to also explore how and when secondary flavours develop, Elizabeth Gabay MW tastes a range of red Bandol from the current vintage on the market, 2018, back to 2011 – recommending which wines should be on our buying radar.

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    Instataste

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    • A new ‘affordable’ cuvée from controversial winemaker Loic Pasquet whose mission since 2007 has been to “recreate the taste of pre-phyloxerra Bordeaux” by using traditional, un-grafted, virtually extinct varieties like Tarnay, Petit Vidure, Castets and St-Macaire using ancient techniques such as only using a mule with a 150 year-old plough in the vineyards. To date Pasquet’s wines come from a one hectare plot, but this new wine comes from a four hectare vineyard that is also planted with 20,000 low-yielding vines per hectare, to recreate Bordeaux at the time of the 1855 classification. Because he is using these varieties, ironically the wine has to be called Vin de France, rather than Bordeaux, even though his wine is arguably more traditionally Bordeaux. Tasting the Denarius 2018 (the Latin name for a Roman silver coin), was like tasting a familiar wine that was also unfamiliar which is the point I suppose. It
    • From West-facing 69 year old vines grown 300m up in the town of Alba, this is a juicy, accessible Barbera, made to be drunk young and vinified without the use of wood in order to deliver a clean, pure expression. It’s on the red fruit side of the spectrum while others from this producer are more black-fruity and earthy. Cherry red to look at with red cherry also on the nose (which is vibrant and fruity), notes of red plum and a hint of nutmeg and a subtle wild mint lift on the tail; the palate is light to medium bodied, textured, with fine, elegant tannins and full of flavour – small red cherries, Morello cherry sourness, redcurrants. The finish is tight, focused and makes you pour that second glass. I was really impressed with this, especially given the price is around £17 RRP
    • 100% Pecorino from the Marche region of Central Italy, the same place where the cheese comes from, and that’s where any similarity ends. This producer has been making wines for 90 years and is known for making clean, expressive wines of both the terroir and grape variety. Pecorino is a thick-skinned, early ripening, acidic grape that produces good value Italian whites that are crisp, fruity and food-friendly. To look at this 2020 is very pale straw, the nose offers flowering wild fennel, orchard fruit with hints of tropical fruits – banana and pineapple; the palate is light to medium bodied with a crisp, mineral energy to the wine, flavours are quite sour – lemon flesh, green apple, touch of grapefruit – but pleasantly so and, with the acidity calls out for a seafood pasta, grilled fish or cheese. You can pick this up for about £12-3 retail which is great
    • Fascinating to try this dry Pacherenc, from this top South West France producer, with so many years on the clock which, once again, goes to show the often-overlooked potential of this grape in a range of styles/ sweetness levels. To look at, the wine is Manzanilla orangey gold; there is a touch of solera within the intense, complex bouquet in which you also find oranges in syrup, orange blossom, walnut shells, baklava, caramel. The palate is medium bodied and dry-as-you-like, quite tannic and structured with a fascinating melange of tertiary flavours, intense, aged citrus, grapefruit peel, saline, toasted almonds. A real ‘vin de meditation’ in its old age – slowly sipped and enjoyed over a long period of time.
    • Côte de Beaune rouge 2018. Pale ruby, purple edging, transparent; the nose is complex involving red fruit (strawberries), with herbaceous and spicy elements (cardammon/clove/ pepper), and an earthy sub-text, wisp of smoke, red liquorice. On the palate the wine is elegant, medium weight, dry with a crisp line of acidity. Reasonably taut but with plenty of fruit flavours. Affordable way into the producer’s portfolio - and also including a % of fruit declassified from the Clos Des Mouches.
    • If you missed last week’s International Shiraz Day you can still play catch-up. This wine is a good example of Yalumba’s expertise in the Barossa and also great value with an RRP around the £16 mark. Medium ruby to look at, semi-translucent; attractively fruity nose of ripe red plums, cherries and redcurrants, balanced by savoury notes of cedar; the palate is medium bodied with black and red fruit, dark chocolate and spice with a vibrant core of rhubarb acidity. The alcohol is high at 14.5% but the ripe fruit, tannin structure and acidity carries it well. It comes across crisp and well balanced.
    • Sténopé 2011 the latest top vintage from Champagne Devaux collaborating with the Rhône’s Michel Chapoutier. Shiny medium to deep gold; bold, complex and savoury nose with toasted hazelnuts, iodine, dried apricots, milk chocolate, toasted pain de miel, vanilla, an earthy quality. The attack is well balanced – bright, clean and fresh but not aggressive – flavours abound of fresh pear, Braeburn apple, lemon zest, yellow grapefruit, praline; the wine is crisp, clean and finely textured with a fascinating long finish with a touch of aspirin, lemon and orange zest, saline on the close. Although the wine is drinking very well now I would leave it for at least another year, as I would any other top end, oak-fermented Champagne – just to let the wood develop more secondary characters. Although the house does not reveal the exact make-up of the Pinot Noir/ Chardonnay blend, it is virtually all non-malolactic fermented
    • Unusual but fascinating Greek blend that has been aged underwater in the Mediterranean. Foivos is a biodynamic Greek producer on the island of Kefalonia that specialises in the rescue and development of indigenous grape varieties, two of which Tsaousi and Vostilidi make up 30% of this 4-grape blend completed by Muscat and Moscatel. Medium shiny gold; intense, complex and pretty unique nose – at first fruity with the Muscat giving off honeyed pear and tropical fruit, then there is a mineral/ chemical element that’s like ioidine, then an earthy component, like peat, slightly smoky; the palate is medium, rounded, full-flavoured, fresh and dry, with pear, melon and a reductive quality that works well with the sweet aromas of the Muscat and Moscatel. Completely original and really fascinating.
    • The perfect wine for a hot summer’s night. A trip to Provence to discover the first Domaine wine from  @maisonmirabeau  La Reserve the culmination of the dream of Stephen and Jeany Cronk to make their own wine from their own estate in Provence. You can read how it all came about on www.The-Buyer.net. Part two on how  #Mirabeau  became a lifestyle brand out later this week. A wonderfully refreshing, multi layered, textured serious rose that is the first of what will no doubt be the Cronks signature wines for years to come.  #provence   #rose   #wine   #winebrands 
    • What a treat to try the 2003 which is the first ever Altair produced which was made from very young vines – just 15 months ageing in 100% new 225-litre French barrels. The cepage is totally different to how it is today being 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Carmenère, 6% Merlot, 4% Syrah and 2% Cabernet Franc. The wine shows the ageing potential of Altair - and what wonderful evolution it is. The colour is a sumptuous ox blood with medium tawny edging, almost transparent; the nose is full of gorgeously evolved Cabernet Sauvignon fruit with cigar box and leather chair etc; the palate is still remarkably fresh and structured, it shows its wood, mainly in the texture but also in a slight resinous grip on the tail end. But this is a treat and, although the framework is still there to carry it on for at least another decade, this
    • Excellent find from a new garagista working on the Greek island of Ios. Alex and Angelos Delis worked with Haridimos Hatzidakis on neighbouring Santorini and are working in a hands-off approach to the winemaking here on mainly schist-based soils. It’s a limited production of Monemvasia (1320 bottles) but well worth looking out. To look at, the wine is platinum with a reddish hue; the aromatics are floral, ripe and ‘sweet’ (orange blossom with Mediterranean herbs). The palate is medium, intensely mineral, nicely balanced with ripe, juicy fruit (tangerine, grapefruit pith) and an acidic core, the finish is slightly sour, with a refreshing saline tinge, there’s a good bit of tannin too. Real nice 13% abv
    • This is the outstanding second white wine of the renowned Super Tuscan estate Ornellaia. A blend of 78% Sauvignon Blanc, 16% Vermentino and 6% Viognier which has been blended and aged in a mixture of barrel, steel and concrete eggs. It is fragrant, finessed, with a delicious balance between crisp and refreshing and, in this vintage which was rather on the late side, powerful and structured. It’s a ‘stick or twist’ wine – perfect for drinking now or laying down. Medium straw-yellow colour with green highlights; intensely perfumed bouquet of Sicilian lemon peel, white flowers, mowed lawn, hints of white peach, gooseberries and exotic fruits, sea air; medium-to full bodied, oleaginous mouthfeel, intense citrus, on the greener end of the spectrum – lime, grapefruit pith – acidity lends real structure and an impressive presence in the mouth, but the weight and the concentration of the fruit gives it delightful balance.
    • This magnificent wine is the personal project of renowned Loire-born winemaker Bertrand Sourdais (Domaine de Pallus) who put Dominio de Atauta on the map with the legendary 2002 Llanos del Almendro. This is 92% Tinto Fino with 8% of the white grape Albillo added into the mix. The wine comes from old, ungrafted, pre-phylloxera vines sited on 25 plots in the Eastern part of the Ribera del Duero, in the village of Atauta. 30% of the fruit is foot-trodden whole bunch, fermented in open top large format wood 1500l – 3000l and then matured for 9 months in 600l Burgundy barrels (55% new). Medium purple; alluring and complex nose – strawberry, plum, earthier, leather undercurrent, cloves, pepper, eucalyptus; medium-heavy weight on the palate, this is concentrated and intense yet with fresh acidity, framed by ripe, micro-fine, firm tannins; there is a chalky texture, long length and persistence, a very mineral
    • This is not yet available in the UK which is a shame as it’s a nice shift from straightforward Picpoul de Pinet – having been left on fine lees after an initial racking, so that once fermentation has finished there is no more racking required and everything goes in the bottle, clean as a whistle. The result is a Picpoul with more roundness, depth, weight on the palate and richer aromatics. You find honeysuckle and a dusting of white pepper on nose; the palate is faintly luxurious, sweet lemon, a hint of yellow stone fruit, saline and a nice grapefruit-pith bitterness to the finish.
    • First cuvée of this Provencal rosé from the influential and highly popular Cronk family – the distinction being that this is the first of their wines to be made with fruit from their own estate’s vineyards. Blush pink with an orange hue; the aromas conjure up a market in Provence with ripe white peaches, baskets of white, wild flowers, mi cuit apricots and a waft of salty air from the Med. The palate has fine-grained textured, thanks to partial ageing in oak, with layered flavours of citrus – orange flesh, lime zest, pink grapefruit pith, mandarin juice. This wine is fresh, juicy, but nicely balanced between ripe fruit and an attractive sour note on the finish. A rosé for all seasons, and multiple uses - from afternoons by the pool through to gastronomic potential. The packaging is very cool from the old style bottle through to the embossed parchment paper
    • More of the estate fruit was used in the 2018 vintage with 11% of Cabernet Franc added to bring finesse and freshness to the final blend. The barrel-toast in the traditional 225-l barrels has been reduced and also a shorter elevage in barrel from 27 to 22 months. Tasting: With a just a little bit more heft on the nose and palate than the Stellenbosch wine, but still displaying that smart touch on the approach to the tannin, balance and overall freshness. Blackcurrant and sweet blackberry fruit predominate. More instantly approachable than the Stellenbosch wine, with a richer, deeper, more black fruit profile.
    • The 2016 vintage of the Trentino-based winery’s grand vin has been held back in bottle for longer which seems to be a smart move as the results are spectacular. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, and Merlot has always been one of a kind but rarely does a new vintage manage to balance structure and elegance in such a refined way. Deep ruby red; the aromatics are immediately seductive and powerful – hugely complex – in fact aromas to die for; the wine opens with wild blackberry, crème de mure, cassis, then you find balsamic, aged wood, earth, a lick of boot polish, but with the purity of the fruit always shining through. Tasted blind you would put this firmly on the Left Bank. To taste, the wine is succulent, ripe and lively, beautifully constructed – a medium weight palate, surprisingly light on its feet, with also just 12.5-13% abv
    • While Amarone in lesser hands can be heavy and flabby, this style of Amarone is lighter and much more fresh. Sourced from 10 different marl (‘marne’) vineyards from a 180-degree range of exposures – South-West to South-East – it is a blend of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and four other varieties (35/35/20/10%). Tedeschi is keen to point out that Amarone is a ‘terroir’ wine just as much as a ‘technique’ wine – having four months drying before a soft pressing and slow alcoholic fermentation/ maceration of 40-60 days, before ageing in Slavonian oak for 30 months, and then aged in bottle for a further six months. To look at the wine is semi-opaque, deep ruby red; the nose is complex with a range of aromas including fresh and dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, currants), vanilla pod, baking spices; on the palate the wine is luxurious, full, velvety smooth, notes of raisins and
    • Such an interesting winery in the Minervois doing extraordinary things with forgotten grape varieties like this blended white using Araignan Blanc, Riveirenc Gris, Riveirenc Blanc and Grenache Gris. From the first aromas to the end of the glass, it has real Wow factor and is wildly original. To look at, the wine is medium to deep shiny gold; the nose has notes of ripe orchard fruit, ripe pear, russet windfalls, wild honey, truffles. It is fresh and surprisingly light on the palate, with tangerine zest, truffles, a mineral quality too and quite refreshing. With this amount of bottle age and the colour you are expecting a wine with weight and an oily character (think old school Rhône) that doesn’t materialise. This is complex, pure and light and very moreish.
    • Lovely touch of tropical fruits in this 100% Chardonnay from the ripe 2018 vintage. The fruit is grown on South West facing clay-limestone soils and you can really feel the warmth of the sun here, ripe but not overripe fruit with the limestone giving a nice dry bite to the back palate. Deep straw-gold in colour; the nose is picking up ripe pear, honeysuckle, barley sugar; the palate has good volume – medium-weight – the flavours well balanced between ripe orchard fruit and citrus, with little hits of toasted nuts, papaya maybe. Lots of personality – very expressive and a wine I can imagine those lovers of old-style Aussie Chardonnay liking (without the over-use of oak), given its ripeness. Well balanced though. Mâcon-La-Roche-Vineuse incidentally is a regional appellation plus a geographic denomination – ie. a step up in quality and concentration than a straight Mâcon wine.