Ventoux, Delas Frères, Rhône Valley 2018 £10.50
A Grenache/Syrah blend, wonderful concentration of dark fruits and crisp minerality, well-balanced with fine structure. As Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate wrote (of the inferior 2017), “it’s a screaming bargain!...90 points” We could not agree more.
'Cuvee Louise', Corbieres, Caves de Castelmaure, Languedoc 2019 £11.95
A fresh blend of Carignan and Grenache, from the small, high quality Caves de Castelmaure. Grapes are hand-picked before under-going malolactic fermentation to extract vibrant fruit flavours and soft tannins.
Château Durand-Laplagne, Puisseguin St.-Emilion, Bordeaux 2016 £14.50
"...a crisp bouquet with blackcurrant, mulberry and attractive floral aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin... with plenty of fresh black fruit mixed with cedar towards the finish. Very fine potential here. …" Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Corbières 'Grande Cuvée', Caves de Castlemaure, Languedoc 2018 £14.95
The big sibling of our 'house' Corbières. Plum fruits and spice from the 50% Syrah, 50% Grenache blend. Additional oak ageing gives structure, depth and a full-bodied intensity.
Rioja Crianza, Valserrano, Bodegas de la Marquesas 2016 £14.95
"Bodegas de la Marquesa (Valserrano) is often described as a traditional producer, but its wines are not old-fashioned in the least. This smooth, floral textured Crianza combines Tempranillo with 5% Mazuelo, aged in French and American wood, and has fresh red berry fruit and notes of forest floor and fresh tobacco. 2020-24. 91 points." Tim Atkin MW, October 2019
Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Domaine P&L Borgeot, Burgundy 2018 £16.50
A benchmark bourgogne rouge from an artisan domaine based in Santenay, with lots of vibrant fruit but also with more tannic structure and earthy seriousness than one might expect at this level.
Château Sénejac, Cru Bourgeois Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux 2016 £17.50
"The 2016 Sénéjac has an attractive bouquet with floral-tinged red and black fruit—strawberry pastilles and just a touch of bay leaf, nicely defined and gaining intensity with aeration. The palate is very well balanced with fine tannin, well-judged acidity, very harmonious with assiduous use of new oak. This is a very stylish Haut-Médoc, one of the best that I have tasted in many years. This comes highly recommended. Drink 2022-2042. 91-93 points" Neal Martin, Robert.Parker.com
Saumur Champigny, Thierry Germain, Domaine Roches Neuves, Loire Valley 2019 £17.95
Beautiful leafy Cabernet Franc on the nose, wonderful intensity and notes of redcurrants…Lovely soft entry with excellent concentration; fresh, ripe fruit, crunchy tannins with a beautiful vibrancy. It’s a relatively light wine, but perfectly balanced. Serve at ‘cellar temperature’.
Fleurie Clos de la Roilette, Domaine Coudert, Beaujolais 2018 £18.50
"…the wine's tannins…are melting and it's becoming increasingly supple and charming. Displaying scents of blackberries, raspberries, violets and licorice, it's medium to full-bodied, fine-boned and nicely balanced.…92 points." Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (WK)
Karl Johner, Kaiserstuhl Pinot Noir, Bischoffingen, Baden, Germany 2016 £18.95
From vineyards growing on volcanic ash and loess soils. Careful handpicking and exact grape sorting is compulsory. The grapes undergo 4 weeks of skin contact fermentation, 100% destemmed, a malolactic fermentation follows after 6 months. The wine is aged in used oak barrels for 20 months prior to release. “I can’t believe it’s not B(urgundy)!”
2016 Château Cambon La Pelouse, Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux £19.50
"Closed right now, a good sign that this has the structure for ageing. This is a serious wine with spiced cassis and blackberry fruit, fresh acidities and plenty of tannins. Enjoyable, and an excellent example of the value and quality that can be found with the 2016 vintage. 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot. Drinking Window 2022 - 2036. 92 points." Jane Anson, Decanter Jul 2020
Château Thivin Cote de Brouilly 'Les Sept Vignes', Beaujolais 2018 £19.75
"... aromas of ripe cassis, candied violets and plums…it’s medium to full-bodied, rich and concentrated, structured around fine-grained but chewy tannins and tangy balancing acids, with considerable depth and substance at the core. … 94 points" Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (WK)
Château Capbern-Gasqueton, Cru Bourgeois Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux £22.00
"Our old friend, the stablemate of Ch Calon Ségur...Deep garnet… This really does smell classy. Very juicy but with the stony background of any St-Estèphe. Softer than most vintages but definitely ready to enjoy already. Fresh and vigorous. Quite long." Jancis Robinson
2019 Syrah 'Valine', Collines Rhodaniennes, Jean-Luc Jamet £24.00
From one of the Northern Rhône's most famous winemakers. Dark and opaque core but with bright ruby rim. Explosive aromas of black fruits of every description on the nose...blackberry, black cherry and brambles show themselves in layer after layer. There also savoury notes of olive and some spices. Despite the intensity, it is fresh on the nose and palate, with a wonderful silky texture to it. RKL
Hautes Côtes de Nuits, Domaine Hudelot-Baillet 2018 £24.00
Hudelot-Baillet is a rising star of Chambolle Musigny and their Hautes Côtes de Nuits is a wonderful introduction to a domaine of stunning premiers and grands crus. 2018 is a concentrated vintage with firm tannins, but the fruit is exceptionally forward (let it breathe for an hour before serving). Drinking now and over the next five years.
Mercurey 1er Cru 'Clos des Grands Voyens', Domaine Jeannin-Naltet 2018 £26.00
A beautiful walled vineyard siteof 5 ha owned by Jeannin-Naltet, making this a 'monopole'. Planted at a very high density, 10,000 vines per hectare. 25-30% new oak. Earthy humus aromas, with beautiful dark black fruits. The balance earthy minerality and black fruit reminds me of Clos de Vougeot! Very well-balanced, with a great length. 2021 - 2027+. RKL
Le Petit Haut Lafitte (2nd wine of Château Smith Haut Lafitte) Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux 2014 £28.00
"Graphite, dark stone fruits, smoke, iron, tar, leather and incense are some of the notes that emerge from the 2014 Le Petit Haut Lafitte. Cabernet Sauvignon takes the leading role in a gorgeous second wine that captures the essence of this great site. A real sense of gravitas informs the powerful, vertical finish. This is another gorgeous showing from the team at Smith Haut Lafitte. The blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. 90-93 points." Neal Martin, Apr 2015, www.vinous.com
Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva, La Rioja Alta 2012 £29.50
"....a prototype of polished and aged Rioja...subtle aromas of decayed leaves, sweet spices and some cherries in liqueur even, quite complex and harmonious. The palate is velvety but rich, with resolved tannins and a fine chalky mouthfeel, sleek and elegant, terribly balanced. The flavors are pure and defined, and there is an overall sense of harmony that I like very much. Brilliant Ardanza! ...94 points." Luis Gutierez, Wine Advocate
Château Les Cruzelles, Lalande de Pomerol, Bordeaux 2016 £29.50
"The 2016 Les Cruzelles is every bit as captivating from bottle as it was from barrel. Dense, pliant and inviting, the 2016 has so much to offer. Black cherry, plum, menthol, licorice, new leather and lavender all run through this super-expressive, pliant Lalande de Pomerol from Denis Durantou. The 2016 offers a striking combination of fruit intensity and structure. I loved it. Drink 2021-2031. 93 points." Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Jan 2019
Fixin, Domaine Laroze de Drouhin, Burgundy 2018 £ 29.50
Great up--front intensity on the nose, with no lack of purity too. Fine tannic structure with goodminerality, very dark fruits and soft acidity. Open, approachable and with lovely length on the palate provided by those soft tannins. Enormous enjoyment for short-term drinking, although it may well surprise in terms of ageing ability.
Château Musar, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon 2002 £ 36.00
"Deep garnet colour, maturity on the rim, autumnal berries on the nose over cedary flavours, maturity showing with a quite rich middle palate that has retained a youthful acidity to lift the finish, overall an elegant Musar that will stay that way to 2030". Steven Spurrier, September 2019
Gevrey-Chambertin 'Champerrier' Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Tortochot, Burgundy 2016 £37.50
Tortochot is a traditional domaine in the heart of Gevrey, with excellent vineyard holdings, run with great expertise by Mme Chantal Tortochot. (Tasted March 2019) Fresh cherry and red fruit aromas leap out of the glass, with dark cherry, spices and some crushed rock minerality, bound up with very fine, firm tannins. With so much fruit locked up in those tannins, this is an exciting prospect for drinking from around 2 years time, as it fleshes out and acquires real weight. Drink from 2021.
Château Angludet, Margaux, Bordeaux 2012 £37.50
"Another truly exceptional wine from the Sichel family, the 2012 d’Angludet has a deep ruby/purple color, a sweet floral, blueberry and blackcurrant-scented nose with a touch of licorice, light tannins, low acidity and a nice, fleshy mouthfeel. This is a sexy, mouth-filling and satisfying wine from both a hedonistic and intellectual vantage point. Drink this sleeper of the vintage over the next decade. 2015-2025. 90 points." Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, Apr '15
Lismore Estate Reserve Syrah, Greyton, South Africa 2018 £45.00
An exceptional wine with an exceptional story, Neal Martin's note below was written a few weeks before the winery dramatically burnt to the ground in a wildfire. Thankfully owner Samantha O'Keefe, her family and team escaped unhurt and re-building has begun. Very limited stock.
"The 2018 Estate Reserve Syrah contains 50% whole-bunch fruit and is aged in 500- and 700-liter barrels, 30% new. It has an extremely pure, slightly floral bouquet of bright blueberry and black currant fruit infused with scents of crushed iris petals and violets, almost Burgundian in style. The palate is extremely well balanced with perfectly pitched acidity and filigreed tannins. There is an unerring sense of weightlessness about this Syrah, which is one of the most precise Lismore reds I have encountered over several years of tasting. Absolutely stunning. 97 points." Neal Martin, Nov 2019, Vinous.com
Château Poujeaux, Moulis-en-Medoc, Bordeaux 2005 £ 45.00
"The 2005 Château Poujeaux has quite a pronounced undergrowth element on the nose, with blackberry, cedar and wet tobacco scents developing in the glass. The palate is rounded on the entry, a voluminous Poujeaux with fine tannin, crisp acidity and a judicious touch of white pepper and tobacco towards the finish. Great length here - probably just entering its drinking plateau now. Drink 2017 - 2032. 92 points." Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, February 2015
Château Phélan Ségur, Cru Bourgeoi, Saint-Estèphe 2006 £45.00
"...a little more oak on the nose compared to its peers, though it remains detailed with dried blood infusing the red berry fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin, saline in the mouth with moderate density, a gentle grip towards the graphite-tinged finish. Drink now and over the next 4-5 years." Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, May 2016