If you want to taste a red that expresses the quintessence of high-altitude Gualtallary in the Uco Valley, look no further than this stunning assemblage of Cabernet Franc with 35% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from one of the best-ever vintages in Argentina. Aged in deftly handled 50% new wood, it’s wonderfully fresh and well-balanced, with thyme and wet stone aromas, racy acidity and tangy red plum and black cherry fruit.
Grown on basalt soils identified as ideal by the French terroir consultant, Claude Bourguignon, for Mediterranean grapes, this is a stunning blend of mostly Mourvèdre with Grenache, Carignan and Syrah. Liquorice, damson, tapenade and blackberry flavours are embellished by bright acidity, savoury, grippy tannins and just a hint of oak.
So appealing now that you are almost tempted to pull the cork, but give this superlative Barolo some time. Old vines, marl soils, a top vintage and brilliant winemaking all combine beautifully here. Elegant, minerally and poised, this has a red fruits sweetness that is almost reminiscent of Pinot Noir, but with a firmer backbone of acidity and tannin. Fine, silky and very long.
Even chalkier and fresher than the Baudana bottling under the same label, this has more perfume, elegance and finesse, with a tautness and minerality that are thrilling to taste. Essence of Serralunga, with fine, silky tannins, good structure and a sweet, complex finish that goes on and on and on. Beautiful Barolo.
What an incredible bottle of wine. Sybille Kuntz is better known for her dry than sweet styles, but this shows that she’s equally adept at both. This comes from mostly ungrafted vineyards planted in the 1920s in Niederberg-Helden. It’s an exotic wine all right, but the tropical fruit flavours of pineapple and mango are tempered by acidity and extract. A Riesling that lingers tantalisingly on the palate.
If you’re a fan of vintage dated Tawnies (aka Colheita Ports), they don’t come much better than this. It’s endearlingly, palate-stimulatingly spicy, with real intensity and focus, an impression of heat and figgy intensity, a faint undertone of spirit and a finish that lingers on the palate for minutes. The wine is drier than many examples, with the structure that is the hallmark of Noval’s wood-aged Ports.
Bottled in 2008 (which means it spent more than 30 years in cask), this is the sort of wine that everyone should drink once in their life. It has the classic green tinge of mature Madeira, as well as the marked acidity of the best examples. Savoury, complex and fine, this has a classic cheesy undertone, with mature, smoky, incense-like aromas and flavours. Yes, it’s expensive, but at 25% off, now is the time to buy it. Or offer it as a Christmas present.
Bertrand Ambroise makes some of the best value Burgundies on the market, from his basic wines right up to his Grands Crus. They are characterised by restrained use of oak, subtle, understated fruit flavours and considerable finesse. This is light, perfumed and refreshing, but with complex wild starwberry and forest floor notes, tangy acidity, great poise and a fine, tapering finish.
Yves Confuron’s wines are very distinctive, partly because of his use of stems but also because of his way of expressing his vineyards. Mid garnet/pink, with a stemmy, but highly aromatic nose. Quite traditional in style, with a firm tanninc backbone giving structure to the sweetness of the fruit. Fresh acidity, finely poised.
Mid ruby/pink. Very youthful, with just a hint of (acceptable) reduction. Scented, sexy, plush fruit on the palate with fine-grained tannins and minerally, lip-smacking acidity. Perfumed, complex and mouthwatering, with a long, tapering finish. An impressive wine that will improve further in bottle.
To me, this was one of the wines of the tasting: a pale, scented, delicately crafted Clos de Vougeot that deserves a slot in any Burgundy lover’s cellar. Aromatic and fine, with well integrated oak, wild berry fruit, sappy acidity and superb texture and balance. Who says the 2009s aren’t well balanced?
An impressive wine from one of the star names in Vosne, very much on the up at the moment. Mid garnet with some purple notes. Big, rich, bold and oaky, but backed up witt lots of dense fruit, ostensibly from low-yielding vines. Spice, plum and balckberry on the palate, some stems and a long, silky, harmonious finish. Lovely wine.