Taylor’s isn’t as well known for its Tawnies as some houses are – its LBVs and Vintage Ports are up there with the very best – but it should be, based on the quality of this 20-year-old release. Figgy, sweet and complex, with beautifully integrated spirit and notes of umami and orange zest. One of those Ports that you don’t want to pass to your neighbour.
August Sample Tasting07 August 2017
2007 S.C. Pannell Nebbiolo, Adelaide Hills, South Australia( £32.09, 14.5%, Liberty Wines )
The list of impressive Nebbiolo producers outside north-west Italy isn’t a long one, but Steve Pannell, who has worked in Piedmont to familiarise himself with the grape, would definitely be on it. Suitably pale in colour, with the variety’s unique combination of austerity and voluptuousness, firm tannins and sweet, savoury autumnal fruit, this wouldn’t look out of place in a line up of Barolos.
2012 S.C. Pannell Grenache, McLaren Vale, South Australia( £31.99, 14%, Liberty Wines )
Steve Pannell was making great Grenache in McLaren Vale before the variety began to enjoy its modern renaissance as the so-called “Pinot of the south”. This combines plum and raspberry fruit sweetness with a backbone of tannin and refreshing acidity, supporting the concentration of the old vine fruit. The oaking is almost imperceptible here.
2015 Sybille Kuntz Riesling Spätlese Trocken, Mosel( TBC, 12.5%, www.sybillekuntz.de )
Delicious, mouth-watering dry Riesling from one of my favourite Mosel producers. The extra palate weight and the warmth of the vintage are a perfect foil for the mienralyy, cirtrus-edged acidity here. Pear and apple, with a hint of spice and a stony, bone dry finish.
2015 Sybille Kuntz Riesling Qualitätswein, Mosel( TBC, 12%, www.sybillekuntz.de )
This is only the “entry point” Riesling in Sybille Kuntz’s range, but it’s enjoyably fresh, pithy and crisp with green apple acidity and a taut, refreshingly dry finish. The ripeness of the year makes this quite a full flavoured style.
2015 Sybille Kuntz Riesling Auslese Feinherb, Mosel( TBC, 12.5%, www.sybillekuntz.de )
One of a series of delicious releases from Sybille Kuntz in 2015, this is rich, but not heavy in the slightest, handling its 50 odd grams of residual sugar with ease, thanks to its thrillingly vivid acidity. Honey, spices, lime and remarkable palate length are the hallmarks of this classic-meets-modern Mosel style.
2013 Philippe Michel Chardonnay, Crémant du Jura, Jura( £7.49, 12%, Aldi )
Consistently among the best value whites in the Aldi range (and that’s a high bar to clear), this Jura fizz is frothy and tangy, showing notes of pear tart, a hint of brioche and the structure and acidity you expect from cool climate Chardonnay.
2010 Nyetimber Tillington Single Vineyard, Kent( £60-80, 12% )
An ambitious – and ambitiously priced – single vineyard blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the producer that continues to lead the English sparkling wine revolution. The bubbles are particularly fine here, the low dosage beautifully judged, the acidity refreshing and citrus-edged, while the bready, leesy, autolysis-influenced flavours linger tantalisingly on the tongue. Classy stuff.
2015 Thistledown Suilven Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia( £20-£30, 13%, Alliance Wine )
One of those wines that tastes every bit as good as it looks, this Scottish/Australian collaboration eschews the leaner, reductive, early picked style that’s favoured by some winemakers Down Under in favour of something a little more substanial and textured. Deftly oaked, oatmealy and refreshing, with a focus and minerality that wouldn’t look out of place in the Côte de Beaune.
2015 Domaine Brunet Les Travers, Cairanne, Rhône Valley( £10-£15, 13%, Vinconnexion )
Cairanne whites are something of a rarity – even more so than in nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape – but when they are as impressive as this blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Roussanne, you wonder why. Textured, complex and oatmealy, this shows deftly interwoven oak, subtle pear and apricot fruit and a mineral flourish.
2014 Domaine Brunet Les Chabriles Vieilles Vignes, Cairanne, Rhône Valley( £10-£15, 13.5%, Vinconnexion )
A concentrated, yet lighly oaked, unfiltered, old vine blend of Grenache and Syrah from one of the best domaines in the village of Cairanne, this is my kind of southern Rhône red. Spicy, mineral and focused with youthful red and dark berry fruit, hints of pepper and clove and firm but beautifully integrated tannins. Great value, too.
2013 Domaine Gallety Cuvée Spéciale, Côtes du Vivarais, Rhône Valley( £25, 14%, Scarlet Wines )
Who would imagine that the unfancied Côtes du Vivarais could produce a 50/50 Syrah/Grenache blend that tastes as good as anything at this price in the Rhône Valley. Spice and fresh tobacco notes, with some stemmy, whole bunch flavours, focused, mineral-edged red fruits, fine tannins and delicious perfume and balance. One of my discoveries of the summer.