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Natural yeast fermented and aged in neutral oak, this Stellenbosch chenin pours bright, fairly deep lemon-gold. It has very generous and detailed nose of peach pie, lemon, subtle honey and billowing florality. It is medium-full bodied, creamy and almost satiny with generous fruit on the palate, some warmth, bitterness and excellent to outstanding length. A touch saline on the finish.
Garage Wine Co. Sauzal Vineyard Lot 105 2019
The 2019 CGM Sauzal Vineyard – Lot 105 is a blend of 45% Garnacha, 45% Cariñena and 10% Monastrell from Empedrado, Maule, that spent a couple of winters in used barrels. Purple in the glass, it has a delightfully precise nose of sour cherry, dried flowers, rose, a hint of liqueur and layers of pomegranate and watermelon. In the mouth, it begins dry but vibrant. Then the energy builds, thanks to the sharp yet elegantly integrated freshness, which tunes up the refined texture of the tannins in such a way that the wine grows more profound, grippy and long-lasting overall. Just a whiff will have you reaching eagerly for the glass. Drinking window: 2022-2034.
Paddy Borthwick Left Hand Pinot Noir Wairarapa 2019
This is impressively ripe and wonderfully fragrant with Black Doris plum, toasted spice, thyme, vanilla and hazelnut characters, leading to a concentrated palate delivering excellent weight and power, while remaining elegant and stylish. Richly expressed and delectably satisfying. At its best: now to 2031.
Wine Pilot – Ray Jordan
These ancestor vines are some of the oldest shiraz vines in the world, dating back to 1847. They pump fruit of extraordinary concentration, balance and power into wines like this. In fact, the fruit is of such intensity, that the wine was left in new French oak for 2 years. And you certainly wouldn’t say it was excessively oaky. Brilliant crimson red colour is the first indication of its vibrancy and life. Lots of dark spicy red fruit with a distinctive lively cherry and chocolate character. Wow. Drink date: 2022-2047.
Wine Align – Megha Jandhyala
There is a tender beauty to this Volnay, the fruit of 50 year-old vines in the Clos des Chênes premier cru. The nose is an arresting perfume of violets, lavender, perfectly ripe red berries, and sweet, woody herbs, while the palate is a delicate interplay of cherries, strawberries, raspberries, and subtle spice. It feels silky and refined, with fine-grained tannins and firm acids. The finish reverberates softly. It is drinking well now and will continue to do so for the rest of this decade. Tasted January 2023
Maison Roche de Bellene Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 2016
Wine Align – David Lawrason
Maturing slowly, this is just moving into some gold shading at seven years. It is a lovely, gracious and seamless wine with complex, refined if not effusive aromas melding peach/pear fruit, lemon, subtle spice and the beginnings of tertiary nutty complexity. The sense of charm is its abiding feature, but there is also power and depth. The length is outstanding with fine minerality. Tasted January 2023.
Maison Roche de Bellene Chambolle-Musigny Villages VV 2019
Wine Align- John Szabo
Still quite tightly wound and marked by elevage (though only 20% new barrels are used), Bellene’s 2019 Chambolle is an essence of limestone on the palate, like crushed oyster shells and oyster liquor, really quite striking. There’s little of the vintage’s generosity on display, more of a show of force of terroir, in this case a 0.6 hectare parcel of 50-70 year old vines on average planted in the usual Burgundian high density (10,000 vines/ha). I find this much more stony and mineral than the mean for the usually silky and finessed wines of this village, and all the more interesting for it. I love the saline note here as well; the internal energy and earthly expression of this wine are special. Excellent length and depth to be sure. What gives it its extra gear? The tension and energy? Whatever it is, I’d like more. Best 2025-2035+ – this has great stuffing for a ‘village’ wine, more than many premier or even grand crus. Tasted January 2023.
Vassaltis Assyrtiko Barrel Aged Santorini PDO 2021
WineAlign – Michael Godel
Vassaltis was the dream and now life’s work of Yannis Valambous who resurrected his father’s vineyards and turned them into some of Santorini’s finest tracts. As of 2012 the project has taken root, launched forward and come to a most profound and exciting place. The consulting oenologists are Elias Roussakis and Yannis Papaeconomou who along with Valambous drill down into the island’s volcanics to create haute assyrtiko with the greatest sense of place. The barrel aged style is of course Burgundian but it is impossible to smother Santorini and fully assimilate assyrtiko. Richness abounds, intensity magnifies and here assyrtiko takes on a whole next level of purpose. The methodology does allow for movement not wholly restricted to the salty and the mineral but the wine shows no lack of those elements. In the end this is about as big and rich as the grape will get. Drink 2023-2028. Tasted January 2023
Nicholas Pearce Wines is a Good Food Fighter.
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