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Wines from Bibendum

by Tom Cannavan, 07/05

This was a recent tasting of wines from the Bibendum Wines portfolio, most of these wines being imported by Bibendum, who are their main UK agents. These wines are available from Bibendum's website and wine-searcher links are given for other stockists. Some of these wines are widely available; others are only available from independent merchants.

sparkling

Bisol (Italy) Prosecco Brut Crede 2004
Beautifully fresh nose, filled with floral and crisp pear fruit, touches of straw and elegant apple notes. Palate filling and medium-bodied, with a nicely soft, but persistent mousse. Lovely sweet-edged fruit quality with white fruits leading into a clean finish with that hint of sweetness washed away by a sweep of acidity. £10.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

white

Chereau Carre (France) Muscadet 2004
Screwcapped. Crisp herb and grassy notes, with straw and orange pith. Very dry and nutty, with plenty of lemony fruit and acidity coming through. £5.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Les Nuages (France) Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Screwcapped. Herbs and grass are the main aromas here, with a green bean, vegetal streak and only hints of a sweeter fruit beneath. On the palate this is dry and very savoury, with more green qualities and a fantastic core of grapefruit and lemon that is fresh and tangy, leading into a decent finish. Perhaps lacks a touch of opulence, but lovely. £6.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Domaine de la Chezatte (France) Sancerre 2003
Gently toffeed, rich, quite lush and tropical fruit on the nose (complete contrast to the Nuages). The palate has rounded pear and more tropical fruit, with hints of nectarine and juicy peach, before quite a lean, taut mineral acidity. This is rather hollow on the mid-palate, and doesn't quite hang-together through to the finish. £10.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Eric Louis (France) Pouilly-Fumé 2004
Nice punchy nose, with notes of asparagus and nettles, but also a dry minerality and a touch of white fruit quality. Very crisp, with a blast of gooseberry and mouth-watering grapefruit and a lovely undercurrent of a fleshier, ripe fruit quality. Fine balance, and a lovely sense of poise with good acidity and a long finish. £10.99

Bouchard (France) Chardonnay Cuvée Signature 2003
Quite a toasty, whisky barrel and Jack Daniels note at first, with a nutty apple fruit quality beneath. Palate is medium to full-bodied, with a touch of toffee and toast to more of that Cox's Pippin and ripe pear fruit, and a little hint of a candied, tropical edge. This has good acidity, adding a freshening edge to the finish. £8.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Bouchard (France) St Veran 2004
Quite a refined creamy and toffee-edged nose with a succulent, ripe, and slightly vegetal fruit quality. There's a sweet toffeed edge of ripeness on the palate, with rounded, clean orchard fruits that retain a sweet edge, before a dry apple acidity. Quite stylish. £9.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Laroche (France) Chablis St Martin 2004
This is very clean and crisp on the nose, with greengage and apple fruit against straw and dry, mineral aromas. On the palate there is a nice sweet edge to bright, juicy white fruit. It has decent acidity, and reasonable length, though perhaps doesn't have quite enough verve and vivacity. £12.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Laroche (France) Chablis 1er Cru Vaudevay 2002
Quite a subtle straw and mineral nose, with a skinny quality and subtle, but quite complex aromas of melon, apple and yellow plum. On the palate this is lively and vivacious, with a mouthfilling texture of dry, savoury fruit and a really tangy crispness. There is plenty of acidity and very good length in a stylish wine with time ahead of it. £16.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher

Laroche (France) Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaumes VV 2002
A bright, herbal, nettly note on the nose with lots of punchy fruit quality and intriguing nuances of salts and flowers. On the palate it has a nice texture and very good, clean, crisp orchard fruits. It has a juicy mid-palate, before a big, drying sweep of acidity that is mineral and dry sweeps through to a long, tangy finish. £20.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Latour Giraud (France) Meursault Charles Maxime 2002
Big, nutty, very appealing nose with whisky barrel hints and plenty of nutty richness to apple and creamy, ripe melon fruit. Palate is quite full and fruit-driven, with a nice creamy texture and a clean, ripe, palate-cleansing core of orchard fruits with subtle sweetness and just a nicely supportive background of toffee and toasty oak, before a lovely generous acidity. Excellent. £24.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Girardin (France) Rully VV 'En Truffiere' 2002
Quite subtle oak, with a slightly dulled sense of gently buttery fruit compared to the Meursault. Palate has a savoury, balanced fruit character, with lots of white fruit buttressed by gently toasty, old oak that adds a nutty, savoury quality. The wine has good balance, but not quite the lushness or opulence of the Meursault. £13.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Robert-Denogent (France) Pouilly-Fuissé 2003
Very clean, crisp, nicely poised sweet fruit notes of pear and gentle floral notes on the nose. Palate is equally clean, with very subtle oak and a rich, slightly honeyed quality of white fruits. This stays crisp and fresh, with good acidity and an oatmeally rather than overtly oaky quality, in a crisp style that suits the vintage. £17.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Dr Wolf (Germany) Riesling 2004
Clean, crisp, green apple and pear fruit with a nice edge of toffee/honey. Palate is off dry with a fine fruit quality and a lovely succulence at the heart of it with juicy acidity and decent length. Nicely balanced style. £5.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Dr Loosen (Germany) Blue Slate Riesling 2004
A rather more delicate perfume here with some floral notes to soft peach-down and more crisp apple fruit. Lovely, pure, quite intense core of sweet fruit: orchard fruits and juicy nectarine, with an off dry character and very nice, long finish. Tantalising, summery stuff. £7.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Dr Loosen (Germany) Wehlener Sonnenhur Riesling Kabinett 2003
Much more minerality here; an intense slaty note with a touch of nettle and hint of paraffin. Lovely apple fruit beneath and a certain mealy quality. Fruit is pure and persistent on the palate, with a gentle sweetness, but very decisive with pure pear and lemony flavours and a lovely rounded, but well-matched acidity. £12.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Il Banchetto (Italy) Bianco NV
Screwcapped. Crisp, herbal, light floral notes. Nice clean palate with a bit of weight and clean acidity. Easy drinking for a creamy pasta sauce. £3.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Conti Rosso (Italy) Pinot Grigio 2004
Nice mealy, gentle, soft white fruit character with pear drop and a little floral quality. Palate is slightly flat, but has a nice bite of lemony fruit and acidity, with a gentle, moderate acid finish. £5.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher

Casa Bianco (Italy) Caste del Monte 2004
Nice fragrance here: quite dry and straw like, with gentle herbs and oatmeal and delicate pear fruit. This has a well-defined, dry palate of melon and citrus fruit with tangy acidity and a hint of sweetness that is very pleasant into the finish. £4.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Adessa (Italy) Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2004
A touch of mealy, rich fruit quality with plenty of herbs and buttery qualities. The palate is cool and crisp, with a decent fruitiness o the mid-palate and fairly long finish. £4.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Ca Bianca (Italy) Gavi 2004
Bright, sherbet and floral-edged nose with lovely vivid fruit quality. The palate has good lemony crispness and a really decisive bite of acidity. Very clean and crisp, and though it needs food, a lovely vibrant wine. £7.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Bric Cenciurio (Italy) Roero Arneis 2004
A subtle, lightly honeyed, clean orchard fruit and mineral nose, with hints of salt and sweeter peachy fruit. Palate has lovely fruit - very ripe quality with masses of crunch and verve, and a big, searing core of mineral acidity. £10.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Lageder (Italy) Pinot Grigio 'Riff' 2004
Lovely stuff, with a whiff of nettle and even petrol, before cream and a gentle clean pear fruit. Soft touch of honey. On the palate this has crisp, well-defined fruit, with tantalising clarity. Lots of crisp apple and pear and a clean mineral acidity. £7.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Lageder (Italy) Pinot Grigio 2004
Sweeter, slightly more luscious and honeyed on the nose, with plenty of fruit that is bold and juicy. Palate has a lovely sweetness and ripeness, with a luscious edge to nectarine and pure, tangerine fruit and acidity. Lovely style here, with clarity and length to spare. £7.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Lageder (Italy) Pinot Bianco 2004
Gently toffeed and honeyed notes to clean, crisp pear and melony fruit. Nice weight on the palate without the intensity of the Pinto Grigio, but clean and pure, with pear fruit persisting and a balanced acidity. £8.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Lageder (Italy) Sauvignon Blanc 2004
This is all about minerality on the nose, with sherbetty lime and lemon rather than any green or tropical notes. The palate has more of the SB kick, with verve and a nice blast of lemony fruit that is quite fat, before a racy, pin-sharp acidity cuts through into a long, pure finish. £8.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Lageder (Italy) Pinot Grigio Benfizium Porer 2003
Lots of honey and creamy. Toffeed character here. Intense, rounded fruits, with notes of peach and dried apricot. The palate has masses of unctuous, full fruit, with a silky texture and real concentration and extract. Lovely lime acidity and a minerality begin to dominate, into a long, clean finish, which stays spicy and concentrated. £11.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Jean Leon (Spain) Terrasola Muscat 2004
Fine, clean, fruity nose with plenty of verve and bright, grapy fruit with floral notes and a hint of lychee. A little sweetness on the palate, with off dry, but crisp fruit and decent length. A mouth-watering style, though just off dry. £7.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Casa de la Ermita (Spain) Viognier 2004
A beautifully pitched wine, overflowing with peach and ripe pear on the nose, but with real crispness on the palate. A lovely rounded fruit quality and medium body shows ripeness, before a touch of grapefruit and fine acidity into the finish. £6.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Glenguin (Australia) Old Broke Block Semillon 2004
Screwcapped. Delicious and inviting nose, of fat, lemon zesty, oily fruit with wax and oatmeal and plenty of depth. On the palate it is medium bodied, but filled to the brim with lemon and crisp, juicy pear fruit, more of that waxy, slightly honeyed character, and a terrific finish with acidity at its core. Really superb stuff. £8.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Maestro by Robin Tedder (Australia) Pinot Gris 2004
Screwcapped. A special project by Glenguin's Robin Tedder. Bright and floral on the nose, with some fine spiciness and plenty of ripe, clean, sweet-edged fruit on the palate. Very good balance here, in a richly-textured but crisp wine, with fine acidity. £9.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

d'Arenberg (Australia) Hermit Crab 2004
Screwcapped. There is a blend of 63% Viognier and 37% Marsanne in this wine, one of my favourite d'Arenbergs. Plenty of buttery notes, with herb and nettle qualities over a pure, ripe pear fruit. There is a really sweet fruit quality on the palate that is intense and full, with a rich, tangy, densely packed mid-palate full of orange and stone-fruit flavours. Very nice acidity adds a grapefruity dryness into a long finish. Excellent. £7.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Smithbrook (Australia) Sauvignon Blanc 2002
Screwcapped. Floral, candied, very juicy and tropical-scented nose with bold fruit and a gooseberry punch. On the palate it is intense and powerful, with a blast of sweet, passionfruit and pineapple, but a edge of herbal, green and gooseberry juiciness that cuts through the mid-palate. Dazzling stuff, with plenty of grapefruit pithy acidity sharpening the finish. £9.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Knappstein (Australia) 'Three' 2004
Screwcapped. The three being Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris, this has a distinct floral aspect to the nose, but with a spicy quality, a whiff of old roses and a vivid core of lime. The palate is dry and powerful, with a determined lemon and lime fruitiness and plenty of punch and verve into a clean finish. £8.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

St Hallet (Australia) Poacher's Blend 2004
Screwcapped. This Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling blend has a vividly fruity nose with aromas of glacé fruits, lemon and hints of a more tropical character. The palate is vivacious and bright, with a flood of sweet-edged fruit that is peachy and ripe, with notes of juicy apple and hints of nectarine and guava. It is an easy-drinking and summery wine, with a decisive core of citrus acidity that sweeps through to the finish. £6.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

St Hallet (Australia) Eden Valley Riesling 2004
Screwcapped. Really petrolly, developed blast of minerality with a waxy lime fruit emerging. The palate is quite sweet at first, with an intense, lime fruit sweetness and delicate nuances of nectarine. Very good acidity, with a lemony note that is quite full, but clean and pure. A lovely wine in the final analysis. £8.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Mitchelton (Australia) Viognier 2004
Screwcapped. This is a wine in a fat, lush, embracing style, with lots of peachy fruit, opulent, fleshy nectarine and a hint of toffee. On the palate there is a honeyed quality to full, luscious, weighty fruit, with a touch of nut kernel and a fine citrus acidity adding a bit of crispness and sharpness to the finish. £9.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Petaluma (Australia) Hanlin Hill Riesling 2003
Screwcapped. There is a reserved, tight, mineral and crisp green apple character to this cool, classy wine. The palate gives much more at this stage, with a big, dry, salty, mineral tangy edge to pure, rounded limey fruit. The mid-palate has some fatness and limpid, purity of fruit, with a racy acidity drying the mouth and balancing a long, fruity finish. £10.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

rosé

Cave Terra (France) Ventoux Rosé 2004
Screwcapped. Decent, soft, strawberryish fruit and a slightly vegetal, earthy quality. Palate has fine, crisp, quiet clean and dry fruit on the palate. £5.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Lageder (Italy) Lagrein Rosato 2003
Lovely delicate cherry nose with raspberry brightness and a softly caramel aroma. On the palate there's a ripeness and richness at the core of this, with quite a deep flavour profile of fruit and a touch of tannins, in a beautifully clean and poised wine. £8.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

red

Bouchard (France) Pinot Noir Cuvée Signature 2003
Bright, focused, schist and red cherry nose, with a tangy edge of plumskin and liquorice. The palate has an inky, dry extract quality with loads of depth and charry, plummy, bittersweet fruit. Light oak adds a softening sheen of toast and coffee, in a very drinkable but quite decisive wine. Good balance and very good length. Very good indeed. £9.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Bouchard (France) Fixin Cuvée Signature 2003
Deep, sweet, slightly minty intensity of fruit. Plenty of juicy, ripe, chocolate-coated berries and a cherry-skin darkness. A touch of vegetal, earthy quality too. The palate has a smooth, rounded texture and certain silkiness missing in the Pinot, with a similar balancing act between dry, savoury extract and a plummy depth and darkness of fruit. The minty and toasty oak fills out, with a nice roughening edge of tannin, into a long, powerful finish. Very good indeed/excellent. £16.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Bouchard (France) Pinot Noir Cuvée Signature 2002
Totally different colour - several shades lighter and less opaque. Very lightly perfumed, with touches of raspberry and a gently earthy quality. On the palate this has a lip-smacking, juicy orange quality with crisp raspberry fruit and a dry finish, where a gentle toastiness and earthy quality is joined by stylish acidity. Totally different, but very nice of its lighter style. £8.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Mommessin (France) Beaujolais Villages VV 2004
Seems slightly stalky and a little vegetal at first, though a quality of redcurrant and raspberry fruit does come through. The palate has good fruit and a certain richness, with quite deep cherry and red fruits and a fine, clean acidity. £7.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Mommessin (France) Fleurie 'La Cerisae' 2004
There's a charcoally, schisty quality on the nose here that is appealing. Red fruits and a solid core of fruit emerge. On the palate this has a sweeter edge, and that schisty, mineral quality really shows through. Slightly richer and sweeter on the mid-palate, with a tantalising, fresh cherry and raspberry edge to fruit and acidity in the finish. £10.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Louis Bernard (France) Crozes Hermitage 2003
There's a richness and dense, sweet fruitiness on the nose of this wine, with a touch of chocolate and dark autumnal berry fruit. On the palate it delivers quite a powerful, dry, slightly leathery quality of berry fruit with a rasping cut of tannin and a nice acidity cutting through. A touch of warming spice and fudge adds to quite a complex, if slightly rustic wine. £9.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Louis Bernard (France) St Joseph 2001
Quite a nice touch of gaminess developing here, with a bloody streak to solid red fruit and a nice background of coffee. On the palate there is a medium-bodied richness and quite a svelte weight of chewy, juicy red and black fruits, with a sweet and chocolaty depth. £12.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Louis Bernard (France) Châteauneuf du Pape 2003
There's an obvious, bold, creamy quality of ripeness and sweet fruit on the nose here, with plenty of red berry fruit, spice and touches of game. On the palate this has a similar richness, with a full, dark, plumskin and black cherry fruit quality that is juicy and savoury, with a warming core of cedary oak and a fine, supple tannic grip. This does have acidity, which tingles the tongue and leaves the wine balanced and powerful. £15.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

De Loach (California) Pinot Noir 2003
Rounded, cedary and oaky at first, with a core of earthy, damp undergrowth and autumnal berries. The palate has a generous sweetness of fruit. There's a fleshy, ripe red fruit of currants and berries, and am earth and subtle tobacco support before a refined balance of tannins and acidity. £7.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

De Loach (California) Russian River Zinfandel 2002
Deep, chocolaty scents dominate, with a lush, full depth of blackcurrant and sweet black plum, plenty of exotic spice and coffee notes. The palate has a very pure fruited core of blackcurrant and ripe black cherry, wrapped in a vanillin sheen of oak with supple, ripe tannins and a good acid balance that leads to a long finish. £10.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Cave Terra (France) Ventoux Terres de Truffes 2002
There is a very slightly baked quality on the nose here, with slightly rubbery Syrah fruit. Very dry on the palate, with a rather ungenerous streak of acidity. £6.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Nicolis (Italy) Valpolicella Seccal Ripasso 2001
Very nice fruit here that is deep and curranty, with a slightly baked plum pie quality and lots of roundness and depth. On the palate it has a creamy texture and lovely weight of raspberry and redcurrant fruit. There is power and depth here, with a black-fruited gloss beneath the red fruit flavours, and a warm, slightly smoky quality emerging in the finish. Good acids and clean, ripe tannins. Very good indeed. £11.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Nicolis (Italy) Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2000
Deep, dark, and quite animal on the nose, with rounded, creamy fruit and a dark damson plum character. On the palate there is an intense sweet edge to the fruit that is really ripe and decisive, with cherry and keen, crisp, raspberry fruit playing against a chocolate and dark raisin and kirsch-soaked plum quality. Dark and dramatic, the acids and spicy tannins fill in the finish in a lovely, lovely wine. £25.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Alario (Italy) Dolcetto d'Alba 2003
A touch of marzipanny oak precedes deep, quite intense if summery berry fruit. There is dramatic depth and darkness here. On the palate it has a bold, juicy, svelte black fruit quality with plenty of cherry and juicy raspberry brightness coming through and a crisply defined finish of good tannins and pert acidity. Very crisp and moreish. £10.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Viberti (Italy) Barbera d'Alba Vigna Clara 2000
Quite cedary and bloody, with an old oak nose that is vinous and dark, with some toasty notes coming through and a good fruit quality. On the palate it is savoury, with red fruits, redcurrant and a plum and damson darkness, and a long tantalising finish, with savoury, juicy acidity and an orangy tang. £16.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Lageder (Italy) Lagrein 2003
Really intense liquorice and black plum nose, with a real edge of dark cherry and a hint of sandalwood, with plenty of power and vibrancy. The palate betrays more coconutty, marzipanny oak, with a great weight of black fruit that has a firm edge and plenty of bite and backbone. Lovely weight, grippy tannins and a fine structure. (sample) see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Ceretto (Italy) Dolcetto d'Alba Rossana 2003
Smoky, schisty and modern in style, with lovely spices and rich bramble and blackberry fruit. see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Casa de la Ermita (Spain) Crianza 2002
40% Monastrell, 40% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, this has a really attractive nose of cedarwood and tobacco over soft, yielding plum fruit with an earthy sweetness and richness. On the palate almost jammily ripe, but a bolstering weight of coffee and chocolate adds a plush depth, and it has good balance into the finish with a nip of tannin and sufficient acidity. £8.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Spy Valley (New Zealand) Pinot Noir 2003
Screwcapped. There is a dense, soft, earthy quality here with a sweetness of red fruits showing through, wrapped in a plush cloak of coffee and toasty oak. The palate is juicy and rich, with plenty of plump black fruit, though a rather nice leafy, brackeny, tobacco edge and chocolaty depth with silky tannins and mellow background acidity. A very easy to drink and attractive Pinot. £11.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Catena (Argentina) Malbec 2002
There is a density and tight, muscular black-fruited quality on the nose here, with a suggestion of mint, and really ripe and solid black fruits. Masses of richness and fruit sweetness coats the palate at first, with a great velvety depth of chocolate and black plum. It has beautiful weight and texture, and the tannins, though massive and firm, have a ripeness and chocolaty quality leading to a very long, composed finish. £11.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Acacia Tree (South Africa) Shiraz/Ruby Cabernet 2004
Screwcapped. Nice and crisp on the nose, with a touch of cedar and a bright, raspberry fruit quality. The palate has quite a full, smooth delivery of juicy, vibrant fruit and a cut of crisp acidity that rather bludgeons the finish. Perhaps a little disjointed or too recently bottled? £4.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Preece (Australia) Merlot 2003
Screwcapped. Sweet, bright, pert red fruits surrounded by cedary nuance. The palate has a berry richness and earthy quality, with spice but also good freshness, with crisp acids and a breezy lightness to the fruit. Very drinkable stuff. £7.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Kloovenburg (South Africa) Merlot 2003
I like the bloody, slightly gamy perfume of this Merlot, that adds a bit of complexity to soft, silky black fruits on the nose. It has a sweet, powerful depth of fruit on the palate, with plenty of punch and a peppery note to the oak. It is supple, with ripe tannins adding backbone, and a nicely warming, spicy finish. Very nice drinking here. £10.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Maestro by Robin Tedder (Australia) Sangiovese/Cabernet 2002
Screwcapped. 92% Sangiovese with a smidgeon of Cabernet Sauvignon, this has a tobacco and vanillin-rich nose, with a dark, glossy cherry fruit quality. The palate is full and sweet, without the dry-extract savoury quality of a classic Chianti, but with masses of mellow, mocha-coffee, brown sugar and balsamic complexity of dark fruits. Quite long, and impressive. £10.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

Maestro by Robin Tedder (Australia) Merlot 2002
Screwcapped. There's a wilder, earthier, more herbal nose here, with lots of cedar and earthy berry fruit beneath. On the palate there's a fine depth and weight of fruit, with a silkiness to the texture, juicy blackberry tartness and then a caressing, plush tannic core dominates in a pure, clean finish. £10.99 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

St Hallet (Australia) Gamekeeper's Reserve 2004
Screwcapped. This is 49% Shiraz, with 37% Grenache, 8% Mataro and 7% Touriga Nacional. There's a nice schisty, crisp red fruit character on the nose, with a dry earthiness and touches of tobacco and black fruit. The palate is a little fuller than the nose suggests, with some creamy red fruits and a nice background support from fine tannins and tart cherry acidity. Touches of spice and clove and some finesse in the finish. £6.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.

St Hallet (Australia) Blackwell Shiraz 2001
Fabulous big, spicy, abundantly creamy black-fruited nose, loaded with cracked black pepper and sweet fruit. Very welcoming and deep. The palate has huge fruit sweetness with lots of minty, mentholy darkness of black fruit and a big, dry, chocolaty finish with silky tannins and a spicy, toasty warmth emerging. £14.49 see all stockists on wine-searcher.