New Releases & Older Vintages

You may recall that I was lucky enough to be invited to the MMD Icon tasting last month. Well I have finally been able to get all of the tasting notes and scores written up for your perusal below. These wines span across France, Italy, Spain and USA. There is no particular order and you will need to filter through them all to find the ones that may interest you! They are generally new releases hence the young vintages but you will also find some older vintages.

White Wines

Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Les Caillotes 2022 – Rating 92-94

Beautiful citrus with apples and grapefruit nicely coming through on the palate. Very lovely and easy to drink with good acidity and a very long finish. Grapefruit hinting towards the finish with the acidity really then taking over with a nice medium-full body. This will start to drink nicely from next year over the next 6-9 years.

Pascal Jolivet Pouilly Fumé Les Terres Blanches 2022 – Rating 94-96

Vegetation, grass and citrus primarily on the nose. On the palate a fantastic depth of flavour with citrus, apples and pears taking centre stage. Fruit really driving this on the palate, completely different to the aromas on the nose. Excellent concentration of fruit with lovely smoky notes. Medium bodied, luscious and high acidity. A gorgeous wine that will drink beautifully over the next 10-12 years.

Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses 2021 – Rating 95-97

Citrus fruit with hints of vanilla and slate. Pure freshness and minerality is immediately clear on the palate. This is extremely tight knit with citrus and wet slate only just managing to come through. There’s lovely acidity with grapefruit bringing up the rear. Extremely fresh, linear and clean cut with the oak ageing only just starting to produce some rounding out. A medium-full body that will develop over the next 10-15 years. This will be absolutely fantastic in 3-4 years’ time and definitely one for the cellar.

Domaine Ott Clos Mireille Blanc 2021 – Rating 91-93

Blend of 60% Semillon and 40% Rolle from the Provence region, this has classic aromas of citrus, peaches and nectarines. A great vibrancy and raciness of fruit paired with a lovely rounded medium body. There is strong acidity and the concentration and depth of fruit gives this wine a fantastic clean finish. Drinking really nicely now and will continue for the next 4-6 years.

Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Grand Cru Kitterlé 2017 – Rating 94-96

The intensity on the nose is extreme to say the least. Stone fruits with caramelised pears, marmalade and honey. On the palate gorgeous peaches with grapefruit and citrus. The aromas do belie the taste, this is clean and pure fruit takes centre stage. A light bodied wine with strong acidity and an ability to last for years to come. A great example of a Grand Cru Riesling.

Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris Grand Cru Kitterlé 2013 – Rating 95-97

Again the intensity and depth of fruit on the nose is quite something. Roasted pears with marmalade, cooked peaches, vanilla and honey all make an exquisite appearance on the nose and on the palate. This is timeless, again pure and clean with great structure and a full body. Acidity still high offering great freshness to quite an intense wine. I could personally drink this all day!

Pazo Barrantes Gran Vino Albariño 2020 – Rating 95-97

An Albariño that is part-aged in acacia wood barrels is not something you come across often. Pazo Barrantes have done an excellent job here. Citrus and acacia great a harmonious couple both on the nose and on the palate. Both the citrus and Acacia are helped by white flower, orange blossom and lemon peel creating a lovely clean and fresh medium bodied wine. There is of course great acidity and this wine will no doubt age for a good few years yet.

Pazo Brannates La Comtesse de Pazo Barrantes Albariño 2018 – Rating 96-98

Powerful and intense are the two words I would use. Citrus, stone fruits with hints of mango and pineapple on the nose. Vanilla, peaches and orange blossom continuing nicely on the palate with a beautiful freshness from some very lively acidity. A good weighty body with that freshness from the acidity bringing a nice lightness to this very powerful white. A great if not exceptional wine in my opinion and definitely one for the cellar. Drink now and over the next 4-6 years.

Attems Cicinis 2020 – Rating 88-90

A lovely and ripe Sauvignon Blanc from the hills of Venezia Giulia in Italy. Green bell pepper and grass are clear favourites here and very perfumed on the nose. On the palate that green bell pepper makes a nice appearance with good vanilla notes from the wines oak ageing taking place over 9 months. A nice creamy feel but good freshness from the strong acidity that rides out to make a nice medium-long finish.

Attems Trebes 2019 – Rating 89-91

The Ribolla Gialla grapes used to make Trebes come from the oldest vineyard in Lucinico, Collio Goriziano. Some of the oldest which are still in production were planted in 1971. Minerality, citrus and apples on the nose. On the palate this is quite tight-knit with lots of freshness and florality. A nice open body with grapefruit and lime kicking in with the high acidity offering good vibrancy and liveliness. A very interesting and lovely wine.

Belgvardo V Vermentino Superiore 2021 – Rating 93-95

Lovely aromas of citrus, vanilla and almonds. 50% of the wine rests on its lees for 6 months so a creamy texture with a full body of white stone fruits and citrus on the palate. A nice freshness coming from good acidity and the concentration of fruit will prove to be so important. This has incredible depth and an ability to age for a long time. Drinking well now but perhaps even better in a year or two’s time. A lovely wine full of fruit and freshness.

Domaine Anderson Chardonnay 2019 – Rating 95-97

I must say a personal favourite of mine. The grapes are hand-picked at night and pressed in whole cluster so there is a clean settling off gross lees. The wine is aged for 10 months in barrel with 10% new oak. This will rival many a white Burgundy in my humble opinion. Butter, vanilla, stone fruits and citrus… all of the gorgeous notes and aromas that you would expect from a cool climate oaked Chardonnay. A weighty and smooth body enveloping the palate with peaches and vanilla. Good acidity providing freshness against the creamy mouthfeel. A lovely long finish and just excellent.

Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2020 – Rating 93-95

Very subtle at first, hints of grass, green bell pepper and vegetation. This is very teasing and tight-knit with good minerality and freshness. On the palate the fruit really drives forward with lime zest, white peaches and elderflower. A very luscious and thick body with high acidity adding that vibrancy and freshness. A great wine and will drink for another 5 years+.

Red Wines

Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons 2020 – Rating 95-97

Beautiful aromas of strawberry, raspberry and redcurrants. On the palate those same fruits having good concentration and depth. A light bodied wine with light, embedding tannins and very good acidity adding freshness and balance to the strong red fruit character of the wine. Still early days for this wine, but what a wine it will be. Cellar it until 2025 then start to drink over the next 10-15 years.

Domaine Faiveley Mazis Chambertin 2016 – Rating 96-98

Intense nose of redcurrants, cherries and raspberries with excellent concentration. Slightly more depth here with leaves and soil bringing a nice counter to the fruit. On the palate the fruit is clean with the soil and leaves grappling with the fine tannins really nicely. Creating a sort of smooth but punchy mouthfeel. Really lovely and interesting. The body is light and the acidity is plentiful giving good freshness. This is a top wine and will give great pleasure to drink over the next 10-15 years.

Chateau de Pez Saint Estèphe 2018 – Rating 94-96

Lovely dark cherries, blackcurrants and plums on the nose with hints of cedar. Voluptuous in the mouth with strong tannin creating a powerful and intense body. Smoothening out towards the finish which is long and has hints of leather and cedar with your palate being left with great fruit and puckering flavour. This has great longevity ahead of it and will evolve nicely over the next 15 years.

Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2017 – Rating 95-97

Seductive aromas of dark cherries, blackcurrants, plumes and prunes. Some herby notes coming through with cardamom and damson. A smooth and very enveloping body with a lovely mouthfeel and firm tannins that are starting to embed nicely. Some lovely acidity providing some slight freshness and brings the herbs into play a bit more as well. A really fantastic wine and one that will no doubt develop over the next 20 years.

Delas Frères Domaine des Tourettes Hermitage 2015 – Rating 97-99

Elegance at its finest for this gorgeous northern Rhone wine. Freshness, vibrancy and a depth of flavour that would be hard to beat. Classic Syrah notes blackcurrant, black cherry and hints of tobacco empower the palate. The luscious body comes in with smoothness personified and brings freshness with that garrigues style herbaceous note. Firm embedded tannins and acidity that will last seemingly forever. This is a top wine and no doubt it is getting all of the plaudits it has as it thoroughly deserves them. I would suggest to start drinking from 2025 and then over the next 15-20 years.

Delas Frères Les Bessards Hermitage 2014 – Rating 94-96

Concentration of fruit is king here. There is powerful dark fruit here, blackcurrant, plums with nuances of leather and garrigue on the nose. On the palate big aromas of garrigue, leather and plums. This wine is absolutely singing and ready to drink giving off fantastic concentrated traditional Syrah notes and aromas. A full textured body with seductive integrated tannins leading the charge, acidity offering good vibrancy and this is going to live on for a good 10-15 years yet.

Delas Frères La Landonne Côte Rotie 2016 – Rating 94-96

This is absolutely purring, ready for drinking and lots going on. Lots of herbaceous aromas with violets, pepper and rosemary layering over a base of black raspberry and cherry. Full bodied now the tannins have settled in nicely with good acidity aiding the herbs with freshness and giving off some liveliness to the wine. Another cracking wine from this estate and will drink through the next 15-20 years.

Domaines Ott Chateau Romassan Rouge 2018 – Rating 89-91

Prunes, stewed fruits with hints of cedar and leather on the nose, very intense and concentrated. On the palate, however, extremely smooth and textured. Lovely notes of those stewed fruits with leather and pepper bringing up the rear to create a lovely and smooth wine. Firm tannins build nicely but do not overpower the wine and the acidity offering a nice layer of freshness over the power of the fruit. A lovely wine and will drink through the next 4-6 years.

Pio Cesare Barbaresco Il Brico 2018 – Rating 94-96

Aromas of dried figs and cherries with copious amounts of spice and tobacco. On the palate all aromas translating beautifully with a medium silky body. Velvety smooth in the mouth with great dried fruit notes and great acidity adding freshness and balance. Structured extremely well with a lovely long finish. Drinking really well now and will last through the next 15-20 years without an issue.

Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato 2018 – Rating 93-95

Lots of dried fruit, stewed dark fruits as well on the nose. Concentrated plums, black raspberry and currants. Strong, firm tannins giving a thick and powerful body, certainly needing some more time. Acidity running nicely all the way through giving good vibrancy, but the dried fruit gives so much power and intensity that it very much takes centre stage. A lovely long finish as with all top quality Barolo’s and a gorgeous wine once again from this estate!

Domaine Anderson Estate Pinot Noir 2019 – Rating 92-94

Gorgeous red fruit profile with strawberries, raspberries and cranberries, hints of herbs on the nose but this is fruit all over. On the palate, gorgeous raspberry and cherry envelop the pallet with a smooth and light body. This is very juicy, vibrant and lively as the fruit forwardness of the wine takes full control. Really gorgeous and a satisfying medium length finish.

Merry Edwards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2018 – Rating 91-93

Aromas of raspberry, cherry and redcurrants with dried leaves and forest floor giving lovely savoury notes. The palate has all red fruit notes hitting nicely throughout the medium body of this wine. Firm tannin adding depth and bite to the savoury forest floor. Good acidity throughout offering nice vibrancy with a juicy finish.

Meerlust Rubicon 2018 – Rating 92-94

Checking in at 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 10 % Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot this is very much a Bordeaux Blend but from the Cape. Earthy and herbaceous notes with dark fruit, plums and black cherries come to mind. Quite musky with a good fruit driven body at the beginning. There is good freshness and elegance which gives good balance and good purity across the wine. Lovely jubbly.

I hope you all found some wines of interest and thank you for reading as always!

We will be back either next week or the week after with a 60th Tasting article with wines from Portugal, more specifically Alentejo and Douro!

Harry Vernau

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