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Year review: Our top wines in 2022

Every year we taste thousands of wines. These are the gems that have stopped us in our tracks, where the hairs on the back of our necks prick up and we walk away with a spring in our step. When we close our eyes and think about these wines, we can still recall their taste. Absolute gems – the lot of them! Some are extremely limited by their nature, so snap them up whilst you can.

2015 Blanc de Noirs, Roebuck Estates, Sussex

100% Pinot Noir, intense blackberry and apple flavours are layered with complex autolytic character to produce a seriously rich and elegant wine. Honestly, this is the finest English Sparkling Wine we’ve ever encountered and the price tag from Champagne would be considerably more for the equivalent quality!

2019 Cairanne Blanc L’Estévenas, Domaine Denis Alary, Southern Rhône

White Rhône blends are often overlooked for in favour of more renown French whites from better known appellations. There are many examples which are too angular, that just don’t sit together perfectly balanced. It’s a joy to encounter such an expressive white Rhône: the wine reveals a beautiful complexity of ripe stone fruit (peaches, Mirabelle plum), delicate fragrance of white acacia flowers and fresh lime, with clean minerality adding further complexity.

2020 Viognier Les Contours de Deponcins VDF, Francois Villard, Northern Rhône

Another from the Rhône, but this time from the North. Heady Viognier in all its glory, produced from 15 year old vines grown just outside the permitted Condrieu appellation, this wine offer incredible quality from an exceptional site. I always forget this is bottled in flute more akin to the great Ch. Grillet (but taller) and every time we taste this, we remember just what a brilliant example of Viognier this is!

2021 Rosal, Quinta de Couselo, Rias Baixas

It’s easy to understand the appeal of this wine and why it has won so many Gold medals in wine competitions. Many are charmed by the captivating Albariño that dominates the blend, but the remaining 10% is a blend of Cariño Blanco, Loureiro and Trexiadura, traditional varieties of the region. It’s this 10% that sets the wine apart, adding delicious apple, lychee, lemongrass, jasmine and sage notes that practically dance out of the glass! Brilliantly versatile with food, especially fusion cuisine, this is such a joy to share and reveal the beauty of indigenous varieties.

2021 Chardonnay, Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley

Ah Chardonnay! One of our first true wine loves! We’re total suckers for top quality Chardonnay: expressive fruit, flinty minerality, a whiff of creaminess from time in decent oak.  Proper Chardonnay reveals its terroir, reveals the wind and the rain, the slope of the vineyard, the drainage, the heat of the vintage. It wears its vintage like a cloak with the terroir as its underclothes. The sense of place and the efforts of production cannot be understated. Pulling the cork on a bottle Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay makes us giddy with excitement, it puts us in a great mood as we know just HOW good this is! Ultimately, sharing this dazzling example from South Africa with our clients is why we do what we do…we don’t follow the herd and stick to France, we follow our heart and stick with excellence!

2021 Alo Jais Noir Carignan, Côtes Catalanes, Languedoc-Roussillon

Not for the faint hearted! This big, bold Carignan from the rugged Côtes Catalanes offers rich, dark berry fruit, delicate tannins and a hint of garrigue herbaceousness that delivers huge enjoyment. Seriously intense and perfect for chilly nights and hearty fare, this has proven to be a big hit with clients.

2022 Tempranillo Roble, Rippa Dorii, Ribera del Duero

If you’re looking for bang for your buck, this is it! “Entry level” Tempranillo from this highly sought-after region, offering the typical full-flavoured style of Ribera del Duero, with silky tannins and toasty oak and vibrant fruit that sings out of the glass!

 

2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Cline Cellars, Sonoma

It can be easy to forget the charms of pure Cabernet Sauvignon, but this single expression from Cline Cellars stood out for us. Everything is in harmony in this wine, but the piercing blackcurrant character is so deeply satisfying that it leaves one yearning for more!

2017 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Ciacci Piccolomini D’Aragona, Toscano

Packed with wild-red berry fruits, delicate spice, herbs and earthy notes, Brunello is often citied as the best Italian wine. The 2017 offers balance, intensity and complexity from this historic Producer. Already approachable, this Brunello offers plenty of enjoyment now and will continue to drink well over the next decade and beyond, if you can resist its charms!

2009 Vintage Port, Wiese & Krohn

Dark, brooding Port with a lovely intense nose of raisin and dark morello cherry. The palate is one that will kick the door down and rampage over your tastebuds with a mouthful of ripe tannin balanced by unctuous concentrated dark fruits which goes on and on. What a wine!

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