We take a look at the latest wine launches – from single-vineyard Malbec and Manzanilla En Rama, to low-abv Souvignier Gris and single-harvest Port
Bodega Argento Single Vineyard Finca Altamira Organic Malbec 2018, Mendoza, Argentina
Finca Altamira is Bodega Argento's latest single plot Malbec launch, partly matured in 5,000-litre foudres (60%) for 12 months before bottling.
The finca is located at almost 1,100m in the Uco Valley district of Mendoza; it consists of 22.5ha entirely planted to Malbec, all organic-certified (in fact, Bodega Argento claims to be Mendoza's largest producer of organic wine, with 305ha certified as of 2019).
The wine is gently spicy on the nose, with a dark forest fruit and dried herbs character and a touch of smoke. The palate is vibrant, with plum, cherry and earthy flavours, and elegant, ripe tannins.
Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla En Rama 2020, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain
Spain's lockdown hasn't stopped Sanlúcar de Barrameda's Bodegas Hidalgo from releasing the much anticipated 2020 La Gitana En Rama.
This Manzanilla, made with Palomino grapes from Hidalgo's own Miraflores vineyards, has spent eight years in solera casks from the Californian San Luis winery. Hidalgo says that the wine is 'punchy and powerfully flavoured', with spicy aromas, a salty tanginess and 'a touch of citrus bitterness' in the finish.
Freixenet Italian Wine Collection
Catalonian brand Freixenet has launched a new range of wines form Italy: a Pinot Grigio, a rosé, and a Chianti.
The Pinot Grigio is made with fruit from the region surrounding Lake Garda, and it's described as having floral flavours, a 'delicate character and hints of crispy citrus'. The Italian Rosé is instead made with grapes from across the entire Veneto region, while the Chianti is a Sangiovese-led blend whose fruit comes from within the Chianti DOCG, as per appellation requirements.
Pierre Chavin Villa Chavin Naturellement Léger, France
As sales of no- and low-alcohol drinks continue to rise even during lockdown, Pierre Chavin has launched a new range of low-abv and organic-certified wines.
The new labels clock in at just 8.5% abv, and are made with Souvignier Gris (white), a resistant grape variety; a blend of various white grapes (sparkling white); Syrah and Grenache (rosé); and Cabernet Sauvingon (red). The lower alcohol content is achieved naturally by slowing down the concentration of sugars in the vineyard (vines are planted on north-facing, cool sites with clay and limestone soils; early harvest; minimal pruning) and by reducing the amount of sugar in the must (the first pressing of the grapes, higher in sugars, is avoided).
All wines have no residual sugar.
POA, Pierre Chavin
Baron Philippe de Rothschild Escudo Rojo Gran Reserva 2018, Chile
The Gran Reserva is the newest expression of Baron Philippe de Rothschild's renowned Escudo Rojo.
It's a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), Carmenère (38%), and Cabernet Franc (2%), with the addition of Syrah (20%). All grapes are hand-picked and hand-sorted. After vinification, the wine is matured in one-year-old barrels for one year.
It's rich, with a nose led by ripe black berry and red cherry aromas, a touch of spices, and hints of oak characters of vanilla, toffee and coffee. On the palate there's more fruit and spices, with the toasted, roasted notes leading to a long, smooth finish.
Fox & Fox C.V Chairman’s Vat Brut 2014, England
C.V. Chairman’s Vat Brut 2014 is the latest limited release of East Sussex's Fox & Fox. Different from any other Fox & Fox cuvée, whose creation is normally overseen by co-founder Jonica Fox (main image), the new release has been blended by her husband Gerard Fox.
The wine is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Gris, and was disgorged in December 2019.
Jonica Fox says the wine 'offers an unmatched purity and subtle minerality, which is seductively easy to enjoy.... [It's] complex and well-rounded with a captivating fragrance and freshness that delivers pristine orchard fruit flavours, complemented by citrus zest and notes of toasty brioche. It fills the mouth with creamy small bubbles and entrancing flavours'.
Available through the The British Wine Cellar
Taylor's Single Harvest 1970, Portugal
This is the latest in the series of seven limited-edition 50yo Ports released by Taylor's. The 1970 vintage, says the producer, experienced higher-than-average rainfall in October and March. Spring was particularly dry, while rain came in both May and June. There was instead almost no rain from July to October, with 'perfect conditions during the harvest'.
The wine is described as having aromas of 'sawn wood and cigar leaf, against a background of cedar, balsam and citrus', complemented by warmer notes of marzipan, walnut, coffee, sultana and plum, plus hints of black pepper, cardamom, and wild herbs. The palate is said to be smooth, rich and dense, unveiling coffee, butterscotch, walnut and candied orange peel flavours.
The producer says that this tawny is ready to be enjoyed now and suggests the best serving temperature to be between 12°C-16ºC.
POA (end of May), Mentzendorff
Litmus Orange Bacchus 2019, England
The latest release from winemaker John Worontschak is a delicious orange Bacchus (with a splash of Ortega) from the 2019 vintage. 'A wine that is rich, complex, and quirky without being unapproachable or too unfamiliar,' as Worontschak put it.
Indeed, although macerated on the skins, this expression resembles more a full bodied white, with a touch of phenolic richness that gives it character. This, added to its pleasantly aromatic profile (quince, peach and a bit of gooseberries) makes for the ideal introduction to the world of orange wines.
The wine's fruit comes from Kent, it was handpicked and 100% destemmed. Primary and malolactic fermentation undergoes mostly in stainless steel tank, but 10% is vinified in old oak. The wine remained on the skins for 16 weeks.
POA, Litmus Wines, litmuswines.com