The first Forrest semillon for ten years. Normally, they get so little of it they blend it into the sauvignon blanc, but the 2010 semillon was exceptionally ripe and aromatic, so they kept it separate, fermenting 10% in old oak and all the rest in tank, and keeping it all on its lees for six months. The result is a full-bodied and nutty wine with ripe peach, fig and gooseberry fruit, a leesy richness to the texture, a touch of vanilla, and zingy acidity. Well worth the wait and the effort. 14% abv.£14.99, Adnams
2011 Las Mulas Sauvignon, Central Valley, Chile
From the organic San Luis de Alico vineyard. Smoky, slightly flinty aromas and a vivid, grassy palate with hints of pineapple sweetness and mint. Lovely bite and freshness.
£8.99, Waitrose and vintagemarque.com
2009 Domaine de Mourchon Tradition, Côtes du Rhône-Villages Séguret , France
In this vintage I prefer the unoaked Tradition, Domaine de Mourchon’s original red, to the more expensive, older vine, oak-matured Grande Réserve and Family Reserve Grenache. The latter pair, made from very low yields (around 20hl/ha and 15hl/ha and vines aged 60–100 years), are impressive in a monumental way, but just a bit too ripe and alcoholic for my taste. There’s also a 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape but I won’t be tasting that for another month or two. Apparently the 2010 vintage is back to normal.
The 2009 Tradition, made from two-thirds grenache, a quarter syrah and a tenth carignan, all aged around 40 years and vinified and matured in concrete vats, has an alluring perfume – floral notes, blackberries and a fleeting whiff of ripe apricot. The palate, with its blackberry and black pepper flavours and hints of clove and licorice, is ripe, fleshy and smooth, but framed by soft, grainy tannins and enough acidity to give life and freshness. 14.5% abv. Drink over the next four years.
The Big Red Wine Company, which stocks the entire Domaine de Mourchon range, doesn’t have the 2009 Tradition yet, but does have the the 2007 (£11.25) which was very good when I tasted it a couple of years ago and should still be.
2009 Viñalba Malbec Syrah, Rio Negro, Patagonia, Argentina
An 80:20 Malbec Syrah blend, half of which was aged in French oak for 12 months. The oak gives polish and a fine, smoky, toasty edge to the dark, concentrated, beautifully fresh fruit and the spicy, more savoury flavours. 14.5% abv. Very good value.