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  1. Les Vignerons Vermentino Colombard 2016
    Les Vignerons Vermentino Colombard 2016
    Les Vignerons is a brilliant new value range from one of the ubiquitous cooperatives of southern France. However, unlike the many anonymous wines these outfits are known for, Les Vignerons was born from a different concept. Here, a group of grape growers agitated for more input into the finished product and as a result they were permitted to work with a parcel of their own grapes and with the assistance of the coop winemaker produced their own set of wines.They are all blends of a maximum of two varieties and display good fruit expression, clean winemaking, and deliver excellent value for money.

    This Vermentino and Colombard blend is a straight as an arrow. Saline, crisp and bright with a very subtle textural naunce. PWS
    2016
    Blend, White Blend
    France
    418
  2. Honorio Rubio Tremendus Clarete 2018
    Honorio Rubio Tremendus Clarete 2018
    Honorio works in a specific sector of Rioja - the Najerilla Valley, which favours high quality Garnacha. He is both a conservator of marginal historical styles, notably the Clarete pinks of which he is the leading proponent, and also an innovator working at the margins of textural enhancement in both Viura whites and Claretes.

    Claretes have been extremely important wines in Spanish history - most of Ribera del Duero, nearly all of DO Cigales and a lot of Rioja and Bierzo has been about the production and consumption of Claretes (historically, red and white grapes co-fermented in open concrete vats and aged for as much as a year in caves). However, contemporary appellations no longer have a legal definition/classification available for such a style.

    50/50 Viura i Garnacha, the look is vibrant see-through ('Clar' or clear being Clarete's defining thing!) raspberry pink. There are red rose petals, ruby grapefruit and a whack of chalky builder's lime soil aroma. There's a big hit of Saké, like polished rice washed with wild strawberry. The palate is full, open and soft on entry then a blood orange skin tannin-acid brings the zap and tang. The phenolics tuck in the middle and a squeak of builder's lime comes to finish the job. Texture yields to a wildly exciting, flavourful-perfumed acidity. PWS
    2018
    Blend
    Portugal
  3. ROCIM ‘Mariana’ Tinto, Alentejo 2019
    ROCIM ‘Mariana’ Tinto, Alentejo 2019
    Herdade do Rocim is an estate located between the towns of Vidigueira and Cuba, in the Lower Alentejo, inland from the Setúbal Peninsula. ROCIM is the project of a couple (in life as well as work), Catarina Vieira and Pedro Ribeiro. They have a 120 hectare estate with 70 hectares of vineyards and another 10 of olive trees. Catarina is the owner and founder of the estate, and started the project with her father, Jose Ribeiro Vieira, in 2000. Pedro worked in Port production in the Douro after graduating as a winemaker, and then worked in Australia for two years at Hardy's Tintara. After returning from Australia, he joined Catarina at Herdade de Rocim.

    Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet and Trincadeira are manually harvested in
    12kg crates. At the winery, grapes are sorted, fully destemmed and gently crushed. After a
    period of cold maceration, fermentation takes place in small stainless steel tanks at 24°C,
    and the wines ages 6 months in French oak. 14% abv. Total acidity 5.6. PH 3.65.

    Deep ruby colour. Mace spice relieves the vanilla and black cherry density you expect here.
    Fluid, with good presence, but balanced without any sense of heftiness. Soft, dry, shapely,
    with nice structure, fresh, clean and great value. PWS
    2019
    Blend
    Portugal
    384
  4. Casa da Passarella a Descoberta Dao Tinto 2017
    Casa da Passarella a Descoberta Dao Tinto 2017
    Made in stone lagars and aged in cement tanks along with some large old wooden vats, it's a very typical DÂ o blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (elsewhere, Tempranillo), Alfrocheiro and Jaen (aka Mencia). 13.5% a/v, ta 5.96 ph 3.60. A Descoberta means 'to be discovered' and the somewhat mystical label, a box tagged 1942 is a folkloric reference to an early version of a time capsule a box hidden in the stone walls of the house of Passarella containing a will to be opened 50 years hence and directing the riches of the box be re-distributed to the poor. The box was empty. Enrichment comes from the intangible not the material, it seems.

    A lovely wine supple, fleshy and spicy, with extra delicate tannin and oak. From lead-off, the cherry-chocolate fruit really shows the Dao granite, and is laden with wiry dark herbs. In the mouth, it's fleshy-meaty and mineral fresh - round with good movement and fruit-earth interplay. It has excellent presence in the mouth but is not reliant on weight for the show. Wonderfully composed, it sits and radiates, effortless in affect. Gorgeous delicate tannin is the frame, rimming the mouth and allowing the fruit and spicy acid to radiate delicately. A wonderful advertisement for varietal blends.
    2017
    Blend
    Portugal
    384
  5. Ronco dei Tassi Pinot Grigio 2020
    Ronco dei Tassi Pinot Grigio 2020

    Ronco dei Tassi, Friuli Venezia Giulia - Ronco is Friulian for ‘hillside, terraced vineyard’. Ronco dei Tassi is named after the badgers (tassi) in this little nook of paradise in the heart of Collio, bordering the splendid Plessiva National Park. Established in the 80s by Fabio Coser, this small winery has a large worldwide following. Meticulous vineyard work on terraced slopes lends purity and elegance to the wines.

    Finely boned, this offers subtle tones of alpine spice, green pear and wet stones. These same aromas are echoed on the palate. There's a thread of fine phenolics running through, finishing with a savoury chewy finish. A lovely composed grigio. GABRIELLE POY, PWS

    2020
    Blend
    Italy
    391
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