This 10-year-old claret is showing no signs of aging: its colour is dense purple; the bouquet is redolent with blackcurrants, cedar and vanilla oak spice. Medium-bodied, it’s elegant and beautifully crafted.
Pedro Parra is, quite literally, THE doctor of dirt. He has dug 25000 calicatas (soil pits) around the world and consulted for numerous wineries, including Okanagan Valley's Haywire. After many years advising others how and where to grow wines, this is his own project, based in his homeland of Concepcion, the original site of vines in Chile but long since forgotten as a wine growing region. This is a field blend of Malbec, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Pais and Carménère from the red granite and fine quartz soils of six dry farmed vineyards in Itata and Cauquenes, and vines 60-100 years old. After native ferment and 1 year in cement and stainless, this was lightly filtered before bottling. Thick and dense on the concentrated palate, with smoked berries, dried blueberries, tobacco, roasted meats, charcoal, leather all textured with stony grip and fine peppery spice, and cut with a balsamic sappiness. Still very much in youth, this wine-of-place is still fist tight after being opened overnight. I suggest decanting and grilled lamb for current consumption, but recommend cellaring for a few years for maximum enjoyment.
This Tempranillo-based red is deep purple in colour, holding well for a 12-year-old wine. Cedary-sandalwood notes of oak mingle with strawberries and pencil-lead notes on the nose. Medium-bodied and dry, it’s beautifully balanced with lively acidity and a firm structure.
Fleshy white peach, orange blossoms and sherbet are seasoned with exotic jasmine and light ginger in this juicy medium-bodied white. Fiano Minutolo, Falanghina and Greco are fermented cool in stainless to preserve acidity along with the ripeness of southern Italian sunshine. Tasty on its own, or with calamari or clams.
Accessible and cheerful, this Franc features raspberry, red flowers, cassis, mint/herbs and chocolate. Medium body and ready to drink. Solid value!
Independent distiller Johnny Neill, a descendent of Thomas Greenall, is a fourth generation gin maker. Made in England but inspired by Africa, much of its bright, citrusy character comes from exotic baobab and physalis (Cape Gooseberry) fruit. Smooth and creamy with assertive juniper and bursts of fresh-squeezed citrus, try this steal of a spirit in a G&T.
One of the most consistent wineries in California. This Chardonnay is straw-coloured with a spicy, pear-and-grilled-cashew-nut nose topped by a vanilla oak note. Full-bodied and dry, its mouth-filling sweet and savoury flavours are balanced by well-integrated oak. Great length, finishing on tropical-fruit notes and great value.