Press Reviews: December 2020

by Eve-Marie Letondel

Our latest press reviews: The Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Times, The Independent, The Wine Conversation, The Daily Mail & Metro News.

Benefit from our case price discount in red by buying any 12 bottles from this selection – in a mixed case of your design or simply by the dozen.

The Telegraph, Beaujolais, bottled cocktails and no-and-low: 2020’s drinks trends, and what to expect in 2021,Victoria Moore, 28/12/2020:

2018 Cote de Brouilly Les Grilles Chevalier Metrat

2018 C脭TE DE BROUILLY Les Grill茅s Domaine Chevalier-M茅trat
拢14.50 | 12.95
Review: ‘Beaujolais probably did so well this year because we had such a warm spring and we were all at home. But my favourite time to drink it is the winter. Its bright juiciness is good with Christmas leftovers but I really love to have a glass, chilled, with a hot casserole (coq au vin is a favourite) in those miserable dank days of January and February. There is a vividity and sappiness to Beaujolais that reminds you that spring is on its way.’

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The Times, New Year鈥檚 Eve at home: it鈥檚 time to splash out on wine, Jane MacQuitty, 26/12/2020:

2018 MERCUREY Vieilles Vignes Domaine Fran莽ois Raquillet
2018 MERCUREY Vieilles Vignes Domaine Fran莽ois Raquillet
拢27.50 | 拢24.75
Review: ‘If it鈥檚 a more restrained red burgundy you are after, Lea & Sandeman鈥檚 shops are open next week and you can pick up or order Fran莽ois Raquillet鈥檚 gorgeous tangy yet velvety red plum-packed burgundy 2018 Mercurey Vieilles Vignes.’

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The Wine Conversation, Sarah Kemp聽12/2020:

2016 TOSCANA ROSSO IGT Podere Giodo di Carlo Ferrini
2016 TOSCANA ROSSO IGT Podere Giodo di Carlo Ferrini
拢39.95 | 拢35.95
Rating: 17

Review: ‘Carlo Ferrini is one of Italy鈥檚 most celebrated wine makers, who has consulted for several of Italy鈥檚 finest estates, including San Leonardo, Barone Ricasoli and Fonterutoli. Giodo is his personal project (the name is a combination of his parent鈥檚 names, Giovanna and Donatello). He made his first wine in 1979, when he worked at the Consorzio of Chianti Classico and spearheaded the Chianti Classico 2000 project, a scheme aimed to search for better clones of Sangiovese. In 2000, he acquired a 6-hectare estate Brunello vineyard around Montalcino. The Giodo Toscana 2016 is not one of his stellar Brunellos, but an IGT wine made from the 16-year-old vines on the estate and aged for 12 months in 500- and 2,500-litre wooden casks. The wine is deliberately made for younger drinking and the 2016 shows astounding energy and vibrancy, beautiful purity of fruit, a firm core of crushed red berries and cherries, with fine tannins. It鈥檚 youthful and joyous, but still utterly elegant.’

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The Financial Times, Jancis Robinson鈥檚 guide to the best 鈥 and best-value 鈥 festive ports, sherries, madeiras and more, Jancis Robinson聽19/12/2020:

2014 COTEAUX DU LAYON BEAULIEU L'Anclaie Cha虃teau de Pierre Bise
2014 COTEAUX DU LAYON BEAULIEU L’Anclaie Ch芒teau de Pierre Bise
拢17.95 | 拢15.95
Rating: 17

Review: ‘An old favourite from Anjou. Deep, bright, bronzey-gold. Toasty, pungent nose that is more expressive of Chenin than of sweet wine. Then on the palate there is a lovely satin-swoosh of very sweet buttery tarte-Tatin juice and just enough acidity. Really quite vibrant and beautifully composed. You could happily sit and sip this on its own as it finishes reasonably dry but it could also go very happily with fruit and creamy desserts. Very well done.’

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SANDEMAN 20 Year Old Tawny

SANDEMAN 20 Year Old Tawny
拢39.95 | 拢37.95
Rating: 17

Review: ‘When did Sandeman repackage this in a sort of bitters tapered bottle in clear glass suggesting the wine is bright red? The plastic foil (so much more difficult to peel off than the ones that seem to be metallic) goes over a glass stopper. And then, for good measure, a gold medallion is sunk into the glass. Deep sigh.
So let’s see how this long-loved wine actually tastes, ignoring its visual makeover. Bright orange transparent tawny. Smells on the cusp of too rancio and concentrated but it’s sweet and charming on the palate. Smooth as a baby’s bottom and eminently sippable without any food 鈥 probably best that way, in fact. Perhaps not as complex as the slightly cerebral Noval 10 year old but this would not disappoint someone looking for a super-smooth, light, long-wood-matured port 鈥 so long as they ignored the packaging.’

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2017 COTEAUX DU LAYON CHAUME 1er Cru Ch芒teau de Plaisance
2017 COTEAUX DU LAYON CHAUME 1er Cru Ch芒teau de Plaisance
拢24.50 | 拢21.95
Rating: 16+

Review: ‘Brilliant, deep, coppery gold. Middle-aged Chenin with medium sweetness and the light honey character of sweet Chenin Blanc. I could easily imagine drinking this with, for instance, duck-liver parfait but I suspect it’s not quite sweet enough to drink with really sweet dishes. The acidity is quite marked, but then so it is in mince pies. That combo might just work… I think I might prefer it with a bit more toasty evolution on the nose.’

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The Independent, 10 best sherries that are much more than just a Christmas tipple, John Clarke, 16/12/2020:

Inocente Fino
INOCENTE Fino Valdespino
拢15.95 | 拢14.95
Review: ‘One of the venerable sherry names, Valdespino proudly bears the prize-winning achievements of its celebrated Inocente fino on its label, like a regimental list of battle honours. It鈥檚 more modest about its royal connections, as supplier of sherry to both the Spanish and Swedish royal families. Delightfully dry, and a product of the fiendishly complicated solera system of ageing, this fino makes the perfect aperitif at Christmas or indeed any other time of the year. And at under 拢10 for a half-bottle, it鈥檚 a bargain.’

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Daily Mail, 40 of the best Boxing day and new year鈥檚 eve wines, Matthew Jukes, 15/12/2020:

Longitude Larmandier bernier
LARMANDIER-BERNIER ‘Longitude’ Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 1er Cru NV
拢42.95 | 拢40.50
Review: ‘I have chosen one elite Champagne for New Year鈥檚 Eve from hundreds of candidates. Made from 100 per cent Chardonnay, the purity and energy of this awe-inspiring wine will rewire your palate in preparation for 2021.’

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2013-WISTON-ESTATE-Cuvee-Brut-2020-Limited-Release

2013 WISTON ESTATE Cuv茅e Brut 2020 Limited Release Magnum
拢110.00 | 104.95
Review: ‘This award-winning wine was highly praised in 2017 and has now been released in a limited number of magnums. It鈥檚 one of the most exciting flavours of the year. Made from 47 per cent Pinot Noir, 33 per cent Chardonnay and 20 per cent Pinot Meunier, use it to toast the New Year in style.’

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Daily Mail, 40 of the best Christmas wines, Matthew Jukes, 14/12/2020:

2018 Saint nicolas de Bourgeuil La source

2018 SAINT NICOLAS DE BOURGUEIL La Source Domaine Yannick Amirault
拢17.95 | 15.95
Review: ‘Dark, deep and brooding, this is amazingly intense for a red from the cooler climes of the Loire Valley. It will match game dishes, stews, rich gravies and, most importantly, fine cheeseboards, such is the gravitas and power contained within the sleek, black cherry-soaked wine.’

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2019 Grechetto Salviano

2019 GRECHETTO Tenuta di Salviano
拢16.95 | 14.95
Review: ‘Grechetto is usually an angular, edgy white grape, but Salviano鈥檚 version is positively majestic. With stunning poise and precision 鈥 plus a serene, mouthwatering finish 鈥 this is an amazing find. Not something you would stumble across every day, so I do hope you are moved to seek out this wine, as it is a genuine slice of genius.’

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The Telegraph, Ten wonderful red wines to order now for festive nights in,Victoria Moore, 13/12/2020:

2018 BOURGOGNE ROUGE ‘Escargot’ Damien Martin
拢15.95 | 14.50
Review: ‘This is a lovely, bright pinot noir with a tingly burst of redcurrants overlaying a more savoury, leafy note.’

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2014 CH脗TEAU PETIT BOCQ Saint Est猫phe
拢25.95 | 23.75
Review: ‘Made from roughly half cabernet sauvignon and half merlot, with 2% of petit verdot in the mix, this is a good claret for drinking now. With lots of St Est猫phe dark fruit and a touch of cassis, it鈥檚 old-school enough to please the traditionalists but it is approachable too.’

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2018 BILBO Saint Saturnin Domaine de La R茅serve d’O
拢21.50 | 19.50
Review: ‘An organic Mediterranean red, based on grenache and, unusually at this level, with no oak. Ripe, with fine-grained tannins, enveloping warmth a hit of garrigue herbs.’

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The Telegraph, Corking champagne to drink this festive season,Victoria Moore, 13/12/2020:

2015-WISTON-ESTATE-Blanc-de-Blancs
2015 WISTON ESTATE Blanc de Blancs Brut English Sparkling Wine
拢42.95 | 拢39.95 SOLD OUT
Review: ‘Wiston Estate Blanc de Blancs 2015 (拢42.95, Lea & Sandeman) has a subtle scent of clover and an incredible precision’

Coates Seely Britagne Brut Reserve
COATES & SEELY Reserve Brut Britagne
拢29.95 | 拢27.95
Review: ‘Coates & Seely Brut NV is a pinot-based wine – and I do love the sappy spice of pinot, both noir and meunier, in winter – that would be a great house pour.’

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The Financial Times, Jancis Robinson鈥檚 guide to the best festive reds, Jancis Robinson 12/12/2020:

2017 Peloro
2017 PELORO Rosso Le Casematte
拢17.95 | 拢16.75
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2017 Faro
2017 FARO Rosso DOC Le Casematte
拢24.50 | 拢21.95
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Review: ‘A stunning pair of wines north-east coast of Sicily based on the Etna grapes Nerello plus the local Nocera. This one is a real charmer, aged for six months in old oak, while 2017 FARO Rosso DOC Le Casematte is a little more serious. Both are distinctively savoury, impressively persistent and reasonably priced for the quality.’

2013 Gevrey Chambertin Mortet
2013 GEVREY CHAMBERTIN Domaine Thierry Mortet
拢45.95 | 拢39.95
ReView: ‘Certified organic. Fully mature red burgundy available by the single bottle. This is fresh and pretty rather than rich and rip-roaring. Neat and satisfying but not dramatic, and lighter than many a Gevrey. Could be a treat with turkey but may be overwhelmed by particularly sweet accompaniments.’

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Metro News, Spalsh the Cash, Rob Buckhaven 08/12/2020:

2016-GRUNER-VELTLINER-Von-Stein-Reserve-Salomon-Undhof
2016 GR脺NER VELTLINER Von Stein Reserve Salomon Undhof
拢29.95 | 拢26.95
Review: ‘Some Gr眉ner Veltliner fans like to call it Groo-Vee, I am a fan that doesn’t, just to be clear Gr眉ner is similar to Sauvignon Blanc in style, with a touch of white pepper and spice, so you will love this if you are into that.
Seventy-year-old vines give this wine massive concentration, with a savoury element verging on sea-spray and finely tuned streak of acidity, which flicks the on-switch with a change of peachy voltage.’
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2015-WISTON-ESTATE-Blanc-de-Blancs
2015 WISTON ESTATE Blanc de Blancs Brut English Sparkling Wine
拢42.95 | 拢39.95
Review:‘Seems a lot to pay for a wine produced on our doorstep, right? Not at all. Think about it, this bubbly is made with all the care, attention and quality of a vintage champagne, which wouldn’t be minimum double the price. We’re getting the UK equivalent with spotless, ripe chardonnay and its malty honied, caramelised apple and seashell salinity coming through. One of our nation’s finest, amd not in a Tesco way.’ View.

The Telegraph, Ten brilliant white wines to drink at home this festive season, Victoria Moore, 07/12/2020:


2018 SAINT AUBIN Compendium Domaine Joseph Colin
拢37.95 | 拢33.95 (SOLD OUT)
Review: ‘A lovely, nutty Saint Aubin absolutely on point, detailed as a mosaic, with notes of woodruff and hazelnuts.’

The Independent, 10 best champagnes to celebrate with this Christmas,John Clarke, 04/12/2020:

Legras Blanc de Blancs

R & L LEGRAS Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru Chouilly NV
拢32.95 | 29.95
Review: ‘A blanc de blanc from another long-established champagne family based in the village of Chouilly, just east of 脡pernay in the C么te des Blancs sub-region of Champagne. Made solely from chardonnay grapes from Grand Crus vineyards, this pale golden champagne can bring a touch of summer delight to any Christmas table, with its fresh and zesty citrus-led flavours and enjoyable minerality. Great value at this price.’

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The Financial Times, The 40 best wines for Christmas 2020, Will Lyons 02/12/2020:

Longitude Larmandier bernier
LARMANDIER-BERNIER ‘Longitude’ Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 1er Cru NV
拢42.95 | 拢40.50
Review: ‘An exceptional champagne from Larmandier鈥檚 prized 37 acres of vines. Comprising 100 per cent chardonnay, it is delicately textured and intense, with a lingering, slightly saline, nutty finish.’ View.

2018-KUMEU-RIVER-ESTATE-Chardonnay
2018 KUMEU RIVER ESTATE Chardonnay
拢24.95 | 拢22.50
Review:‘Michael Brajkovich conjures up superb chardonnay. This is one of Kumeu鈥檚 best-value examples 鈥 bright and richly textured, with nuttiness, indications of grapefruit and taut acidity on the finish.’ View.