Laithwaites Spring box of goodies

Laithwaites Spring box of goodies

With thoughts starting to turn towards Summer and what you’ll be getting in for the Christmas holidays – a timely drop of wines arrived from my friends at Laithwaites this week. Another mixed box – and as usual it is a variety of wine styles, and I don’t ever know what I’m getting until I open the box!

La Balade de JMS Chardonnay 2021

Made in the traditions of the ‘Flying Winemakers’ of the 90’s who came to France from Australia and brought New World winemaking to old world grapes. I like this collision of styles – it has plenty of oak and full malolactic fermentation, but stays just this side of being “blowsy”. It is old school, with big, ripe tropical flavours of peach, melon and pineapple, plus vanilla, coconut and honey. Is it ‘buttery’? I’d say so… and there’s no harm in that, if that’s your preference. A good persistence to the finish, with some citrus and a touch of minerality. A tricky one to score, as it will be a ‘love it’ or ‘loathe it’ wine. I quite like it. 92pts

Chalk Hill Europa Chardonnay 2022

A wine from Padthaway – the Chalk Hill label sports some remarkably good wines, including one of Australia’s best wines (an old-vine Grenache) – so to see a wine of their’s in the box is a treat. Whilst it is undoubtedly fruit-forward, in an easily-accessible early drinking style; there is much to admire here. Baking spice, cashew nut, grapefruit, lemon peel and white peach on the nose. The palate is really crisp, dry and shows an electric acidity. Elegant, with restrained use of oak and excellent purity and drive through the palate. A thoroughly modern expression of Chardonnay. 93pts

Trimboli Pink Duck Rosé 2023

Made from Montepulciano grapes, grown in New South Wales, Australia. A pale coppery pink in the glass. Ripe berries on the nose, with cranberry, grenadine, rhubarb, mandarin and sponge cake aromas. Quite frisky with acidity, and dry into the palate. Plenty of tart cherry, red apple and pomegranate notes bloom as you take a second sip. At the end it is sweeter, with ripeness and texture all through the finish. Nothing too difficult, and would be a crowd pleaser this Christmas. 88pts

The Black Stump Durif / Shiraz 2022

A inkily dark red, weighing in at 14.5% alcohol by volume. Made by John Casella in South Eastern Australia. Durif is also known as Petite Sirah in America, and it traditionally makes wines with chracteristics of big tannins and brisk acidity. It has often been used as a blending element to add body and structure to a blend. A perfume of Blackberry, plum, chocolate and black pepper on the nose. Into the palate you’ll find those tannins, but they’re fairly pliant, and the oak also has a gentle touch, not overpowering the juicy fruit. Some liquorice and herbal notes at the finish. 92pts

Monasterio de Santa Cruz Jumilla 2022

A blend of Monastrell and Tempranillo from Spain’s southern plains. A deep, rich wine of 14.5% alcohol by volume. Blackcurrant, strawberry, cherry and mocha, with a savoury note of pumpkin and salami on the nose. Chunky tannins give an edge of robustness to the silky, smoothness of the texture. A nice heat of spice adds more depth, and the finish is sweetening and silky. A great wine for a summer BBQ with steak. 88pts

Quinto do Casal Branco Lobo e Falcao 2021 (it translates as Wolf and Falcon) comes from a historical property that sits just north of Lisbon in Portugal. Aromas of damson, dark cherry, blackcurrant, eucalypt, mocha, smoked meats and crushed herbs. Smooth and dense, with balanced tannin and acidity, plus that a prickle of granite-like minerality that gave the medicinal, gum note on the nose. A dense, velvet texture to the back of the palate, adding more depth to what is a fairly medium-bodied wine. 89pts

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