Highlights from our Autumn Portfolio Tastings

With 680 wines on show at our recent autumn portfolio tasting in London, and 200 wines in Edinburgh, it is no small task to select some highlights. Here, head of brand management Tori Eeles shares her notes on 13 of the wines that stood out for her on the day...

Charles Heidsieck Brut Millésime 2008
Champagne, France

One of the last 2008’s to be released onto the market, and well worth the wait, this Millésime from Charles Heidsieck shows the hallmarks of the much lauded vintage – fresh acidity balanced by a rounded ripeness – as well as the Charles signature – elegance, concentration and power. Stunning.

Blank Canvas Abstract Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Marlborough, New Zealand

An alternative look at Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from the Blank Canvas team, the Abstract shows texture, complexity and intensity. The winemaking has played a skilled part here – whole-bunch pressed grapes, fermentation in 3-5 year-old French puncheons carried out by wild yeasts.

Domaine de L’Enclos Chablis 1er Cru Montmains 2017
Burgundy, France

From one of Chablis’ most exciting new domaines, the 1er Cru Montmains shows off what Domaine de L’Enclos can do. A beautiful combination of smoky notes, ripe orchard fruits and mouth-watering acidity, with a creamy touch on the finish.

Jane Eyre Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir 2018
Victoria, Australia

The Pinot Noir table was the longest table at the tasting – so picking one was extremely tricky! Jane’s Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir shone out thanks to the combination of complex perfumes on the nose (dried flowers, dark cherries, hint of sous-bois), elegant silky tannins, and balanced fresh acidity on the palate. Drinking beautifully now but will age and develop in bottle.

Mandrarossa Costadune Frappato 2018
Sicily, Italy

A beautifully perfumed nose typical of the variety, showing morello cherries, redcurrants and a touch of sweet spice, with a fresh and juicy palate. A great choice for a lighter style red which still has concentration and balance.

Brolo dei Giusti Valpolicella Superiore 2013
Veneto, Italy

Quite simply a ‘superior’ example of Valpolicella – it exhibits all the indulgent notes you would expect; red cherries, almond frangipane, damsons, while the palate displays velvety tannins and balancing acidity.

Izadi Rioja Reserva 2014
Rioja, Spain

A Rioja made with a modern slant – made using both French and American oak barrels. It shows intense blackberry and cranberry fruit, alongside a touch of tobacco, liquorice and earthy notes.

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Colchagua Valley, Chile

One of, if not THE, first premium wine from Chile, the Montes Alpha Cabernet still represents superb quality and value. Judicious use of French oak – 55% of the blend is aged in 1st, 2nd and 3rd use barrels – gives the wine a rounded palate and spiced notes of nutmeg and toast, which blend with the intense dark blackberry and black cherry notes.

Domaine du Coulet Brise Cailloux Cornas 2017
Northern Rhône​, France

The Syrah table had plenty of gems, but this addition to the portfolio from Matthieu Barret was getting lots of attention. The Cornas is part aged in amphorae, and part in concrete tanks, it shows complex nose of white pepper, fennel and concentrated raspberry, strawberry and dark cherries. Textbook cocoa powder-style tannins on the palate, which are balanced by fresh acidity and a long finish.

Willunga 100 'The Tithing' Grenache 2016
McLaren Vale, South Australia

Willunga 100’s flagship wine – this expression of Grenache is rich and intense. It has a powerful savoury nose and a smooth, full bodied palate, with notes of dark mulberries, blackberries and wild strawberries, alongside hints of smoke and a savoury tang.

Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel 2015
California, USA

From Zinfandel masters Seghesio, this wine is often used as a benchmark for Sonoma, and it is easy to see why. The lush concentrated dark fruits and sweet vanilla spice is balanced with fresh acidity and muscular tannins.

Sandeman 10 Year Old Tawny Port
Douro, Portugal

Sandeman’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port punches above its weight – it is best served chilled, in a tulip-shaped wine glass in order to allow the aromas a chance to express themselves. It is very complex for a 10 Year Old – a combination of dried apricots, almonds with a touch of vanilla pod and raisins, and finishes long, the residual sugar, alcohol and acidity delicately balanced on the palate.

Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV
Victoria, Australia

A seriously decadent sweet treat – luscious and rich, with lifted rose petal notes on the nose, and dried apricot, raisins and caramel on the palate.