The Unicorn Slayer Came to Town Today ~ The Tenerife Odyssey Resurrected Tasting Vidueno 2016…

I make no secret that I enjoy drinking (slaying) unicorn wines! Some people get annoyed by even the mention of the term but I just love how evocative the word is. Of all Roberto Envinate and his team’s wines, this has got to be the rarest. Only 3 barrels of 228l were produced, all of which went to the USA and Mexico. The fruit all came from one unique terroir and is a blend of all the varieties (vidueno) that are planted in that vineyard, which is how wine was traditionally made.

This is a superb blend of 50% Listan Blanco, 45% Listan Prieto, and 5% Tintilla from vines of over 100 years old. This was bottled in July 2017 with no Sulphur additions.

Vidueno de Santiago del Teide 2016, A Chingao Vineyards & Envinate, DO Ycoden Daute Isora, Tenerife, 12 Abv.

When you know you are drinking a rarity, a wine does perhaps taste even better, or does the anticipation just awaken your taste buds a little? This beautiful blend is an alluring crushed cherry red with a smokey ruby depth. The nose is fairly reserved and restrained at first, even reductive, as you’d expect on an old vine 2016 wine from Tenerife. You do catch glimpses of the volcanic terroir with a dusty sweet cherry nose, crushed basalt and subtle peppery bramble berry spice. The palate is tantalisingly fresh and energetic, like a young tea total yoga instructor ready to put you through your paces at 6.30am in the morning. The texture is sleek, taught, vibrant and slightly lean, but all the better for it. Lovely layers of basalt and crushed gravel minerality melt into a complex pithy cranberry fruit medley with yet more red cherry and sour red plum fruit notes. This wine tastes like summer, even in the depths of winter. It’s so delicious, mouth watering and cool fruited, finishing with a lovely dry powdery chalky tannin grip. Long last since I tasted a wine that excited me this much, not because of its grandeur and flamboyance, but perhaps because of the lack there of. This wine challenges you, asks you questions… and the answers are all positive. Really, really lovely Roberto!

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Reyneke Natural Chenin Blanc 2016 ~ Quite Simply One of the Best Chenin Blancs Tasted in 2017…

Natural wines do sometimes struggle to preserve purity and varietal typicity on the finished product. However, this superb Chenin Blanc from Reyneke Wines not only combines minimalist natural zero sulphur winemaking with great organic and biodynamic certified fruit but also conjures up a wine with wonderful purity, expression and energy.

The maiden 2016 Reyneke Natural Chenin Blanc comes from a vineyard parcel almost 70 years old next to Johan Reyneke’s house in Stellenbosch. Another recently acquired adjacent vineyard that also contains Chenin Blanc of around 38 years old was also used in this release.

The grapes were fermented in French barriques with no lees stirring and with a pH of approximately 2.9 and an alcohol of 12.5 Abv, no sulphur additions were required, making this a Bona Fide natural wine.

Reyneke Wines Natural Chenin Blanc 2016, Stellenbosch, 12.5 Abv.

On the nose there are complex notes of pithy yellow peach stone fruit, honey, bruleed oranges, tangerine peel and seductive salty briney notes. Positively bursting with energy and vibrancy, the palate is the near perfect portrait of mouth watering yellow citrus and pithy summer orchard fruit intensity with delicious crystalline acids, citrus peel zest, spicy ginger and a stony granitic minerality on the finish. This wine is beautifully conceived and expertly executed. Natural or not, this is one of the most enjoyable Chenin Blancs I have drunk in 2017.

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Tasting Domaine des Miroirs Sonorite du Vent 2013 Chardonnay Les Saugettes, Vin de France, Jura, France, 12.5 Abv.

The popularity of Jura wines has been exploding over the past few years as consumers turn their attentions away from stratospherically priced, impossible to buy Burgundy. However, the problem with this is that many, if not most of the top domaines in the Jura are also tiny and only produce small amounts of wine.


So when it comes to unicorn Jura wines, there are none more rare and sought after than Japanese producer Kenjiro Kagami, who owns 3 hectares  in the Grusse area of Jura. Mentored by the Ganevats and Bruno Schueller, Kenjiro crafts some extraordinarily fine wines that seem nearly impossible to find. This 100% Chardonnay is made from organically grown grapes, which are vinified and then left on their lees for 12 months with no sulphur added during any stages of the winemaking.


A medium dark yellow straw colour that is slightly hazy. The aromatics are explosive, with lemon peel, oranges in cognac, bruised yellow peaches, summer orchard fruits and an intense, liquid minerality of wet limestone and dusty crushed granite. The palate begins with upfront yellow peach, saline alka seltzer zest, yellow citrus notes and waxy apples before shifting into fifth gear and offering up notes of exotic botanicals, incense, dried herbs, white peach, grapefruit and vermouth like complexity. The wine is balanced, harmonious and deliciously fresh, but also intriguing, multi-dimensional and impressively concentrated, all at 12.5 Abv ripeness. The fruit and minerality coat the palate leaving no corner of the mouth untouched. The longer the wine sits in the glass, the more it grows in complexity. The finish is unctuous and vibrantly fresh with sweet / sour peach and sour yellow plum notes melding beautifully with herbs in liquor and exotic botanical spices. A really profound Jura expression, it is easy to see why Kenjiro Kagami’s wines are now some of the most collectable and sought after unicorn wines produced. 

(Wine Safari Score: 96+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)


The Tenerife Wine Odyssey ~ Tasting the Second Vintage of Cult Wine Envinate Benje Tinto 2016 Ahead of Its Release…

This is only the second release of the Benje Tinto, made from grapes assembled from 15 growers on the same terroir as the Benje Blanco, in the vineyards of Santiago del Teide. The vineyards have both white and red varieties interplanted, so they are picked separately at optimal ripeness. The red varieties in the vineyards are mostly Listan Prieto (90%) otherwise known as Pais in Chile or Mission in California. The rest of the grapes are Tintilla (aka Maturana de Navarrete in Rioja). 


The grapes from 15 terroirs are vinified separately in concrete tanks and small open top fermenters. The wine is then aged for 8 months in neutral 228 litre barrels and the 2016 was only just bottled in July 2017.



Envinate Benje Tinto 2016, Ycoden-Daute-Isora DO, Tenerife, 12 Abv.

What strikes you instantaneously about this wine is how opulent and expressive it is on both the nose and palate, showing the real generosity of the 2016 vintage. The Taganan 2016 Tinto was also a thoroughly attractive expression, however, the Benje Tinto 2016 is an altogether more serious affair. The nose is rich and opulent with raspberry confit and sweet red cherries personified. Everything about this wine indicates the volume turned up to 10. Such pretty fragrance of violets, sweet cherry blossom and cherry kirsch liquor notes abound. The palate is so noble, elegant, supremely balanced and fresh, with such sour red plum vibrancy, red cranberry and sappy bramble berry red fruit nuances. The wine is both linear, tart, intense and severe, and yet so deliciously attractive and seductive, willing you back constantly for another sip. Probably slightly less crunchy than the 2015, lighter weight but more fleshy and finessed in style, thoroughly ageable and certainly collectable. Drink now to 2030+

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)


Will be available to the UK trade from Indigo Wines and from selected fine wine stockists. 

Wining and dining at London’s Primeur restaurant…

Birthday festivities continued this weekend unabated with a surprise visit to Primeur restaurant and wine bar in Stoke Newington, London N5.

I’d heard much about it but never thought it would be my wife that takes me there! A 45 minute direct train ride from Richmond to Canonbury made it a simple journey on Guy Fawkes night.


We started off the evening with a little complimentary pet nat NV from Malibran in Veneto (87/100) before moving on to some Papin Muscadet 2015 that was fresh, salty, briney and minerally laden (88+/100). A little Austrian Sauvignon Blanc 2011 from Zweytick was all elderflower cordial, white peaches, and crunchy green apples with lovely depth, flesh and balance (90/100).


These whites perfectly complimented our starters of Jamon de Feruel and our slow cooked pumpkin and cavolo nero with lentils. 


A little le Grappin Rose from Burgundy was an altogether more challenging wine with salty flor sherry notes, acetone, and plenty of lifted VA strawberry fruit. An acquired taste for sure (86/100).


Delving deeper into the wine list yielded some Cuvee Madelan Nature from JF Ganevat. A beautiful Gamay driven blend with zero sulphur additions, this lovely 2014 red was vibrant and bright, with layers of stewed wild strawberries and kirsch cherry liquor (92/100).


The coq au vin and pork belly mains were expertly prepared, finely seasoned and very good indeed. Top quality nosh with some energetic, vibrant Vin de Soif. The pork belly was finished off with a Cinsault Blend from St Martin in the Rhone with a seamless, satin soft texture, and beautiful harmonious red fruit purity and balance (90/100).


Rather oddly, Primeur don’t serve any hot drinks… no teas or coffees, so our chestnut tart with creme fraiche was served with a final glass of Gamay “No Control” from the Auvergne. A spritzy, vibrant, fresh glass of light plummy red (88/100).


I have to say, quite an inspired choice for a birthday dinner. The food was really outstanding and the service relaxed but very attentive and friendly. After a long Friday lunch of Michelin starred food and the greatest French wine classics yesterday, an evening at Primeur drinking accessible “low intervention” wines went down a treat.