There are some wines that get us very excited here at Baythorne Wines, and the Passo Antico is certainly one of them. Few wines combine such vibrant flavours, rich texture and exception value for money.
Here are the headlines: Appassimento method, 100 year old vines, full bodied, flavoursome, fresh and a rare Sardinian wine at this price.
The wine is one of the growing number of Italian wines made in the appassimento style, whereby at least a portion of the grapes are air-dried following harvest to intensify the flavour and sugars. This ensures a depth of flavour, but what is so appealing about the Passo Antico is that it hasn't reduced the freshness and vibrancy, and neither has it resulted in either excessive sweetness or high alcohol levels that can happen. What we have here is something of a Sardinian masterpiece.
The dominant grape is Cannonau (the Sardinian name for Grenache) blended with Carignan and Barbera Sarda (only found on Sardinia). It's made by Cantina Bortolato Emanuela, a mainland Italian producer based in Veneto, but working with wineries dotted around the country and islands. They produce exceptional wines and this one shows an intense aroma of stewed autumnal fruits, and on the palate it's fairly full bodied, with an intense flavour of damson and fresh summer fruit notes in the background.
This is a wine that should be in everyone's wine rack.
2018 Hopes End Red, Angove Estate, South Australia, Australia
Angove Family Winemakers is a fifth generation South Australian family winery with a passion for crafting iconic and single vineyard wines from McLaren Vale as well as a selection of premium wines from some of South Australia's great wine growing regions.Soft lush boysenberry marmalade and cherry jam laced with subtle new oak. This red blend is intriguing and indulgent. Silky velvet smooth on the palate, showing hints of vanilla and chocolate, with a long, lingering length. Perfect with steak or hearty pasta dishes.
2020 Cotes de Provence Rose, Henri Gaillard, Provence, France
This is a delightfully clean, fresh and invigorating rose, great for al fresco dining, and also a delicious accompaniment to fish dishes and southern French cuising the year round. It has that delightful delicate pink colour that Provence Rose is famed for, and the floral and summer berry aromas just add further enticement. The palate is fresh and dominated with vibrant summer berries with a hint of stone fruit in the background. This really is classic Provence Rose, but at a price point below many of its competitors.
2020 Pays de l'Aude Rouge, Le Havre de Paix, Languedoc, France
This friendly red from the Aude Valley is just what you expect from Southern France. It's light, fruity and very easy drinking. The berry fruit and gentle texture make this the perfect wine to have in the wine rack. It's a lovely glass on its own and great with lighter dishes.
2018 Cotes du Rhone, Chateau de Domazan, Rhone Valley, France
Château de Domazan was built in the 14th century in the middle of Côte du Rhône vineyard, nearby Avignon.
The ground is covered with large pebbles that were rolled and rounded on the old Rhône bed. These pebbles that can weigh up to 30 kg are very beneficial to the grapes because they provide excellent conditions for ripening. They store up the heat from the sun during the day and release it slowly through the mild summer nights.
This is an excellent value Cotes du Rhone with a floral and spicy aroma. On the palate it is nicely rounded with a concentrated red berry flavour.
2020 Costieres de Nimes Rose, Chateau de Fabregues, Rhone Valley, France
Few wines are packaged in such an elegant and striking bottle, yet there is far more to this wine than looks alone. The innovative glass stopper makes it easy to get into, and then you are greeted with a wealth of floral and stone fruit aromas. It has a little more weight than some of its neighbouring roses in Provence, and it has the depth of fruit to match. Stone fruits dominate, with a hint of strawberry in the background. This is a year-round rose to enjoy with tastes of the Mediterranean, and the weather too if we get some!
2017 Capeman S M G, Darling Cellars, Darling, South Africa
A well-balanced wine with great drinkability. Serve with oven roasted lamb or smoked duck. From dry land, bush vines, this red blend displays a wide range of flavours including red plums, cherries and fresh crushed black pepper. The entry on the palate is smooth and juicy with a lingering finish. A blend of 42% Shiraz, 30% Mourvedre, 14% Grenache and 14% Carignan.
2019 Luberon Rosé 'Sans Pretention', AOP Luberon, France
Sandwiched between the Rhône Valley and Provence, Luberon produces some of the finest, under the radar, rosés in France. This delicate pink wine gives many more illustrious Provence wines a run for their money. It has that delightful wild red berry nose that southern French wines are famed for, and on the palate there is ripe strawberry and hints of stone fruits. Also beautifully presented, this wine really does stand out as an excellent buy for lovers of Provence rose.
2019 Chemin de Provence Rose, Coteaux d'Aix en Provence, France
Chemin de Provence is a pale rosé by design. On the nose, red fruits like raspberries and strawberries, with more exotic fruits like guava in the background. The palate is fresh and clean, emphasizing ripe strawberries and perfectly balanced acidity.
2019 Cairanne, Domaine Eyverine, Rhone Valley, France
This is a really gutsy Rhone red that really holds its own against some of the wines from its more illustrious neighbours. It's dark in the glass, with aromas of blackcurrant, liquoriceand spice. On the palate it's ripe dark fruit that dominate this rich and full textured wine. Rhone wine lovers should really take note of the Village of Cairanne as it is where some of the best value wines of the Rhone Valley are to be found
2014 Heinrich Shiraz/Mataro/Grenache, Rolf Binder Wines, Barossa Valley, Australia
Named after Rolf Heinrich Binder, founder of the family winery, who dearly loved the blend of Shiraz, Mataro and Grenache.
Brilliant crimson colour, very bright, almost glowing and paling a little at the rim; pure, fragrant aroma at times floral but also showing warm climate richness and ripeness; the palate is much more delicate than that of Shiraz and builds gradually in the mouth and finishes with satisfying, delicious fruit and fine tannins. A blend of 50% Shiraz, 20% Grenache and 30% Mourvèdre.
2019 Vacqueyras, Chateau de Montmirail, Rhone Valley, France
Good Vacqueyras is up there with good Chateauneuf, and this was the best we tried under £20 when choosing our range. It is full bodied and laden with ripe autumnal fruit, a hint of cherry and touch of clove on the finish. It will go extremely well with roasted meats, red meats in particular.
2017 Cru Maury Sec, Chateau des Jaume, Roussillon, France
Maury may be an appellation more famed for its sweet red wines, but this dry red is an absolute triumph. Maury's key variety is Grenache, and that makes up the bulk of the blend here, with a little Carignan added to add additional layers of flavour. On the nose there is a slightly floral note of violets alongside more fruity tones, however on the palate it is layers of dark autumnal fruit with a hint of sweeter raspberry that dominate. It is full bodied and richly textured and on the finish there a gentle spiciness that just adds to the appeal.
This is an exceptional red that should appeal to lovers of classic southern Rhone reds as well as those from Roussillon.
50cl bottle - 2018 Tabula Rasa Red, Wild & Wilder, South Australia
Living up to their name, Wild and Wilder are delighted to present the rule-breaking Tabula Rasa. Each year, the slate is wiped clean and, with no preconceptions, every vintage is original. #V18R draws on fruit from historic vineyards across South Australia, Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro and Carignan, this delicious wine captures the very essence of one season in a playful format that just demands to be drunk. The 2018 edition is lip-smackingly crunchy with vibrant black cherry fruit and exotic spice on the finish.
2020 Grenache/Syrah, Domaine Saint-Paul, Languedoc, France
Domaine Saint-Paul is a fabulous organic estate, located close to Béziers in the commune of Colombiers in the heart of the Languedoc. Their focus is on traditional southern French grape varieties, with a huge amount of emphasis on work carried out in the vineyard to ensure the quality of grapes harvested is absolutely first class.
This hard work has resulted in a trio of exceptional wines. We'd go as far as to say that this estate is one of our most exciting finds in recent years.
The Grenache Syrah is rich, luscious and smooth textured. The deep colour and wonderful aroma of dark fruits with a hint of liquorice suggest a richly flavoured palate to follow and it doesn't disappoint. Layers of dark fruit and spice are brought together in a beautifully textured package. There is so much wine for the money here.
Certified organic and vegan friendly.
2020 Chateauneuf du Pape, Domaine Chartreuse, Rhone Valley, France
This muscular Chateauneuf is robust yet elegant. The aroma of black cherries, blackcurrant and spice leads to a palate that has fine ripe tannins. Flavours of summer berries come through, finishing with a flourish of liquorice and spice.
2007 Chateauneuf Du Pape Cuvee Prestige, Roger Sabon, Rhone Valley, France
'The brilliant 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Prestige (60% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and the balance almost every other authorized red grape of the appellation) is produced from parcels that average 90 years of age or older. It reveals the essence of Provence in its dense plum/purple color and powerful aromatics of sweet creme de cassis, black cherries, licorice, lavender, pepper, and incense. The wine possesses terrific depth, a blockbuster, opulent, multilayered texture, and a finish that lasts nearly 50 seconds. This sensational Châteauneuf du Pape should drink well for 15-20 years.' 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
2017 Pandiculation Red Blend, Rascallion Wines, Western Cape, South Africa
The Word Series draws on Ross’s love of literature, but most especially his love of languages, having lived and worked in so many different countries around the world. Having fun with language is as much a part of human nature as enjoying wine in the company of good friends, no matter which language is being spoken.
A Southern Rhone-inspired blend of high-altitude Shiraz and Grenache blocks in Stellenbosch. A beautiful bouquet of sweet ripe blackberries, infused with a hint of rich plums, combined with delicate white pepper and subtle cinnamon spicy aromas, leads to a richand wonderfully complex palate laden with autumnal fruit and a hint of pepper on the finish.
2020 Cotes de Roussillon Villages 'Infusion', Chateau des Jaume, Roussillon, France
No added sulfites wine.
This exceptionally well priced red from Chateau des Jaume (one of the famous estates of the Roussillon region) is a delight. It's brimming with ripe autumnal hedgerow fruit, with a hint of roasted herbs in the background. The wine is a blend of three grape varieties (Syrah, Grenache and Carignan) and is made without the addition of sulfites.
2020 Cotes de Provence Rose, Domaine de la Rouviere, Provence, France
This premium Provence rose is definitely worth trading up to. It still has the freshness and delicacy that southern French roses are famed for, however, there is greater depth and poise here. The wine has a little more texture than most and layers of ripe fruit on the palate. A very fine rose both as an aperitif and with grilled fish and summery salads.
2019 Vacqueyras, Victor Berard, Rhone Valley, France
A Vacqueyras with exceptional concentration of fruit. It's sweet blackberry and blackcurrant that dominates, and in the background there is a herbal quality that beautifully matches the fruit. It's nicely texture and has a good amount of body without being a real heavyweight, so will appeal to those who like a slightly toned down Rhone Valley red.
Magnum - 2020 Provence Rose, Chateau l'Escarelle, Coteaux Varois en Provence, France
Chateau de L’Escarelle of one of the most prestigious wine estates in the heart of Provence, with 100 hectares of organically certified vineyards set in 1,000 hectares of beautiful woodland.
In the past year this property has made impressive steps to establish itself as a major player of sustainable agriculture in France. In 2016 the estate achieved Haute Valeur Environnementale certification (France’s most stringent environmental certification scheme, level 3), demonstrating their deep-rooted commitment to protecting the natural world. Their vines are planted at up to 500 metres above sea level, hugging the slopes of the Montagne de La Loube and adapting to the estates' clay and limestone soil profile. The terroir’s distinctive character is perfect for creating highly-expressive, elegant Rosé wines.
The ‘Château’ is the most traditional – and the oldest – of their wines. It’s blended in the traditional way, with a short maceration period – these wines are designed to be drunk fairly soon. Dependable, elegant and bursting with fruit. The ideal way to get to know the vineyard and taste the terroir. Delicate and elegant floral aromas with lively minerality on the palate, clean attack and delicious strawberry notes.
2019 Mas dels Frares Red, Vinicola del Priorat, Priorat, Spain
Deep ruby appearance. The nose shows incredible richness despite still being fairly closed. Ripe fruits like blueberries and red plums against a background of cedar and tobacco-leaf notes from the oak. Well-structured with lively acidity, grippy high quality tannins, salinity and smoothing alcohol, ending in a long finish in which oak and fruit continue in excellent balance.
2015 Chateauneuf Du Pape Les Safres, Clos du Caillou, Rhone Valley, France
"A big step up over the base cuvée, the deeper, more purple-hued 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres offers a downright smorgasbord of Provençal herbs, spices, wild strawberries, garrigue, and black cherry aromas and flavors. About as seamless and sexy as they come, with full-bodied richness and building tannin, as well as incredible purity, I just hope it shows this well from bottle!" 93-95pts Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
2017 Chateauneuf-du-Pape 'Cuvee Anonyme', Xavier Vignon, Rhone Valley, France
"Tasted from barrel, the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme adds toasty notes, cedar and vanilla to the whirlwind of fruit Vignon was able to harness in 2017. Blueberries, black cherries and stone fruit notes abound in this plush, full-bodied red that remains silky and focused on the long finish. It looks to be a terrific effort." 95-97pts Wine Advocate
2019 Lirac, Guillaume Gonnet, Rhone Valley, France
The energetic and charismatic Guillaume Gonnet is not your average Rhône winemaker. Extremely open in his attitude, his curious, boundary challenging approach extends beyond wine. He travelled to the far ends of the earth, revelling in the opportunity to surf some of the best waves in the world while learning his craft in various Australian and New Zealand regions.
Returning to the Rhône, now with his Australian wife Kelly, Guillaume has shown similar energy for his family estate and for his own nascent project. This land locked surfer may be miles from the ocean but is happily riding the wave of new found enthusiasm for Grenache based wines. Pursuing biodynamics wherever possible, allowing his fruit to express itself freely through hands-off winemaking and displaying his fascination for the varying soils of the Rhône through his diverse range of wines, he's just the sort of restless creative that we love to work with.
Intense red and black fruits, lots of spices and garrigue (herbs from Provence), soft, elegant tannins developing complex aromas (liquorice, truffle and dark chocolate) with aging.