Four aromatic whites were on offer, and all were excellent. The Bel Canto Riesling 2010 is a weighty and substantially fruited dryish Riesling, with its standout funky flinty characters that are nearly OTT. It’s a heroic style that works. I personally prefer the ‘estate’ Riesling 2009, pure with a suggestion of hedonism to its ripe yellow floral, honey and citrus notes and some toasty development. Available for tasting was the Pinot Gris 2011, not normally available in retail shops. With its 40 g/L rs, it’s decidedly sweet and luscious, with strong stonefruit and pear flavours. Palate presence is assisted by the sugar here. The Gewurztraminer 2010 has classical rose-petal, spice and ginger varietal flavour, with tight line and density, and real drive. It too carries a complexing thread of flintiness from lees and reduction.
The fully botrytised wines need only be poured in small amounts to be fully appreciated, but their decadence meant that we were pouring for many tasters more than one sample! The ‘Encore’ Noble Riesling 2009 in 375 ml bottle is very well-packed with deeply concentrated marmalade, musk and honey flavours, but fine acidity prevents cloying or any flabbiness. Tasting it, one recognises it is special, and the description ‘nectar’ is more than apt. The ‘Finale’ Noble Semillon 2010 also in 375 ml bottle, is an altogether different expression of botrytis and fruit. Ripe, fat and oily textured, not the aromatic florals, but more waxy and lush citrus-lanolin amalgam, caramel and nutty oak in the background. This is Sauternes material for sure.