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Cabernet Sauvignon

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Berton Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 96 points and rare Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2017 edition review of New World Cabernet Sauvignons (see blue link below) in which it emerged as the runaway Number One.

Berton Reserve 2014 - April 2017 Decanter review

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard is one of Hallgarten's most important partners. The estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

Good winter rainfall was a perfect start to the 2016 growing season. Above average temperatures resulted in early budburst with most varieties. The mild to warm and dry conditions continued with good rainfall in both November and December producing ideal conditions for véraison. February saw the arrival of hot dry weather and with no rainfall or disease pressure, ripening accelerated rapidly resulting in an early harvest for the reds. The 2016 reds are stand outs - rich ripe juicy wines with great length and great depth of colour.

The grapes come from two parcels of fruit within the same vineyard, in the prized Terra Rossa region of Coonawarra. One block is on a slightly more elevated area of the vineyard, which produces more subtle fruit characters. The warm days are moderated by off-shore breezes and the rich red loam over free draining limestone soil is the foundations for the Coonawarra's justified reputation for producing premium quality Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

The grapes were fermented in stainless vertical sweep arm fermenters for 10 days between 22 ° and 28°C on premium French oak until dry. Each parcel of wine was then pressed at 0.5 Baumé through a bag press and clarified via centrifuge into stainless steel storage tanks. The parcels were then transferred into new and old French (90%) and American (10%) oak barrels for 12 months. Only the best parcels were selected and carefully blended to arrive at this exceptional wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon 99%, Shiraz 1%.

This shows intense and generous black fruit aromas with hints of chocolate, eucalyptus and mint. The Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet has an impenetrable black colour with a vibrant garnet hue. The aromas are powerful and complex with a wealth of fruit ranging from ripe blackcurrant and blackberries with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. The rich and harmonious palate displays abundant flavours of prune, plum jam and mint, underpinned by fine toasty French oak and defined by a soft yet dense tannin profile.

ABV = 14.5%.

£12.85

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Apalta 2015 (1x 75cl)

The Caballo Loco Grands Crus were created by Valdivieso to show the different wines that are fundamental components of the icon Caballo Loco wine. For this reason, specific wines from specific valleys wine were born, where each strain/blend reflects the maximum expression of that valley.

One can arguably see these wines as understudies for the "true" Caballo Loco, but they are more than that, being quite superb - and full-throttle - wines in their own right, made with all the care, attention and know-how of the NV/"solera" version.

This Grand Cru Apalta represents all the fruit power and smoothness of the Colchagua Valley, with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Apalta 2015 - fiche technique

£24.00

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Sagrada Familia 2016 (1x 75cl)

The Caballo Loco Grands Crus were created by Valdivieso to show the different wines that are fundamental components of the icon Caballo Loco wine. For this reason, specific wines from specific valleys wine were born, where each strain/blend reflects the maximum expression of that valley.

One can arguably see these wines as understudies for the "true" Caballo Loco, but they are more than that, being quite superb - and full-throttle - wines in their own right, made with all the care, attention and know-how of the NV/"solera" version.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves (new 2016 data sheet expected imminently).

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Sagrada Familia 2016 - fiche technique

This Grand Cru Sagrada Familia represents all the fruit power and smoothness of the Curico Valley (and specifically the Sagrada Famila DO within it) with a blend of Cabernet Franc (43%), Petit Verdot (43%), 7% Syrah and 7% Carmenere.

£24.00

Catena Appellation (Agrelo) Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (1x75cl)

In 1902, Nicola Catena, an Italian immigrant, planted his first vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina. The winery has remained under family control — now in its fourth generation — and is one of the few family-owned wine companies in Argentina that remains in Argentine hands. Owned today by Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura, Bodega Catena Zapata is known as the pioneer of fine wine from Argentina, and Nicolás is recognized as the vintner who revolutionized wine quality in Argentina. A trained economist, Nicolás began this revolution in the early 1980s and continues to challenge himself and his team to make wines that can be counted among the best in the world. His measured approach to viticulture has taken its place in wine history as the pioneer of Malbec and high-altitude viticulture.

Catena wines, first launched in 1992, set a new standard for quality in South America. The wines immediately proved the quality potential of Argentina and garnered the first outstanding reviews for Argentine wines from worldwide media. After more than 20 years, the wines of Catena continue to lead the way in Argentine viticulture and winemaking. The family and the winery’s employees take great pride in carrying on the tradition that began over a century ago.

See/click the link below for data on this wine from the winemakers themselves.

Catena Appellation Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 - fiche technique

The nose offers intense aromas of black pepper, blackcurrant fruit with layers of cedar, and a touch of fresh herbs like thyme. The mouthfeel is full and rich with layers of cassis flavors and notes of black pepper, leather and vanilla. The finish is bright and fresh with finely grained tannins.

£14.45

Catena Zapata Nicolas 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) at their February 2019 Catena tasting (see blue link below).

Catena Zapata Nicolas 2015 - Feb 2019 Decanter review

The inaugural 1997 vintage of this Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec blend set a new standard of quality for wines from South America when it won a series of blind tastings against first growths and other prestigious cuvées from around the world. Indeed, it featured as one of Decanter's Wine Legends in Octover 2018 (see blue link below).

Catena Zapata Nicolas 1997 - Decanter Wine Legend October 2018

“The 2015 Nicolás has the highest ever percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, with 17% Malbec for company and is a stunning blend that’s right up there with some of the best vintages of the wine. Floral, minty and refined, it has subtle, spicy oak, notes of green herbs and red fruits, tangy acidity and remarkable palate length. One for the cellar.” Tim Atkin MW, 96 points, 5th Jan 2018.

In 1902, Nicola Catena, an Italian immigrant, planted his first vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina. The winery has remained under family control — now in its fourth generation — and is one of the few family-owned wine companies in Argentina that remains in Argentine hands. Owned today by Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura, Bodega Catena Zapata is known as the pioneer of fine wine from Argentina, and Nicolás is recognized as the vintner who revolutionized wine quality in Argentina. A trained economist, Nicolás began this revolution in the early 1980s and continues to challenge himself and his team to make wines that can be counted among the best in the world. His measured approach to viticulture has taken its place in wine history as the pioneer of Malbec and high-altitude viticulture.

Catena wines, first launched in 1992, set a new standard for quality in South America. The wines immediately proved the quality potential of Argentina and garnered the first outstanding reviews for Argentine wines from worldwide media. After more than 20 years, the wines of Catena continue to lead the way in Argentine viticulture and winemaking. The family and the winery’s employees take great pride in carrying on the tradition that began over a century ago.

Nicolás Catena Zapata has an intense, deep purple color with bluish-black tones. On the nose, aromas of black fruits – blackberries, black cherries, black plums – predominate with subtle notes of vanilla and dark chocolate intermingled with savory hints of green olive and a stony minerality. On the palate, the wine is tremendously complex, unfolding layer upon layer of red currant, eucalyptus, and black pepper flavours. Black cherries and blackberries give way to cassis followed by a hint of saline minerality. The wine is remarkably concentrated with a firm tannic structure providing the backbone for the lush fruit. The finish is long, giving some idea of the very long aging potential of this Argentine masterpiece.

This wine is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Malbec.

See/click the link below for more data from the winemakers themselves.

Catena Zapata Nicolas 2015 - fiche technique

£66.50

Charles Smith Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (1x75cl)

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Charles Smith.

Charles Smith Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 - fiche technique

As the maker says: "A lot of the full-bodied Cabs out there are either full of themselves or just full of it. Not Chateau Smith. It stays true to the old-world winemaking style from Bordeaux and honest to everyone who drinks it. And while we don’t actually have a chateau…this award-winning dry Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% the real deal".

More conventionally expressed: This wine is made by Charles Smith, a self–taught winemaker who brings his rock and roll spirit to the vineyards of Walla Walla, Washington. As a romantic young man, Charles Smith moved across the world to Denmark to follow his love for his girlfriend at the time. In Scandinavia, he became a recognized manager for rock bands such as The Raveonettes. While travelling on the road with these bands, he developed his passion for wine. In 1999, he moved back to Washington, opened a wine store and became friendly with a French winemaker, later convincing him to move to Walla Walla to make wine together.

From the first aromas of black fruit, pencil lead and forest floor, you’re in for something special. This is a benchmark of dry Pacific Northwest Bordeaux-esque Cabernet Sauvignon - with intense flavor, depth and complexity. This is a wine long and rich in the mouth. Aromas of black cherry, wet earth, anise and a touch of toasted herbs with flavors and a finish to match. 

"This is a fresh, extremely drinkable wine that is and incredible value for the money. The tannins are silky and there is a nice amount of acidity that balances out the fruit. There is also a nice herbal note in the background that make this wine very savory". (www.vinepair.com)

"Coming from a downright hot vintage, this wine offers quite pure aromas of black currant and black fruit. The palate brings more of the same, giving a very pure unencumbered-by-new-oak look at Washington Cabernet. Lightly grippy tannins provide support". (Wine Enthusiast)

£19.20

Chateau Belingard Bergerac Rouge Reserve 2016 (1x75cl)

Laurent and Sylvie de Bosredon have modernised Château Bélingard both in the vineyards and the cellars, while ensuring they take care of their vineyard and its environment. The philosophy at Château Bélingard is summed up in their own words: "The generations that went before, within their own era, at their own pace, and with their own views, shaped the soul of Bélingard."

The vineyards used for this wine are located on on rolling countryside to the left bank of the Dordogne Valley with clay and limestone soil. This wine is made using Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

The grapes are picked from a selection of old vines. After the harvest, grapes are put into stainless steel vats for 24 days of maceration with the must being pumped over  several times a day during the alcoholic fermentation. Then malolactic fermentation takes place in vats before wine is transferred into French oak barrels (30% new) and matured for 13 months. After racking, the wine is bottled.

This wine has a beautiful deep colour with a ruby tint. The  floral aromas on the nose are supported by red berries and balsamic notes. In the mouth, the taste is round supple and intense with red fruits flavours which also have a full well-balanced tannin structure. It is a very smooth wine with a long lasting aftertaste. This wine can be left for around 8 - 10 years before drinking. This wine pairs well with poultry, (turkey, duck) red meat, roasts, game and good cheese.

£10.85

Chateau Ksara Rouge 2016 (1x 75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2019 Claret Alternatives article (see blue link below)

Chateau Ksara 2015 - February 2019 Decanter review

Château Ksara is Lebanon's oldest winery. Its traditions can be traced back to 1857 when a group of Jesuit monks acquired the property. The Jesuits applied their knowledge of science and agriculture to plant French vines as well as developing two kilometres of Roman caves that proved ideal for the storage of wine. The Jesuits sold the winery to its current owners in 1973. Ksara is now the most modern winery in the region as well as the largest producer in the country. Their annual production is over 2.8 million bottles and they sell their wines in more than 40 countries worldwide. Château Ksara is certified ISO 9001 and ISO 2200.00 for its viticulture, production and sales guaranteeing quality and consistency year on year.

The 2016 vintage saw a very mild summer with 760 mm of rainfall, resulting in even ripening. The grapes were in excellent condition at harvest time and resulted in balanced wines with concentrated flavour.

Ksara's vineyards are located in the central and western Bekaa Valley at an average altitude of 1,000 metres. The Bekaa enjoys dry summers and has the advantage of its own natural water table, courtesy of the melting snow that runs off the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountain ranges; therefore no irrigation is needed in the vineyards. The slopes on either side of the valley and the valley itself create a unique microclimate in which the cool nights compensate for the hot summer days. The soils are stony with chalk, clay or limestone based. Vines are either double Guyot or cordon trained and their grapes can be considered to be grown organically because of the very limited used of sulphur-based pesticides. Harvesting is manual and the standard yield of the vineyards is between 40 and 45 hectolitres per hectare.

60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot.

The grapes were destemmed and each varietal was fermented separately at controlled temperatures of 28 to 30°C. The wines were left to rest for 14 to 20 days before malolactic fermentation took place. The free run and press wine from each variety were kept in separate vats before being racked off the lees and transferred to new oak casks for approximately 12 months. The wines were racked and tasted before blending, fining and bottling. The wine was then bottle-aged for a further two years prior to release.

Vibrant, fruity aromas of raspberries and blackcurrant are supported by a wisp of vanilla. On the palate, it has power and length with balanced and mellow tannins that get softer with time, taking on leathery and cedar characters. Complex and rich with good length. Serve with game, red meat or fish cooked in red wine. This wine should be allowed to settle and be opened a while before serving.

£18.35

Chateau Los Boldos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (1x75cl)

Chateau Los Boldos was founded in 1991 and is situated 100km south of Santiago in the foothills of the Cachapoal Andes. Working with a portion of old vines originally planted in 1948, their focus from an early stage has been on the production of premium wines. The estate has been transformed since being purchased by Sogrape in 2008. Renowned soil scientist and viticultural consultant Pedro Parra (of Clos des Fous) was brought in to assess the plots and match the right variety to the different soils around the estate. The type of rootstock, planting density, orientation and the frequency of irrigation were all within Pedro’s remit, and the results – significantly improved grapes – are now being seen in the wines, especially since Victor Arce, previously of Perez Cruz, joined as winemaker in 2015.

Los Boldos has 170 hectares of vineyards which benefit from a Mediterranean climate. The clear, bright skies during the summer and the high diurnal temperature range are ideal for growing fruit that maintains fresh acidity while ripening to perfection. The nearby Cachapoal river also moderates temperatures, while stony alluvial soils in the vineyard ensure low yields.  Los Boldos makes wine exclusively from their own vineyards, therefore controlling everything from grape to bottle. The wines for the Grande Réserve range are produced with hand-harvested grapes sourced from vineyards that are more than 15 years old.

Due to El Niño weather patterns, 2016 had a relatively cool growing season with heavy rains in April. This reduced yields but also lengthened the ripening season, allowing for the slow maturation of grapes which benefitted flavour development.

The must saw three days of maceration in stainless steel tanks to aid colour and flavour extraction from the grape before undergoing a 20 day fermentation and further maceration at 25-28°C. The wine spent 10 months in French oak barrels before bottling.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The wine’s intense ruby colour echoes its aromas of cherry, plum and cassis, with touches of leather and smoke. The palate is fantastically balanced, with ripe tannins and a long persistent finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£13.25

Chateau Los Boldos Tradition Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (1x75cl)

Château Los Boldos was founded in 1991 and is situated 100km south of Santiago in the foothills of the Cachapoal Andes. Working with a portion of old vines originally planted in 1948, the focus from the onset has been on the production of premium wines. The estate has been transformed since it was purchased by Sogrape in 2008. Renowned soil scientist and viticultural consultant Pedro Parra (of Clos des Fous) was brought in to assess the plots and match the right variety to the different soils around the estate. The type of rootstock, planting density, orientation and the frequency of irrigation were all within Pedro’s remit, and the results are now being seen in the wines, especially since Victor Arce, previously of Perez Cruz, joined as winemaker in 2015.

Los Boldos has 170 hectares of vineyards which benefit from a Mediterranean climate. The clear, bright skies during the summer and the wide diurnal temperature range are ideal for growing fruit that maintains fresh acidity whilst ripening to perfection. The nearby Cachapoal river also moderates temperatures, while stony alluvial soils in the vineyard ensure low yields. Los Boldos makes wine exclusively from their own vineyards, therefore controlling everything from grape to bottle.

2017 was notable for the drastic fires that spread across large areas of Chile in the first part of the year. Fortunately there was no damage to the Cachapoal Andes area. A generally warm summer produced ripe fruit flavours and the grape harvest started earlier than usual.

Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks over a period of eight days at temperatures of 25-28°C. After malolactic fermentation, the wine was aged in French and American oak for four months prior to bottling.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Deep ruby red in colour, this wine has ripe red fruit aromas of wild strawberries and redcurrants mingling with black cherry fruit characters and hints of spice from oak ageing. The palate is balanced and fresh, with integrated tannins and an elegant finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£9.35

Chateau Musar Hochar Pere et Fils Red 2016 (1x75cl)

Hochar Père et Fils is sourced from specially selected vineyards near the village of Aana in the Bekaa Valley, characterised by deep, gravelly soil over a limestone base. Low yields (25-30 hectolitres per hectare) result in concentrated wines and the altitude keeps the average yearly temperatures at around 25º C, encompassing cold, snowy winters, mild springs and hot summers.

To see Chateau Musar's excellent tasting note and information on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Château Musar Hochar Pére et Fils 2015 - fiche technique

£20.90

Chateau Musar Red 1998 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS BOUGHT IN RESPONSE TO CUSTOMER ORDERS. STOCKS AT THE UK IMPORTER ARE NOW VERY LOW. WHILST WE DO NOT EXPECT ANY DIFFICULTIES IN OBTAINING THIS WINE (AND IT ARRIVES WITH US IN 3-4 DAYS), WE DO RECOMMEND CALLING US BEFORE/WHEN ORDERING TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT. **

The wines of Chateau Musar are unique expressions from a country with an ancient wine-making culture, as vines have been cultivated in Lebanon's high altitude Bekaa Valley for over 6000 years. In 1930, at just 20 years old, Gaston Hochar founded Chateau Musar, inspired by Lebanon’s winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux. 

Seven years in the making, Chateau Musar Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault from vineyards near the Bekaa Valley villages of Aana and Kefraya on gravelly soils over limestone. Planted from the 1930s onwards, yields are low from these mature bushvines (average age: 40 years).

To see Chateau Musar's excellent tasting note and information on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Château Musar 1998 - fiche technique

See also this video (1'15") for more details on this iconic wine.

ABV = 13.5%.

£36.55

Chateau Musar Red 1999 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS BOUGHT IN RESPONSE TO CUSTOMER ORDERS. STOCKS AT THE UK IMPORTER ARE NOW VERY LOW. WHILST WE DO NOT EXPECT ANY DIFFICULTIES IN OBTAINING THIS WINE (AND IT ARRIVES WITH US IN 3-4 DAYS), WE DO RECOMMEND CALLING US BEFORE/WHEN ORDERING TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT. **

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in an online article "Chateau Musar - Defying Time" published in January 2018 (see blue link below).

Chateau Musar Red 1999 - January 2018 Decanter online review

The wines of Chateau Musar are unique expressions from a country with an ancient wine-making culture, as vines have been cultivated in Lebanon's high altitude Bekaa Valley for over 6000 years. In 1930, at just 20 years old, Gaston Hochar founded Chateau Musar, inspired by Lebanon’s winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux. 

Seven years in the making, Chateau Musar Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault from vineyards near the Bekaa Valley villages of Aana and Kefraya on gravelly soils over limestone. Planted from the 1930s onwards, yields are low from these mature bushvines (average age: 40 years).

To see Chateau Musar's excellent tasting note and information on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Château Musar 1999 - fiche technique

See also this video (1'15") for more details on this iconic wine.

ABV = 14.2%.

£35.20

Chateau Musar Red 2000 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS BOUGHT IN RESPONSE TO CUSTOMER ORDERS. STOCKS AT THE UK IMPORTER ARE NOW VERY LOW. WHILST WE DO NOT EXPECT ANY DIFFICULTIES IN OBTAINING THIS WINE (AND IT ARRIVES WITH US IN 3-4 DAYS), WE DO RECOMMEND CALLING US BEFORE/WHEN ORDERING TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT. **

The wines of Chateau Musar are unique expressions from a country with an ancient wine-making culture, as vines have been cultivated in Lebanon's high altitude Bekaa Valley for over 6000 years. In 1930, at just 20 years old, Gaston Hochar founded Chateau Musar, inspired by Lebanon’s winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux. 

Seven years in the making, Chateau Musar Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault from vineyards near the Bekaa Valley villages of Aana and Kefraya on gravelly soils over limestone. Planted from the 1930s onwards, yields are low from these mature bushvines (average age: 40 years).

To see Chateau Musar's excellent tasting note and information on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Château Musar 2000 - fiche technique

See also this video (1'15") for more details on this iconic wine.

ABV = 13.5%.

£33.30

Chateau Musar Red 2012 (1x 75cl)

The 2011 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2019 Claret Alternatives article; (see blue link below)

Chateau Musar 2011 - February 2019 Decanter review

The wines of Chateau Musar are unique expressions from a country with an ancient wine-making culture, as vines have been cultivated in Lebanon's high altitude Bekaa Valley for over 6000 years. In 1930, at just 20 years old, Gaston Hochar founded Chateau Musar, inspired by Lebanon’s winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux. 

Seven years in the making, Chateau Musar Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault (see fiche technique below for greater detail) from vineyards near the Bekaa Valley villages of Aana and Kefraya on gravelly soils over limestone. Planted from the 1930s onwards, yields are low from these mature bushvines (average age: 40 years).

Equal thirds of Cinsault, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon.

To see Chateau Musar's excellent tasting note and information on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Château Musar 2012 - fiche technique

See also this video (1'15") for more details on this iconic wine.

ABV = 14.5%.

£29.50
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