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Decanter Feb

New Year, New Decanter.

In which are featured some exciting new wines, to us (certainly) and hopefully also to you. It's a month for the Pinot-head, for sure, as the cover is quick to point out...

The wines featured this month in Decanter - and that we list - appear at the foot of this page. The reviews for each wine  appear on each product page.

The two panel reviews this month are certainly in at the quality end.

One is of a review of 2010 top-end Northern Rhône reds: that's Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage and Cornas.

A personal note here: these retrospectives of 2010 have been, at one and the same time, both fascinating and deeply frustrating. Keen readers of Decanter (and this blog) may recall that this tasting time travel has, in the last 12 months, been performed for all of Chianti Classico, RiojaLeft Bank Bordeaux and Californian Cabernet. Fascinating, it is, to see how these fine categories have aged and developed over the decade from such a fine vintage; high scores there are a-plenty. Which is great if you already own these wines. It's deeply frustrating that, in this particular review, none of the top-scorers actually seem to be available: we went hard after those that might be and were at all affordable (mainly the Cornas), only to find that stocks were long since depleted in France. Decanter do, we realise, list suppliers, but these suppliers are those for the more recent/current vintages. If you're looking for these 2010 wines - genuinely - good luck to you. (And if you find any, do let me know, as I'd like some...)

The other panel review is altogether more current-day. It's of New World, single-vineyard Pinot Noirs. Die-hard Burgundy fans may roll their eyeballs at this point, but there are some fine, fine wines here, principally from New Zealand (very principally Martinborough and Central Otago), Chile (especially Leyda), South Africa (the Hemel-en-Ardes) and - to a lesser extent - Oregon, Australia (Victoria and Tasmania) and California. The single-vineyard aspect is interesting. It does, of course, seek to replicate/reflect a structure similar to that of the Burgundian climat and lieu-dit, very much bringing the much-talked-of sense of place/terroir into the equation. As Decanter point out, though, what constitutes a single vineyard can be as long as a piece of string and perhaps the more important aspect here is that the term single-vineyard is largely a synonym for flagship or top-of-range.

What emerges? One Exceptional (98+ points), 6 Outstandings (95+) and 43 Highly Recommendeds (90+). We can offer a handful of these, or close vintage fits to them.

The Exceptional is no surprise, AND IS ALAS SOLD OUT, being Crystallum's Cuvée Cinema 2018 from SA's Hemel-en-Arde valley: this boutique producer have been producing some super-fine Pinots for a decade. Thing is, they're very, very hard to source. We have just a very few bottles to offer, and only one per (very) lucky customer. We see competitors offering this wine in Decanter, but a bit of chasing shows just a handful of bottles actually available for retail, with Crystallum's sole importer directing almost all supply to top-end restaurants (no slight is intended; this is often just how it is with such scarce wines).

We do marginally better with the Outstandings. Two of our favourite, top-end New World producers account for two of them. Alas, Tolpuddle's 2018 from Tasmania is, for now, also all restaurant-bound, and the 96-point, 2017 vintage of Craggy Range's Te Muna Road is not due into the UK for 9 months(+) to ensure the 2016 sells through first (annoying, we know). Believe me, we wanted this one here. Do note, though, that the 2016 is quite excellent, landing, as it did, a Gold medal at DWWA19 and very high praise; how it might have fared in this review we cannot tell as the stipulation of the panel was latest release.

Prime value/best priced among the Outstandings - albeit still £30+ - is the 95-point Schubert Block B 2016 from NZ's Martinborough. Now this, we have in good quantity and it is indeed glorious, rich, concentrated, complex (ie really quite savoury and gamey) and persistent. "A stunning wine" said one panel reviewer. Yup, what he said.

Schubert

Block B Pinot Noir

Wairarapa, 2016

£34.60

If you're really seeking something at less than £20 - and many are - you have to drop to the Highly Recommendeds. From Chile, Viña Leyda's Las Brisas 2018 (92 points) at ~£15 has just arrived in the UK, while Montes' Outer Limits 2017 (also 92 points) - "delicious, classy Pinot" - at £20.20 is a very fine contender.

See also, from NZ, from Marlborough and Otago respectively, Saint Clair's Pioneer Block 14 Doctor's Creek 2017 (92 points, £18.35, "lovely balance of fruit"and the DWWA Gold Wild Earth 2016 (92 points, £21.20, "silky on the palate").

One further addition from us: some may recall the Chilean Pinot review-topper from October - the single-vineyard, Viña Tabali Talinay 2015 - that landed 95 points. We adore this, especially at £17.95. We thought it was all gone in Chile; turns out it isn’t. It didn't get submitted for this New World panel (we surmise owing to the 2015 vintage being almost depleted and the new vintage being not yet on release). We certainly believe it would have fared very well. And we have secured new supplies, now on sale.

Viña Tabali

Talinay Vineyard Pinot Noir

Limari Valley, 2015

£17.95

_

Beyond Pinot Noir, Tandem (of Navarra) produce a great 100% Garnacha at a superb price and it's duly recognised in Weekday Wines.

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Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

** FOR THOSE SEEKING THE 2017 VERSION OF THIS WINE (THAT FARED WELL IN THE FEBRUARY EDITION OF DECANTER), WE HAVE LEARNED THAT CRAGGY RANGE ARE NOW NOT RELEASING THIS WINE IN THE UK UNTIL LATE 2020. LIKE YOU, WE'RE PRETTY DISAPPOINTED.

The forthcoming (not on release in the UK yet) 2017 vintage was awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their February 2020 edition panel tasting of New World, single-vineyard Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2017 - February 2020 Decanter review

THAT SAID, THIS, THE 2016, AS ATTESTED TO HERE - AND FULLY AVAILABLE - IS RATHER FINE. **

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Craggy Range.

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

The grapes for this wine are picked by hand.  The wine is fermented in a combination of stainless steel vats and oak, then is matured for 10 months prior to bottling.

Matt Stafford, the chief winemaker at Craggy range describes the Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir as "a dark and brooding Pinot Noir, grown at our secret place in Martinborough, with a wonderful depth and beauty."

100% Pinot Noir.

The wine has a bright red cherry colour with a crimson hue. Seductive aromas of dark cherry, dried rose petals, thyme and damp earth. Beautifully varietal, elegant and long on the palate. Medium weight red fruit richness and fine-grained tannins are drawn out long across the palate by acidity to create a finish which is savoury and dry.

This wine matches perfectly with duck dishes. It can be cellared for 5-7 years from vintage but only if you can resist opening it before then!

ABV = 13.9%.

£27.40

Tolpuddle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

** WE HAD HOPED TO BRING YOU THE 2018 VINTAGE OF THIS WINE BY NOW; HOWEVER, WE NOW LEARN THAT IT IS NOT - YET, AT LEAST - ON OFFER TO THE UK OFF- (ie NON-RESTAURANT) TRADE FOR SOME MONTHS (even then, amounts available will alas be tiny).

THIS, THE 2017 IS NOW ALSO OUT OF STOCK, THIS PAGE ONLY SERVING TO INFORM CUSTOMERS  AND DECANTER READERS OF THE UNAVAILABILITY OF THIS WINE. **

 

"Vinified with 40% whole bunches in open fermenters, the parcels spending 15-25 days on skins, matured in French barriques (30% new). This is an awesome wine, its bouquet charged with a distilled essence of cherry, strawberry and plum. There's nothing heavy-handed here, just sublime length, offering a virtually limitless future. 98 Points"

James Halliday - Top 100 Wines of 2018 - November 2018

 

"This 6th release of Tolpuddle Vineyard Pinot Noir is the finest work to date, as it shows refinement and true vineyard expression. The fruit aromas are wildly alluring with red and dark cherries, red plums, strawberries, pink grapefruit, blood oranges, peaches and pomegranate. Some light peppery notes and an array of freshly ground, hard brown spices, stony and sappy elements, crushed roses and violets. Very complex. The palate is just as impressive with strikingly resolved mix of power and elegance. Flavours of red and dark cherries, persimmon, plums and blackberries are encased in a sleeve of helix-like tannins, which also carry long and emanate waves of fresh fruit flavour. Intense red cherries and red plums hold the finish long and pure. This is something special. Drink or hold.  99 Points". 

Nick Stock - James Suckling - August 2018

 

The forthcoming (not on release in the UK yet) 2018 vintage was awarded 97 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their February 2020 edition panel tasting of New World, single-vineyard Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Tolpuddle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018 - February 2020 Decanter review

The Tolpuddle Vineyard was purchased by Michael Hill Smith MW and Martin Shaw in 2011. First planted in 1988 by Tony Jordan and Garry Crittenden with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it has since established a reputation for growing exceptional quality grapes. The vineyard took its name from the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who were transported to Australia in 1834 for starting an agrarian union. The leader of the group, George Loveless, spent time working on a property near Richmond called GlenAyr, part of which is now the Tolpuddle vineyard.

The 20-hectare, north-east-facing vineyard is located in the Coal River Valley, which is in a rain shadow, so is dry but cold. The dry climate ensures there is very low disease pressure, which in turn means that they can leave the grapes on the vines for longer to ensure they ripen fully. The soil is light silica over sandstone and of moderate vigour, ensuring well-balanced vines. In 2006 the vineyard won the inaugural Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year award, reflecting the performance of this unique and distinguished site.

The 2017 vintage was amongst the best seen from Tolpuddle Vineyard. There was record rainfall during the growing season, presenting challenges but also ensuring good vine growth and health. Ripening was long and cool and fortunately conditions remained dry and cool right through to harvest, allowing excellent flavour development and natural acid retention.

The grapes were all hand-picked and fermented as a combination of whole berries and whole bunches, in open fermenters, with gentle plunging. The wine was aged in French oak, of which about one third was new.

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

Tolpuddle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 - fiche technique

100% Pinot Noir.

This wine is true to the Tolpuddle Vineyard Pinot Noir style: intensely aromatic, balanced with savoury spice notes from whole-bunch fermentation, along with purity of varietal expression, fresh acidity and firm tannins. It is very perfumed, medium bodied and approachable.

ABV = 13.5%.

£52.75

Schubert Block B Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their February 2020 edition panel tasting of New World, single-vineyard Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Schubert Block B Pinot Noir 2016 - February 2020 Decanter review

Schubert Wines was established by Kai Schubert, a graduate from the Viticulture and Oenology University in Geisenheim, Germany. Working with eminent winemaker Erni Loosen of Bernkastel, Kai gained huge experience working in Europe, the US and South America. In 1998, he acquired a small, established vineyard at Dakins Road, Martinborough. 

Schubert’s philosophy is to craft wines of uncompromising quality that would stand out alongside the finest in the world. Fourteen hectares of vines are closely planted in the traditional, European style and the unique cool climate and long dry autumns help to produce low yields.

Predominantly focused on Pinot Noir, Schubert has expanded plantings to include Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. Small quantities of white grapes are also planted, including Sauvignon Blanc and Müller-Thurgau used to add aromas to the Tribianco blend and a classic late harvest wine. The estate concentrates on ecologically and environmentally friendly organic viticulture. Respect for the terroir results in wines of outstanding character, complexity, balance and grace.

Located within the Wairarapa Valley of Martinborough, the region is cooler and drier than any other on the North Island, and like Marlborough across the Cook Strait, it is exposed to cold winds that funnel in from the southern ocean. 

For this wine, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Block B Schubert Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

100% Pinot Noir.

Fruit aromas of blackcurrant, dark cherries and plums are unfolding from the glass, combined with hints of dried herbs. Marvellously complex and seductive with a beautiful, smooth texture but firm structure with very ripe fruit, minerals, subtle leafiness and rosewood. The supporting role of the oak intensifies the underlying dark chocolate and toasty characters.

ABV = 14.5%.

£34.60

Vina Leyda Pinot Noir Las Brisas 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their February 2020 edition panel tasting of New World, single-vineyard Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Viña Leyda Pinot Noir Las Brisas 2018 - February 2020 Decanter review

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2019 edition panel tasting of Chilean Pinot Noir (see blue link below)

Viña Leyda Pinot Noir Las Brisas 2018 - October 2019 Decanter review

Few wineries encapsulate the development of coolclimate winemaking in Chile as well as pioneering Viña Leyda. The first producer to explore this coastal area, a rising star of New World winemaking, it took its name from the local railway station and later lent it to the entire DO of Leyda Valley. If Casablanca Valley represents Chile’s first tentative steps into cool-climate production, Leyda is a series of determined, confident strides: just 14km from the Pacific, the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah planted here express a crispness, minerality and fine-boned structure not found elsewhere in Chile’s viticultural paradise. Viña Leyda now has more than 200 hectares under vine, but the approach remains one of micromanagement, with detailed mapping of each vineyard and individual lot, and constant experimentation with clonal selection and viticultural techniques.

This 100% Pinot Noir comes a vineyard located in the Leyda Valley, just 12 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean. Pinot Noir Las Brisas (= breezes) comes from a selection of two blocks with a southwest exposure that sit in an excellent microclimate: The western exposure provides a direct breeze from the Pacific (hence the wine’s name), and the southern exposure provides less direct sunlight, thus a slower grape maturation. It is one of the last Pinots to be harvested. The soils’ surface contains granite, directly related to the wine’s vibrancy and juiciness. 

The grapes were harvested by hand between March 5-14, with 22.8-24° Brix. A vibrating table selected bunches before destemming, gently crushing and filling stainless steel tanks. Half was vinified in open tanks, the other half in closed tanks. The cold maceration lasted four days at 10°C, followed by the alcoholic fermentation. During fermentation, gentle pumpovers were used while maintaining temperatures between 24°-26°C. Once ready, the wine was racked into used barrels (30%), stainless steel tanks (37%) and untoasted French oak (2-y-o) barrels (33%) in order to undergo the malolactic fermentation and age for 10 months before bottling.

This is a great example of Pinot Noir, aromatically fresh and complex. A juicy, fruity and elegant wine. It has a beautiful, bright colour. Clean and fruity on the nose, with hints of red cherries, raspberries and a subtle wild herb note. Las Brisas is delicate and refined on the palate. Juicy with ripe flavours of berries combined with mineral notes and a lively acidity.

ABV = 13.5%.

£15.20

Outer Limits By Montes Zapallar Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2020 edition panel tasting of New World, single-vineyard Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Outer Limits By Montes Zapallar Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 - February 2020 Decanter review

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2019 edition panel tasting of Chilean Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Outer Limits By Montes Zapallar Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 - October 2019 Decanter review

Montes was established in 1988 by Aurelio Montes, Douglas Murray, Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, with the aim of producing the best wines in Chile from the best regions. The Montes wines are consistently good because they are meticulous throughout the entire production process. The Outer Limits wines were born out of Aurelio Montes' desire to push Chilean viticulture in a new direction. The 45 hectare Zapallar Vineyard in the Aconcagua Valley was Montes' first venture into the 'outer limits'. Due to the balance and concentration in the Outer Limits wines, they can be enjoyed now or allowed to age for a few years, rewarding with a wonderfully complex bouquet.

Grapes come from a single vineyard in Zapallar located seven kilometres from the coast in Aconcagua. Montes is the first producer to plant vines and make wines here. Due to the cool climate, similar to other cool coastal regions in Chile, the wines have racy acidity, minerality, elegance and distinct aromatics. The grapes were all hand harvested at the end of March, later than other areas, due to the cool climate.

The 2016-17 season was generally very dry but bud break and bunch development was good despite the expected 50% yield reduction – an impact of the previous year. As a consequence, the fruit had a higher concentration of phenolics and the well distributed bunches within the canopy ensured healthy fruit. Despite the high summer heat, harvest occurred on schedule and delivered fruit with good acidity levels and ripe tannins.

The grapes were cold-soaked at 10°C for five days to extract aroma and colour, especially important for thin-skinned Pinot Noir. After that, the grapes were fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and then kept on their skins to give structure and colour for another 20 days. After malolactic fermentation, the wine was aged in French oak barrels (20% new) for 10 months.

100% Pinot Noir.

This elegant Pinot Noir has a very aromatic nose, pronounced notes of ripe cherries, blackcurrants, violets and a hint of mild toast from ageing in French oak. A smooth palate with round tannins, alongside a fresh fruit character. Vibrant acidity gives the wine a bright and perfumed finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£20.20

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 14 Doctors Creek Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2020 edition panel tasting of New World, single-vineyard Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 14 Doctors Creek Pinot Noir 2017 - February 2020 Decanter review

Neal and Judy Ibbotson were pioneers in the Marlborough wine industry, first planting vineyards in the valley in 1978 and then establishing Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. They own 160 hectares of vineyard in 10 different Marlborough locations chosen specifically for the attributes of their individual "terroir" and ability to produce top quality grapes. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive expertise in viticulture with the talent of one of New Zealand's leading winemaking teams led by Hamish Clark. Since 1994, when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today. This is a sentiment shared by Bob Campbell MW, who says “Saint Clair now makes the country’s and perhaps the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc”.

The grapes are selected from the single vineyard "Doctor's Creek" block, named after the small stream which runs through the centre. Situated south-west of Blenheim. The soils are made up of clay and are rich, vigour moderating soils.

2017 wines are looking very good, despite Saint Clair navigating challenging weather conditions during véraison and the harvest period. Flavours came into the fruit early and although the wines are a little lighter in alcohol, they are still appreciably full flavoured. 2017 was a good year for the early ripening varieties; Pinot Noir had beautiful small bunches and berries of very good quality and Chardonnay also stands out with full flavours.

The fruit was harvested when it had reached full physiological ripeness and maximum flavour maturity. At the winery the fruit was cold macerated for five days. Cultured yeasts were used to ferment the wine and during fermentation, the must was hand plunged up to six times daily. Once dry, each batch was pressed to tank and then racked off gross lees to a mix of new and used French oak. The wine then underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged for 10 months in barrel before being carefully prepared for bottling.

100% Pinot Noir.

A rounded luscious Pinot Noir with a soft full palate and well balanced acidity. Good length of fruit with flavours dominated by redcurrant and cherries, complemented by hints of plums. Oak ageing has lent warm savoury notes to the palate.

This Pioneer Block Pinot Noir is perfectly matched with spring lamb, sweet potatoes and roast vegetables.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians.

ABV = 13.5%.

£18.35

Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2016 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2020 edition panel tasting of New World, single-vineyard Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2016 - February 2020 Decanter review

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Other awards and reviews

Platinum BEST IN SHOW, 97 points, Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2018
Gold - Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2019
Gold - Sydney International Wine Competition, Nov 2018
Silver - International Wine and Spirit Competition, UK, 2018
Silver - International Wine Challenge, London UK, 2019
5 Stars, Winestate’s May June 2019 
5 Stars, 18.5-/20 - Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, Nov 2018
5 Stars, 95 points - Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, Nov 2018
4.5 Stars, 94 points - Bob Campbell MW, Aug 2018
4 Stars - Wine NZ Magazine March 2019

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Wild Earth.

Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

Wild Earth founder Quintin Quider is an expatriate Californian who has spent many years living on the South Island. He has gathered a small, dedicated team to produce his Wild Earth range in Central Otago. Established in 1998, Wild Earth Wines owns 35 hectares of vineyards in two of the region's finest locations - at the end of Felton Road overlooking the Kawarau River and in the North Lowburn district beneath the imposing Pisa Range.

The grapes for this single-vineyard wine come from the Terraces vineyard in Felton Road, Bannockburn which is planted with predominantly Dijon clones (777,115 ,114 and 667).

The grapes were hand harvested at optimal ripeness from early to mid-April. Six separate ferments went into the blend, which used on average 25% whole clusters with a total time on skins between three and four weeks to boost the tannic structure and aromatics of the wine. The wine was aged in fine-grained French oak: 22% in new oak, 40% one-year-old and 38% in 1-to-5-year-old barriques for approximately 11 months.

100% Pinot Noir.

A bright garnet colour with aromas of sweet cherry, raspberry, cedar, wild thyme, and mushroom. Powerful yet elegant, this Pinot Noir has red and black berry, wild herb and distinctive earthy flavours complementing a richly textured palate. Silky and seamless with vibrant fruit, enticing layers, and a serious structure with so much finesse. Harmonious and rich, this Pinot Noir is drinking beautifully as a young wine and should continue to show its beauty for 10-12 years.

ABV = 13.5%.

£21.20

Kelley Fox Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2020 edition panel tasting of New World, single-vineyard Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Kelley Fox Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 - February 2020 Decanter review

Awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their April 2019 expert review of the USA's Pacific Northwest (see blue link below).

Kelley Fox Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 - April 2019 Decanter review

Kelley Fox Wines is a small family winery run by just two people, Kelley Fox (winemaker) and her brother, Gerson Stearns (general manager). The first vintage was 2007, starting with just over 100 cases. The annual case production is now just shy of 2000 cases, all from the historic Maresh Vineyard and the Demeter-certified biodynamic Momtazi Vineyard.

The wines are made to reflect the land, the vines, the fruit of the vines, the year, and everything else unknown and unseen that comes with those things. That said, the wines are not really "made" at all.  As the winemaker, Kelley Fox has no end result in mind each year for the what the wines will be. What she is doing is responding to the essence of the fruit from each block, which she hopes is carrying the essence of the earth that bore it, along with the details of the year (the weather, the stars and the planets).

There are presently eight wines, of which this wine - Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir - is the undoubted flagship. Also available are Momtazi Vineyard Pinot Noir, Mirabai Pinot Noir, Ahurani Pinot Noir, Maresh Red Barn Blocks, a  Pinot Gris, the Momtazi “Tir” Pinot Noir and the Maresh Star of Bethlehem Pinot Noir (the latter two are only available to KF Wine Club members in the US). <We may well, at Exel, list another two or three of these imminently>.

The stunningly beautiful Maresh vineyard in the Dundee Hills AVA was first planted in 1970 by Jim and Loie Maresh on Worden Hill Road above Dundee. Situated on a mostly south-facing slope between 500 and 700 feet above sea level, these old vines planted in the Willamette's Valley's Jory soil (very deep, well-drained soils that formed from basic igneous rock) produce Pinot Noir with the most seductive texture.

The Maresh family have been living on the farm since 1959. There is tremendous biodiversity and balance here, because from the beginning, Jim and his late wife, Loie, had the foresight and common sense to avoid vineyard monoculture. There are hazelnuts, hundred-year-old walnuts, hundred-year-old Royal Anne cherry trees, other fruit trees and plenty of acreage of wild areas throughout the farm. Their daughter Martha keeps houses for violet green swallows and bluebirds on the trellis posts, and they are flying all over the place in the spring and summer. It is not just a vineyard at all. The Maresh Vineyard is certainly one of the most sought-after fruit sources in the Willamette Valley, and it has consistently produced wines of clear transmission of site for decades.

The 2017 is a transparent, light-medium red that is full of light and shimmering facets. The hue will deepen over time. The nose has incredible perfume for its youth. This Maresh is, as always, full of Oregon Hood strawberry character, with hints of spice. This is a serious beauty that time will reward. The mouth has the classic silk of Maresh with plenty of movement and fluidity. The finish is everlasting.

100% Pinot Noir.

Appellation: Dundee Hills AVA.
Picking Date: 1 October 2017.
Barrels:  neutral Burgundy barrels (228L) made from French forests .
Bottling Date: 28 June 2018.
ABV: 12.5% 
Whole Cluster: 50% 
Cases Produced: 196 cases.

£54.00

Tandem Inmune, Garnacha 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2020 edition feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).

Tandem Inmune, Garnacha 2017 - February 2020 Decanter review

Tandem is the brainchild of José Maria Fraile and Alicia Eyaralar, two of the leading lights in the Navarra winemaking scene. Committed to making the best wines in the region with minimal intervention in the vineyards and winery, Tandem is cited by critics as ‘cutting edge’ Navarra. The grapes are cultivated in the heart of the Yerri Valley, which is recognised as the best area for quality wine in the region. Respect for nature is an obsession - they follow the precepts of sustainable viticulture, while maintaining the vineyard’s health and viability. In the winery, a minimum intervention approach is also taken to ensure the grapes reflect their true character and terroir.

The grapes come from several vineyards: La Cepeta, La Losilla and El Barranco in the D.O. Navarra region. The vineyards are situated at 800 metres above sea level and this high elevation results in a cool microclimate, with cool summer evenings creating excellent diurnal temperature differences. These cooler temperatures help to promote a long, slow ripening period, which in turn produces a natural acidity in the grapes and concentrates the flavours in the berries. The bush vines vary in age, with some vines being over 80 years old. They are grown in calcareous, clay-loam soils.

2017 was a very challenging year, which was characterised by drought conditions. No rain fell after June, which resulted in lower yields. The Garnacha plots however coped very well with the lack of precipitation and the fruit produced was beautiful. The wine has a beautiful, deep colour and great concentration.

The wine was made following an organic philosophy. Wild yeast fermentation took place over 10 days at a controlled temperature of 25°C, in stainless steel vats. The cap was gently plunged, known as pigeage, to extract the desired levels of fine tannins and colour. No pumps were used during the vinification, instead the wine was racked via gravity to the underground concrete vats where the wines finished fermentation and underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine was unoaked to maintain the freshness and purity of the Garnacha fruit, spending six months in concrete lined vats, where it underwent a natural and gentle stabilisation. Bottled by gravity with minimum filtration.

100% Garnacha.

Deep attractive red colour with a purple rim. This mountain wine displays a powerful expression of terroir, with intense black fruit aromas enhanced by subtle hints of thyme, rosemary and scrubland notes. The palate is fresh, broad and savoury with an appealing texture and a long finish. Perfect with charcuterie, Spanish omelette, red meat, pasta dishes or cheese.

ABV = 14.5%.

£11.95
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