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Decanter March 2018

 

The March 2018 edition of Decanter (www.decanter.com) – released on Friday, 2nd February – is a veritable Spanish Special.

For all of the wines featured in the March edition, see the full (clickable) listing at the foot of this page.

For our entire compendium of Decanter-rated wines from the last 18 months, click here.

The March edition features two major – and really quite contrasting - panel reviews.

1) Mature (red) Rioja (which Decanter are defining as those from the 2010 vintage or before). There are some truly spectacular wines here, as you might imagine: some date back as far, incredibly, as the 1978 vintage. And therein lies a pattern and a problem: from hunting these wines to bring them to you, it appears a number of producers have submitted for review wines that are fabulous examples of their work… but are almost entirely unavailable.

Alas, this includes a number of the very top scorers (there are seven ‘Outstandings’, most of which are in very short supply or completely unobtainable, even in Spain – and we know because we personally tried…).

Our front-line of offerings - we have 5 which scored 90 or more – are the wonderful-if-pricey Amancio 2008 from Sierra Cantabria and Bodegas Bilbainas’s Viña Pomal Gran Reserva 2010.

The first is a true Rioja icon (in a world where the word ‘icon’ is greatly over-used) and we have managed to make this wine available in the UK for (we believe) the first time. There are, we think, just enough bottles to go around, but only just.

The more affordable (at £23.00) Viña Pomal comes from an ever-popular-and-consistent line … so popular, in fact, that it has started to sell well this week, from the moment we added it to our website, quite some time before Decanter was released!). Elsewhere, we have high-scoring and affordable favourites from Bodegas(es) LAN, Urbina and Beronia.

If Rioja is your thing, do not miss your chance to join us in Perth on the 27th of February, for a tasting of the superb wines of Sierra Cantabria, presented by the producer themselves (on a lightning visit to the UK). Tickets are limited but available – click here to come and join us.

and

2) Non-Albarino Galician whites: warning: do not be fooled by this somewhat unflattering title or into thinking Albariño is the only Galician white of note. This review features some very high-quality and great-value whites from the DOs of Ribeira Sacre, Rias Baixas, Valdeorras, Ribeiro and Monterrei; some are from the Treixadura grape, but most are 100% Godello. Godello has long been identified as innately the classiest of Spain’s native varietals – Jancis's Oxford Wne Companion describes it as “responsible for well-structured, tense dry whites” – and is likely to be seen far more on fine wine shelves in the coming years (this review rather clearly making that very point).

Pick of the bunch for us are a pair of similar-but-crucially-different wines from Pago de las Capellanes, a top-flight producer known far more widely as one of the true doyens of Ribera del Duero. Their two O Luar do Sil Godellos – one a ‘standard’ bottling, the other a sobre lias (= sur lie or lees-aged) score very well at 92 and 91 points respectively (at £13.75 and £21.00).

We couldn’t resist a brief comparative tasting of the two (see photo below), which left us in no doubt whatsoever of the classiness of these two wines. For full-on, peachy-and-citrussy fruit attack - plus a great finish and acidity - we suggest the ‘standard’... but for body, fullness and lustrous smoothness (and deep colour!), do not – repeat, do not - miss the sobre lias. Even better, compare and contrast....

Beyond these two, there’s a cornucopia of very affordable whites, in a style that is super-drinkable-but-not-without-complexity and likely to suit the keen and adventurous Albariño or Sauvignon Blanc drinker.

Elsewhere, the edition focusses on, among many things:

  • Ribera del Duero;
  • Spanish everyday ‘glugs’ (= affordable wines); and
  • Priorat(o).

We can, of course, help you with all of those…

We’re just writing up our articles from our visits to Rioja and Ribera del Duero: watch this space for some great producer news and some exclusive wines at UK-beating prices…

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Bodegas Bilbainas Vina Pomal Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 (1x75cl)

The 2010 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja (see blue link below).

Vina Pomal Gran Reserva Rioja 2010 - March 2018 Decanter review

Their vineyards are located close to the winery, in the municipality of Haro. 250 hectares of vines make it the largest property in the area, and the Reserva and Gran Reserva are a true reflection of the area. With an average vine age in excess of 25 years, they endeavour to make wines with the utmost balance. The Tempranillo is enhanced with the addition of Graciano, which only matures in great vintages. Those are the vintages when they make Gran Reserva, as it is not made every year.

2011 was a year marked by a dry winter and a rainy spring which favoured vine growth. Fruit setting was irregular due to the rains in May and June. The harvest was characterised by a lack of rain and it commenced early on. A very dry summer with high temperatures speeded up final ripening. In some cases we detected a great deal of vine stress due to drought with a slight imbalance between alcoholic and phenolic ripening. On the other hand, vineyards that usually present more vigour ripened very well this year, yielding good berry quality, Vine health was practically perfect. With proper aging, in order to soften their structure, the wines show a great deal of intensity and cellaring potential.

Viña Pomal Gran Reserva is made following traditional vinification methods. The grapes are selected manually in the vineyards. At the winery, they are destemmed and crushed before undergoing a moderately long maceration in tanks. After alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, the wines are racked and aged in 225 litre Bordeaux barrels, traditionally American oak. After ageing in barrels for one year, the wine is racked back to tanks. This is when the blend for the Gran Reserva is determined, and 10% Graciano, a minority Rioja variety, is added to the Tempranillo. The wine is fined with egg whites and put in barrels again for another year to complete its two years’ ageing in oak. After its stay in barrels, the wine spends a further year in oak vats, where the natural cleaning and assembly process concludes. After ageing for another three years in the bottle, the vinification of this unique Rioja wine is complete.

Tempranillo 90%, Graciano 10%. 
 
Garnet and cherry hues introduce this bright Gran Reserva with light orange reflections on the rim. The unique vinification process of this Gran Reserva provides a complex, elegant nose with notes of liquorice and red fruit, typical of the Tempranillo, along with hints of spices subtly added by the Graciano. During bottle ageing, all of this is assembled with toasty and balsamic aromas (vanilla, pepper, tobacco) contributed by the barrels. As the wine airs in the glass, it discloses its full range of nuances and complex aromas. In the mouth, it reflects our surroundings, with a mild entry and a sense of elegance and balance, ending in long persistence, denoting the craft of barrel ageing and the assemblage provided by a long stay in the bottle.

The winemaker does not consider that it is necessary to decant this wine which is ready to drink now and over the next ten years.

ABV = 14.0%.

£26.15

Pago de las Capellanes, O Luar de Sil Godello sobre lias, Valdeorras 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Galician Whites (see blue link below).

Pago dlC O Luar de Sil Godello sobre lias 2016 - March 2018 Decanter review

The grapes are selected from two parcels of land with granite soil on the edge of Larouco. 

Harvested in mid-September selecting the grapes in 15 kilo crates. Once the grapes are destalked, they undergo cold maceration below 8ºC to draw out the fruit's maximum expression. Pressed at low pressure, decanted to remove the thick lees and the must is fermented with selected yeast at a controlled temperature for 14 days in stainless steel tanks. Once fermented, the fine lees are kept to increase oiliness, volume and aromatic potency by means of battonage, stirring the fine lees together smoothly for six months (hence the sobre lias), after which the wine is clarified naturally.

100% Godello.

A brilliant clean colour, with a glycerine rim in the glass. Elegant complexity in the nose with white wild flower tones. Very well balanced in the mouth between fresh green fruit and the maturity of the fine lees. Pleasant, smooth, complex and delicate, with a predominantly fruity and mineral sensation. Its balance and complexity make it a long-lasting wine.

ABV = 13.5%.

£22.30

Pago de las Capellanes, O Luar de Sil Godello, Valdeorras 2019 (1x75cl)

***  Available towards the end of March ***

The 2016 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Galician Whites; (see blue link below).

Pago dlC O Luar de Sil Godello 2016 - March 2018 Decanter review

This is a Godello wine from vineyards on the granite slopes of the town of Seadur (Ourense) and produced at the recently established O Luar do Sil winery. The winemakers aim to enhance the purity of the Godello variety in a lively, fresh, clean and sincere wine.

The harvest starts in early September on the parcels where ripening is most advanced. After passing through a manual sorting table, the grapes are completely destalked and the fruit goes through a cold exchanger to lower its temperature to 9 degrees C to preserve its aromatic qualities. After resting in macerators for four hours the grapes are taken to the press where they are gently crushed to obtain a top quality must. Once fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature, the wine only is bled out and the lees are discarded. The wine is then taken to rest until it is finally bottled.

100% Godello.

This wine is a clean golden colour in the glass with no oxidation. There are floral notes in the nose and end note aromas of green fruit and tropical tones. It is pleasant in the mouth, nice, silky and well rounded on the palate. It has well balanced acidity and alcohol - this wine should be drunk now and for up to three years' to enjoy it at its peak. The after-taste is long and above all, elegant. In conclusion, this Godello is both pleasant and delicate, with a predominantly fruity and mineral sensation.

ABV = 13.5%.

£14.70

Bodegas Benito Urbina Gran Reserva 2004 (1x75cl)

Bodegas Urbina is a winery which has been in the Urbina family for four generations since 1870. The present winery was designed, built and run by the family in 1986 and was created to facilitate producing fine wines.  Urbina has 75 hectares of vineyards located at two main vineyard sites - the first is at Cuzcurrita de Rio Turon, a well-known area for producing Riojas capable of ageing for many years and the others are at Uruñuela, in the heart of the Rioja DOC, which consistently produces wines of great quality and body. The grapes used are from vines aged over 20 years old. The vines are grown in accordance with traditional practices, no herbicides and limited use of pesticides and fungicides. 

Urbina Gran Reserva is a blend of mainly Tempranillo with some Graciano and Mazuelo.

This wine comes from the best grapes from the Estate, all from vines over 40 years old. The wine making team is headed by Pedro Urbina. The wine is undergoes fermentation at 28C followed by a period of maceration of 28 days. The wine is aged for a minimum of 36 months in oak casks with a further 48 months in bottle before release. Only indigenous yeasts are used.

The Urbina Gran Reserva has a splendid ripe, complex nose, is reddish-garnet in colour with harmonious and well-balanced oak and fruit tannins.  It also displays intense rich fruit, great finesse and velvet smoothness on the palate.  It goes perfectly with slow roasted lamb shoulder or with game - particularly duck and pheasant.

ABV = 14.0%.

£23.50

Bodegas Benito Urbina Urbina Gran Reserva Especial 1994 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja (see blue link below).

Bodegas Benito Urbina Gran Reserva 1994 - March 2018 Decanter review

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2017 edition review of premium Rioja (see blue link below).

Bodegas Benito Urbina Gran Reserva 1994 - March 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2016 edition review of best-buy Rioja (see blue link below).

Bodegas Benito Urbina Gran Reserva 1994 - March 2016 Decanter review

Bodegas Urbina is a family run winery with four generations of dedication to grape growing and winemaking since 1870. The present winery was designed, built and run by the family Urbina since 1986 and has been created solely to facilitate the production of fine wines. Commercial winemaking within the DOC Rioja dates from 1870 and takes place in ancient underground Cuzcurrita drafts.

This wine comes from the best grapes grown on the Estate and it is made using grapes from vines that are all more than 20 years old. It is fermented at a controlled temperature of 28°C and is macerated for the final 28 days, followed by at least 36 months in oak and a further 48 months ageing in bottle.

This wine was made using 90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo.

The Urbina Gran Reserva 1994 is a dark ruby colour with a thin mahogany rim. It has a complex nose, showing splendid maturity, with mineral aromas, ripe fruit, figs, cherries, plums, tomato jam and dried apricots, cigar box, cherry blossom, harmonious and well defined spicy hints of cinnamon, vanilla and clove. Some leather, snuff leaves and nutmeg. There is also a hint of musk, incense and kola nut.  it has a base of toffee candy, and balsamic notes, so is both fresh and elegant. On the palate, the flavours are harmonious and balanced, with oak and fruit tannins, showing great elegance and velvety softness, as well as a wonderful length.

ABV = 14.0%.

£28.90

Bodegas Lan Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 (1x75cl)

The 2010 vintage was awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition review of 2010 Riojas (see blue link below).

Bodegas Lan Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 - March 2019 Decanter review

Founded in 1972, Bodegas LAN lies in the heart of Rioja Alta. The name LAN comes from the initials of the three provinces of the Rioja Designation of Origin: Logroño, Álava and Navarra. María Barua has been the head winemaker and technical director since 2002, and brings both scientific expertise (with an academic background in chemistry in addition to her oenology degree) and local knowledge (having been born and raised in Rioja). Together with her young and energetic team, María focuses on using the latest advances in winemaking to ‘express the virtues of the land’.

The Tempranillo grapes are selected from 30-year-old, low yielding bush vines in the Rioja Alta region, while the Mazuelo comes from Bodegas LAN's stunning Viña Lanciano vineyard, located on a meander of the Ebro river, where the soils are poor and stony. Proximity to the river helps to regulate the warm temperatures often present in Rioja.

Like many parts of Western Europe, Spain experienced a cool growing season in 2010. But since the country is one of the hottest and driest in Europe, the cool weather was a boon, allowing fruit to ripen gradually. In Rioja, rainstorms during flowering reduced yields. Summer was dry and warm with great diurnal temperature ranges continuing through to harvest, resulting in wines with excellent flavour profiles.

The grapes for this Gran Reserva were destemmed and fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 30ºC. The wine was then macerated for three weeks, pumping over the must daily to favour higher extraction of colour and aromas. The wine was aged for 24 months in American oak and French oak barrels, followed by a minimum of 36 months in the bottle.

Winemaking at LAN follows a principle: "extreme respect for our grapes, preserving the vineyard’s distinctive features in each of the stages of fermentation and ageing, both in the barrel and in the bottle. We manage each tank individually, based on the destination it has been assigned. Such respect implies preparation, manual selection, creativity, tradition and modernity -all these elements play a part in endeavour to outdue ourselves every day. A painstaking oak selection along with malolactic fermentation in new barrels transform our estate’s musts into pleasant, unctuous and round wines."

94% Tempranillo , 6% Mazuelo.

On the nose, aromas of ripe red fruits combine with dried fruits and spicy vanilla, cinnamon and liquorice root notes, which are a result of the extended oak ageing. This wine is full bodied and round Rioja that is elegant, balanced and superbly layered on the palate.

A wine for a special occasion. Recommended to pair with roasted meats, lamb, hearty stews and cured cheeses.

ABV = 13.5%.

£21.65

Bodegas Valdemar, Conde de Valdemar Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 (1x75cl)

Bodegas Valdemar is the fruit of five generations of a family which, since 1889, has dedicated all its passion and work to cultivating and caring for the vines, loyal to the philosophy of producing wines exclusively from its own vineyards.

An underground stone cellar, in Oyón is where more than 125 years of history started. Joaquín Martínez Bujanda built it to age the wines that he made from his vineyards. From day one, this family's passion has come from the same place, the land and the vineyard itself. Their wines unite the dreams and passions of several generations. Since the 1980’s Conde Valdemar has become a point of reference in Rioja by making wines that stand out because of their quality. It is acknowledged as one of the wineries in La Rioja with a longstanding tradition and history of producing Gran Reserva wines - true oenological treasures that are proof of the greatness and know-how of  the winemaker.

Conde Valdemar Gran Reserva is the great jewel of the winery. The elegance of the Tempranillo grape is very well displayed in this rounded, tasty wine rich in aromas and nuances. Bodegas Valdemar is one of the most prestigious wineries and with more history in making Grandes Reservas of Rioja. This wine spent 32 months maturing in French oak barrels and was subsequently bottled in June 2012.

This wine is made using 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% Maturana.

This wine displays a bright cherry colour with light red-brick tones provided by the oak ageing. It has complex and interesting aromas to ripe red fruits harmoniously integrated with spicy touches as well as some pleasant balsamic notes.  It is well balanced in the mouth, with body and strength. There are soft tannins which are both fleshy and expressive. It has a long finish and is very persistent. This is a wine with a long life.

This wine matches perfectly with red meat, stews and roasted food as well as game. It is particularly well suited to cold meats and cheeses.

Click on the blue link below to see an information sheet for this wine, written by the team at Bodegas Valdemar.

Bodegas Valdemar Conde de Valdemar Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 - fiche technique

ABV = 14.0%.

£26.90

Bodegas Valdemar, Conde de Valdemar Rioja Reserva 2011 (1x75cl)

The 2010 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja (see blue link below).

Valdemar Rioja Reserva 2010 - March 2018 Decanter review

Bodegas Valdemar is the fruit of five generations of a family which, since 1889, has dedicated all its passion and work to cultivating and caring for the vines, loyal to the philosophy of producing wines exclusively from its own vineyards.

An underground stone cellar, in Oyón is where more than 125 years of history started. Joaquín Martínez Bujanda built it to age the wines that he made from his vineyards. From day one, this family's passion has come from the same place, the land and the vineyard itself. Their wines unite the dreams and passions of several generations. Since the 1980’s Conde Valdemar has become a point of reference in Rioja by making wines that stand out because of their quality. It is acknowledged as one of the wineries in La Rioja with a longstanding tradition and history of producing Gran Reserva wines - true oenological treasures that are proof of the greatness and know-how of  the winemaker.

This wine spent 26 months in oak casks (65% American, 35% French) and was bottled in March 2015.

85% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo, 5% Garnacha Tinta.

It has an intense and bright red ruby colour. Complex and clean nose. Ripe fruit aromas with balsamic notes dominate. Very good balance. It is well-rounded in the mouth, with a pleasant structure and a long and persistent finish.

This wine is especially well suited to accompany home-cooked casseroles, roasts and grills, red meat, game or Iberian-pork cold meats.

ABV = 13.5%.

£17.65

Alter Ribeiro Blanco 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Galician Whites (see blue link below).

Alter Ribeiro Blanco 2016 - March 2018 Decanter review

Alter came highly recommended by Lalo Antón of Izadi. He had admired this small, family-run winery since their first vintage a couple of years ago marked them out as one of the most serious producers in the region. The winery was founded by José Pérez Pousa on the banks of the Miño river in 2014, with the wish to preserve the tradition of their native land, where wine has been produced since the 2nd century BCE. The wine is named ‘alter’ to mean ‘another wine more’ in Latin.

Alter has 24 hectares of its own vineyards, which are divided into 168 small plots planted with native white varieties: Treixadura, Godello and Loureira. The vines are on average 15-30 years old, planted on decomposed granite with sand and clay. The vineyards benefit from a perfect mesoclimate with good diurnal ranges particularly during the growing season ensuring the fruit is able to fully ripen while retaining fresh acidity. All harvesting is done by hand, plot by plot at the perfect moment to ensure optimum level of ripeness which elongates their harvest.

The 2018 vintage was marked by above average rainfall through spring and the beginning of summer which ensured the soil had good water reserves through the hot summer. The growing cycle was a week later than usual and this delay followed through the whole season. This late ripening allowed the fruit to be harvested with a good balance of acidity and sugar.

Each vineyard plot and variety were fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, the cool ferment retaining the aromatic intensity of the grapes. Following fermentation, the wine was aged on lees for three to four months to add depth before the final blend was assembled. The 2018 is made up of 85% Treixadura, 8% Godello and 7% Loureira.

This wine has a bright straw colour with elegant aromas of white flowers, green apple and grapefruit on the nose. The palate is lively with brisk acidity and flavours of white peach dominating. This is a remarkably balanced and well structured wine with a long finish.

ABV = 12.5%.

£14.50

Finca Os Cobatos Godello Blanco 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was Awarded 87 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Galician Whites(see blue link below).

Finca Os Cobatos Godello 2016 - March 2018 Decanter review

One of the most modern wineries in the region, Finca OS Cobatos respects tradition but has a free spirit and vision for the future. The winery balances traditional methods with modern production processes to give fresh and characterful wines typical of the region. Monterrei, situated in the southeast corner of Galicia, near the northern Portuguese border, is a recognised DO producing quality wines from indigenous grapes.

Planted in the early 1980's, the vineyard is one of the oldest in Monterrei, encompassing ten hectares planted to the white grape Godello and the red grape Mencia. The vineyard soils are made up of sand with quartz which reflect and magnify the sun's rays, resulting in ripe, concentrated fruit. With good drainage, the high sand content means it is resitant to phylloxera. The vineyard benefits from a high average of sunny days and is the driest appellation in Galicia. Situated at an altitude of 400 to 500 metres above sea level, the warm growing period is tempered by cold Autumns due the cooling influence of the Atlantic.

The grapes underwent an eight hour cold maceration prior to a temperature controlled fermentation in 100% stainless steel tanks. The wine was fermented with natural yeast strains and held on its fine lees for four months, adding a little extra weight and texture to the final wine. It was then cold stabilised to preserve freshness, prior to being filtered and bottled.

This wine is Godello 100%.

A highly aromatic wine showing zesty citrus aromas combined with ripe stone fruits, a mineral sensation and hint of white pepper. Dry with a refreshingling crisp palate of pineapple, tropical fruits and a delicious, dry, citrus finish.

Makes a wonderful apéritif, or serve to accompany seafood, summer salads or goats' cheese.

ABV = 13.0%.

£11.50

Pazo Das Tapias Alma de Blanco Godello 2018 (1x75cl)

Adegas Pazo das Tapias was founded in 2006 when the Mendez family adquired the winery and the vineyard Las Tapias. Pazo das Tapias is located in the middle of its own vineyard, probably the best vineyards of the Monterrei DO. In the vineyard you can see clearly two different types of soil: a sandy hillside planted with the variety Godello where the bright reflections from ground quartz maximize the concentration of white Godello.

The grapes are manually harvested mid September and immediately undergo a cold maceration before pressing. The must is then fermented in stainless steel tanks at 15C° for around 15 days.

Like its more renowned cousin, Albariño, this 100% Godello is crisp and fresh with light peach notes and a floral finish. Cool climate Spain is arguably producing some of the best fresh white styles in the world.

Drink this with just about any seafood you can get your hands on. If you don't do seafood - it's a lovely aperitif or accompaniment to light white meats and fresh veg.

£11.40

LaLomba Rosado, Ramon Bilbao 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 88 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2020 regional profile of Rioja Oriental (see blue link below).

LaLomba Rosado, Ramon Bilbao 2018 - Decanter review

The grapes were harvested manually into small, 15kg crates which were refrigerated and taken to the winery where they remained in cool conditions for a further 24 hours. They then passed to the optical sorting table where only the best loose, whole, healthy grapes were selected. After gentle maceration and racking, the must is transferred to concrete eggs to settle before fermentation. The fermentation occurs over 20 days and is done at temperatures below 15°C to conserve the wine's more delicate aromas.  After fermentation the wine is left on its fine lees for around a month before bottling.

90% Garnacha, 10% Viura.

LaLomba Rosado has a pale peach colour which is both clear and bright. The aromas are complex with medium intensity with notes of fresh red fruits, apricot, lychee and citrus. There is also a hint of orange blossom and some delicate herbal notes. The palate is perfectly balanced and it recalls the fruity character foiund on the nose.  This wine is ready to drink but can be laid down if necessary.

This is a great aperitif but also goes well with salmon, sushi and mussels.

ABV = 13.0%.

£18.15

Torres Vina Esmeralda 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Spanish Value Wines (under £20); (see blue link below).

Torres Viña Esmeralda 2016 - March 2018 Decanter review

In the mountainous area of the Upper Penedès the more delicate and aromatic white grape varieties are grown. Moscatel and Gewürtztraminer form the basis for Viña Esmeralda, an exceptionally delicate and strikingly fragrant wine.

Torres say: "We're particularly proud of our white wines. The production of these types of pure, clean and seductive wines, as we see them today, was quite difficult for our ancestors. However, we now know the secret and have the resources to maintain the fruit properties and transform them into unique, refreshing and elegant wines with a little help from the climate, the land, our well-cared for grapevines and experience."

"The Mediterranean breeze blends with the scent of roses, which grow around our vineyards further inland, to bring us our most cherished gem: Viña Esmeralda."

This wine was fermented at controlled temperatures of 16°C in stainless steel vats for two weeks to preserve its freshness.

Brilliant pale straw yellow. Fragrant, with floral orange blossom, delicate nuances of exotic fruit and a note of apple jam. It is smooth and exquisitely luscious on the palate, leaving a subtle honeyed trace.

This wine is sublime with seafood appetizers, fish and pâté. It is also well worth trying with Asian food.

£10.00

Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition's "Steven Spurrier's Fine Wine World" (under £20); (see blue link below).

Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc 2016 - March 2018 Decanter review

The cellars at Mas de Daumas Gassac were formed in the foundations of a Gallo-Roman mill; they now house 400 Merrain oak Bordeaux and Burgundy barrels; one in seven is replaced each year. There are two cold water springs under the cellar’s floor, nature’s own air conditioning system, which slows the alcohol fermentation down to between 8 – 10 days. This slow process means the complex savours have time to develop, something that doesn’t happen with modern high-tech fermentation. As they say at the winery: "Wisdom needs time to develop, so do a wealth of flavours!" 

Chemical fertilisers and synthetic matter have no place at Daumas Gassac. They only use compost based on manure produced by ewes from the Larzac.

The Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc is pale straw in colour with scents of tropical fruits and toasted nuts. Fresh and floral on the palate, the texture is firm and waxy with flavours of green apples and tropical fruits. The finish lingers with firm acidity. This wine is a tremendously versatile wine to pair with food.  Some suggestions we have are asparagus, red peppers à la Languedocienne, fresh salmon in pastry on a bed of wild fennel, grilled swordfish steaks and roast pork with ginger and pears caramelised in vinegar.

To see the winemaker's notes on this wine, please click on the blue link below.

Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc 2017 - fiche technique

£36.60
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