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(Cave de Embres-et-) Castelmaure, Hauts de Castelmaure, Corbieres, 2018 (1x75cl)

** WE ARE SADLY TAKING NO MORE ORDERS FOR THIS WINE, DESPITE ITS HUGE POPULARITY.

WE HAVE JUST LEARNED THAT IT DEFINITELY CANNOT BE BOTTLED ON ITS ORIGINAL SCHEDULE OWING TO THE INDEFINITE CLOSURE OF THE CASTELMAURE BOTTLING PLANT.

WE HAVE EMAILED THE MANY CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE ALREADY BOUGHT THE WINE TO ALERT THEM TO THEIR OPTIONS.

WE ARE OFFERING THE 2017 VINTAGE TO THESE CUSTOMERS - ARGUABLY A BETTER VINTAGE - BUT WE DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO SUFFICIENT STOCK - YET - TO OFFER FURTHER ONWARD SALES BEYOND THOSE CUSTOMERS. THAT 2017 STOCK IS EXPECTED WITH US INSIDE 10-12 DAYS, COVID-19 DELAYS ALLOWING. 

WE HOPE TO OFFER SOME OF THE 2017 TO OTHER CUSTOMERS SOON. WE WILL ALSO OFFER THE 2018 WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE AND CAN BE TRANSPORTED INTO THE UK! **

** We have received a sample of the 2017 vintage and just tasted it. It is very much as expected. The 2017 does not vary hugely from the 2018 tried a few weeks ago; it is closer to the 2018 than it is either of the other Outstanding Decanter Corbières. It is a fuller, warmer and darker-fruited version than was the 2018; it remains a very attractive glass of wine on its own (ie without food) - more so than the St-Esteve or Serres Mazard, which are more easily matched with dishes. It is not jammy or over-hot; it's rich but with good acidity, tannins and 'bite'. Like the 2018, it is the least complex of the three Outstandings, but makes up for this in its "yummy" (to quote Decanter) immediacy. The 2017 is no poor twin of the 2018 - I personally preferred it and rate it more highly - and it comes recommended.

We have recorded a video tasting for those who have 2 minutes free ...

Castelmaure, Hauts De Castelmaure, Corbieres, 2017 - Exel tasting video

 

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 edition panel tasting of Corbières (see blue link below).

 

Castelmaure, Hauts de Castelmaure, Corbieres, 2018 - April 2020 Decanter review

Embres-et-Castelmaure is a tiny village in Corbières, with around 150 residents, all of whom are families of vignerons. Their co-operative Cave de Castelmaure - generally known now as Castelmaure - was founded in the 1920s and today consists of 65 members making wine from grapes hand-picked from 760 local plots (totalling 350 hectares). 90% of Castelmaure's production is red, with 80% of this classified  as AOC Corbières, made from the appellation's key grape varieties:Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Mourvedre.

Surrounded by mountains and adjoining the vineyards of Fitou, this wild, windswept terrain has a variety of soils from schist, limestone, alluvial river wash to clay-chalk. The co-operative is modern, innovative and extremely well-run producing excellent and award-winning wines.

To wit, this wine, being

40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Carignan.

For more/full details, see the blue link below for a detailed data sheet from/by the producers themselves

Castelmaure, Hauts de Castelmaure, Corbières 2018 - fiche technique

An expressive and open nose, full of damson jam and cassis notes, and that unmistakable garrigue aroma of heather and wild thyme. Plenty of body and soft, ripe tannins. A great all-round wine for drinking on its own or with food. Ideal with beef daube, casseroles and other tender red meats.

ABV = 14.5%.

** PLEASE SEE ORDERING/AVAILABILITY/DELIVERY NOTE ABOVE. **

£11.95

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%.

£14.65

Bertani Catullo Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2016 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS NOT - REPEAT NOT - HELD IN IMMEDIATE STOCK, UNLIKE ALMOST ALL OTHER WINES ON THE SITE AT PRESENT. IT WILL BE ORDERED FROM THE SUPPLIER ON MONDAY 5th APRIL, AND SHOULD BE WITH CUSTOMERS ON FRIDAY 9th, MAYBE MONDAY 12th. **

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2020 edition's panel tasting of Valpolicella Ripassos (see blue link below).

Bertani Catullo Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2016 - May 2020 Decanter review

In 1957, the Bertani family bought the Tenuta Novare, a unique place in the heart of the Valpolicella Classica area. The estate is situated in a green hollow, in a sort of natural amphitheatre, where the vineyards alternate with woods and lush nature. It is an extraordinary land where constant water is guaranteed by 7 natural springs. Amarone Bertani wouldn’t be the authentic and distinctive wine we know today, if this unique place didn’t exist.

Tenuta Novare has a continuous and unusual alternation of soils: clay at the bottom of the valley, calcareous soils rich in iron and manganese and soils rich in basalt, ideal for producing grapes destined to making great red wines.

The mild climate, as shown by the presence of cypresses and olive trees, defines this welcoming and noble profile of Valpolicella.

From this same site, the Catullo Ripasso is produced, an elegant, balanced and harmonious wine with a classic style made with the second fermentation ripasso technique.

70% Corvina Veronese, 20% Corvinone, 10% Rondinella.

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

Bertani Catullo Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2016 - fiche technique

This is a wine of medium body, with gentle spicy notes of vanilla and chocolate and the typical notes of cherry, black cherry and white pepper. On the palate, freshness and drinkability (typical of Valpolicella) combine with a silky tannic structure and an intense aromatic persistence, more typical of Amarone. Fresh, soft and sapid finish.

Exel note: it has a markedly lower residual sugar level than many ripassos.

ABV = 13.5%.

** THIS WINE IS NOT - REPEAT NOT - HELD IN IMMEDIATE STOCK, UNLIKE ALMOST ALL OTHER WINES ON THE SITE AT PRESENT. IT WILL BE ORDERED FROM THE SUPPLIER ON MONDAY 5th APRIL, AND SHOULD BE WITH CUSTOMERS ON FRIDAY 9th, MAYBE MONDAY 12th. **

£34.40

Berton Reserve Barossa Shiraz 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com(see blue link below).

Berton Reserve Shiraz 2015 - August 2017 Decanter review

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard's 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.

The grapes come from the Barossa Valley, in South Australia. Situated at a latitude of 34° South, the region is made up of rolling hills and valley floors. The growing season often sees hot, warm weather with temperatures of 35°C, which can result in vine stress, helping to concentrate the flavours in the berries. The wide diurnal temperature differences help to retain balancing acidity. Some of the grapes come from Berton's original vineyard in the Eden Valley, where the climate is cooler. The vine age is varied, but all vines have been spur pruned and are generally trained on a single wire cordon trellising system. The vines are planted at approximately 1.8 metres apart with 3.6 metres between the rows, to allow machinery access. The soil styles in the vineyards are varied, ranging from clay, to limestone and sandy soils, with each terroir adding its own characteristic to the final wine.

In 2017, the vineyard saw a wet winter followed by mild summer conditions, which provided the vines with good access to water and a long ripening period. This combination resulted in a great season. Cool nights allowed excellent flavour development in the grapes resulting in wines with concentrated flavours and balancing acidity. Harvesting took place during the last few days of April and first week of May.

The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks with regular skin submersion in order to extract the required colour and flavour from the grapes. After fermentation, the wine was pressed off into stainless steel tanks where it completed malolactic fermentation in the late autumn. The wine was then racked off into both French and American oak barrels resulting in a rich, spicy complex Shiraz.

Shiraz 100%.

The Reserve Shiraz is deepest dark red with a very youthful and vibrant garnet hue. The aromas are powerful and complex with a wealth of fruit ranging from ripe black cherries and blackberries with hints of eucalypt and spice. The rich and full palate displays soft flavours of plum skin, mulberry and hints of vanilla and blackberry, These abundant flavours are underpinned by fine vanilla from the oak and defined by exciting spicy tannins.

ABV = 14.5%.

£14.25

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%.

£13.75

Bodega Garzon Reserva Albarino 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2019 edition panel tasting of Alternative South American Whites (see blue link below).

Garzón Reserva Albariño 2018 - October 2019 Decanter review

The 2017 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition feature on Uruguay  (see blue link below).

Garzón Reserva Albariño 2017 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

The 2016 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Best Central South American White) at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Garzón Reserva Albariño 2016 - 2017 DWWA Decanter review

Bodega Garzón is a family owned winery in Maldonado on the Atlantic coast in southern Uruguay. They pioneered viticulture in this area over 10 years ago, and have since become the standard-bearer for premium wines from Uruguay. In November 2018, their pioneering status was recognised by Wine Enthusiast with the ‘New World Winery of the Year’ award. The vineyards at Bodega Garzón are a patchwork quilt of 1,150 individual plots of around 0.2 hectares in size, each plot carefully chosen for a specific variety according to its soil and microclimate. The winery is specially designed to operate as sustainably as possible, and is the first winery outside North America to pursue LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Built on natural terraces, the winery uses cutting-edge technology and operates using a gravity system to ensure quality and energy efficiency at every stage of production.

Located 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity and an intense canopy management. Well-draining granitic soils and cooling Atlantic breezes allow the grapes to ripen steadily. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, palm trees, rocky soils and granite boulders. This single vineyard Tannat comes from a site which is cooler than the other blocks on the estate, with steep slopes, thin soils and excellent drainage thanks to the predominance of ballast in the upper layers.

A relatively mild winter brought forward bud break by about two weeks. There were average levels of rainfall in spring and early summer, however the drought which followed in January caused a severe water shortage. Therefore the viticultural team used drip irrigation, thus ensuring perfect maturation in the grapes. Despite the water shortage and subsequent irrigation measures, veraison was uniform. Optimum maturation was also aided by the cooler nights which are becoming more common in the region. The wines from this vintage, with its early start and generally favourable climatic conditions, are elegant and fruit forward.

The hand-harvested grapes were pressed before being fermented in stainless-steel tanks at a cool 17ºC for two weeks. The wine then spent a further 3-6 months on lees for added complexity.

For full details of this unusual but superb wine, we would point you towards Garzon's own, excellent fiche technique/data sheet (click here).

100% Albariño/Alvarinho.

Pale yellow with a green hue, this Albariño is intense on the nose with peach and citrus aromas. The freshness and minerality on the midpalate is superb, ably supported by a remarkable acidity which frames the juicy fruit on the crisp finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.75

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%.

£23.90

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%.

£29.40

Bodegas Fillaboa, La Fillaboa 1898 Albarino Rias Baixas 2010 (1x75cl)

** ARRIVES ~3rd APRIL - this wine is not in immediate stock **

** SEE PACKAGING NOTE BELOW AND PLEASE INDICATE PREFERRED PACKAGING IN YOUR ORDER (delivery details box). **

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

 

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

 

Also awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their November 2019 edition's Spanish supplement article, Spanish Wines You Should Have In Your Cellar: The Top 24 (see blue link below). This was the highest-scoring of those 24!

 

Bodegas Fillaboa, La Fillaboa 1898 Albarino Rias Baixas 2010 - November 2019 Decanter review 

Fillaboa, meaning “the good daughter” in the Gallego dialect of northwestern Spain, produces some of the rarest and highest quality wine from the ever-more-esteemed DO of Rías Baixas. Bodegas Fillaboa’s estate is focused exclusively on the cultivation of Albariño, the star white wine of the region, famed for its freshness, complexity and compatibility with local seafood. Bodegas Fillaboa is owned by the Masaveu family, which traces its winemaking history back to the 14th century. The family re-invested itself in Galician wine production, culminating with the purchase of Bodegas Fillaboa in Salvaterra de Miño in 1988.

Today Fillaboa is home to a tasting facility and formidable art collection housed in a 15th century Romanesque castle near the River Miño that forms the border between Spain and northern Portugal. In a region where most wineries make wines from purchased grapes, Fillaboa stands apart for its exclusive use of estate-grown fruit, ensuring quality control and consistency from vine to bottle. The estate’s deep devotion to quality is perfectly reflected in the Selección Finca Monte Alto, one of the very few single-vineyard estate wines produced in Rías Baixas, a racy white wine that sings with granite minerality and showcases Albariño’s quintessential freshness.

For more grape-growing and winemaking detail on this spectacular and award-winning wine, see the blue link below for thefiche technique/technical note from the makers themselves. On one specific point we have been asked by a few customers, the wine now being taken/supplied to customers is from the third batch of the 2010, this having been on the lees for 8 years and bottled in August 2019. It relates to the longer-aged wine discussed in the second Decanter review above.  A fourth batch is impending, bottled in December 2019 (if you would like to/rather try this, please contact mark@exelwines.co.uk).

Bodegas Fillaboa, La Fillaboa 1898 Albarino Rias Baixas 2010 - fiche technique

As the DWWA panel said of it and as our tasting note: "Eight years ageing for this Albariño from the granite-soiled region of Rias Baixas has left the wine a glowing gold in colour with beguilingly developed aromas of nuts, sweet balsam and wet moss on old stones.  The wine is unoaked, so all of that aromatic richness is coming from the fruit itself and time's work on it.  In the mouth, it is rich too, but dryly so, gracious and expansive, and beginning to hint more clearly at ground stone than to the summer fruits and flowers of youth, with that incipient nutty richness providing further complexities.  A blind-tasting puzzle - and a very delicious dinner-party white.  Drink 2019-2021"

ABV = 13.0%.

Note below the packaging options for the product: bottles can be despatched in either format (please state preference in comments box in order). We will seek to despatch at no additional carriage charge, but if the packaging necessitates additional carriage, we will be in contact to cover that. We have priced the wine as competitively as we can, and cannot easily do so and cover unlimited additional carriage!

 

£29.95

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 (1x75cl)

** ALAS NOW ALL GONE -  WE NOW OFFER THE AWARD-WINNING, HIGHLY-RATED 2011 (click link for product page and here for our comparison of the two vintages). **

Awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition review of 2010 Riojas (see blue link below).

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 - March 2019 Decanter review

"I bought six of these and unfortunately I have given three away to friends. We opened it last night and decanted as per the instructions of your shop staff. The wine is truly spectacular and I am working out how to break in to my friend's flat to steal back the wine I gave him. I have never been moved to comment on a bottle of wine by email. Thank you for the spectacular experience. Another 6 please. I won't be as generous with the next lot!"

- regular (anonymous) Perth customer [who ultimately bought another 12]

In case you missed it reaching this page, here's our article on the Decanter review and this wine.

Bodegas Olarra was created in 1973. Situated on the outskirts of the city of Logroño in Rioja Alta, their winery – a Y-shaped building designed to make optimum use of the space for both production and ageing of the wine – is known as “the Cathedral of La Rioja”. From the beginning, the winery has known how to combine the traditional methods of production and ageing with the most advanced modern techniques of viticulture and vinification. A favourable geographic location, gives the vineyards all the ingredients to produce good fruits. Indeed the clay and chalky soil is watered by the rain and the Ebro river. This area also benefits from warm sunshine and the influence of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. In 1978, Bodegas Olarra achieved their first Gold medal for a Cerro Añon wine in the tenth International Wines and Spirits Competition in the UK. Numerous awards followed from then on, proof of the outstanding quality of their wines.

Grapes for the Gran Reserva are drawn solely from Olarra vineyards; these are located primarily in Rioja Alta, but also in Rioja Alavesa to a lesser extent. Vines in these vineyards are all grown in the traditional way. The average age of the vines is over 30 years. Most of the vineyards sit on a clay-rich soil in Rioja Alta and on limestone-clay soils in Rioja Alavesa.

Harvests took place later than usual in 2010, well into late October, when the fruit was considered to have reached full ripeness; this slower, steadier ripening accounts for much of the quality of this harvest (generally) and the 2010 Gran Reserva (in the specific). Subsequent selection ensured that only grapes in healthy shape made it through to the vinification process. 2010 was a great year in the history of the quality of grapes on the Olarra estate. 

Tempranillo 80%, Mazuelo 10%, Garnacha 5%, Graciano 5%.

Fermentation and maceration lasted for a total of 19 days and were performed in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 28ºC. Later on, the wine was racked into new French (Allier) oak, 225-litre casks/barricas where the malolactic fermentation took place, followed by a stay on the lees for a little over two months, with regular batonnage.

By the end of that winter, the wine was already being racked into new oak barrels, where it remained for a further six months. After this, the rest of the oak ageing - up to the total 27 months - was conducted in different barrels again: Allier and American (Missouri) oak, all with a medium toast, and with different ages spanning from brand new to 5 years. After fining with egg whites, the wine was bottled and stored in Olarra's bottle cellar for 45 months, before it started to be released.

The Gran Reserva 2010 shows a deep red colour with shades of ruby on the rim of the glass. On the nose, at the time of original release, it revealed a delicate balance between ripe red berry aromas and those of spices and smokiness. Over time, this developmental bouquet has grown more complex, showing aromas of leather, tobacco, coffee beans and raisins. On the palate, it is full and round, thanks to its long period in the bottle. Mouthfeel is as firm, elegant and smooth as one should expect from a great Rioja Gran Reserva, with a surprisingly long and fresh finish.

ABV = 14.0% (NB: the figure stated in the Decanter review is incorrect, based on the value stated on the bottle).

£14.95

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 (1x75cl)

** NOW OUT OF IMMEDIATE STOCK AFTER A WEE RUSH. WE EXPECT MORE ON/BY THURSDAY 2ND APRIL, ASSUMING SUPPLY LINES HOLD UP AS CURRENTLY. Need a really good, in-stock, well-priced Rioja before that? We suggest the Decanter-rated Muriel Reserva or the sister Reserva of this wine. **  

Awarded 95 points and Gold status at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019.

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 - IWC 2019 Decanter review

The 2010 vintage was famously awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition review of 2010 Riojas (see blue link below).

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 - March 2019 Decanter review

Of the 2010: "I bought six of these and unfortunately I have given three away to friends. We opened it last night and decanted as per the instructions of your shop staff. The wine is truly spectacular and I am working out how to break in to my friend's flat to steal back the wine I gave him. I have never been moved to comment on a bottle of wine by email. Thank you for the spectacular experience. Another 6 please. I won't be as generous with the next lot!"

- regular (anonymous) Perth customer [who ultimately bought another 12]

In case you missed it reaching this page, here's our article on the Decanter review of the 2010 and and the Cerro Añon Gran Reserva overall.

Crucially, you may wish to know how the 2010 and the 2011 compare; customers of the 2010 are naturally asking, "is it as good?We carried out our own tasting and assessment and you can find the results here.

Bodegas Olarra was created in 1973. Situated on the outskirts of the city of Logroño in Rioja Alta, their winery – a Y-shaped building designed to make optimum use of the space for both production and ageing of the wine – is known as “the Cathedral of La Rioja”. From the beginning, the winery has known how to combine the traditional methods of production and ageing with the most advanced modern techniques of viticulture and vinification. A favourable geographic location, gives the vineyards all the ingredients to produce good fruits. Indeed the clay and chalky soil is watered by the rain and the Ebro river. This area also benefits from warm sunshine and the influence of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. In 1978, Bodegas Olarra achieved their first Gold medal for a Cerro Añon wine in the tenth International Wines and Spirits Competition in the UK. Numerous awards followed from then on, proof of the outstanding quality of their wines.

Grapes for the Gran Reserva are drawn solely from Olarra vineyards; these are located primarily in Rioja Alta, but also in Rioja Alavesa to a lesser extent. Vines in these vineyards are all grown in the traditional way. The average age of the vines is over 30 years. Most of the vineyards sit on a clay-rich soil in Rioja Alta and on limestone-clay soils in Rioja Alavesa.

Tempranillo 80%, Mazuelo 10%, Garnacha 5%, Graciano 5%.

Fermentation and maceration lasted for a total of 19 days and were performed in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 28ºC. Later on, the wine was racked into new French (Allier) oak, 225-litre casks/barricas where the malolactic fermentation took place, followed by a stay on the lees for a little over two months, with regular batonnage.

By the end of winter, the wine was racked into new oak barrels, where it remained for a further six months. After this, the rest of the oak ageing - up to the total 29 months - was conducted in different barrels again: Allier and American (Missouri) oak, all with a medium toast, and with different ages spanning from brand new to 5 years. After fining with egg whites, the wine was bottled and stored in Olarra's bottle cellar for 43 months, before it started to be released.

See also the blue link below for Olarra's own fiche technique/technical sheet.

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 - fiche technique

The Gran Reserva 2011 shows a deep red colour with shades of ruby on the rim of the glass. On the nose, at the time of original release, it revealed a delicate balance between predominantly black fruit and ripe red berry aromas, and those of cedarwood, spices and smokiness. Over time, this developmental bouquet has grown more complex, showing aromas of leather, tobacco, coffee beans and prunes. On the palate, it is full and round, thanks to its long period in the bottle. Mouthfeel is as firm, elegant and smooth as one should expect from a great Rioja Gran Reserva, with a surprisingly long and fresh finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£14.95

Bodegas Verum Ulterior Parcela #17 Graciano 2016 (1x75cl)

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

Bodegas Verum, Ulterior Parcela #17 Graciano 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.

The origins of the López-Montero family in wine-making and distilling date back to 1788. It was then when the first of their wineries in Tomelloso was registered, which is still on the records at the local archives of the town. In 1963 Juan Antonio López Ramírez and María Victoria Montero established Altosa, a winery and distillery that continues to make and market wines and distilled spirits. In 2005, María Victoria, with her daughter, María Belén, and her sons, Juan Antonio, Pedro José and Elías, created Bodegas y Viñedos Verum. The brand encompasses the wines of the López-Montero family from the best vineyards and terroirs in their property.

Put simply, La Mancha's Bodegas Verum is an organic vineyard which produces mono-varietal wines from both traditional grapes and forgotten indigenous varietals such as Albillo Real and Tinto Velasco.

For this, the Ulterior Parcela #17, a single-vineyard wine from Parcela 17 of the El Romeral vineyard, the grapes are picked by hand, destemmed, crushed and fermented in stainless still tanks, then transferred to old barrels for malolactic fermentation. 10% of the wine is aged in oak demi-muids of 600 liters made of new French oak, the rest in earthen jars (clay) of ~ 5,000 liters for 8 months. After bottling, it is held another 12 months before release.

Verum puts its wines on sale when they are at the optimum moment for consumption;  nevertheless, you can store this wine up to 7 years after harvest.

100% Graciano.

Cherry red with white trim, bright. On the nose it is intense, highlighting a floral character of violets, lavender and other aromatic herbs (typical of ripe Graciano) with a background of black fruit and subtle cocoa. On the palate it is also intense and ripe with smooth/fine-grained tannins that provide structure. There is great persistence that brings back the black fruits and violets, plus a touch of appealing bitterness that adds character.

Or, as DWWA 19 put it:

"Bright and pure purple berry fruit nose with attractive vanilla bean new oak aromas. On the palate, this is sumptuous and rich with generous, fleshy fruit. Very pure and expressive".

ABV = 13.5%.

£16.50

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Riserva 2016 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS NOT - REPEAT NOT - HELD IN IMMEDIATE STOCK, UNLIKE ALMOST ALL OTHER WINES ON THE SITE AT PRESENT. IT WILL BE ORDERED FROM THE SUPPLIER ON MONDAY 5th APRIL, AND SHOULD BE WITH CUSTOMERS ON FRIDAY 9th, MAYBE MONDAY 12TH. **

Awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2020 edition expert tasting of Verdicchio (see blue link below).

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Riserva 2016 - May 2020 Decanter review

The Bucci family has been growing grapes in the Marche since the 1700s. Current custodian, Ampelio Bucci has 26 hectares of vineyard on this 400 hectare estate, which is cultivated organically. Of these, 21 hectares are Verdicchio, spread over six separate vineyards. The old vines and low yields give wines of great intensity. Consultant winemaker at Villa Bucci is the legendary enologist Giorgio Grai, who has been there for nearly 30 years. He makes wines for ageing and complexity rather than freshness and simplicity.

The Riserva is only produced in the best vintages, with fruit from the oldest vines (between 40 and 50 years old on average) and the best sites. There are six vineyards with different exposures and elevations to obtain more complexity in the final blend of each wine. Yields are kept low and vineyard management is certified organic with no herbicides or pesticides used. Soils are mainly calcareous (limestone), giving minerality to the wine, with around 30% clay, which retains moisture during the hot summers.

Vinification took place in the underground winery, which is naturally cool so refrigeration is generally not necessary. Vinification took place in stainless steel and Slovenian oak barrels of between 50 and 75 hectolitres, that are approximately 70 years old. Different vineyard parcels were vinified separately, aged for two years and then carefully blended before bottling.

100% Verdicchio.

An intense, complex and persistent bouquet of apricot compôte and spice with aromas of honey, beeswax, minerals and flint stone. Full bodied and with great depth, the wine finishes with hints of honey and nuts.

ABV = 13.5%.

** THIS WINE IS NOT - REPEAT NOT - HELD IN IMMEDIATE STOCK, UNLIKE ALMOST ALL OTHER WINES ON THE SITE AT PRESENT. IT WILL BE ORDERED FROM THE SUPPLIER ON MONDAY 5th APRIL, AND SHOULD BE WITH CUSTOMERS ON FRIDAY 9th, MAYBE MONDAY 12TH. **

£28.85

Cantina Mesa Buio Buio Riserva (Isola dei Nuraghi), Carignano del Sulcis 2016 (1x75cl)

** NOT IN IMMEDIATE STOCK. WITH US THURSDAY 9th APRIL **

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2020 edition article on Sulcis and Sardinia (see blue link below).

Cantina Mesa Buio Buio Riserva (Isola Dei Nuraghi), Carignano Del Sulcis 2016 - May 2020 Decanter review

This is one of the most exciting wineries to come out of Sardinia in two decades. It is the brainchild of Gavino Sanna, a Sardinian who has lived in Milan for the past 50 years, where he built up one of Italy's most successful advertising agencies. On a whim, he decided to sell the agency and seek new challenges. One of these challenges was the creation of a winery in Sulcis in southwestern Sardinia. As might be expected from someone with Sanna's background, the labels are striking. He has also ensured that the contents are equally striking. Stefano Cova, a young winemaker from Trentino, took over with the 2008 vintage, improving on an already high level of quality.

The grapes are grown in the Sulcis area on the south-western tip of Sardinia. The climate here is Mediterranean with low rainfall that usually falls almost entirely in autumn and winter. It is characterised by frequent north-westerly winds, high temperatures in spring and summer, a mild autumn and winters which vary from dry and cold through to relatively mild. Soils are naturally sandy and chalky-clay, sub-alkaline, medium textured with a rocky, schistous character. Moderate nutrient levels and good levels of minerals add a distinctive character to the resulting wines. The vines are espalier trained and spur-cordon pruned.

The grapes were hand-picked then vinified with maceration on the skins at 26-28°C for 10-12 days. Upon completion of malolactic fermentation, the wine spent a minimum of 10 months in second- and third-use barriques, followed by at least four months in bottle.

100% Carignan.

Deep ruby red in colour. The nose offers a complex mix of balsamic notes of red berry fruit and blossoms, together with hints of spices and oak. The palate is rich and full, revealing excellent balance with an appealingly silky texture and long, lingering finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

** NOT IN IMMEDIATE STOCK. WITH US THURSDAY 9th APRIL **

£28.15

Caves de l Ormarine Les Prades Picpoul de Pinet 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their April 2019 Panel Tasting on the Picpoul de Pinet (see blue link below).

Caves de l'Ormarine Les Prades Picpoul de Pinet 2017 - April 2019 Decanter review

The grapes used for this wine come from one south-facing vineyard 10-30 metres above sea level in the Languedoc Roussillon region of Southern France. The 30 year old vines are planted on a chalky clay plateaux, rich in Cretaceous limestone and loaded with quartz gravel chippings. Grapes are harvested in September at night to retain freshness and acidity.

Grapes are carefully sorted in both the vineyard and winery, with analysis of ripeness being carried out before picking. At the winery, they are destemmed and crushed, with skin contact for 3-4 hours to draw out the aromatics. After pressing, fermentation lasts 10-15 days at 16°C in cement tanks. The wine remains on its lees for 1 month with twice weekly battonage. Malolactic fermentation is prevented so that the wine can retain its crisp acidity and fresh primary fruit characters. The wine is fined, filtered and bottled and released whilst young and fresh.

The Les Prades Picpoul de Pinet has a clear, brilliant yellow colour with green tints. It has fine fresh, fruity and floral aromas. The aromatic persistance is good with overtones of citrus fruit. The flavours are lively, fresh with lemon and floral touches followed by a light refreshing grapefruit finish. Serve with fresh seafood, grilled fish, salads, or drink on its own as an aperitif.

£11.20
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