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Bodega Garzon Reserva Albarino 2017 (1x 75cl)

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

Garzon Reserva Albarino 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).

Garzon Reserva Albarino 2016 - 2017 DWWA Decanter review

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

This Albariño wine from Garzón will be the icon of Uruguayan wines, portraying ripe aromas of white peaches, citrus fruits (eg grapefruit) and featuring floral notes of jasmine. It has a fresh, crisp and fruity mouth feel on the palate with mineral notes, and is rounded off with extremely fresh and balanced acidity, with good structure and a delicious mouth-watering finish.

£14.50

Bodega Norton Reserva Malbec 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Big Brand South American wines (below £13!) (see blue link below).

Norton Reserva Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

In 1885, the Buenos Aires to Mendoza railway opened, cementing the significance of this emerging wine-growing region high in the Andean foothills. Ten years later, Edmund Norton planted the first vines in Mendoza’s Luján de Cuyo district. At 900-1100 metres, the altitude moderates the temperature, causing an extended ripening season, and also expose the vines to more ultraviolet light, which encourages the development of colour and tannin in the black-skinned varieties. The result is whites packed with vibrant flavour and good natural acidity, and well-structured, food-friendly reds.

Half the blend comes from vineyards situated at 1100 metres above sea level in the Luján de Cuyo region of western Mendoza, and half comes from the Uco Valley to the south. The age of the vines is between thirty and fifty years. The grapes are hand-picked into small baskets, with hand selection of the berries. Following a five-day cold maceration, the wine underwent a fermentation with native yeasts for seven days at a temperature of 25°C. Maceration lasted for 25-30 days at 20°C, and the malolactic fermentation was 100% natural. The wine was aged for twelve months in first- and second-use French oak barrels, and then for ten months in bottle prior to release.

Round and velvety, with flavours of ripe black fruit, violets, spices and tobacco. Long and complex on the finish.

£13.90

Bodega Norton Reserva Malbec 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Big Brand South American wines (below £13!) (see blue link below).

Norton Reserva Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

NB: This wine also trades under the name of the Winemaker's Reserve Malbec, as can be seen from the Bodega Norton website (compare the two products and note their identical tech sheet!).

In 1885, the Buenos Aires to Mendoza railway opened, cementing the significance of this emerging wine-growing region high in the Andean foothills. Ten years later, Edmund Norton planted the first vines in Mendoza’s Luján de Cuyo district. At 900-1100 metres, the altitude moderates the temperature, causing an extended ripening season, and also expose the vines to more ultraviolet light, which encourages the development of colour and tannin in the black-skinned varieties. The result is whites packed with vibrant flavour and good natural acidity, and well-structured, food-friendly reds.

Half the blend comes from vineyards situated at 1100 metres above sea level in the Luján de Cuyo region of western Mendoza, and half comes from the Uco Valley to the south. The age of the vines is between thirty and fifty years. The grapes are hand-picked into small baskets, with hand selection of the berries. Following a five-day cold maceration, the wine underwent a fermentation with native yeasts for seven days at a temperature of 25°C. Maceration lasted for 25-30 days at 20°C, and the malolactic fermentation was 100% natural. The wine was aged for twelve months in first- and second-use French oak barrels, and then for ten months in bottle prior to release.

Round and velvety, with flavours of ripe black fruit, violets, spices and tobacco. Long and complex on the finish.

£13.90

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. 

The Urbina Gran Reserva is harvested by hand and the skins remain in contact with the must for 28 days.  It is then fermented at a temperature of 28°C using indigenous yeast.  The wine is matured for 24 months in American oak before being bottled and matured for another 48 months before being released for sale.

The Urbina Gran Reserva 1996 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.

£22.50

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.

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.

£27.75

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.

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.

£24.80

Bodegas Lan Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 (1x75cl)

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."

The Bodegas Lan Gran Reserva is made using 90% Tempranillo from a selection of the best grapes coming from 30 year-old, low yielding bush vines in the Rioja Alta and 10% Mazuelo from the Viña Lanciano vineyard.

The grapes are de-stemmed and fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 30º C. The wine was then macerated for 3 weeks, over-pumping the must daily to favour higher extraction of colour and aromas. It was aged for 24 months in American oak and French oak barrels, followed by a minimum of 36 months in the bottle.

This wine is garnet in colour with ruby hues. Aromas of ripe red fruits combined with spicy notes from the aging in oak (Vanilla, cinnamon, fennel, liquorice root) and tertiary aromas (Leather, cigar box…) from its prolonged bottle ageing. Full bodied and round, its mouthfeel is elegant and very well balanced.

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

£22.45

Bodegas Roda 1 Rioja 2011 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2018 (see blue link below)

Bodegas Roda 1 Rioja 2011 - January 2019 Decanter review

Roda was founded in 1987 by Mario Rotllant and Carmen Daurella. They arrived in La Rioja with the firm intention of creating a project able to provide the world of winemaking with something new. This is where their fascinating, ambitious, exigent and unprecedented adventure began. Bodegas Roda is located at the edge of the river Ebro, in the Railway Station District (Barrio de la Estación) in Haro. 

Roda uses bush vines that are over 30 years old and yields are limited to 1.5 kgs per vine to encourage phenolic maturity which results in depth and complexity on the palate. The 14 Tempranillo vineyards used to produce Roda I are located near Haro, the historic heart of La Rioja Alta. Aged in French oak barriques for 16 months (50% new and 50% second use) and 36 months in bottle prior to release. The “high” temperatures in March and April caused an early budding of 15 days compared to 2010. During the month of July, the temperatures dropped, the average monthly temperature of 19ºC, and the differences with 2010 were reduced to one week at veraison. The low rainfall in the summer months and the high temperatures of August and September, with a lower production of the vineyard, made that the harvest come early, between 15 and 20 days, compared to 2010.

High layer with dark red background. The Roda I 2011 has a beautiful nose, intense with black fruit and reddish details. The plum becomes the protagonist among cherries and sweet spices. There are waves of aromas that rise from the depth leaving memories of earth and minerals. The wood is almost imperceptible among the spices. The mouth is wide, powerful and delicate at the same time. Very cozy and pleasant, combining sweetness and freshness. The tannin is very fine and you can feel, between the silkiness of the black plums, the chocolate notes and the memory of a cigar box.

£40.50

Bodegas Valdemar, Conde de Valdemar Rioja Gran Reserva 2008 (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 30 months maturing in French oak barrels and was subsequently bottled in June 2012.

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.

£25.10

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.

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.

£16.30

Boulevard Napoleon Grenache Gris 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition expert review of Languedoc whites (see blue link below).

Boulevard Napoleon Grenache Gris 2015 - August 2018 Decanter review

Named after the street the winery is located on in the village of La Livinière, Minervois, Boulevard Napoléon is the partnership between restaurant owner Trevor Gulliver and winemaker Benjamin Darnault. Seeing the potential in the vineyards located by his holiday home, Trevor started making the wines and then showed them to his other partner, chef Fergus Henderson, who was more than impressed, as were we! Each wine is a classic expression of the varietal grown on the dry, stony slopes of the south of France - yet they retain a vibrancy and definition that marks them out from the crowd.

Fruit is sourced exclusively from a 75 year old single vineyard situated on stony terraces in the high hills of La Livinière, in the Minervois region. Here, soils are predominantly limestone and clay with the age of vines averaging 70 years. The wines show brightness, ripeness, definition and character - elements which can be largely attributed to these older vines. Grenache grapes are picked in two passes, as both the Noir and Gris grapes are grown in the same plot.

Grapes were all harvested by hand into small cases before undergoing a slow and gentle whole bunch pressing in a bag press. After one day resting on its skins, the juice was racked off into one and two year old 225 litre barrels for fermentation. The finished wine was then aged in barrel on its lees for one year without racking. A light filtration occurred just prior to bottling.

One of the best examples of white wines from the Languedoc region. Aromatic, with citrus perfumes, this wine is rich and supple on the palate with distinct notes of smoke and liquorice. The finish is fresh, long and lingering.

£20.45

Brokenwood Indigo Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (1x 75cl)

** DECANTER MAGAZINE HAS MARKED US AS HAVING AVAILABILITY OF THIS WINE. ALAS, THIS IS AN ERROR DATING BACK TO ITS REVIEW IN DECEMBER 2017 (when we rapidly sold out). WE LEARN THAT THERE IS NONE AVAILABLE AT EITHER THE UK IMPORTER OR BROKENWOOD EITHER. Apologies for the disappointment! **

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of cool-climate Australian Chardonnay (Victoria and Tasmania) (see blue links below).

Brokenwood Indigo Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 - December 2017 Decanter review

Decanter review - individual reviewer comments

Established in 1970, Brokenwood Wines has evolved from a weekend venture for self-professed hobby winemakers into one of Australia’s most reputable wine labels. It was founded by a trio of Sydney-based solicitors, Tony Albert, John Beeston and James Halliday, who paid a then record price of $970 per acre for a 10-acre block in the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges. The original block was destined to be a cricket ground for the local community but was instead planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The first vintage was picked in 1973 and while none of the original partners claimed to know anything about viticulture, the wine received praise, and attracted a loyal following from the first vintage.

In 1975, a new winery was built to accommodate the growing production. Growth was steady until the boom of 1978, when six new partners joined, allowing the purchase of the nextdoor (and now famous) Graveyard Vineyard. Originally destined to be a cemetery for the Parish of Pokolbin, it was never used as such and instead planted with Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon. The Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz is Brokenwood’s flagship wine, which is still sourced exclusively from that one vineyard.

In the same year, Brokenwood sourced fruit from outside the Hunter Valley for the first time - Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra - which was blended with Hunter fruit to make a premium red, creating the style that has been synonymous with Brokenwood for the last 20 years. In 1982, the company extended its range to include white wines, notably the jewel of the Hunter Valley, Semillon. Brokenwood was then capable of producing high quality white wine, which, since 1983, has been a significant part of its total production. Brokenwood’s single vineyard philosophy has grown to capture the essence of its premium sites throughout Australia.
Consistently listed as a 5-star winery, Brokenwood is home to the aforementioned Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz, the highly-acclaimed ILR Reserve Semillon, and the popular Cricket Pitch Range.

An almost-perfect combination of soils, aspect, vine clones and vine age on the Indigo property makes for a stunning Chardonnay with minimum winemaking input, allowing the Beechworth region and and Indigo terroir to express themselves fully. A very cold and wet winter of 2015 meant a late budburst, but set the vines up for a great spring. A warm summer did mean irrigation was necessary and picking was very condensed. The last grapes off were nearly a month ahead of previous years, but this worked out favourably as there was a heat wave in early March. Overall, 2016 was a quite excellent vintage.

Whole bunch pressing, wild ferment in new French oak have come together in spectacular fashion. The wine was fermented in 30% new French oak. with the 70% balance being older oak, from a variety of cooperages.

At Indigo, careful winemaking and being very hands-off has resulted in a perfect green tinted yellow colour. Whole bunch pressed and a wild ferment has meant excellent complexity on nose and palate. Nutty elements with distinctive Beechworth ‘oat meal’ Chardonnay lift. A vintage with low ‘struck match’ but long grapefruit flavours and tropical acidity. Perfect Chardonnay which is drinking well now but will improve with further bottle age.

£35.00

Bruno Paillard Brut Premiere Cuvee NV (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition article on changes in chefs de cave in Champagne  (see blue link below).

Bruno Paillard Brut Premiere Cuvee NV - January 2019 Decanter review

Bruno Paillard Champagne is an independent, family-run house. Its exceptional vineyards are located in the heart of the Champagne region. The wines have a highly personal style characterized by stringent quality control at every stage of the process. They only use the first pressing of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, and each cru is produced separately in oak barrels or stainless steel tanks. The house was the first to indicate the date of disgorgement on its bottles.

The Première Cuvée is a very personal interpretation of the Champagne region and is the flagship of the Bruno Paillard style. A top quality wine, the Première Cuvée has the ability to survive any harvest The blend is made usingonly the first pressing of the grapes to extract only the purest juice - Pinot Noir (45%), Chardonnay (33%) and Pinot Meunier (22%), part of which (20%) was in barrel for the first fermentation. This champagne is a blend of 25 vintages, dating back to 1985. Ageing takes place over a period of time that is always longer than the legal requirement; three years sur lie, then a minimum of a further five months after disgorgement. 

The golden straw colour is indicative of the exclusive use of the first pressing. The fine bubbles are due to a strict selection of the best grapes, perfectly controlled temperature in the cellar and very long ageing. The primary aromas are of citrus - lime and grapefruit. Then the red fruits aromas start to appear - redcurrant, raspberry, morello cherries. When left to open up in the glass, the wine shows hints of dried fruits, which are sometimes exotic. The palate is lively and vivacious, thanks to a low dosage. The aromas on the nose are echoed in the mouth. There are primary flavours of citrus, almonds, and toasted bread, followed by redcurrant jelly but also dark fruits like cherry, fig and blackberry. As the wine opens up in the glass, and gets warmer, it expresses light plum and pear flavours. The palate is full, quite long with a very clean finish. The Premiere Cuvee champagne is an excellent aperitif. It matches divinely with cheese (Brie de Meaux, Camembert, aged salers), poultry and shellfish.

£36.80

Bruno Paillard Premiere Cuvee Rose NV (1x 75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition article on changes in chefs de cave in Champagne  (see blue link below).

Bruno Paillard Brut Premiere Cuvee Rose NV - January 2019 Decanter review

Bruno Paillard Champagne is an independent, family-run house. Its exceptional vineyards are located in the heart of the Champagne region. The wines have a highly personal style characterized by stringent quality control at every stage of the process. They only use the first pressing of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, and each cru is produced separately in oak barrels or stainless steel tanks. The house was the first to indicate the date of disgorgement on its bottles.

A hymn to the bright delicacy of Pinot Noir, the Premiere Cuvee Rosé is named on account of its composition of only the first pressing. This multi-vintage rosé, made with Pinot Noir, is created in two ways: 1. White wine from Pinot Noir: after a quick pressing, and a fast separation of the skins, the juice is very pale and can be vinified as a white wine. 2. Red wine from Pinot Noir: is obtained by a prolonged maceration of the juice on the skins. A touch of Chardonnay brings the necessary vivacity to balance the fruits of Pinot Noir.

The blend is a first pressing of mainly Pinot Noir with some Chardonnay, the amount of which remains a secret. The reserve wines are a blend of 25 vintages, going back to 1985. The champagne is aged for three years sur lie, then a minimum of a further five months after disgorgement. This wine has a very low dosage, (labelled as Extra Brut) at less than 6g per litre. It is a very pure wine.

The pink copper colour with a hint of raspberry when young evolves to salmon while ageing. The fine bubbles are due to a strict selection of the best grapes, perfectly controlled temperature in the cellar and very long ageing. The initial aromas of redcurrant and red fruits evolve to morello cherry, wild strawberry and violet while breathing in the glass. A touch of lemon denotes the discrete presence of Chardonnay. With age, aromas tend towards dark fruits like dark cherry, fig and blackberry. The palate reveals red fruit captured at full freshness. The finish is bright and long.

Pale in colour yet with a distinctive hue. This Cuvee has finesse and purity but is very fine and fresh. With subtle cherries, strawberries and nice overall acidity.

£46.20

Bruno Rocca Barbaresco Rabaja 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2016 edition review of the Barbaresco 2013 vintage (see blue link below).

Bruno Rocca Barbaresco Rabaja 2013 - Dec 2016 Decanter review

The Rocca family originates from Barbaresco. Bruno Rocca took charge of the family business when his father died in 1978, and decided that all the wine produced by the estate would from then on be sold in bottle. The family now has 15 hectares of vineyards. Stylistically, Bruno is a consummate modernist, making wines with great intensity of fruit while retaining the structure and elegance of the Langhe at its best.

Purchased by Bruno Rocca's father, this vineyard is in the Rabajà Cru, in the village of Barbaresco. It was planted in 1964 and completed in 1978. The land planted solely with Nebbiolo has a south-westerly exposure and is a mixture of tufaceous clay, marl and limestone. The vineyard is steep and is situated at an altitude of about 300 metres above sea level. The vines are approximately 50-60 years old.

A warm winter and an early spring started off the growing season. Summer saw regular temperatures and plentiful rainfall with some very intense downpours. These weather conditions meant that production in 2014 was slightly lower than average. A good September and October with good diurnal temperatures helped complete the ripening process. The 2014 wines seem to have good ageing potential, with good acidity and minerality.

Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 30°C and lasted 20 to 25 days. The wine was aged for 12 months in 225 litre French oak barrels (Allier, medium toast) and another 12 months in large oak barrels.

Ruby-garnet in colour with an intensely perfumed nose and notes of flowers, redcurrant, blackberry and a smoky edge. On the palate there is great fruit concentration and the characteristic tannins of Nebbiolo have been softened by the warm autumn. Long and very elegant on the finish.

£70.95
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