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Alfredo Maestro Tejero El Marciano 2017 (1x 75cl)

The 2016 vintage of this wine (now very hard to find - we can't) was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition article on Discovery/New Wave Spain (see blue link below).

Alfredo Maestro Tejero El Marciano 2016 - March 2019 Decanter review

Alfredo Maestro Tejero’s vineyards are located within the Ribera del Duero D.O., but Alfredo has decided not to participate in the D.O., so his wines are classed as Vino de la Tierra de Castillo y León. They are completely natural wines, with no sulphur added in the vineyard or the winery. All vineyard treatments are natural and biodynamic practices are followed.

The isolated Gredos mountain range which lies 70 kilometres west of Madrid is home to a mosaic of tiny old-vine vineyards planted mainly to Grenache. El Marciano comes from one such 70-year-old granitic site lying at a staggering 1,150 metres elevation. The grapes are mainly destemmed, 20% whole bunches were retained and fermented with wild yeasts in stainless steel vat of 2000 litres with daily stirrings. The wine undergoes no filtration or fining and has no added sulphur.

This gorgeous wine typifies Alfredo’s delicate touch and respect for his land. It is juicy and flavoursome, laden with spicy blackberry aromas as well as raspberry, liquorice and a fresh earth scented palate. The texture is rock-sculpted (the granite bedrock of the site lies just a few inched below the surface) and the acidity is thrillingly bright, drawing all corners together.

The label is a representation of the remote and barren granite-ridden landscape that make up this wine’s terroir. It depicts Alfredo directing two martian vineyard workers who are clearly not comfortable in their endeavours. El Marciano translates from Spanish as The Martian. 

£15.20

Blank Canvas Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2019 tasting/review of carbonic maceration reds (see blue link below).

Blank Canvas Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015 - July 2019 Decanter review

Matt Thomson has worked over forty vintages in numerous wine regions around the world. "Blank Canvas represents my story as a winemaker. It is an endeavour that is entirely my own expression of winemaking, is from my own funding, and is exclusively my risk". The 'Blank Canvas' is the vineyard and the variety, the winery the brush and palette (no pun intended) at the winemaker's disposal, all the while defined by the scientific grounding Matt laid at university and has built upon over the past 23 years. With partner Sophie Parker-Thomson, the aim is to break some rules with the Blank Canvas wines, but they feel in order to break the rules, you need to know them. This is what sets the Blank Canvas wines apart.

A parcel of special Syrah fruit was sourced from a single vineyard run by a good friend in Hawkes Bay’s famous Gimblett Gravels sub-region. The vineyard is over 15 years old with very low-yielding vines. The freedraining nature of the Gimblett Gravel soils with vineyards being situated on an historic riverbed facilitate this. The vines are VSP trained and cane-pruned on a single fruiting wire with high density planting.

In an unprecedented approach, Matt has co-fermented a select parcel of Syrah fruit with 7.5% Gruner Veltliner skins. This is a similar technique to what is done in Northern Rhone but with Austria’s hallmark white variety instead of France’s Viognier. Matt specifically chose Gruner so the finished wine would benefit from its white pepper note. 60% whole bunches were fermentated. The wine was hand-plunged and fermented by cultured and wild yeasts. Maturation of 10 months in new and seasoned French oak was carried out before the wine was blended and bottled unfiltered in March 2015.

100% Syrah (the Gruner skins above aside!).

Rich, powerful and brooding, the Blank Canvas Syrah is a world first for its inclusion of a unique co-fermentation partner, Gruner Veltliner. Black and red plum and boysenberry perufmes sit alongside savoury notes, particularly bacon. The black pepper and juniper of Syrah complement the white pepper notes of Gruner Veltliner. It has a velvet-like texture, fine tannins and acidity that only a cool-climate can deliver. It is incredibly dense and dark, yet hauntingly perfumed and elegant.

£23.50

Cazes 'Ego' Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).

Cazes 'Ego' Côtes Du Roussillon-Villages 2017 - June 2019 Decanter review

Domaine Cazes is situated in Rivesaltes in the Roussillon. With 220 hectares of vines planted, Domaine Cazes is the largest certified organic and biodynamic estate in France. It was founded in 1895 by Michel Cazes and the wines are made by the fourth generation of winemakers, headed up by Emmanuel Cazes. The family makes a range of interesting dry wines alongside the regional specialities, Vin Doux Naturels. They took the decision to move to organic and biodynamic viticulture in 1997. Based on their view that the natural environment needs natural preparation, they plough the soils and use only natural ingredients as treatments, arranging their work according to the lunar calendar.

Maison Cazes is set in the sunniest French region. Since the family started farming biodynamically, they have found that the vineyards are healthier and the vines are stronger, with longer roots. Vines grow on clay and limestone soils, covered by 'galets roulés' (the 'pudding stones' also found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape). The low yielding vines are about 30 years old, and produce 30 hectolitres per hectare.

2017 was a very early vintage thanks to the good water reserves in the soil and the mild temperature from February. The warmer temperatures in July and August aided the vegetative cycle. The grapes were picked early, when the optimal sugar and acidity levels had been obtained.

40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre. The three varieties were 100% de-stemmed and before being put in separate stainless steel vats. Only naturally occurring yeasts were used; no yeast was added to the must. Fermentation was temperature controlled at 28°C. The residual matter was circulated by pump-overs and the sediment was broken up by hand twice a day to extract the best qualities. The wine was macerated for four weeks before pressing after which it underwent malolactic fermentation.

As well as being biodynamic and organic, this wine is suitable for vegans.

The palate is bright with ripe red and black fruit aromas and rich liquorice notes, balanced by delicate tannins. This wine has a remarkable balance, thanks to its good acidity and freshness. Long finish with white pepper flavours.

£14.85

Colome Torrontes 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article on Argentinian whites (see blue link below)

Colome Torrontes 2017 - July 2018 Decanter review

Bodega Colomé was established in 1831 by the Spanish Governor of Salta, Nicolás Severo de Isasmendi y Echalar. In 1854, his daughter Ascensión, who was married to José Benjamín Dávalos, brought the first French pre-phylloxera Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon vines to Colomé. Grapes from three vineyards (of four hectares each) planted in that year are still used to make wines. Located in the Upper Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina, not only is Colomé the oldest winery in Argentina, but it also claims to own the world's highest vineyard.

The high altitude of the Calchaqui Valley and greater difference between day and night temperatures, ensures a longer growing season which in turn leads to a more intense accumulation of flavour in the grapes. The large difference (25°C) between day and night also aids the retention of natural acidity within the grapes. The climate here is dry with very little rainfall, on average around 120mm per year. Soils are sandy with layers of gravel which aid drainage. The vineyards are all farmed biodynamically.

The grapes went through a double selection process, firstly in the vineyard and then again on the sorting table at the winery. Fermenation was slow, using selected yeasts at low temperatures to retain the varietal fruit character. The wine was aged in stainless steel tanks for three months before bottling in June 2016. It then spent a further two months ageing in bottle before release.

Intense gold in colour with green tones, this wine has a bright floral nose with the citrus aroma of grapefruit and a hint of spice. In the mouth it is fresh and well structured with a crisp finish. Elegant and fruity with tropical notes to the fore.

£11.70

Cullen Diana Madeline 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition in Steven Spurrier's Fine Wine World column (see blue link below)....

Cullen Diana Madeline 2015 - October 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 97 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of Margaret River wines (see blue link below).

Cullen Diana Madeline 2015 - December 2017 Decanter review

Cullen Wines is a certified biodynamic, carbon neutral and naturally powered estate, with their philosophy summed up in three simple words; ‘Quality, Integrity and Sustainability’. It is one of the oldest and most awarded family wineries in Wilyabrup, in Western Australia’s famous Margaret River region. First established in 1971 by Dr Kevin and Diana Cullen and now run by their daughter Vanya, the winery has built an outstanding reputation for fine certified biodynamic wines that receive critical national and international acclaim. All wines produced are sourced from grapes grown on the Cullen and adjoining Mangan Estates. Both are certified biodynamic, to allow the soil to be nurtured and the wines to reflect their sense of place.

The soils at Cullen are old granite and gravelly sandy loam, overlaying lateric subsoils. The fruit is all taken from the Cullen Vineyard, The Cabernet Sauvignon comprises 11.33 hectares and was planted in 1971. The Merlot was planted in 1976 and covers 1.76 hectares. Vanya feels that her conversion to biodynamic viticulture has given her better fruit, the character of which she has preserved during the winemaking process. She is determined to ensure that these characters are retained in the bottle, and feels that this is best done by using a Stelvin closure.

The grapes were grown biodynamically and hand harvested. The fruit was carefully sorted before natural primary and malolactic fermentation. The two varieties were vinified separately. Primary fermentation took an average of 35 days, wtih the average skin contact lasting for 49 days. The wine was then aged for 17 months in French oak barriques, 60% of which were new. No acid or yeast were added, producing a wine which has a great sense of place.

Deep crimson in colour, with fantastic complexity on the nose. Layers of well-ripened dark fruits are enhanced by leafy notes and classic Wilyabrup cassis, violets, chocolate and ironstone. A fruit driven palate of blackcurrant and mulberry fruits finishes with fine grained tannins. Subtle layers of complexity arise from fruit that was harvested at the pinnacle of ripeness.

£79.50

De Loach Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2016 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their May 2019 "Weekday Wines(see blue link below).

De Loach Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2016 - May 2019 Decanter review

The winery and vineyards were originally owned and run by the Cecil and Christine De Loach. In 2003, the family run Burgundian estate Jean-Claude Boisset purchased De Loach and brought the focus back to the estate's original high quality winemaking philosophy, with specific emphasis on small lot winemaking, particularly of Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. The winery's 17-acre estate vineyard has been completely restored and converted to organic and biodynamic viticulture, a tradition upheld by many foremost Burgundian vineyards. The De Loach estate vineyards are certified organic by CCOF.

The cool, foggy Russian River Valley climate allows for slow ripening, ideal for Chardonnay to develop full flavour maturation. The fruit was hand harvested from select sites in the heart of the valley including the Boriolo and BCD vineyards, as well as from the Norris and Wallace vineyards nestled in the Chalk Hill region

The juice was fermented in a combination of stainless steel tanks (40%) and French oak barrels (60%), of which 10% were new. The barrel-fermented portion of wine was aged for nine months and achieved full malolactic conversion. These techniques contributed to an intricately layered and delicately nuanced wine.

Beautifully pale straw yellow in colour, the nose of this Chardonnay immediately entices you with its rich aromas of key lime, white peach and baked apple pie. It shines in spritzy, vibrant acidity that supports a medium-bodied frame of lemon zest, kumquat and plenty of length, dotted in touches of nutmeg.

£19.70

Domaine Gramenon Cotes Du Rhone La Sagesse 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter at an En Primeur Rhone tasting in October 2017.

Domaine Gramenon 'La Sagesse' 2016 - October 2017 Decanter review

Domaine Gramenon was created in 1978 and is situated in Montbrison-sur-Lez in Drôme provençale, at the bottom of the first pre-Alps foothills, the domain stands at a 350 m altitude in the most northern part of the southern Côtes du Rhône area. The vineyard has been cultivated in a natural and organic way since its creation in 1978. They also felt that they should adopt biodynamic techniques and were certified as biodynamic in 2010. They believe each piece of their land to be specific and have its own identity.

This wine is 100% Grenache.

See blue link below for the excellent, 2017 fiche technique / technical note from the winemakers at Domaine Gramenon.

Domaine Gramenon La Sagesse - fiche technique

The La Sagesse reveals stony notes mixed with spices and red and black fruit aromas. The palate is full and dense, offering fruit flavours and a long, powerful finish.  This wine would be a good match with beef rib, red meats or smoked crab and paprika chowder.

£25.55

Domaine Le Roc Des Anges Cotes Du Roussillon Villages Rouge Segna De Cor 2017 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition article on organic and biodynamic wine production in Languedoc-Roussillon (see blue link below).

Domaine Le Roc Des Anges Cotes Du Roussillon Villages Rouge Segna De Cor 2017 - August 2019 Decanter review

Marjorie and Stéphane Gallet, both incomers from other parts of France (Côte-Rotie and Normandy, respectively), have constructed a biodynamic wine sanctuary (certified 2014) in the Vallée de l’Agly, a nearly deserted vineyard land dominated by co-ops and famous for producing fortified wines. The locals continue to abandon vines every year because the yields are tragically low and make it one of the most difficult places in France to make a living in vineyards.

Since she began the project in 2001 (at age 23), Marjorie’s intuitive and peaceful contemplation have resulted in wines that carry a signature of purity, focus and elegance unlike anything made in the region. They are low alcohol, hands-off, mind-on wines bottled by varietal from single sites on specific and unique soil compositions. In smell and taste, their structure and style more closely resemble that of their earthy and salty cousins from the middle of France’s Loire Valley.

Roc des Anges’ biodynamically farmed (since 2011) vineyards sit in one of the lowest yielding areas of the Roussillon in the Vallée de l’Agly, a north-facing amphitheater closer to the mountains than the sea and between the villages, Latour-de-France and Cassagne. Cool air from the mountains rushes in at night, creating an extreme diurnal shift, which contributes to the development of complexity in the grapes. Margorie said that the nighttime cold also makes it almost impossible to have a dinner outside, even during the summer. The sun, the intense winds and the nutrient-spare but character filled soils (mostly schist) all contribute to the concentrating of the grapes and their resulting wines. 

Segna de Cor ('Blood of the Heart') is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Carignan and 20% Syrah produced from the estate's youngest vines (15-30 years of age).

Technical: Whole bunch, manual harvest. A traditional press is used, exerting the mildest of pressure, extracting juice. Vinification is in concrete tanks ranging between 24 and 50hl, and the shape of the tanks and the level of the fill determine appropriately gentle extraction. Ageing takes place in two types of containers; concrete – which exalts the aromatic purity and freshness of the wine - and wood (for about 30-40% of the elevage) in the form of one-to-three year old barrels.

Dark cedar in colour.  Aromas of blackcurrant, cassis and dark chocolate on the nose. These are joined by black cherry and spicy notes on the palate. Ripe tannins and a very smooth mouthfeel make this an excellent match with rustic stews and roast meats.

£15.70

Henschke Keyneton Estate Euphonium 2014 (1x75cl)

The 2013 vintage was awarded a Gold Medal and 95 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Today, it is fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke and his viticulturist wife Prue at the helm of Henschke, passionately upholding the family name and reputation. Stephen and Prue continue to craft their white wines with a focus on purity, while their red wines have a strong focus on terroir, using traditional winemaking techniques. Stephen's thoughts on their work: “Prue and I are the current ‘keepers of the flame’. Just as earlier generations have done, we want to manage the vineyards and winery so they can be passed on to the next generation in better condition than we inherited them. Our vision would not be complete without the expectation that future generations will uphold and perpetuate our belief that such ancient and unique single-vineyard sites can produce exceptional wines that are prized for their beauty and rarity.”

To see some wonderfully informative information and tasting notes for the Henschke Keyneton Estate Euphonium 2013 please click the blue link below.

Henschke Keyneton Estate Euphonium 2013 - fiche technique

£33.30

Matetic Corralillo Carmenere 2016 (1x75cl)

** JUST ARRIVED AND NOW IN STOCK!! **

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their April 2019 panel tasting of Chilean Carmenère (see blue link below).

Matetic Corralillo Carmènere 2016 - April 2019 Decanter review

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 tasting/article of/on Top 30 Chilean Wines Under £25 (see blue link below).

Matetic Corralillo Carmenere 2016 - June 2019 Decanter review

See also our blog (= click this link) on the April review in detail and for more information on this wine and Carmenère in general.

The Matetic family has a history of settling in new territory and making a success of agriculture. In 1892, the current members’ ancestors made the long journey by sea from the Croatian coast to Punta Arenas on the southern tip of Chile. They soon acquired large haciendas for sheep and dairy farming. It was only in 1999 that the fourth generation of Chilean Matetic made the move into winemaking.

After a detailed study of the terroir, Jorge Matetic Hartard and his relatives decided to plant vineyards in a previously overlooked side valley of the San Antonio appellation - Rosario. Just 15km from the Pacific Ocean, the rolling hills of Rosario Valley benefits from cooling sea breezes and huge swings in temperature - from as much as 27 deg C in the afternoon to 7 deg C at night. Well drained, quartz-sandy soil requires vines to dig their roots deep into the ground (up to four metres) to find water and nutrients, making for low yields and high-quality fruit.

With the additional purchase in 2005 of vineyards in Casablanca Valley, the Matetic vineyard has a phenomenal range of grape varieties planted - Matetic Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carménère, Malbec - but they made their mark early on with the first cold-climate Syrah in 2001.

The Corralillo label is a nod to an old winery on a corral which had once produced wines from the native País grape. These wines - Gewurztraminer, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère and the Winemakers Blend (Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Franc) express this frontier-pushing terroir with great individuality and draw from plots in Maipo, near Santiago, and Colchagua further south, as well as San Antonio.

Biodynamic viticulture one of the key eco-friendly practices the Matetic Vineyard follows in its winemaking - it is certified organic and sustainable as well as biodynamic. Regarding the Rosario Valley as a single organism, the team works hard to maintain the health of the ground (using Rudolf Steiner’s preparations of quartz, manure, herbs etc in cow horns but only using indigenous materials), the crops and the varied animal life in the ecosystem. Grape pomace is added to compost from the restaurant to be reused in the Matetic vineyards, as is water which has been used to clean barrels. And in human terms, local people make up the majority of staff, and the winery sells woollen and other craft goods made by artisans nearby. It’s all part of a philosophy that aims to make winemaking a venture which will benefit the family and its neighbours for generations to come.

The 2016 Corralillo Carmenere is sourced from the sub-valley of Colchagua Valley, Apalta. The vineyards are located on slopes that receive great sun exposure. The soil's parent material is highly mixed - dominantly colluvial and of granitic origin - but very complex due to the presence of clays, lime and organic matter. These solils have have low fertility - perfect for viticulture - and excellent drainage.

The harvest began in early May. Each bunch underwent a strict fruit selection prior to seven days of cold soaking. For this specific grape variety, several winemaking techniques and extraction methods were applied, to enhance complexity and unique varietal expression.

This Corralillo Carmenere has been aged for 18 months in French oak barrels from various coopers, different forests and toast levels. A small percentage of Syrah, sourced from San Antonio, is added to increase complexity and freshness in the finished blend.

Deep dark violet color with red hues. Very intense on the nose, with a blend of black fruits, cocoa, spices and a piquant hint that characterize this grape variety. On the palate the wine shows great balance between weight and freshness, with a long, lingering finish developing to great volume and structure. An ideal companion for mature cheeses, red meat, charcuterie etc. 

£15.50

Pyramid Valley Lions Tooth Chardonnay 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition article entitled Chablis Alternatives: 30 Fresh Wines (see blue link below) .

Pyramid Valley Lions Tooth Chardonnay 2015 - April 2018 Decanter review

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2018 edition column, "Stephen Spurrier's Fine Wine World(see blue link below) .

Pyramid Valley Lions Tooth Chardonnay 2015 - May 2018 Decanter review

The philosophy of Mike and Claudia Elze Weersing of Pyramid Valley Vineyards is as follows:

"Wine to us is a genie, genius loci; our job is to coax it from its rock to bottle. Every gesture we make, in vineyard and winery, is a summons to this spirit of place. Biodynamics, hand-based viticulture, low yields, natural winemaking – these are some of the means we’ve adopted better to record and transmit this voice.For example, all of our wines are fermented with their own yeast starters, cultured every year, from the vineyard itself. If wine is meant to be the bottled breath of a certain place, from a certain moment in time, then we feel that working with yeasts from that site, of that season, is an important step towards transparency and authenticity. Our cultures allow very long, very regular ferments: most of our whites ferment for more than a year. During this time, the wine is protected, so no sulphur is necessary. After so long a ferment, the wine is stable: thus most of our wines are bottled unfiltered, again with little or no sulphur."

Soils and terrain: 42.2hl/ha from this steeply inclined, east facing home block. Gorgeous soils, with nut and crumb structure and great mineral fertility: 30% clay, 15-20% active lime.

Vineyard and winemaking: Late April pick, whole bunch pressed, indigenous yeast starter culture with ferment lasting 12 months, half in clay giare, and half in used French oak. Natural, spring malolactic. Nine months on lees in barrel, then transferred to a variable capacity tank for a further month of settling; bottled unfined and unfilterd.

Production is just 390 x 6-bottle cases.

Pale, brilliant platinum/gold. Begins empyreumatic, and ferruginous, like red bricks in hot sun. Also a dried flower note: straw daisies. Emerging scents of acacia, and pear, prettify the aromatic spectrum. Intensely saline, mouth-tremblingly electric, enormous precision and grip; flavours of bitter orange (not bitter, but more acid, less sweet than tangerine or mandarin) and new nectarines.  The active lime tenacity in this wine as strong as the producer have ever seen from this site. "Unyielding, acute, insubordinate to sycophantic styles", as they say at Pyramid.

£48.75

Urlar Pinot Gris 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition panel tasting of "Alternative" New Zealand Whites (not Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay) (see blue link below).

Urlar Pinot Gris 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

(of the 2016) "Ripe, fruity spicy and complex with aromas and flavours of bosc pear and apple, some white pepper and sweet rose, a mineral earthy layer and gentle oak spice layers. Medium+ acidity in a just dry style; flavours of white fleshed fruits are persistent; a complex and well made example. Drink now and through 2022."

93 Points - Cameron Douglas

 

(of the 2016) "Bright, even straw-yellow colour with pale gold hues. The nose is elegant in proportion with moderately deep aromas of white and yellow stonefruits and a subtle amalgam of white florals, nutty elements and minerals.  The aromatics are soft in expression and show delicacy and detail. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has good depth and intensity of white and yellow stonefruits, white florals, nutty notes and a little toasty oak.  The fruit forms a well-concentrated core with good intensity and presence..  The mouthfeel is rounded and smooth with some underlying alcohol drive.  The wine carries to a long, lingering finish of stonefruits, nuts and hints of oak.  This is a well-proportioned dry Pinot Gris with deep flavours of white and yellow stonefruits, nuts and oak, with plenty of mouthfeel and presence, and alcohol drive. Match with most white meat dishes over the next 4+ years.  Hand-picked fruit, WBP, and fully barrel-fermented in seasoned French oak to 13.5% alc. and dryness, the wine aged 10 months on lees with batonnage and 30% MLF.  BioGro organic." 

18.5/20 Dec 2017 - Raymond Chan

 

(of the 2016) "This is a distinctive Pinot Gris, drier and more robust (13.5% alc/vol) than most. Fermented and aged in old oak barrels, it is pale straw, with rich, peachy, slightly spicy flavours, showing good complexity and a creamy-smooth finish."

4.5 stars - Michael Cooper

Proudly family-owned, Urlar Estate produces outstanding single vineyard wines using organic and biodynamic principles. Urlar is a Gaelic word that means “the Earth”. Their desire is to bring an abundance of life back to our ancient soils so that the drinker can discover the purity of flavour inherent in the land. Their journey from the highlands of Scotland to the stony soils and cool climate of Gladstone, Wairarapa has cemented a love for all things pure and true.

See this blog on Urlar, especially regarding their organic credentials.

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

Urlar Pinot Gris 2017 - fiche technique

£14.45

Villalobos Carignan Reserva 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2018 edition article on Chile's Colchagua Valley (see blue link below)

Villalobos Carignan Reserva 2014 - June 2018 Decanter review

The Villalobos family consists of the mother, Rita Encina, a professional ceramicist, the father Enrique Villalobos, a sculptor, and their sons: Martin and Renaldo are both civil engineers and Alejandro is a philosophy professor. Each has their own profession, but they unite around their vineyards and viticulture.

They started making wine in 2007 with a small production from the family. It was only to be a small production for the family and friends made by their friend Martin Rousseau. They persevered, and began to make some of the most celebrated wines in Chile. The first commercial harvest in 2009 was awarded best Carignan in Chile from Descorchados.

This 60-year-old, non-industrial, organic vineyard continues to be in its wild state, without any pruning, irrigation or the use of chemical products such as pesticides or herbicides. The vineyard’s distinguishing feature is its untouched wilderness where for over the last 40 years Carignan vines have grown side-by-side native vegetation. This vineyard is bio-diverse, hosting a wide variety of native flora and fauna, including culen, maiten, quillai, hawthorn and rosehip, among others. The vineyard’s unique surroundings are instrumental in keeping the vines pest and disease-free. The vines grow freely among the trees climbing them for structural support. In fact, one comes across vines making their way up four metre trees alongside shrub-like vines three meters thick. Horses are used in the vineyard to prune by gently nibbling the vines and their droppings have the benefit of fertilising the vines. Indeed, they do not use any machinery that involves the use of fossil fuels.

The vineyard is located 30 km from the Pacific coast, settled in a warm, temperate climate with six to eight months of dry season yearly and up to 20-degree temperature differences. Particularly in the summer months, daily temperatures can range from 30°C to 10°C.

100% Carignan from old vines planted in the 1950s and 1960s. Total production is just 6,000 bottles, some evidence of the tight (and quality-inducing) yields pursued. 

Fermented and macerated for 10 days with natural yests in stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation is carried out in barrels, followed by 18 months of ageing in French oak barrels (these used 3 times previously, ie limited oak flavour is deliberately imparted to the Carignan to preserve maximum fruit flavour/integrity whilst allowing tannis to soften).

Bright and intense ruby-red. Nose with a hint of wild blackberry and elegantly defined maqui berry.  Delicate, soft and round tannins on the palate with a food-friendly acidity bearing traces of cherry and strawberry.

£21.95
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