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Ailala Treixadura 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was Awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Galician Whites; (see blue link below).

Ailala Treixadura 2016 - March 2018 Decanter review

The grapes for this lively wine come from some of the best sites in the Avia Valley and were hand harvested in September. They then undergo a whole bunch cold soak for eight hours. They are then crushed and pressed and fermented for 14 days at controlled temperatures of 16C in stainless steel tanks. There is no malolactic fermentation.

Ailala Treixadura is pale gold in colour with lively reflections. There are clean, powerful aromatics on the nose with apricot, white flowers and a sort of saline, sea-shell undertone. Spices such as clove, mint and fennel are also present. The palate displays sweet lemon and ripe melon with plenty of zing and grapefruit peel. A wine of great complexity and style and with bags of character. Treixadura is truly a noble grape!

This delicate, noble white pairs excellently with all seafood; crab linguine, steamed razor clams, or pan-fried seabass.

£12.90

Alfred Gratien Brut Classique NV (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2018 edition review of Value Champagne (see blue link below).

Alfred Gratien Brut Classique NV - December 2018 Decanter review

If exceptional had a name, it would be Champagne Alfred Gratien. Alfred Gratien Champagnes are handcrafted for guaranteed quality and consistency. A few miles away from Epernay’s bustling town centre, deep in the heart of a Champagne vineyard, are the Alfred Gratien Champagne cellars. It was here, on Rue Maurice Cerveaux, that Alfred Gratien set up his business and created his first cuvées in 1864. For over a century and a half, Alfred Gratien Champagnes have remained a family affair perpetuated by the expertise and know-how of their founder. For four generations, the Epernay-based Jaeger family have been handing down the trade of cellar master from father to son, ensuring the Alfred Gratien style lives on.

The pale yellow hue of this wine’s colour is complemented by its lively effervescence. The bubbles are small and quick to rise to a fine mousse. The nose is moderately intense yet complex. The sweet pastry, biscuit and orchard fruit notes are followed and enhanced by hints of citrus, white flowers and fresh butter. The initial taste is clean: this is a very silky and sparkling wine whose sugar content works well with its body. There is a certain chalky minerality and the texture is smooth. It is characterful without being overbearing. The finish is crisp, with a slight mineral undertone, and long at 6 to 8 seconds. It leaves an excellently balanced acidic aftertaste, with a sugar component that is undeniably pleasing on the palate.

Thi is an exemplary Brut Champagne, which places a great emphasis on the bubbles created in the wine. It has benefitted from its reserve wine content and its maturation in cellars. Superb complexity combines young aromas with notes gained through maturation in cellars.

Its balanced qualities mean it can be paired quite liberally. Avoid anything too salty, sugary, fatty or spicy, opting instead for balance. Ideal for your savoury or sweet-and-sour hors d’œuvre, and for apéritifs.

£35.05

Alpha Estate, Amyndeo, Vielles Vignes Single Block Barba Yannis, Xinomavro Reserve 2014 (1x75cl)

The 2013 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2017 (see blue link below).

Alpha Estate Reserve Vielles Vignes Single Block Xino 2013 - January 2018 Decanter review

Alpha Estate is located in Amyndeon, North West Greece. It is the brainchild of two visionaries, second generation vine grower Makis Mavridis and Bordeaux trained wine maker Angelos Iatrides. Angelos is one of the most talented winemakers working in Europe. This pristine estate in the cool highlands of Western Macedonia comprises 120 hectares of privately owned single block vineyards and employs the most up to date vineyard techniques and winemaking technology to produce world class wines from French and indigenous Greek varietals.

The Single Block Barba Yiannis is named in honour of Mr Yiannis, from whom the block was purchased in 1994. The vineyard is located in Amyndeo, in the region of Macedonia. The vines are ungrafted, pre-phylloxera bush vines which are over 90 years old. The summers are hot, so in order to avoid extreme water deficit a "root zone drying irrigation" is used, to ensure the optimum conditions for the nourishment and maturation of the grapes. The vines are grown in sandy clay soils.

The grapes were destemmed, lightly crushed and cold soaked with skin contact. The fermentation took place using an indigenous yeast strain. Fermentation took place at gradually increasing temperatures, before being maintained "sur lie" or on its fine lees for eighteen months with regular stirring. Maturation took place in Allier - Bertrange French oak casks of medium grain, for 24 months, with a minimum of a further 12 months ageing in the bottle. The wine was bottled without fining and filtration.

A complex and typical Xinomavro (pronounced Ksee no' ma vro), showing aromas of smoky black fruits, strawberries, dark cherries, liquorice, sundried tomatoes, and delicate spice. Full bodied and structured on the palate, with a rich depth of fruit, concentrated savoury notes and a touch of oak. The velvety tannins lead through to a persistent and aromatic finish.

A perfect match with juicy red barbecued meats, roasted lamb, spicy sausage and red peppers baked in olive oil.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians.

£18.90

Alter Ribeiro Blanco 2017 (1x 75cl)

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 harvest in 2017 was challenging across the whole of Spain with Ribeiro being no exception. Growers contended with spring frosts and summer hail but low rainfall meant grapes were perfectly balanced in sugar and acidity. Local grapes such as Treixadura and Loureira were less impacted than non-indigenous grapes.

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 2017 is made up of 80% Treixadura, 10% Godello and 10% 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.

£14.40

Antinori Pian Delle Vigne Brunello Di Montalcino 2013 (1x75cl)

The 2012 vintage was Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2017 edition review of Brunelllo di Montalcino 2012 (see blue links below).

Antinori PdV Brunello 2012 - November 2017 Decanter review

The Pian delle Vigne estate is located six kilometers (3.5 miles) to the south of the town of Montalcino  above the Orcia river valley. The property consists of 184 hectares (460 acres) , 65 of which (some 160 acres) are planted to vines situated between 130 and 200 meters (440-660 feet) above sea level and with an exposure which is principally to the southeast. The soil consists prevalently of clay and limestone and is rich in small stones. It takes its name from a period-style 19th century railroad station situated within the estate’s confines. 

The 2012 vintage was characterized by a balanced late autumn of 2011 and a cold winter, and a mild spring in 2012. The summer season immediately arrived with high temperatures, which assisted a regular ripening of the grape bunches. Late August, instead, was marked by lower temperatures and important temperature swings from daytime warmth to evening and nighttime coolness, factors which made a major contribution to aromatic intensity and freshness. The harvest took place in mild and dry daytime weather between the third week of September and the first week of October.

After a careful selection of the grapes both in the vineyard and in the cellar, the grapes were destemmed, and given a soft pressing; the must then went into stainless steel tanks  and remained in contact with its skins for approximately three weeks at a temperature around 82° Fahrenheit (28° centigrade). The resulting wine was put through a complete malolactic fermentation and aged in 800 to 2100 gallon (30-80 hectoliter) oak casks. After two years of aging the wine was bottled in April of 2015.

The wine is ruby red in color. The nose shows fruity and floral notes together with spicy and balsamic sensation which add freshness and complexity. The palate and its supple and silky tannins are  creamy in texture, the wine round and enveloping in character with an excellent and pleasurable length and persistence. Complex, generous nose with ripe aromas of cherries and raspberries, light tobacco notes and hints of coffee and cocoa powder. Multi-layered structure with a nicely rounded texture and elegant fruit leading to a very long finish.

£44.20

Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Rosso 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage (now depleted) was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of Best Organic & Biodynamic Buys Under £30 (see blue link below).

OcchipintiSP68 - December 2017 Decanter review

70% Frappato, 30% Nero d’Avola. Organic (not certified). Suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.

Arianna’s home town of Vittoria lies in the far south of Sicily just to the west of Ragusa. It is here that she has been making wine for the past ten years under the tutelage of her uncle, Giusto Occhipinti who owns and runs the famous COS estate.

The grapes are manually harvested before 15 days of maceration on the skins. Indigenous yeast is used for the fermentation after which the wine is aged for 6 months in concrete vats and 1 month in bottle before release, There is no filtration prior to bottling.

Slightly turbid purple/red in the glass showing aromas of wild cherries, plum and mulberry with just a touch of raspberry lift. There are hints of flowers, leather, smoke, spice and herbs with wafts of liquorice, earth and mandarin rind. In the mouth the initial attack of fruit is awash with wild cherry sheathed in tobacco leaf with supporting fruit flavours of dark plum and blackberry. Nice cooling gravelly finish.

 

£19.30

Barros 10 Year Old Tawny Port (1x75cl)

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.

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition panel review of Tawny Port (see blue link below).

Sogevinus Barros 10yo Tawny - January 2018 Decanter review

Having celebrated their 100th year of trading in 2013, Barros Port is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious companies producing and trading in Port. Much of their success comes from Colheita Ports - old Tawnies from a single year matured in cask for a minimum period of seven years.

Hand-harvested at their best moment, the grapes are destemmed, crushed and vinified in a careful maceration with extraction of colour, tannins and pellicle aromas, complemented by permanent pumping-over during fermentation. This process takes place in vats at a controlled temperature between 28-30ºC. At this phase grape brandy is added, creating a fortified wine. A wine of an exceptional quality, obtained by the selection of several harvests. It is matured in wood for variable periods of time and  the age mentioned on the label is an average age of the different wines used in blending this port. This is instrumental in the wine expressing its character which is influenced by the ageing in oak casks.

With a brown-tawny colour, the nose is dense with dried fruit aromas, with delicate vanilla and chocolate notes. The soft and silky texture and the subtle nuances of wood are balanced by a fresh acidity which culminates with a long and elegant finish.

When served slightly chilled, it is the ideal choice to serve with appetizers like strong cheeses. The velvety texture and the  aromatic expressions stand-out remarkably with main courses with dried fruits. Irresistible with pate as well as aubergine and nuts. Wonderful choice to serve with a myriad of delicious caramel brownies, chocolate and pistachio pavê and nuts crostini with goats cheese.

£20.60

Bellenda Prosecco San Fermo Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2017 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition panel tasting  review of Prosecco Superiore/Conegliano Valdobbiadene (see blue link below).

Bellenda Prosecco San Fermo Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2017 - January 2019 Decanter review

These thoughts from the team at Bellenda sum them up perfectly. "We consider, believe, create: these three words constitute the synthesis of what Bellenda is all about, who we are who work there, our family, and our close bond with our land. We love exploring the vast world of sparkling wine. That is a world that holds an enormous fascination for us and enables us to express ourselves in so many ways: sparkling or semi-sparkling, with or without sediment, classic or Charmat method can be woven and combined together, depending on the fruit from the vineyard, on local traditions, or even on a simple desire to try one’s hand at something never before attempted."

Please click on the blue link below to see an excellent fiche technique for this prosecco from the winemakers at Bellenda.

Bellenda San Fermo Brut - fiche technique

£15.00

Beronia Rioja Reserva 2013 (1x 75cl)

The 2013 vintage has been awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Spanish Value Wines (under £20); (see blue link below).

Beronia Rioja Reserva 2013 - March 2018 Decanter review

Bodegas Beronia is quintessentially Rioja. Its wines are defined by the region and the soils in which the vines are grown, and its name linked to the history of the land where the winery is found. In the 3rd Century BC the area known as Rioja today was inhabited by a celtic tribe called the ‘Berones’. They inhabited the towns of Tricio, Varea and Leiva, marking the limits of the Berones region, today La Rioja. The founding ethos of Beronia is strongly allied to the origins of La Rioja. 

Beronia was founded in 1973 by a group of businessmen, friends from the Basque country who would come to La Rioja on holiday. The friends had a great love of food and wine and created their own gastronomic society in the area. They decided to produce their own wines to enjoy with the local cuisine,  specialising in Reserva and Gran Reserva style wines. Today Beronia is one of the most renowned Spanish wineries both in international and domestic markets, producing pure and traditional Rioja wines.

This wine is produced following a selection of the best grapes from the oldest vineyards. The grapes undergo prefermentative maceration followed by a slow and controlled fermentation with periodic pumping over to extract colour and aromas.  Following this the wine is aged in mixed oak barrels of American Staves and French tops for 20 months to allow a paused and harmonic evolution.  The American oak gives a sweet character of vanilla and coconut while the French oak gives spice, making for the perfect balance.  This Reserva was bottled in November 2013 and was aged in bottle for 18 months before being released to the market. 

Beronia Reserva shows an intense cherry red colour.  On the nose, attractive aromas of candied fruits and plum conserve are in perfect harmony with sweet chocolate. On the palate this wine proves itself as being of great character with elegant tannins which give the wine both structure and body. It has a long finish.

This wine is perfect to serve with red meats, game and roasts. 

£14.75

Beronia Rioja Crianza 2015 (1x75cl)

2013 vintage Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2016 edition review of best-buy Rioja (see blue link below).

Beronia Crianza 2013 - March 2016 Decanter review

The grapes for this wine were collected at the beginning of October. Following harvest, the grapes underwent cold maceration for a few days in order to extract aromas and colour (but not tannins). Alcoholic fermentation took place at a (low) temperature of less than 26ºC with periodic pumping over. The wine was then aged in mixed oak barrels of American staves and French tops for 12 months giving both vanilla notes from the American oak and spice from the French oak. The wine was bottled in January 2016 and remained in bottle for 3 months before being released to the market.

This Beronia Crianza shows an intense cherry colour. Attractive nose with red fruits and floral aromas in perfect harmony with mineral and cocoa notes. A balanced and sweet palate with the fruit and liquorice standing out over a base of chocolate and coffee.  Persistant and well structured.

This wine is made using the following grapes: 82% Tempranillo, 14% Garnacha and 4% Mazuelo.  

£11.40

Beronia Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 (1x75cl)

The 2009 vintage was Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja (see blue link below).

Beronia Gran Reserva Rioja 2009 - March 2018 Decanter review

For the production of this Gran Reserva, the best grapes from the oldest vineyards were hand-harvested. Following the harvest, the best bunches were selected in the winery. The grapes then underwent a slow and controlled alcoholic fermentation with periodic pumping over to extract colour and aromas.  Following this, the wine remained in French oak barrels for 26 months.  

Beronia Gran Reserva 2009 shows a powerful and deep maroon colour. On the nose, it is intense and complex with dried fruits (such as dates) standing out over a base of chocolate and sweet spice from the French oak. On the palate this wine is silky and meaty with pleasant tannins, giving structure and complexity.  This wine shows great personality with body, elegance and intense flavours.

This Gran Reserva is best when decanted before serving due to the long time it has spent ageing in the bottle.  It is ideal when served with red meats, game, mature cheeses and also with chocolate desserts.  Drink it now or you can keep this wine until 2024 before opening it.

£20.65

Berton Reserve Barossa Shiraz 2016 (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.

Shiraz 93%, Durif 4%, Cabernet Sauvignon 3%. 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.

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. 

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.

£13.95

Berton Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (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

Sourced from vineyards in the prized Terra Rossa region of Coonawarra: here the warm days are moderated by offshore breezes and the rich red loam over well-draining limestone soils are the foundations for Coonawarra's justified reputation for producing premium-quality Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

This Coonawarra beauty (97% Cab Sauv) has an intense, ripe berry bouquet with hints of chocolate and liquorice. The palate is brimming with crushed blackcurrant fruit flavours enhanced by subtle eucalyptus and mint notes characteristic of this region and is beautifully complemented by elegant French oak notes.

£13.90

Berton Vineyard Winemakers Reserve Vermentino 2016 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2017 edition review of Australia's "Other" Whites (see blue links below).

Berton Vermentino 2016 - November 2017 Decanter review

Berton Vineyards Winemakers Reserve Wines have been chosen by their winemakers as wines that stand out year after year.  They believe the Vermentino variety is perfect for the warmer regions of Australia due to its ability to retain freshness and acidity in warmer climates. Fruit for this Vermentino is sourced from two vineyards - from the Riverland and the Riverina.  The Riverina fruit has ripened really well over the past two years so this was used for the majority of the blend. For the 2016 vintage the fruit from Riverina was picked early due to rain in late January and the Riverland portion was harvested later.

The two parcels were kept seperate during the fermentation process, before being clarified and blended prior to bottling.

Both vineyard contribute to the final flavour of the wine. The Riverina vineyard lends delicate flavours of citrus and pear to the final wine whilst the Riverland vineyard adds tropical aromas and riper flavours of lychee and kiwi fruit. The resulting wine has aromas of tropical fruits combined with hints of pear and citrus which jump from the glass and follow through tp the palate creating a wine that is rich with a great depth of flavour and crisp acidity.

This dry, light-bodied wine is a perfect match for seafood and goes particularly well with calamari.

£10.05

Bisol Crede Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2017 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition panel tasting  review of Prosecco Superiore/Conegliano Valdobbiadene (see blue link below).

Bisol Crede Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2017 - January 2019 Decanter review

In each bottle of Bisol Prosecco Superiore, the traditions of a family that has tended its vines in the Valdobbiadene area since 1542 are combined with the history of a landscape whose generosity is only matched by the difficulty of cultivating its steep, rocky hills. Each Bisol Prosecco Superiore has its own, unique identity which varies depending on the nature of the specific terroirs in which the grapes are grown. After all, the Glera grape, from which this type of wine is made, is particularly sensitive to variations in the soil and microclimate.

"Crede" is a dialect word for clay, which is a defining feature of the terrain in Valdobbiadene in which the grapes for this Prosecco Superiore are cultivated. These ancient slopes - at one time the seabed - were formed as the land slowly buckled and curved upwards, arranging the strata of the soil almost vertically.

To view a fiche technique / information sheet for this prosecco from the winemakers at Bisol, please click the blue link below.

Bisol Crede Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore - fiche technique

£16.80
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