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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

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

Chateau Grezan Les Schistes Dores, Faugeres 2017 (1x75cl)

** NOW BACK IN STOCK! **

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

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

We also highly recommend Chateau Grezan's excellent (and excellent-value) unoaked Chardonnay.

The viticultural history of the Cros-Pujol family began five generations ago, in 1877, on a very small parcel of Carignan between Autignac and Laurens. It was worked with a donkey and a horse, the harvests were vinified at the back of the family home by Jules-Anatole Cros, known as Costant, and his wife Anna, the first winemakers of the family. For the past 30 years, Château Grézan has expressed the very essence of Faugères wines. Produced from selected grapes, the Château Grézan wines combine respect for ancestral wine traditions and an open-mindedness to modernity.

The vineyards of Château Grézan and the Cros-Pujol family now cover nearly 110 hectares in both AOP Faugères and IGP Pays d’Oc. Their grape varieties in AOP Faugères are the classics of the region: Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Carignan. The Schists Dorés here is (most) unusual in Faugères for its almost exclusive use of Syrah

The soil in Faugères consists essentially of shale(s) - golden and slatey: the forner gives the name to this wine. This stone is characterized by its remarkable capacity to retain water and its ability to store daytime heat and then release it at night. This is how the grapes continue to ripen at night. The climate is Mediterranean with a mountain influence. It is characterized by mild winters with rare frosts and hot and dry summers with infrequent but heavy rainfall.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note on this (highly medalled/awarded) wine from the team at Chateau Grézan.

Chateau Grezan Les Schistes Dorés, Faugeres 2017 - fiche technique

90% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre.

For our tasting note, we hand over to the DWWA19 judges:

"This is very classy stuff. Blackcurrant jam is the dominant flavour, but is flanked on either side by toasted cinnamon and vanilla, the superlatively integrated oak adding yet another layer to this already complex, ravishing wine. Delicious weight of rounded, brushed cotton tannins, and lush super-ripe black fruits – totally delicious, persistent and racy! Perfect with food".

ABV = 14.5%.

£18.95

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Merlot Malbec Cabernet Franc 2014 (1x75cl)

** LAST REMAINING APPRECIABLE UK STOCKS OF THE HIGHLY-ACCLAIMED 2014 VINTAGE (and none is left at the winery)! **

** PLEASE NOTE THAT THE EXCELLENT, CABERNET SAUVIGNON-RICH AND RECENTLY-RELEASED 2016 VINTAGE IS ALSO AVAILABLE AND RECOMMENDED! **

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

Situated in the north of New Zealand's picturesque Hawkes Bay, at Bay View is the Esk Valley Estate winery. The winery sources fruit from Hawkes Bay, including the world-renowned Gimblett Gravels, and Marlborough, as both regions consistently produce grapes of an extremely high quality.

Esk Valley is a boutique winery, but it is unique in that many of the techniques used to craft its award-winning wines are dictated by the winery itself. The old concrete vats, the layout of the buildings, and the absence of modern technology mean the winemakers at Esk Valley have had to make wine in a simple, honest, hands-on way.

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Wines are made from grapes sourced from specific, lower-yielding, intensively-managed blocks of vines. Thety are widely recognised as being amongst the best wines of their kind in New Zealand. Along with The Terraces, this is Esk Valley’s most iconic and revered collection of wines.

This, the Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Red is also the wine which pioneered the use of Malbec in Bordeaux-style blends in New Zealand.

It is only made in the best years/harvests and its blend varies from year to year in order to optimise use of the very best varieties in that year (which explains the changing % mix, names and labels across the vintages).

The fruit is hand picked, de-stemmed, then loaded into Esk Valley’s open-top concrete fermentation vats where it is hand-plunged and left in its skins, before being pressed off into barrels for malolactic fermentation.

Each vineyard parcel is fermented and aged separately before blending. 60-70% of the wine goes in to new French oak barrels, creating a wine that is full bodied and powerful, but elegant and food-friendly too.

"This is a wine that has been made to age well in the bottle, I can quite confidently predict that it will still be drinking beautifully in fifteen years." – Senior Winemaker, Gordon Russell

Merlot 54%, Malbec 31%, Cabernet Franc 10%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Esk Valley. NB: it's a small thing, but we know how eagle-eyed some of you are ... Esk V have used the wrong bottle image on this sheet, being that for a year in which Cabernet Sauvignon was the better/more prominent Cabernet!

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Merlot Malbec Cabernet Franc 2014 - fiche technique

This Winemakers Reserve blend is widely regarded as one of the finest of New Zealand’s red wines. The 2014 vintage is deeply coloured with aromatics hinting at black fruits including cherries and blackberries, with hints of cedar and smoke. The flavours, typical of Gimblett Gravels Merlot blends tend toward fruitcake, cherry, chocolate and oak spice. The palate is soft and mouthfilling showcasing the high percentage of Merlot and finishes dry and long. This is a fine vintage for this blend.

ABV = 14.0%.

£21.00

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage of this wine was a huge hit when it featured in Decanter (www.decanter.com) recently. The current 2017 vintage is now newly available and also superb; indeed, as the below vintage table (also from Decanter) shows, 2017 is already talked of by some as the best Riesling vintage in Australia for over 15 years.

The 2014 vintage was awarded 98 points and rare Exceptional status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Riesling  (see blue link below) .

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2014 - April 2018 Decanter review

See also here for Decanter's assessment of Australian Riesling vintages (click blue link below).

Decanter Australian vintage summary

Clare Valley is one of Australia`s oldest wine regions and is probably best known for its Riesling wines. Polish Hill River is a sub-region one and a half hours drive north from Adelaide. Named after the Polish settlers of the mid 1800s, the climate is ideal for premium grape growing with a combination of consistently good winter rains, hot summers tempered by cool nights and a long ripening period.

Pauletts' reputation for producing wines of finesse, elegance and intensity is justly deserved with consistent skill and care from vintage to vintage. Neil Paulett graduated from the Roseworthy oenology course in the early 1970s and spent a further ten years honing his winemaking skills at Penfolds before buying his own property in the Clare Valley. Located some 90 minutes north of Adelaide,this lovely property now extends to 150 hectares with 47 planted with vines. Since the first vintage in 1983 there have been many accolades both at home and internationally. These wines are a true reflection of the region and are of outstanding quality.

The Clare Valley yields one of the world`s great styles of Riesling. This youthful, aromatic, dry wine has intense mineral and floral aromas on the nose. These aromas follow through on the palate leading to flavours of lime, citrus and white blossom. Tropical fruits and citrus dominate the fresh, racy acidity and a distinct minerality comes through on the palate leaving a fantastic, clean finish.

This wine is a good choice to accompany seafood, especially prawn, crab, oysters and bass and mildly spiced Thai stir fry and seafood curries.

ABV = 12.8%.

£13.15
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