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

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.

We also highly recommend the Gran Reserva's two younger relatives, the 2015 Reserva and the 2016 Crianza.

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

Catena Zapata Nicolas 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) at their February 2019 Catena tasting (see blue link below).

Catena Zapata Nicolas 2015 - Feb 2019 Decanter review

The inaugural 1997 vintage of this Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec blend set a new standard of quality for wines from South America when it won a series of blind tastings against first growths and other prestigious cuvées from around the world. Indeed, it featured as one of Decanter's Wine Legends in Octover 2018 (see blue link below).

Catena Zapata Nicolas 1997 - Decanter Wine Legend October 2018

“The 2015 Nicolás has the highest ever percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, with 17% Malbec for company and is a stunning blend that’s right up there with some of the best vintages of the wine. Floral, minty and refined, it has subtle, spicy oak, notes of green herbs and red fruits, tangy acidity and remarkable palate length. One for the cellar.” Tim Atkin MW, 96 points, 5th Jan 2018.

In 1902, Nicola Catena, an Italian immigrant, planted his first vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina. The winery has remained under family control — now in its fourth generation — and is one of the few family-owned wine companies in Argentina that remains in Argentine hands. Owned today by Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura, Bodega Catena Zapata is known as the pioneer of fine wine from Argentina, and Nicolás is recognized as the vintner who revolutionized wine quality in Argentina. A trained economist, Nicolás began this revolution in the early 1980s and continues to challenge himself and his team to make wines that can be counted among the best in the world. His measured approach to viticulture has taken its place in wine history as the pioneer of Malbec and high-altitude viticulture.

Catena wines, first launched in 1992, set a new standard for quality in South America. The wines immediately proved the quality potential of Argentina and garnered the first outstanding reviews for Argentine wines from worldwide media. After more than 20 years, the wines of Catena continue to lead the way in Argentine viticulture and winemaking. The family and the winery’s employees take great pride in carrying on the tradition that began over a century ago.

Nicolás Catena Zapata has an intense, deep purple color with bluish-black tones. On the nose, aromas of black fruits – blackberries, black cherries, black plums – predominate with subtle notes of vanilla and dark chocolate intermingled with savory hints of green olive and a stony minerality. On the palate, the wine is tremendously complex, unfolding layer upon layer of red currant, eucalyptus, and black pepper flavours. Black cherries and blackberries give way to cassis followed by a hint of saline minerality. The wine is remarkably concentrated with a firm tannic structure providing the backbone for the lush fruit. The finish is long, giving some idea of the very long aging potential of this Argentine masterpiece.

This wine is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Malbec.

See/click the link below for more data from the winemakers themselves.

Catena Zapata Nicolas 2015 - fiche technique

£66.50

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

** 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

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their July 2019 panel tasting of Oaked New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below).

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - July 2019 Decanter review

Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the first five wine makers to venture into Marlborough. At the time, it was almost an unimaginable place to set-up a vineyard but Cloudy Bay’s founder, David Hohnen, was convinced of its potential to produce great wine and invested in the best land of the region. The winery was named after Cloudy Bay, a body of water explorer Captain James Cook found during his voyage to New Zealand in 1770. His discovery coincided with flooding in the region, which washed large amounts of sediment into the sea. Noticing the water’s opaque appearance, Cook christened the area Cloudy Bay. 

For its 34th vintage, Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc reaffirms its outstanding quality. Cloudy Bay has built a reputation for refined, elegant Sauvignon Blanc and the 2018 vintage is no exception thanks to the stable weather during the harvest. Warm and dry conditions through December and cooler weather from January onwards allowed for more steady ripening.

100% Sauvignon Blanc.

To see an excellent information sheet and tasting note for this wine from the team at Cloudy Bay, please click on the blue link below.

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - fiche technique

£38.10

Domaine des Mapliers Abacus 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition panel tasting of Provence rosé (see blue link below).

Domaine des Mapliers Abacus 2018 - August 2019 Decanter review

Jean Gallo had been passionate about wine and Champagne for a long time. He had already transformed this passion into his work as a well-known distributor on the French Riviera, specialising in Provence rosé wines. He had transmitted his values and passion to his son. They both dreamt about acquiring a vineyard...  and the dream came true in 2013 when they purchased this small area of land - barely 10 hectares in area - and created Domaine des Mapliers.

The vineyard is located in the heart of Provence's Varoise, between Lorgues and Saint Antonin du Var and boasts a long history of viticulture. The vines spread across the south-facing hillside on calcareous clay soil and is surrounded by Mapliers' olive grove and a forest of oak trees. Moreover, the vines are located at an altitude of 300m (+), lending the fruit a natural and vital acidity often lacking in Provencale rosés.

Domaine des Mapliers applies sustainable cultivation: soils are treated naturally with mechanical weeding and ploughing while, for treating the vines, only organic products are used (ie no pesticides or weedkillers). From 2015, the domaine has been in the process of conversion to certified organic standards. 

For this, the Abacus 2018, please see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical and tasting note from the winemakers at the domaine.

Domaine des Mapliers Abacus 2018 - fiche technique

Very pale salmon in colour. Strong florality on the nose, along with apples and peaches (predominantly) plus hints of fennel, liquorice and star anise. On the palate, some minerality and salinity, but the dominant presence is plenty of fruit (peaches, apples, some red fruit). A surprisingly full body and long finish complete the picture.

£18.95
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