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Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV (1x37.5cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition's "Weekday Wines (25 under £25)" (see blue link below)...

Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV - August 2018 Decanter review

The 6th generation of the Chambers family to make wine in the Rosewood winery, Stephen, took over the winemaking in 2001. This venerable winery, started in 1858 by William Chambers, is one of the most fabled in Rutherglen. This charming, northeastern Victorian town, the sort of place that time forgot, still speaks of the gold rush that led to the town's foundation, and the development of the wine industry, in the 1850s. 

The vineyards are located on the fringes of the Rutherglen Township, slightly to the North West, where Chambers produce drier style Muscats which express rose petal characters. The vines are hand pruned to a rod and spur system which allows each vine to be viewed on an individual basis. The trellising system is a single wire with a sprawling canopy.

Harvest of the grapes for this wine commences once the fruit reaches a ripeness of 16 Baumé. At this stage the grapes will have some variation throughout the bunches, with some being plump, while others showing signs of grape shrivel. Once a parcel of grape is harvested, it is destemmed and the must placed into a closed stainless steel fermentation tank. The amount of fermentation is dependent upon the final baumé level of the parcel, and it occurs around 24 hours after harvest and a soak on skins. Once fermentation has commenced and the sugar level has fallen to between 14 and 15 baumé the grapes are pressed with the fermenting juice and fortified with neutral grape wine spirit (95.8 to 96.2%). The resultant wine is then settled in stainless steel tanks and then racked into old oak casks, which range in size between 220 to 5500 litres. The wines are kept as single vintage and vineyard parcels until blending.

100% Muscat à Petits Grains Rouge.

The Rutherglen Muscat is typically tawny red in colour with aromas of rose petals, raisins and dried fruit. These characters carry through to the palate, balanced with fresh acidity. The wine is unctuous and rich yet zesty and balanced.

ABV = 18.0%.

£12.10

Fonseca Crusted Port (1x75cl)

From the legendary 1840, Fonseca's first Vintage Port release, to the superb declared vintages of the last decade, the house has produced a succession of highly acclaimed wines even in the most adverse moments of history.  This consistency derives not only from continuity of family involvement, and the knowledge and skill passed down from one generation to the next, but also a close link with the vineyard. Perhaps more than any other Port house, Fonseca has built a loyal community of Port enthusiasts who value its individuality and the inimitable character of its wines.  These include connoisseurs, collectors, sommeliers and restaurateurs as well as those who simply enjoy drinking its wonderfully rich and complex Ports.

Crusted is a rare, traditional style of Port wine and Fonseca is one of the few firms that continue to produce it. Crusted is a blend of full bodied wines which spend four years ageing in large wooden vats, the wines are then bottled with no filtration and then cellared for three years before being released for sale. As the name indicates, it will form a 'crust' or sediment in the bottle and should be decanted before being served. The formation of the crust is a natural process that occurs in the finest full bodied ports. It is an indication that the wine will continue to improve in bottle and develop its aroma and character with age. Fonseca Crusted is selected from the finest ports from the top quality Cima Corgo area of the Douro Valley and only made in small quantities.

Fonseca Crusted Port has an impenetrable purple-black colour with a narrow magenta rim. It is elegant and understated, still youthful and tight, with impressive depth and background. The nose opens with a surge of pure brambly woodland fruit and hints of apricot and prune. Although still relatively closed and austere, it gradually opens up to reveal discreet notes of leather and exotic wood and delicate scents of violet. The full bodied palate is supported by a tight mesh of sinewy tannins and finishes with an assertive 'grip'.  The intense dark berry fruit character of the nose re-emerges on the palate, lingering into the long finish. A beautifully harmonious wine, displaying all the fine quality of fruit which marks the Fonseca house style. Hugely pleasurable now but with the potential for further ageing in bottle.

Fonseca Crusted is the perfect finish to any meal. It benefits from being decanted and should be served in a generously proportioned wine glass so that its rich fruity nose can be enjoyed to the full. Excellent with fully flavoured cheeses. It is also delicious with desserts made with chocolate or berry fruits.

ABV = 20.0%.

£16.70

Valdespino Pedro Ximenez El Candado (1x75cl)

Valdespino is one of the oldest and very few family-owned bodegas in Jerez, with a history of Sherry production going back six centuries. Alfonso Valdespino was one of 24 knights who fought for the city of Jerez with King Alfonso X, against the Arabs in 1264. As a reward for his efforts he was given land in the Jerez region. Today Valdespino belongs to the Estevez family, and they own 750 hectares of their own vineyards in Jerez, which is rare in this region, and allows them close control over grape quality. 

The soil where the Pedro Ximénez grapes are grown in the Jerez region is high in silica and calcic carbonate. It is deep and has a good oxygen content, and produces grapes with high sugar levels.

When the Pedro Ximénez grapes are harvested, they are left out in the sun to dry for at least two weeks. This concentrates the sugars through evaporation, turning them to raisins. A very sweet must is then obtained through pressing, which is fermented and then fortified to around 17%, using grape spirit of 96%. The wine is then aged in a Solera system made up of three ‘criadera‘ and a solera, made from American oak casks, and fractionally blended. The wine is aged 100% oxidatively and has an average age of ten years. The final wine must meet requirements to show standard characteristics and parameters expected of a Pedro Ximénez sherry. 

100% Pedro Ximénez.

A deep mahogany colour. Intense aromas of dried fruits, raisins, figs, and subtle notes of chocolate and coffee. Smooth and velvety on the palate, with great length and balance.

ABV = 17.0%.

£20.85

Bodegas Hidalgo Prestigio Amontillado Seco Napoleon (1x 50cl)

Established in 1792, Bodegas Hidalgo is one of the oldest Sherry producers in existence, it is widely regarded as the definitive Manzanilla house. Passing down from generation to generation, continuity and quality have always been the most important themes for the company, which today uses only grapes from their own vineyards in Jérez Superior.

Amontillado Seco Napoleón is originally aged to become a Manzanilla using the traditional solera system in casks of American oak. However, certain casks show a deeper, nuttier character, and are transferred to a separate solera to age oxidatively, as part of the Amontillado blend. The name originates from the days of the Peninsula War, when the Hidalgo’s sold wine both to the French and the British! See also Jerez Cortado ‘Welllington’.

Hues of mahogany and rich hazelnut aromas. Full and long on the palate with subtle nuttiness and a dry and refined finish. Excellent with nuts in particular and suits all pre-dinner nibbles better than any other. Lovely with patê and hard cheeses. Do not over-chill in order to appreciate the more delicate flavours of this wine.

ABV = 17.5%.

£11.50

Bodegas Hidalgo Prestigio Oloroso Seco Faraon (1x 50cl)

Established in 1792, Bodegas Hidalgo is one of the oldest Sherry producers in existence, it is widely regarded as the definitive Manzanilla house. Passing down from generation to generation, continuity and quality have always been the most important themes for the company, which today uses only grapes from their own vineyards in Jérez Superior.

The ‘Faraon’ is the head of an Andalusian gypsy family. Oloroso Seco Faraon is aged oxidatively for several years in butts of American oak. The grapes are sourced exclusively from our own vineyards in Balbaina and Miraflores. Matured in casks of American oak in a “solera” or “fractional blending” system, in the coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, maturation is an oxidative process; no flor grows since the wine is fortified after vinification. Then follows an average of seven years of ageing in cask, to give a dry and wonderfully complex wine. 

Intensely rich pervading walnut aromas. The palate is dry, intense, rich and deep with a long and powerful flavour. Faraon works well as a pungent aperitif, but is also great with many foods: Tapas, soup, dry cheeses and even beef.

ABV = 18.0%.

£11.95

Bodegas Hidalgo Prestigio Pedro Ximenez Triana (1x 50cl)

Established in 1792, Bodegas Hidalgo is one of the oldest Sherry producers in existence, it is widely regarded as the definitive Manzanilla house. Passing down from generation to generation, continuity and quality have always been the most important themes for the company, which today uses only grapes from their own vineyards in Jérez Superior.

Droderigo de Triana was a local man who sailed with Columbus to the new world. He was in the crow’s nest of the ship when the coast of what we now call the Americas, came into view. Pedro Ximénez Viejo ‘Triana’ is produced with grapes that are initially allowed to dry in the sun on straw mats, concentrating the sweetness of the grape juice. They are then pressed and vinified, before long ageing in soleras of American oak. The resultant wine is has a intense dark treacle colour and a rich and luscious texture.

Triana is deep caramel in colour. Bursting with treacle, toffee, raisins and prunes. The palate is opulently sweet, a velvety texture with flavours of figs and caramel. The ultimate sticky wine. Serve slightly chilled. Pedro Ximenez of this quality can either be served on its own as a luxurious after-dinner drink, or as a dessert wine. Try with chocolate puddings, or even poured over rum and raisin ice cream!

£14.10

Curatolo Arini Marsala Fine (1x 75cl)

Established in 1875 by Vito Curatolo Arini, the winery is now run by the fifth generation of Curatolos, making it the oldest family-owned Marsala producing business. Their stunning label was designed by Ernesto Basile, a famous architect in Palermo in the latter part of the 19th century and is very much in the art deco style. The new range of wines under the Curatolo Arini label showcases a great expression of native Sicilian varieties.

Light wines from local grapes Grillo, Inzolia, and Cataratto are fortified with white grape spirits in the traditional way and are then cask aged.

Made in the traditional way, the Marsala Fine is dry in style and has all the characteristics of good Marsala with notes of toasted almonds, citrus and caramel.

£10.95

Curatolo Arini Marsala Superiore Dolce (1x75cl)

Established in 1875 by Vito Curatolo Arini, the winery is now run by the fifth generation of Curatolos, making it the oldest family-owned Marsala producing business. Their stunning label was designed by Ernesto Basile, a famous architect in Palermo in the latter part of the 19th century and is very much in the art deco style. The new range of wines under the Curatolo Arini label showcases a great expression of native Sicilian varieties.

Temperature controlled slow fermentation at 20-25°C. The base wine is 12% in alcohol and has a minimum residual sugar level of 20 grams per litre. Alcohol, mistella (fresh grape must with added alcohol) and mosto cotto (concentrated fresh grape must which is traditionally "cooked" until it reduces to a third of its initial volume) are then added to the base wine, giving it a final alcohol content of 17%, the desired sugar level and the traditional flavour. The wine is then aged for over five years (minimum two years by law) in 150 hectolitre Slovenian oak casks.

65% Grillo, 25% Catarratto, 10% Inzolia.

Dark amber in colour, with aromas of dried figs, sultanas and caramel. This wine is round and soft on the palate with fresh notes of dried fruit, nuts and honeysuckle with a pleasant, sweet and clean finish.

ABV = 18.0%.

£13.55

Curatolo Arini Marsala Superiore Riserva (1x75cl)

Established in 1875 by Vito Curatolo Arini, the winery is now run by the fifth generation of Curatolos, making it the oldest family-owned Marsala producing business. Their stunning label was designed by Ernesto Basile, a famous architect in Palermo in the latter part of the 19th century and is very much in the art deco style. The new range of wines under the Curatolo Arini label showcases a great expression of native Sicilian varieties.

Light wines from local grapes Grillo, Inzolia, and Cataratto are fortified with white grape spirit in the traditional way. The wines are then aged for about 10 years (the minimum legal requirement for 'Superiore' status is 4 years) in large Slovenian oak casks.

65% Grillo, 25% Catarratto, 10% Inzolia.

The Marsala Riserva Superiore is richer, more concentrated and elegant than the Fine. It has notes of dates, sultanas and toasted almonds and a long, smooth finish.

ABV = 18.0%.

£15.35

Fonseca 10 Year Old Aged Tawny Port (1x 50cl)

From the legendary 1840, Fonseca's first Vintage Port release, to the superb declared vintages of the last decade, the house has produced a succession of highly acclaimed wines even in the most adverse moments of history.  This consistency derives not only from continuity of family involvement, and the knowledge and skill passed down from one generation to the next, but also a close link with the vineyard. Perhaps more than any other Port house, Fonseca has built a loyal community of Port enthusiasts who value its individuality and the inimitable character of its wines.  These include connoisseurs, collectors, sommeliers and restaurateurs as well as those who simply enjoy drinking its wonderfully rich and complex Ports.

During the January following each vintage, Fonseca sets aside a reserve of very concentrated, powerful vintage quality red ports, selected primarily from the firm's own quintas and judged according to their ageing potential.

As tawny ports age, they grow lighter in colour, as they throw their deposit in the cask rather than in the bottle. The process of racking contributes to the oxidation process whereby the wine's fruit qualities gradually diminish and its nutty characteristics are acquired. The wines drawn from this extensive reserve of aged ports are then carefully blended for balance and continuity of style.

Fonseca 10 Year Old Tawny is russet in colour with brilliant crimson highlights and a fragrant, ripe-fruit bouquet. Its smooth, silky texture and subtle oak nuances are balanced by a fresh acidity and tannic "grip" that culminate in a long, elegant, plummy finish.

“Rich, structured and elegant, featuring luxuriantly spiced flavours of dark plum, chocolate and blackberry pie. The svelte finish is creamy, with plenty of minerally notes and a hint of pepper.” Roger Voss, The Wine Enthusiast

ABV = 20.0%.

£16.35

Fonseca Siroco White Port (1x75cl)

From the legendary 1840, Fonseca's first Vintage Port release, to the superb declared vintages of the last decade, the house has produced a succession of highly acclaimed wines even in the most adverse moments of history.  This consistency derives not only from continuity of family involvement, and the knowledge and skill passed down from one generation to the next, but also a close link with the vineyard. Perhaps more than any other Port house, Fonseca has built a loyal community of Port enthusiasts who value its individuality and the inimitable character of its wines.  These include connoisseurs, collectors, sommeliers and restaurateurs as well as those who simply enjoy drinking its wonderfully rich and complex Ports.

In most countries, port is traditionally enjoyed at the end of the meal.  The exception is white port, especially the drier style which makes an excellent aperitif. It is a blend of classic white port grape varieties, predominantly Malvasia Fina with smaller proportions of Gouveio, Viosinho, Rabigato and  Arinto, grown on the cooler, higher vineyards of the Douro Valley. To achieve its crisp dry finish, the wine is allowed to ferment for longer than other styles of port before it is fortified. Ageing in small oak vats gives Siroco its smoothness as well as its attractive ripe fruit flavours and delicate nuttiness. Siroco makes an elegant, stylish and versatile aperitif, equally at home before an alfresco meal on a warm summer day or on a cold winter evening in front of the fire.

Fonseca Siroco has a pale, straw colour. There is a superb balance of ripe fruit, delicate acidity and elegant notes of wood ageing. Full and fruity on the palate, this wine has a glorious lingering finish and an attractive, refreshing crispness.

Fonseca Siroco is traditionally enjoyed as an aperitif, served chilled in a white wine glass. It can also be poured over ice in a high ball glass and topped up with tonic water and a leaf of fresh mint or a slice of lemon as a refreshing summer long drink. Accompanied by salted almonds and some plump, juicy olives, it is the perfect aperitif.

But why stop there? Siroco brings an extra dimension of flavour to many dishes, for example when added as a finishing touch to a warm leek and potato soup or a cool summer gazpacho. Use it in place of white wine to provide an original aromatic accent when cooking clams or mussels.

ABV = 20.0%.

£16.50

Henriques & Henriques 3 Year old Medium Rich (1x 75cl)

A Madeiran institution since its establishment in 1850, Henriques & Henriques offers the best of this picturesque Portuguese island. With over 160 years of experience producing the finest Madeiras, H&H embraces recent technical innovation to create and nurture wines of exceptional quality. Being the largest owners of vineyards on Madeira, under the inspiring leadership of ‘Master Blender’ Humberto Jardím, H&H is able to control every aspect of the production process.

This 3 Year Old Madeira starts life as fermenting must and is then fortified before undergoing its own very special maturation process. Made of predominantly Tinta Negra Mole Grapes, harvest begins from mid-August due to the warm southerly climate. A unique and highly sophisticated artificial Estufa process is set up for the 3 year old wines,where termperatures rise to 45ºC before being allowed to cool. This process takes 90 days and renders the wine completely stable. It is then aged in oak casks for 3 years, prior to bottling.

A medium dark wine, brown with golden highlights. Very fragrant with rich aromas of wood, spice and caramel. Full and rich on the palate body, with dried fruit and a harmonious finish. It’s smooth and mellow flavours make it the perfect accompaniment for desserts such as ice-cream and strong cheeses.

£12.15

Lustau La Ina Fino Jerez (1x75cl)

La Ina is an amazing Fino whose Solera was founded in 1919. Fame as one of the most aromatic and intense of all Finos. Aged in American oak casks for 5 years using the traditional “Solera y Criaderas” system in Jerez de la Frontera.

100% Palomino.

Bright pale straw colour. Pungent on the nose with mineral hints. Dry and crispy palate, with a full, round finish.

ABV = 15.0%.

£14.75

Taylor's Chip Dry White Port (1x75cl)

Nestled among the lodges and cellars of Oporto, Taylor’s is one of the oldest of the founding Port Houses. Dating from 1692, the House quickly realised that the more muscular wines of the upper Douro Valley greater suited the British taste, and ventured into previously uncultivated areas to seek out vineyard sites. At Taylor's, protection of the environment and the ecological well-being of the region are paramount. Terraces are planted specifically to avoid topsoil erosion, maintenance of vegetal banks encourage biodiversity, herbicides are not used, and distribution of vines throughout the vineyard is critical to ensure they can thrive naturally. 

Taylor’s introduced Chip Dry, a new style of white aperitif Port, in 1934. Made from traditional white grape varieties, it is fermented for longer than usual to give it an appetisingly crisp dry finish. Several years of ageing in oak vat and careful blending complete the fresh fruit flavours with an elegant, complex nuttiness. Produced in limited quantities, Chip Dry white Port is sold in individually numbered bottles marked with the name of the cellar in which the wine was aged.

It has a pale, straw colour. Delicate nose combining fresh fruit fragrances with the mellow aromas and hints of oak of a traditional white port. Fresh, lively palate, with good flavour and crisp, dry finish. Chip Dry White Port is a stylish and sophisticated aperitif, the perfect introduction to a relaxed meal. It is best served chilled in a large Port glass and accompanied by marinated olives or roasted almonds. Chip Dry can also be used to make a refreshing and original summer drink by mixing one part of Chip Dry white Port with two parts of chilled Tonic water in a tall glass, adding a sprig of mint or a twist of lemon.

ABV = 20.0%.

£15.00

Taylor's Fine Ruby (1x75cl)

Nestled among the lodges and cellars of Oporto, Taylor’s is one of the oldest of the founding Port Houses. Dating from 1692, the House quickly realised that the more muscular wines of the upper Douro Valley greater suited the British taste, and ventured into previously uncultivated areas to seek out vineyard sites. At Taylor's, protection of the environment and the ecological well-being of the region are paramount. Terraces are planted specifically to avoid topsoil erosion, maintenance of vegetal banks encourage biodiversity, herbicides are not used, and distribution of vines throughout the vineyard is critical to ensure they can thrive naturally. 

Taylor’s Fine Ruby a blend of full bodied Port wines aged for around two years in large oak vats in Taylor’s cellars, or ‘lodges’, in Vila Nova de Gaia. As they age, they gain smoothness and elegance while retaining their fruitiness, intensity and youthful ruby colour. They are then blended together for balance and consistency. With its firm tannins and concentrated fruitiness, Fine Ruby is perfect for the classic port-and-cheese combination.

Tasting notes Stylish fruity nose, full of intense concentrated blackcurrant and cherry aromas. Full bodied and firm, the palate is crammed with luscious black fruit flavours. It is particularly good with blue-veined and richly flavoured soft cheeses. It also pairs well with berry fruit and dark chocolate flavours and, like all red Ports, makes an excellent after dinner drink.

ABV = 20.0%.

£11.50
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