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Bastide de Coupe Roses Minervois 2018 (1x75cl)

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Chateau Coupe-Roses.

Bastide de Coupe-Roses Minervois - fiche technique

Pale red colour, brilliant which shines with light shades of purple. The scent reminds you of its fruitiness and the Carignan from where this wine comes, it is also in the mouth where the fresh red fruits dominate, associated with a refreshing liveliness. A perfect wine for all occasions, aperitifs or meals.

£10.35

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

Chateau Coupe Roses Les Plots Minervois 2017 (1x75cl)

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Chateau Coupe-Roses.

Chateau Coupe-Roses Les Plots Minervois 2017 - fiche technique

Its expression is a blend of power and complex aromatic characters, candied fruits, spice, pepper and blackcurrant, with a fresh acidity.

£13.05

Chateau De Chambert Cahors Malbec 2014 (1x75cl)

Château de Chambert lies 30 kilometres west of the town of Cahors, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Owned and run by Philippe Lejeune since 2007, with the additional support of consultant winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt, the estate has already garnered considerable attention in France and is top critic Michel Bettane’s ‘One to Watch’. The elegant, modern wines are made from the deep-coloured Malbec variety, which traditionally produced the ‘black wines’ of Cahors.

Vineyards are planted with 85% Malbec and 15% Merlot at the highest part of the South Quercy limestone plateau (causse), at an average altitude of 300 metres above sea level. The soil contains two distinct geological components; red clay with high concentration of red which lends the wine power, spice and black fruit aromas; and white clay with limestone similar to that of Chablis, which produces minerality and finesse. Located between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, the unique mesoclimate takes effect especially towards harvest when hot winds from Africa aid grape ripening. Careful leaf-thinning and green harvesting ensure well exposed fruit. The vines are 25 years old and yields are low at around 28 hectolitres per hectare. The grapes are hand-harvested.

Warm weather early in the year brought the 2014 bud-burst forward to 19th March, two weeks earlier than average. Summer began with a beautiful, dry June, but July and August suffered from intermittent rain, which increased disease pressure and slowed ripening. A warm, dry September allowed full sugar and phenolic ripeness, and healthy vines, with the long growing season encouraging complexity and concentration. The harvest started with on 3rd October, and was completed by the middle of the month.

The grapes are separated by parcel and vinified spearately. After a pneumatic press, the free-run juice and pressings were separated. Fermentation took place with ambient yeasts at controlled temperatures of 25-30°C, and the cap was managed by a combination of pump-overs and plunging. The fermenting must spent 25 days on skins. Malolactic fermentation took place in barrel. The wine was matured for 12 months in french oak, 20% of which were new.

This wine is beautifully dark and intense in colour. On the nose, it has refined ripe fruit aromas of blueberry and violet. On the palate, the tannins are silky and round and the mineral character on the finish balances the black fruit and ripe flavours.

£21.80

Chateau De Pibarnon Bandol Rouge 2015 (1x 75cl)

Château de Pibarnon sets the standard for greatness not only in Bandol but also for wines the world over. Pibarnon Bandol is famed for growing ever more elegant and supple with time.

With its perch at the highest point in the appellation, its impeccable terroir and unforgettable amphitheatre of vines, Pibarnon crafts the finest Mourvèdre-based wines in Bandol. This breathtaking yet rugged region is exceptionally suited to showcasing the power and beauty of this southern red grape.

Bandol was no more than a backwater when Catherine and Henri de Saint Victor purchased Pibarnon in the late 1970s. Recognizing the region’s potential, however, the visionary couple worked tirelessly for some 30 years, landscaping and crafting ever better wines. By the 1990s, Pibarnon was making the region’s top reds, a status today maintained under their son, Eric de Saint Victor. Henri passed away in 2013.

The vineyards overlook the valley, facing the sea, covering terraces upon terraces up to 300 metres altitude, on slopes forming a vast amphitheatre, sheltered from the mistral. The high altitude of the vineyards means cool nights and slow ripening of the grapes. The Château de Pibarnon vineyard is planted on very old and highly calcareous, Triassic ground. This limestone enhances the bouquet in the wine. It also allows the extraction of very fine and elegant tannins. Moreover it is this which causes the freshness and minerality, giving an exemplary type and flavour. Château de Pibarnon focuses on 12 main plots, all located at the summit of the estate including Bel Air, Jourdan, Pointes-Blanches and le Cirque.

This wine has been made using 90% Mourvedre and 10% Grenache.

To see an excellent information sheet and tasting note which has been produced by the team at Chateau de Pibarnon, please click on the blue link below.

Chateau de Pibarnon Rouge 2015 - fiche technique

£34.40

Chateau Tour Des Gendres Anthologia Rouge 2008 (1x75cl)

Chateau Tour Des Gendres has been owned by the family of Luc De Conti since the early nineteenth century when Luc’s grandfather Vincenzo moved to Bergerac from Italy. A wonderful character and a fine wine-maker, Luc de Conti’s exuberant wines reflect his personality. Luc is a true Vinarchiste, looking for purity and intensity, the maximum expression of the potential of the grapes. In the vineyard the soil is nourished with seaweed and silica treatments to encourage microbial activity. According to him the soil is lifeless (“a cadaver”) and it is a fifteen-year process to rid the ground of pollutants. Manual picking and selection of ripe grapes is essential; on the top cuvées there are several tries in the vineyard, and the wine will only be released if it reaches the highest of standards. The blends will also change according to the physiological ripeness of the grapes. This vigneron even riddles the grapes on the vine, giving them a quarter turn. Madness or pertinence or the countenance of sublime perfection? They are certified organic and use careful vinification techniques to ensure the truest expression of the terroir and vintage.

The Anthologia Rouge is fermented in 500-litre barrels which are turned (roulage) to give a gentler extraction. Power and sweetness allied to refinement and purity – the crowning achievement of a true Vinarchiste.

80% Merlot, 20% Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc (exact blend of these last three is not specified, but thought to be around 10%/8%/2%).

Chateau Tour Des Gendres Anthologia Rouge 2008 is predominantly Merlot with intense almost opaque appearance with a complex nose of black berry fruit, liqorice and spice. Full bodied with firm yet sweet tannins and a rich, opulent finish. It is easy to understand why Luc’s wines are considered some of the best and most exciting of the region.

£49.50

Clau de Nell Grolleau 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 review of Festive Wines (see blue link below).

Clau de Nell Grolleau 2015 - January 2019 Decanter review

The vineyards at Clau de Nell have been cultivated biodynamically since 2000. A period of financial difficulty led the previous proprietors to seek help from the late Anne-Claude Leflaive and her husband, Christian Jacques. In 2008, the Leflaive-Jacques family purchased Clau de Nell, which at the time had not produced any wine for three years. Since then, Clau de Nell has enjoyed a successful revival with ex-sommelier Sylvain Potin making the wine and Christian running the domaine.

The domaine is situated in Anjou and is comprised of 8.5 hectares of red varieties planted on a south-facing knoll at 90 metres altitude. The vines range in age from 30 to 90 years old and are low yielding (on average 25 hl/ha). There are five hectares of Cabernet Franc, two hectares of the native Grolleau and one hectare of Cabernet Sauvignon. They also planted 1.5 hectares of Chenin Blanc in 2012 which produced its first vintage in 2015.

All the grapes were hand harvested and 100% destemmed. Fermentation was carried out using indigenous yeasts in oak barrels with gentle punch downs. The wines were then aged for 18 months in old barrels purchased from Domaine Leflaive. The wines were bottled without fining or filtration on fruit days, according to the biodynamic calendar. Minimal sulphur dioxide was used because Sylvain says he likes his wine to taste clean and ‘like wine’.

This wine is 100% Grolleau.

The Grolleau is crisp and fragrant with blueberry and blackberry aromas. It has a bright acidity with a lingering attractive spice on the finish.

£27.45

Clos Du Joncuas Gigondas 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2017 edition tasting/review (by John Livingstone-Learmonth) of the excellent 2015 Southern Rhône vintage  (see blue link below).

Clos Du Joncuas Gigondas 2015 - May 2017 Decanter review

Clos du Joncuas is run by Ferdinand Chastan and his son Dany. There are 29 hectares in total of mainly old vines and the estate is run strictly along organic lines having achieved organic status in 1989. 

This wine is made traditionally in cement tanks, with vinification temperatures of between 30°Cand 33°C. Fermentation takes place naturally with only the indigenous yeast of each grape berry, which expresses the genuine and deep flavors of this land. This helps to protect the wine's unique flavours. There is a long maceration of 25 to 30 days, and the wine is made using pumping over. When the wine is completed, two extractions are done to clarify the wine, without fining or filtration. It then spends 12 months in oak barrels, and bottled without fining or filtering.

This full-bodied red is 80% Grenache, 12% Mourvedre, 8% Cinsault.

It has a deep and sustained purple colour, deploys intense flavours of red and black fruits in his youth, evolving towards more spicy and woody notes, when it reaches full maturity. It is a full and balanced warm wine. Long and velvety on the palate. This wine has the capacity to age for between 8 and 12 years.

£24.20

Domaine Combier Crozes Hermitage Rouge 2017 (Organic) (1x75cl)

In the heart of the Crozes-Hermitage appellation, the Syrah vines are planted on a parent rock close to the surface and granite soils offering good drainage. On the southern side, vines are planted on chalky-limestone soils covered with smooth pebbles. 

In the villages of Pont de l’Isère, Gervans, Serves-sur-Rhône, the terroir is 1) chalky-clay with smooth pebbles on the southern side with 2) Loessic slopes and 3) granite slopes on the northern side. Yields are a low 42 hectolitres/hectare and the harvest is carried out by hand with selective sorting.

Total destemming is carried out. The wine staus for 25 days in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. Pumping over twice daily, 12-month maturing in new oak. Blending of the three terroirs after tasting.

Complex fruit aromas, with secondary notes of tar and leather and a touch of spicy oak. These characters are echoed on the palate with firm, ripe and elegant tannins.

£24.15

Domaine Combier Crozes-Hermitage, Cuvee Laurent (Organic) 2017

In the heart of the Crozes-Hermitage appellation, the Syrah vines are planted on a parent rock close to the surface and granite soils offering good drainage. On the southern side vines are planted on chalky-limestone soils covered with smooth pebbles.

The Cuvée Laurent is a new (1999!) addition to the range from Laurent Combier and exhibits all the class and finesse that we have come to expect from this extremely talented winemaker and charming man. The Syrah is all hand-harvested from Laurent's own immaculate vineyards and is vinified in his new cellar, equipped as one would expect with the most modern equipment. Laurent however believes - as do many of the great winemakers - that fine wines are grown, not made, and he takes as hands off as possible approach to the winemaking, using for example wild yeasts for fermentation. The wine sees a brief period in oak before being bottled and released.

100% Syrah.

Almost opaque with a purple hue, this is classic Syrah from the Northern Rhône. Rich and spicy on the nose with an underlying savoury quality, the palate is rich and spicy too, with ripe approachable tannins. The finish is long, smooth and velvety.

£19.75

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 Gramenon Cotes Du Rhone Sierra Du Sud 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter as part of their article Southern Rhone 15: Cotes du Rhone Crus and more - part 2 in April 2017.

Domaine Gramenon Sierra du Sud 2015 - April 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% Syrah.

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

Domaine Gramenon Sierra du Sud - fiche technique

Amidst the power of this wine you will find a delightful delicacy: cassis mingled with tapenade, Provençal herbs, minerals and flowers. The Sierra du Sud goes well when matched with rack of lamb, grilled meats or mature cheese.

£21.75

Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Vieilles Vignes 2018 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their March 2019 edition article: Older vines, better wines? (see blue link below).

Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Vieilles Vignes - March 2019 Decanter review

The 2015 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2017 edition review of "Everyday Wines" (under £25) (see blue link below).

Jean-Claude Lapalu, Brouilly 2015 - June 2017 Decanter review

Jean-Claude Lapalu assumed control of just under 30 acres of Gamay from his father in 1996, and made his first commercial wines in 2000. His eight parcels of east and southeast facing vines are scattered from Mont Brouilly south through the rolling hills of Odenas and his hometown of Saint-Etienne-la-Varenne.

Jean-Claude’s most significant early influence came from the writings of Jules Chauvet, France’s Father of Natural Winemaking. He is committed to a strict organic regimen and employs several tenets of biodynamic viticulture. The domaine received its organic certification from Ecocert with the 2010 vintage but he has no interest in seeking any further bureaucratic validation.

The wine is made using whole cluster fermentation (without crushing). Carbonic maceration is used for the Brouilly Vieilles Vignes. It is fermented in stainless steel tanks. Bottling happens in early April after a brief six-month élevage. Jean-Claude only uses indigenous yeasts and doesn’t use any sulphur during vinification (some is added at bottling in very small quantities: 2gr/hl)

Very fragrant and expressive, it displays aromas of violet and juicy red berry. Fresh and very much alive on the palate, it has depth and plenty of dark berry and spice character.

£21.50

Domaine la Rouviole, Minervois Cru la Liviniere 2014 (1x75cl)

The 2013 vintage was Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2018 panel tasting of Languedoc's cru reds (see blue link below).

Domaine La Rouviole, Minervois Cru La Liviniere 2013 - December 2018 Decanter review

This proudly independent family estate owned estate which was bought by the Léonor family in 1956 is located in the renowned Cru La Livinière area of Minervois. Wines are made from blends of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan from the best and oldest plots of the estate. Great care is taken to hand harvest the grapes at optimum ripeness and to express the terroir of the area. The wines have been certified as organic since the 2011 vintage.

The vines are grown on a hillside vineyard which benefits from more than 300 days of sunshine per year. Grown in chalky and clay soils, the vines are over 40 years old and produce an average yield of 30 hectolitres per hectare. Debudding takes place in May and a green harvest in July in order to concentrate the flavours in the berries. The grapes are hand harvested in two tranches in September, when they have reached the optimal maturity and ripeness levels, from the best plots of the vineyard.

The grapes were carefully hand harvested, with only the grapes that had reached optimal maturity and from the best plots of the vineyard, being chosen. The wines were traditionally vinified. The Syrah component of the blend was aged for 12 months in French and American oak barrels, of which 50 % were new barrels and 25% were second fill. The Grenache was aged in stainless steel tanks, to retain the fruity flavours, prior to the final blend.

A rich, full bodied red wine with aromas of dark fruit with spice complemented by elegant oak flavours through to a fine, smooth finish. Great with leg of lamb or a ribeye steak.

£18.80

Domaine Leon Barral Faugeres La Valiniere 2015 (1x75cl)

Didier Barral represents the thirteenth generation to grow grapes in the tiny hamlet of Lenthéric, within the confines of the Faugères appellation deep in the heart of the Languedoc. While his forebears made a living off of cultivating the vine, Didier took the family business to the next level when he began estate-bottling and commercializing his wines on a larger scale in 1993. Named for Didier's grandfather, Domaine Léon Barral is a beacon of revolutionary winegrowing: shortly after founding the domaine, Didier decided that biodynamic practices were the best choice for farming his thirty hectares of vineyards. He has pioneered numerous innovative agronomic techniques with the goal of establishing his vineyards as a self-sustaining ecosystem. This Renaissance man, naturalist, and biodynamic expert commands tremendous respect among his peers for his visionary approach to topics like soil management, pest control, and drought mitigation in his vineyards.

Didier Barral is one of the champions of the biodynamic movement in France and is highly respected among his peers for his uncompromising respect for the environment in which he lives and works—meaning the entire ecosystem surrounding his vineyards. Didier’s red Faugères, grown in rugged schist soil, displays power, rusticity, and incredibly fresh, pure fruit. Treat it as you would the wines of Gramenon and Magnon—organic, living beings that demand care and respect. His Faugères ages beautifully in a good cellar.

A superb biodynamic wine, La Valinière is a blend of 80% Mourvèdre and 20% Syrah and is one of the finest wines to emerge from the south of France in the past few years. Maceration takes place for 3 to 4 weeks with regular, manual punch-downs in cement tanks. After maceration, the must is lightly pressed with an old, wooden, vertical basket press. This wine is aged for 24 to 26 months in barrel (10% new oak). The Syrah in this cuvée comes from a north-facing parcel of vines.

Didier Barral produces wines of great depth and character, of which La Valinière is a typical example. As with many Mourvèdre-dominated wines, La Valinière is intense and velvety with savoury and 'gamey' flavours. There are also notes of cloves and cinammon. The Syrah completes the package by contributing black fruit and a touch of pepper. The acidity and tannins are well balanced making this an ideal food wine.

£48.60
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