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Cazes Ego Cotes 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.

ABV = 15.0%.

£14.85

Cellier des Dauphins Reserve Cotes du Rhone 2018 (1x75cl)

** ONLY AVAILABLE FROM EXEL WINES! NOTE THAT THE DAUPHINS COTES DU RHONE CURRENTLY BEING BADGED BY TESCO AND ASDA AS THE 'RESERVE' ON THEIR WEBSITES IS CATEGORICALLY *NOT* THIS WINE/THE DWWA AWARD WINNER (this, we have confirmed with the producer). INDEED, YOU WILL NOTE THAT THE WORD 'RESERVE' DOES NOT APPEAR ON THEIR LABEL... **

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.

Cellier des Dauphins was established in 1967 by the Union des Vignerons des Côtes du Rhône. Rather than being a producer in its own right, it encompasses a major co-operative network of grape-growers and winemakers throughout the southern Rhône valley. The Cellier des Dauphins vineyards lie in the Rhône Valley, the foothills of the southern Alps rising in the distance. In these terroirs, sun-drenched vines swaying in the southern breeze, grow the renowned grape varieties that have made the Côtes du Rhône famous: Syrah, Grenache, Viognier and many other regional grapes.

The network comprises over 2,500 families and 12,500 hectares of production land across 20 of the main Southern Rhône appellations, among them Plan de Dieu, Puyméras and Valréas. Exceptional terroirs produce the most illustrious crus: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras, Vinsobres and Cairanne.

Such diversity of both grape varieties and terroirs enables the Cellier's winemakers to produce aromatic blended wines of great complexity, of which this Côtes du Rhône rouge is a standout example.

For greater detail on this wine, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Cellier des Dauphins.

Cellier Des Dauphins Reserve Côtes du Rhône 2018 - fiche technique

80% Grenache, 20% Syrah.

This wine displays a deep red hue with ruby tints and notes of sun-ripened black fruit on the nose. The palate offers a velvety texture and spicy notes underpinned by ripe black fruit, blackcurrants and black cherries. A more modern take on the traditional Côtes du Rhône style, this wine combines structure, freshness and smooth tannins. It has a seductively elegant, intense and long-lingering finish.

or, as the DWWA19 panel put it:

"This is delicious! Very classy and appealing aromas of flowers, garrigue, spice and forest floor. On the palate sweet vanilla oak marries into the charming and svelte herbal, red and blue fruit mix. It's full of flavour, super supple, super drinkable and authentic. Bouquet, taste, finish: all are magnificent!".

ABV = 13.5%.

£9.95

Chateau Bernadotte Cru Bourgeois 2010 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition panel tasting review of Haut-Medoc Bordeaux 2010 (see blue link below). 

Chateau Bernadotte Cru Bourgeois 2010 - January 2019 Decanter review

Formerly known as Chateau Fournas, this estate was renamed Bernadotte in 1997 after a past owner, Marshal Bernadotte, who was the Sovereign Prince under the rule of Napoleon I.  Madame de Lencquesaing, owner of Chateau Pichon Lalande at the time, acquired Chateau Bernadotte in 1997 and proceeded to renovate every aspect of the estate.  

The breakdown of the grapes used in Chateau Bernadotte is as follows: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Their vines are on average 25 years old. 

Vinification takes place in stainless steel, temperature controlled tanks. Malolactic fermentation is then allowed to take place in tank before the wine is aged for 12-18 months in French oak barrels (30% new wood).

"Strong new-wood aromas lead to a palate that is layered with firm tannins, a polished toast character and a sufficient ripe blackberry flavour to balance. This 2010 bottling shows that this is a chateau to watch." Wine Enthusiast 92 points. This wine will be drinking well between 2018 - 2025. It has also received awards from Wine Spectator (90 points) and James Suckling (90 points). Chateau Bernadotte is a very versatile wine that pairs well with most meats, braised or grilled.  It is also perfect when served with hearty fish, pasta, and Asian dishes.

ABV = 14.0%.

£24.95

Chateau de Santenay Mercurey 1er Cru Les Puillets 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Red Cote de Beaune over £15) at the 2016 Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2016 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Chateau de Santenay Les Puilllets 1er Cru 2014 - August 2016 Decanter review

This magnificent property, which dates back to the 9th century, is also known as Château Philippe le Hardi, as it was once owned by the first Duc of Burgundy. Philippe le Hardi is famous as the person who banned the cultivation of Gamay in the Côte d'Or, saying in his edict of 1395 that only Pinot Noir could be used in the production of red wines from the already fabled slopes. Despite its long history, the property had fallen on hard times until it was taken over by the French bank Crédit Agricole in recent years. They have invested heavily, bringing in a new team to support the general manager, Gérard Fagnoni, and putting the emphasis on quality. The property has 98 hectares of vineyard, 72 of which are in Mercurey. These are remarkably well made and good value wines from the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise.

The eight hectare 'Les Puillets' vineyard is located on the south-south west facing hillslide slopes in the appellation of Mercurey. The average age of the vines is 30 years. The soils here are rich in clay, but the limestone is still very present as well as some areas of marl. These characteristics give the red wines of Mercurey power and a beautiful structure.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were cold soaked for seven days at 8°C to extract colour and flavour from the skins. Temperature-controlled fermentation lasted 12 to 14 days with daily pumping over, finishing with a rack and return, or 'délestage', to impart the grainy tannins that give the wines a lovely structure and length. The wine was then aged in oak barrels for 13 months, of which 20% were new, before bottling.

100% Pinot Noir.

A medium colour. The nose is focused on woody notes and kirsch. Full and rich, the palate shows red cherry and redcurrant flavours with mouthwatering freshness and pleasant tannins on the finish. Though drinking well now, it will reward some time in the cellar.

ABV = 13.0%.

£25.75

Chateau de Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 edition tasting of Best Buy Red Burgundy (see blue link below).

Chateau De Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2016 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

This magnificent property, which dates back to the 9th century, is also known as Château Philippe le Hardi, as it was once owned by the first Duc of Burgundy. Philippe le Hardi is famous as the person who banned the cultivation of Gamay in the Côte d'Or, saying in his edict of 1395 that only Pinot Noir could be used in the production of red wines from the already fabled slopes. Despite its long history, the property had fallen on hard times until it was taken over by the French bank Crédit Agricole in recent years. They have invested heavily, bringing in a new team to support the general manager, Gérard Fagnoni, and putting the emphasis on quality. The property has 98 hectares of vineyard, 72 of which are in Mercurey. These are remarkably well made and good value wines from the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise.

The fruit for the Mercurey Rouge comes from Chateau de Santenay's 72 hectares of vines planted across the Mercurey appellation. The soils are rich in clay, but the limestone is still very present as well as some areas of marl. These characteristics give the red wines of Mercurey finesse and structure.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were cold soaked for seven days at 8°C to extract colour and flavour from the skins. Temperature-controlled fermentation lasted 12 to 14 days with daily pumping over, finishing with a rack and return, or 'délestage', to impart the grainy tannins that give the wines a lovely structure and length. The wine was then aged in oak barrels for 13 months, of which 20% were new.

100% Pinot Noir.

This wine is dark ruby in colour, it is bright and lifted with excellent concentration. the nose is elegant with aromas of ripe red fruit including cherries, and a touch of oak. The palate is full with great structure and an attractive chewy and grainy character. The finish is long and fresh.

ABV = 13.0%.

** See also Chateau de Santenay's excellent Premier Cru Mercurey - the 2014 vintage was rated as a DWWA 2017 Best in Category Wine **

£22.65

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

** MORE STOCKS (LAST OF VINTAGE) ARRIVING EARLY MARCH **

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

Chateau La Fleur Grands-Landes Montagne St. Emilion 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of the St-Emilion satellite appellations 2015 vintage (see blue link below).

Château La Fleur Grands-Landes Montagne St. Emilion 2015 - April 2018 Decanter review

The Durand family has owned the seven hectare estate in the Montagne district since the 18th century. In 1969, M. Carrère, Mme Durand's husband took over the estate, shaping it to its current form. Since 1997, his daughter Isabelle Carrère, oenologist from Michel Rolland's team, has been running the estate having taught viticulture and oenology for 10 years.

The vines are grown on slopes in clay soils. The vineyards are carefully managed throughout the year, with debudding, manual removal of the vine-shoots, leafthinning and green harvesting all being carefully performed. Chemical fertilisers are not used; instead vegetal based compost is added moderately to the soil having monitored its equilibrium. A manual harvest takes place when the grapes are slightly overripe to get a better phenolic maturity of the skins and the pips.

Generous flowering took place followed by a hot, dry early summer. August was slightly cooler and damper, followed by good weather in September enabling the grapes to reach full maturity. Generally the harvest took place earlier than the previous year. 2015 has been cited as a great modern Bordeaux vintage of excellent quality.

The grapes were carefully sorted by hand after a total destemming on the sorting table. 20% of the wine was bled off. A cold maceration took place prior to fermentation, which lasted three to four days. The fermentation was carried out in temperature controlled stainless steel vats, with daily pump-overs and lasted for three weeks. The wine was then matured, with 80% aged in vats and 20% in oak barrels.

Merlot 80%, Cabernet Franc 15%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%.

A medium bodied Bordeaux , with spicy, dark fruits and herbal notes combined with earthy hints. A beautifully balanced wine with silky tannins and a light finish. A lovely match for beef wellington or barbequed chicken.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

ABV = 14.0%.

£14.60

Chateau Larose-Trintaudon Haut-Medoc 2014 (1x75cl)

Reviewed by Decanter in their July 2019 Bordeaux supplement, in the article "My favourite Everyday Claret" (see blue link below).

Chateau Larose-Trintaudon Haut-Medoc 2014 - July 2019 Decanter review

Château Larose Trintaudon dates back to 1719, but it wasn't until 1838 when Henry Delaroze, Mayor of Saint-Laurent, planted a vineyard on a gravelly mound in a place called 'Trintaudon' that its winemaking history began. The history remained the same as its sibling Larose Perganson, because it formed part of Jean-Pierre du Pontent's, acquisitions in 1719, when he was Counselor to the King of France. During the subsequent years, the property fell victim to phylloxera and neglect and it wasn't until 1963, when Professor Emile Peynaud was brought in to replant the vineyards, that the Château achieved the reputation that it has today.

Nestled between the communes of Saint-Julien-de-Beychevelle and Pauillac, the 190-hectare vineyard of Château Larose Trintaudon is planted upon one of the oldest layers of Médoc gravel, called the 'Pyrenean layer'. Situated on the borders of the Pauillac and Saint-Julien Appellations, it benefits from very similar growing conditions as its neighbour Château Latour. The soil is mainly composed of fine and sandy gravels on top of a clay-based limestone soil. The vines are 28 years old on average with a planting density of 6,600 vines per hectare. The team green harvests every Spring to ensure that grape bunches hang separately, allowing air to circulate around each one, and to control yields.

An exceptionally cold and damp summer threatened the 2014 vintage. However, an unseasonably warm and dry autumn brought fruit back on track, which resulted in perfumed and high acidity in the wines. The reds are fresh, medium bodied with supple tannins and perfect for both early drinking and cellaring.

The wine, a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 51% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot, was fermented in stainless steel tanks to retain the primary fruit aromas. It was then aged in oak for 12 to 16 months of which 50% was new, adding complexity and roundness to this structured and elegant wine.

This wine is very deep, intense ruby in colour with violet hues. On the palate, sweet spices of vanilla, cinnamon and ginger entwine with flavours of dates and dried figs. A racy, incredibly full-bodied and wellstructured wine with enormous density and power. Infinite length on the palate with excellent balance between fruit, tannins and acidity.

ABV = 13.5%.

£20.55

Chateau Saint-Esteve, H de M, Corbieres, 2017 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE SHOULD ARRIVE AT EXEL/WITH CUSTOMERS BY MONDAY 16th MARCH, quite possibly earlier **

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their forthcoming April 2020 edition panel tasting of Corbières (see blue link below).

 

Chateau Saint-Esteve, H De M, Corbieres, 2017 - April 2020 Decanter review

Situated in the south of France, near the Mediterranean coast, the estate is located in the heart of Corbières, on the terroir of Boutenac, with its clay-limestone soils and round pebbles, in a century-old pine forest. Château Saint-Estève revels in the beauty and the charm of a protected landscape. This is a special place: the estate echoes to singing cicadas in summer, sits among magnificent pine trees and visitors can admire the garrigue, blue sky, protruding rocks and magnificent nature.

Owner Eric Latham has been cultivating the Château's 120 ha of vineyards since 1984. The adventurous and daring spirit of the family, has been strongly influenced by the experiences of their ancestors and their bold lifestyle choices. For example, his great-grand-uncle, Hubert Latham, an aviation pioneer, was known for his attempts to cross the Channel and his rivalry with Louis Blériot. Eric's grand-father, Henry de Monfreid - after whom this wine is named - was a famous adventurer, photographer and writer, native to Corbières and best known for his exploits in the Red Sea.

Carignan and Syrah principally grow on the lands of Saint-Estève; Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre and Cinsault (also varieties of the Corbières appellation) to a lesser extent. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Caladoc are also present in addition for the production of IGP wines. The red varieties naturally dominate although Grenache Blanc, Chardonnay and Muscat are also grown.

Syrah 60%, Carignan 20%, Grenache 10%, Mourvedre 10%.

For more/full details of this wine, see the blue link below for a detailed data sheet from/by the Château themselves. <NB: an additional precision to information listed there, having checked with the producer is: 50% of the wine is aged in barrels which are 2 to 3 years old.>

Chateau Saint-Esteve, H de M, Corbieres - fiche technique

Garnet colour with ruby glints. Intense nose of ripe fruits (blueberry, blackcurrant), spices and vanilla. In the mouth, cocoa and praline notes. Tannins are silky and round. Carignan brings elegance and freshness to this distinguished wine.

ABV = 14.0%.

** THIS WINE SHOULD ARRIVE AT EXEL/WITH CUSTOMERS BY MONDAY 16th MARCH, quite possibly earlier **

£14.95

Chateaux Ollieux Romanis, Atal Sia, Corbieres-Boutenac 2016 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their forthcoming April 2020 edition panel tasting of Corbières (see blue link below).

Chateaux Ollieux Romanis, Atal Sia, Corbieres-Boutenac 2016 - April 2020 Decanter review

Located in Boutenac, just south of the village of Corbières in the Languedoc region, Ollieux Romanis is now one of the largest privately owned wineries in Corbières, spanning some 130 hectares. First planted to vine in the 11th century AD, Ollieux Romanis actually came into existence as a farm producing grains, olives, and mutton in Roman times, some eight centuries earlier. It was the Durban-Latreille family who saw its potential and began planting it to vine. Soon, a priory was formed and the domaine flourished, as tending to the vine was part of the monks’ daily religious ritual, for production of the holy sacrament.

Through the Middle Ages Les Ollieux became part of the Abbey of Fontfroide and then subsequently changed hands many times. Today it is owned and maintained by the Bories family, who settled at Les Ollieux some 200 years ago.  Pierre Bories is assisted by winemaker Jean-Pierre Amiques.  There are some very interesting  and unusual terroirs featured at the domaine, including Mediterranean red clay, sandstone, and puddingstone. Along with the requisite Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Marsanne, and Roussanne, the Bories also cultivate Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Merlot, and Mourvèdre, the ‘unapproved’ varietals going into their fun entry-level VdP label Capucines.

Les Ollieux is currently working its way to fully organic status having dispensed with herbicides and pesticides in the late 1990s. Instead, Pierre composts with marc, or the leftover solids (sins, seeds, pulps, pits) of his grapes and olives after pressing. 80% of the harvest is done manually (rare for such a large estate) – all grapes for Atal Sia (their high end cuvee) and Corbieres Classique red and white harvested manually.

Atal Sia translates to “let it be” in the local Languedocien dialect and is the perfect expression for this wine, which beautifully translates the authenticity of the terroir in Boutenac.

The grapes for the Atal Sia are grown on the pudding stone (over sandstone) terroir of Boutenac. This is a lush confection of Carignan 40%, Grenache 30%, Mourvèdre 20% and a dollop (5%) of Syrah for spice. No oak here, yet this is still a deep and intense wine with black fruits, orange peel, spice and liquorice and a smooth, silky, almost sweet palate.

The grapes for this wine are harvested manually before undergoing whole cluster maceration. Once the winemaking process is complete, the wine spends a year maturing in the bottle before being released for sale. 

This has had no oak influence, yet is still a deep and intense wine with characteristics of black fruits, orange peel, spice and liquorice, as well as a smooth, silky, almost sweet palate.

ABV = 13.5%.

£20.25

Clos Culombu Etienne Suzzoni Vin De Corse Rouge Calvi 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2017 edition review of Corsica (see blue link below).

Clos Culombu, Calvi 2015 - June 2017 Decanter review

Founded in 1973 by Paul Suzzoni, this vineyard covers 39 hectares on the estate. Since 1986, Etienne Suzzoni, Paul’s brother, has been at the helm of the enterprise. Le Clos Culombu is situated between the Gulf of Calvi and the Montegrossu mountains, whose peaks reach 2000 metres. Situated only 2 kilometres from the sea and 8 kilometres from the mountain peaks, the vineyard enjoys a very particular micro-climate. The soil is worked in the traditional manner and minimal weed killer and chemicals are used. The yields are kept low to maintain quality. The are currently in the process of converting to biodynamic practices.

This wine is a blend of 50% Sciaccarellu, 30% Niellucciu (a local variant of Sangiovese), 10% Syrah, 5% Minustellu and 5% Carcaghjolu Neru. This Corsican red has beautifully scented aromas with nuances of red fruit, berries and a hint of spice. it is a rich and full-bodied wine, but it displays a delightful yet youthful character.  The flavours include red fruit such as raspberry as well as a spicy quality mixed with cocoa or dark chocolate.  It has a soft yet full mouthfeel and is absolutely delicious!

This wine goes well with pork, beef and light game such as rabbit or it will also complement a strong flavoured cheese.

ABV = 14.0%.

£17.50

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.

ABV = 15.0%.

£24.20

Crozes-Hermitage Cuvee Alberic Bouvet, Domaine Gilles Robin 2017 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their November 2018 en primeur tasting of the Northern Rhône (see blue link below).

Crozes-Hermitage Cuvee Alberic Bouvet, Domaine Gilles Robin 2017 - November 2018 Decanter review

With a family history of winegrowing spanning four generations, Gilles Robin started in the wine business the way many in the Rhône do: His family sold grapes to the local cooperative. Nestled against the hillsides of Hermitage and St. Joseph in the appellation of Crozes–Hermitage, the estate was first planted in the late 1940s by Gilles’ grandparents, and it is this fruit that makes up his Cuvée Alberic Bouvet, named for his grandfather. This cuvée is aged in oak barrels, of which 20% are new. The Cuvée Papillon is the product of vines Gilles planted in 1996; it is aged entirely in tank to preserve its fresh and delicate fruit. The estate now totals 37 acres, including two-and-ahalf planted with white varietals and a small parcel of Syrah in St Joseph. His vines are planted in the stony and sandy La Terrace de Chassis district. An understated, meticulous winemaker, Gilles farms his plots organically, believing this is the best way to honestly give voice to the terroir. Gilles Robin has truly elevated his family estate, producing wines that are powerful, elegant and precise ... excellent representations of Crozes–Hermitage.

The vineyard has been organic since 2009.

This wine draws upon the domaine's oldest Syrah vines, approximately 50 years in age, and from its main slopes/terroirs (Rochas, Monico, Terres Rouges). The assemblage/mix of grapes from different zones seeks to draw a balance between their Syrahs, to blend tannins with red fruits and black fruits, each of the zones lending one of these characteristics more than others. It is this targeted precison-blending that is the hallmark of the Albéric Bouvet.

Grapes are picked by hand with selection of grapes then made using optical apparatus. Must is pumped over (remontage) and pushed down (pigeage) to optimise flavour/tannin/extraction without damage. Fermentation lasts some 30 days and is conducted in stainless steel before an ageing/elevage in 225-litre Burgundy pieces and larger demi-muids; 20% of these are new.

Some 23,000 bottles of this cuvee are made each vintage. It was first made in 1996.

100% Syrah.

Vibrant aromas of plum with great texture and balance between front-, mid- and end-palates. Fresh but rich with a great sustain of flavour on the finish. Black fruits (blackcurrants, blueberries), jammy red fruits, leather and tobacco notes are all to be found.

This is a wine that will profit from keeping, its optimum window being 5-10 years from vintage, although it is now entering a window of excellent drinkability.

ABV = 14.0%.

£22.25

Domaine Brusset, Gigondas, Les Hauts de Montmirail 2017 (1x75cl)

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

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

On this family-owned estate, established in 1947, the Brusset family has managed to combine the savoir-faire of traditional winemaking with the new techniques introduced by each generation. The founder, André Brusset (1910-1999), his son Daniel, and his grand-son Laurent: three wine-growers and wine-makers with a variety of experiences have all contributed to the distinctive character of the Domaine Brusset, where three generations have complimented each other to achieve the best results. The Domaine Brusset is located in the heart of the southern Côtes-du-Rhône valley vineyards, at Cairanne. With a total of 70 hectares, their vineyards extend over 5 prestigious appellations : Gigondas, Cairanne, Rasteau, Côtes-du-Rhône and Ventoux.

50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 25% Mourvedre.

To see Brusset's information sheet - including full vineyard and winemaking detail - for this wine please click on the blue link below.

Domaine Brusset, Gigondas, Les Hauts De Montmirail 2017 - fiche technique

A very deep, dark crimson. A rich, fruity, spicy and complex aroma. Very round and powerfull, long-lasting flavour. Consistant tannins, pleasantly woody with a deeper flavour of blackberry and chocolate.

or, as the DWWA19 panel put it:

"This complex yet seductive red has headily floral, sweet-fruited scents and lush, soft-textured, stony, perfumed flavours. Plum, strawberry and damson rarely attain this level of fragrant charm, and there's an almost sour-fresh note of ripe acidity, too".

ABV = 13.5%.

£32.50

Domaine Chevalier Ladoix Rouge 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of 2015 Côte de Beaune reds (see blue link below).

Domaine Chevalier Ladoix 2015 - December 2017 Decanter review

Domaine Chevalier is a 15-hectare, family domaine situated in Ladoix, in the north of the Côte de Beaune. Established in 1850, it is now run by Claude Chevalier and his daughters, Julie and Chloé. Claude's whites have the mealy and mineral quality that typifies great Burgundy, at a relatively modest price. The style combines the taut, steely feel of Chablis but with the fruit intensity, finesse and hints of riper stone fruit of the Côte de Beaune. His red wines have incredible purity and elegance.

Ladoix is in the northern Cote de Beaune, adjoining the Côte de Nuits vineyards. The village lies at the foot of the Mont de Corton where the soils are chalky marl.

In 2017, Burgundy enjoyed a return to average yields. Some areas were impacted by spring frosts which reduced yields slightly. Generally the vines’ growth cycle benefitted from an early budburst at the beginning of April, followed by a very warm summer. Ripening progressed at a good pace with the first grapes being harvested across the region two weeks ahead of average.

The grapes were crushed and left to macerate for eight days. Fermentation using only indigenous yeast took place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks over 10 days. The wine was gently pressed into oak barrels where it aged for 12 months. No new oak was used, all barrels were aged between one and five years.

100% Pinot Noir.

This wine is a lovely ruby red in the glass. On the nose it has notes of bright red cherry fruit, raspberry coulis and hints of sweet spice. The palate is finely structured with silky tannins, lifted acidity and a long perfumed finish.

ABV = 13.0%.

£31.25
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