El Circo means 'the circus', and each of the varieties in this range is represented by a different circus performer. The wines are made by the co-operative located in DO Cariñena. A new, modern winery was built in 2002. Winemaker Marcelo Morales Calderon is Chilean, having previously worked for Carmen and Veramonte among others. He came for the 2000 vintage and stayed, as he was excited both by the quality of the fruit and the high standard of the facilities at his disposal.
The soil, where the short bush vines for this Garnacha are grown, is poor. The vines are planted on unirrigated land. The grapes ripen slowly, allowing their full potential to come through.
Fermentation took place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, with regular pump overs. Maceration took place for 10 to 15 days with natural malolactic fermentation.
Ruby red with purple hues, this Garnacha has intense aromas of ripe red fruit such as strawberries and cherries followed by a touch of spice. On the palate, it has smooth, firm tannins with a racy acidity and a very fruity finish.
ABV = 13.5%.
Situated on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain, in the heart of South Africa's most famous wine region Stellenbosch, Ken Forrester's vineyards are commonly referred to as the home of Chenin Blanc and other premium award-winning wines. Over the years, this range of top quality wines has received massive national and international acclaim with literally hundreds of awards and accolades. The wines are broadly available in reputable restaurants and exported around the globe. Ken Forrester’s philosophy has always been to create a range of handcrafted, individually made wines that suitably complement a wide variety of food styles and provide excellent value.
This is the Forrester red equivalent of the iconic FMC Chenin: a stunning New World, red Rhone blend.
63% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 12% Mourvedre, being a hand-picked selection of the finest and ripest fruit.
Cool-soaked prior to fermentation, then taken to new French oak barrels for 12 months. At this point a further selection takes place before blending and the final blend goes back to new barrels to marry and harmonise over the following 12 months. After almost 2 years languishing in a cool cellar the Gypsy is stable with the oak and intense fruit totally harmonised. A very concentrated, focussed blend, with layers of deep fruit.
The character is somewhat 'wild' a little brambly with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, dark spices, with vanilla scents and a distinct, concentrated red-fruit focus. Great for laying down and keeping for at least ten years but already rewarding if allowed to breathe in a decanter.
ABV = 14.5%.
Maison Les Alexandrins is the newly renamed collaboration between Nicolas Jaboulet, formerly of the eponymous winery in Tain, winemaker Guillaume Sorrel and viticulturalist Alexandre Caso. Each person brings their expertise to this micro-négociant, an extension of Domaine Les Alexandrins, established in 2015. The aim of Maison Les Alexandrins remains the same: to buy parcels of fruit from some of the top growers in each appellation in the Northern Rhône. Maison and Domaine Les Alexandrins will soon be a permanent fixture in the Northern Rhône with a new winery under construction in Tain-l’Hermitage.
This wine is a blend of Grenache and Syra. The Grenache is grown on vines located in the commune of Vaucluse and the Syrah is from vineyards further north, in Vinsobres. The vineyards are planted on a variety of soils: clay and limestone with a stony top soil. The stones are excellent for retaining heat and ensuring that the grapes achieve full ripeness.
The 2017 vintage began with a mild winter, followed by lower temperatures in May with some heavy rain during the flowering period, which led to a reduction in yields. By mid-June, the weather improved, becoming warm and dry, ideal growing conditions for the grapes. The wines give an impression of opulence, concentration and generosity. Ageing will allow the wines to soften and slowly find their balance.
After the grapes were harvested, they were sorted and destemmed at the winery. Fermentation took place in a mixture of temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. Following fermentation, the wine was aged for eight months before it was bottled, this allowed the tannins to homogenise and soften.
60% Grenache, 40% Syrah.
This Côtes-du-Rhône offers opulent aromas of black and red fruits with a warming cinnamon spice. The combination of Grenache and Syrah gives the wine a beautiful freshness and generous mouthfeel, with an aromatic finish. This wine is drinking extremely well now, but will also age well over the next five years.
ABV = 13.5%.
The 2016 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their November 2019 edition panel tasting of Priorat (see blue link below).
This seven-hectare property has been in the Ferrando family for 150 years. Today viticulture, winemaking and blending are overseen by Jordi Masdeu Català, a young Spaniard who spent time selling wine in London and Alessandro Marchesan. Their shared passion for old Garnacha and Cariñena vines led them to the famous slate, or llicorella soils of Priorat. The weathered old vines yield tiny quantities of fruit for both Mas La Mola wines.
Mas La Mola Priorat is a wine blended from grapes grown in a number of different vineyards on the estate which are situated between 350-800 metres above sea level. The vines are planted in different parcels in the Poboleda district, on llicorella slate slopes. Each parcel is different in terms of solar orientation, the unique microclimate that exists there, the varietals which grow and the different rootstocks used. The low-yielding Garnacha vines are aged between 35-70 years old.
Harvest was carried out by hand with rigorous selection both in the vineyard and at the winery. The grapes underwent a long, cold maceration to ensure a progressive extraction of colour and flavour. Malolactic fermentation took place in oak and the wine was then aged for 12 months in four-year-old French Allier oak barrels. Only the best barrels from each year are used for the final blend of Mas la Mola.
85% Garnatxa Negra and 15% Garnatxa Peluda.
Deep ruby in colour with a youthful purple hue, this wine has intense and layered aromas of black cherries, blueberries and a hint of spicy oak notes and a smoky minerality. This Priorat is full bodied and powerful, with ripe tannins, mouth-watering acidity and a long, fruit-driven finish.
ABV = 15.5%.
In 1999, Franc Rocca and family converted a former cow paddock into a state-of-the-art winery, to be known as Rocland Estate. The easy going nature inherited from the Rocca family’s European background, together with an experienced winemaking team, combines to produce food friendly, approachable wines from Rocland’s vineyards and surrounding contracted vineyards. Rocland Estate produces a number of wine ranges including Rocland Estate, Chocolate Box, Duck Duck Goose, Ass Kisser and most recently Petite Rocland. One of the smaller wine producers in the Barossa Valley, Rocland Estate prides itself on producing good quality, uniquely labelled wines.
Grenache 63%, Shiraz 29% and Mataro (= Mourvedre) 8%.
Earthy aromas of savoury oak, dark cherry chocolate and stewed rhubarb with spice and cinnamon over a robust and generous body, leaving a persistent lingering silky finish.
ABV = 15.0%.
Featured in an article by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2018 edition, 10 Wines to Try Before You Die (see blue link below).
Stephen Pannell is one of the best and brightest of the new generation of Australian winemakers, having spent a decade working as chief red wine maker at Hardys before striking out on his own in 2004. Steve has worked all over the world, including in Italy with Aldo Vajra in Barolo and in France for Domaine Dujac and Pousse d'Or. His broad experience has helped shape his approach to winemaking and his wines are true expressions of the grapes and vineyards of McLaren Vale. In October 2015, Steve was named Winemaker of the Year by the consumer wine magazine, Gourmet Traveller Wine.
Steve’s interest in Grenache stretches back to the mid 90s upon first arriving in McLaren Vale. A preference for making medium-bodied wines is where his Grenache love affair began. Given the warm, Mediterranean climate, Grenache grows as well in ‘the Vale’ as any of the more revered Grenache regions including France’s Rhône Valley, Priorat in Spain and Italy’s Sardinia. The Grenache grapes for this wine grow on the 75 year old vines from the Old McDonald vineyard in Blewitt Springs. It is unusual to find 100% Grenache wines, as most of the time it is blended. In Steve’s words the 2017 Old McDonald Grenache is “quite possibly the best Grenache I have ever made”.
The 2017 vintage was very cool and mild, which was ideal for the vines. Good winter and spring rains were followed by a very mild, long summer. The results are wines with ample fruit complexity and great natural acidity.
The Grenache grapes were hand harvested on 4th March, which is early for Grenache. The grapes were traditionally vinified in small open-top fermenters with 20% whole bunch. The wine spent 11 days on skins before gentle pressing. It was transferred to a 4,500 litre, eight-year-old French-oak vat for maturation before being bottled without filtration nine months later.
Even though 2017 was a cool year, this Grenache is highly perfumed with an assortment of aromas and flavours including raspberry leaf, pomegranate, Turkish Delight, blood orange and violets. It is succulent, juicy, elegant and light to medium bodied. On the palate, the sandy tannins, that are typical to this varietal, are well integrated and provide a balanced, long finish.
ABV = 14.5%.