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A Mano Imprint Primitivo Appassito 2016 (1x75cl)

Mark Shannon and Elvezia Sbalchiero, the duo behind A Mano, have worked in the wine business for most of their lives. Elvezia is a northern Italian wine marketing expert and Mark is a Californian winemaker. They fell in love with Puglia and, when they decided to start their own label, made it their home. By producing high quality wines, Mark and Elvezia have succeeded in making Primitivo one of Italy's most talked about grape varieties. They pay high prices for the best grapes from 70-100 year old vines and focus solely on quality and a modern style. After over 15 vintages, they are now getting access to some of Salento's best grapes.

The grapes for this wine come from a selection of Mark's four favourite vineyards in the heart of the Primitivo growing region, located in the low hills east of Taranto in Puglia. The region is an old sea bed, full of fossils of clams, oysters and urchins. The altitude is approximately 30-60 metres above sea level and annual rainfall is 35 centimetres. The climate is classically Mediterranean, as Puglia is on a peninsula between the Adriatic and the Ionian seas. The Primitivo vines are quite old; most are the original post phylloxera plantings and range from 70-100 years old. As with most vineyards planted at that time, they are small bush vines called 'alberello' which are non-irrigated and low yielding. The average Primitivo vineyard is quite small, less than half a hectare and the best sites have a crumbly, dark reddish brown soil that resembles instant coffee.

The Primitivo grapes were dried for five weeks. On arrival at the cellars, the grapes were pressed, destemmed and cooled to 18°C and the must was allowed to ferment at its own pace. After racking in mid-November, the wine remained in an underground cement tank where the temperature did not exceed 10°C until bottling under stelvin closure.

A deeply coloured wine with exuberant perfumes of ripe red and black berry fruits, with notes of spice from the oak ageing. Made in the style of an Amarone, it is concentrated and opulent on the palate, with great balance. It is elegant, velvety and supple, with a long finish.

£13.60

A Mano Negroamaro 2016 (1x 75cl)

Deep coloured with a concentrated chocolate and dark plum perfume and a touch of liquorice that gives way to a full-bodied and powerful palate.  Dark red fruit dominates the palate with the characteristic tannin of Negroamaro which melts into a long, chocolately finish.

£10.80

Accordini Amarone Classico Acinatico DOC 2014 (1x 75cl)

Deep garnet in the glass with an intense black cherry and vanilla bouquet. On the palate, it is full bodied, rich and creamy with smooth tannins. At 16% alcohol, it should really be a monster; in reality, it is fantastically balanced with a minerality which keeps it fresh and dangerously moreish.

£33.45

Accordini Valpolicella Classico Doc 2016 (1x75cl)

Intense ruby red with a bouquet of red cherries, spice and vanilla. Full bodied on the palate, warming, fruit-forward with juicy cherries and a floral twist.

£11.45

Accordini Valpolicella Classico Ripasso Acinatico Doc 2015 (1x75cl)

Intense ruby red with a bouquet of red cherries, spice and vanilla. Full bodied on the palate, warming, fruit-forward with juicy cherries and a floral twist.

£16.20

Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre Igt 2014 (1x75cl)

Deep ruby red in colour, with perfumes of cherry and black forest gateau. This wine has good body and an ageing potential of at least ten years. It has a smooth and velvety character, with mature, pulpy fruit character and delicious raisin flavours.

£17.85

Allegrini Valpolicella 2017 (1x75cl)

The Allegrini family estate covers 100 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area. The family has been growing grapes here for six generations, but the estate in its current form was founded by Giovanni Allegrini. When he died in 1983, it passed to his three children, who ran it together until Walter's death in July 2003. Franco now looks after the vineyards and is the winemaker, and Marilisa is director of marketing.

The south-east facing vineyards are located in the hills of the Valpolicella Classico region at 150-250 metres above sea level. The soil there is very varied but mostly chalky, of volcanic origin. The older vineyards are trained using the pergola Trentina system, planted with about 3,000 vines per hectare, whereas the newer ones use the single Guyot system with 5,000 plants per hectare. The vines are 32 years old on average.

The grapes were de-stalked before crushing, after which fermentation occurred at 25-31ºC in temperature-controlled stainless steel. Maceration lasted nine days and malolactic fermentation took place in December. The wine was held in stainless steel tanks until bottling in mid-February where it spent a further two months before release.

Ruby red in colour, with purplish-blue highlights. Fragrant fruit with prominent notes of dark cherries are echoed by fresher hints of pepper and aromatic herbs, typical of Corvina and its genetic cousin Corvinone, the historic varietals of this appellation. Whilst young, the Valpolicella is impressively lively and playful on the palate and will express greater delicacy and finesse with two or more years of ageing.

£13.60

Alpha Zeta `R` Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2016 (1x75cl)

Alpha Zeta was created in 1999 by UK wine importer, David Gleave MW, and New Zealand winemaker, Matt Thomson with this belief in mind. They realised that the key is to marry local grape growers with impeccable winemaking. All Alpha Zeta wines are made from indigenous grape varieties grown in the hills north-east of Verona.  The flavours of the grape shine through in the glass offering great value, quality and balance. Matt works with local Veronese grape growers in hillside vineyards to select parcels of fruit, rather than buying in bulk wine. They have worked together to reduce yields and the grapes are now picked later. In this way, they have been able to improve grape quality and obtain riper flavours.

The vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley. Cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, helping to moderate the climate and enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is poor and chalky so the vines are put under stress helping to produce superior quality fruit.

This wine is made using a traditional Veronese practice known as "ripasso". Traditionally, the young wine was re-fermented on the skins of the Amarone grapes once they had finished fermenting in March. The modern approach is to ferment the young wine together with dried grapes in the January following the vintage, giving the wine more body and depth. Following fermentation, the wine is aged for just over a year in a mixture of large oak and small, French oak barrels prior to bottling. This blend of modern and traditional winemaking produces a wine with a combination of freshness, structure and depth that is fairly rare among Ripasso wines.

Ruby red in colour, with a concentrated perfume of red and black cherries, with the ripasso adding a dried cherry intensity. Full-bodied on the palate, with a lovely balance between opulent cherry-pie character and supple structure. Good length with a mouthwatering bitter-cherry twist on the finish.

£13.80

Alpha Zeta 'A' Amarone 2014 (1x75cl)

The previoius (2013) vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2017 edition review of Amarones (see blue link below). The 2014 is of excellent - probably better - quality in our view.

Alpha Zeta 2013  - May 2017 Decanter review

The vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley. Cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, which helps to moderate the climate, enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is a mixture of clay and limestone with good drainage. The vineyards are south-facing and therefore warmer than other parts of Valpolicella.

One of the best harvests in recent years, the grapes in 2013 enjoyed gradual ripening thanks to excellent sunlight rather than heat.

Selected grapes were picked in mid September and left to dry in specially ventilated rooms until the end of January. During this time the grapes lost about 40% of their natural weight. The grapes were destemmed and crushed at the end of January. Fermentation temperature was between 18°-22°C with daily periodic pumping over, while the length of maceration was 20 days. This Amarone was matured in oak (a mixture of large 'botti' and French oak barriques) for 18 months before bottling.

Deep and intense on the nose with perfumes of dried cherries and blueberries, with notes of spiced autumn fruit compote.  On the palate it is powerful but modern, with a lovely balance of ripe tannins and spiced, concentrated savoury cherry fruit character.  A touch of woodsmoke completes the long finish.

£23.40

Alpha Zeta V Valpolicella 2017 (1x75cl)

Alpha Zeta was created in 1999 by UK wine importer, David Gleave MW, and New Zealand winemaker, Matt Thomson with this belief in mind. They realised that the key is to marry local grape growers with impeccable winemaking. All Alpha Zeta wines are made from indigenous grape varieties grown in the hills north-east of Verona.  The flavours of the grape shine through in the glass offering great value, quality and balance. Matt works with local Veronese grape growers in hillside vineyards to select parcels of fruit, rather than buying in bulk wine. They have worked together to reduce yields and the grapes are now picked later. In this way, they have been able to improve grape quality and obtain riper flavours.

The vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley. Cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, which helps to moderate the climate, enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is poor and chalky so the vines are put under stress helping to produce superior quality fruit.

The 2016 harvest has shown many similarities with 2015, with a cold winter and abundant rainfalls. The beginning of the growing season has been characterised by the alternation of dry and rainy periods and it has allowed the perfect development of the vines. The following hot and dry summer led to an abundant harvest with healthy grapes.

The grapes were hand harvested, de-stemmed, crushed and pumped to temperature controlled stainless steel fermenters. The must was left in contact with the skins for seven days, then fermentation took place at up to 30°C. The wine was then moved to stainless steel tanks, where malolactic fermentation took place and the wine was held until bottling.

A lively, youthful ruby wine with fresh cherry aromas that develop into a rich cherry pie character in the mouth. Body comes from soft, supple tannins that match the concentrated fruit through to the characterful finish.

£10.15

Antica Enotria Rosso IGT Puglia 2015 (6 x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 Italy supplement article on Puglia (see blue link below).

Antico Enotria Rosso Puglia 2015 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

These grapes reached the peak of ripeness during the first week of October. After harvesting and slightly crushing, the grapes were left to macerate on their skins and ferment at a controlled temperature for 8 days, then the wine was aged in steel tanks for 8 months before bottling.

Deep ruby red colour and violet nuances with a characteristic bouquet of cherries and forest berries. On the palate this wine is soft, dry, whit nice tannins and a good freshness.

£58.45

Antinori - Guado Al Tasso Il Bruciato  (Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Syrah) 2015 (1x75cl)

Fragrant fruity aromas, particularly plum, followed by delicate mint and green tea notes. On the palate it is full-bodied and smooth with a long finish.

£23.35

Antinori - Guado Al Tasso Il Bruciato  (Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Syrah) 2016 (1x75cl)

Fragrant fruity aromas, particularly plum, followed by delicate mint and green tea notes. On the palate it is full-bodied and smooth with a long finish.

£23.35

Antinori - Prunotto Barolo 2011 (1x 75cl)

Complex nose with notes of violet and forest fruits. Floral, smoky and intensely elegant on the palate, this is Barolo at its best.

£31.30
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