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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)

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 Negroamaro grapes for this wine are grown in a single vineyard covering 11 hectares in the heart of Salice Salentino. An old vineyard, it is dry farmed and the vines trained on trellises to prevent the sensitive grapes suffering from sunburn.

Puglia experienced abundant winter rain and cooler temperatures, which made 2016 a challenging vintage for winegrowers. Despite these climatic difficulties, hard work in the vineyards was rewarded with high-quality grapes, albeit with lower than normal yields. Summer was benevolent, with clear skies and warming sunshine, and temperatures were never too high. The resulting wines promise to be fresh and fragrant.

On arrival at the cellars, the grapes were pressed, destemmed and cooled to 18°C and the must 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.

This wine is deep ruby in the glass, the nose opens with crushed berries, black cherries and spices followed by a light floral note. Full and rich, yet sleek and elegant, with lingering spice on the palate.

£10.80

Accordini Amarone Classico Acinatico DOC 2015 (1x 75cl)

This family-run domain extends over two sites in the heart of Valpolicella Classico: four hectares in Negrar and six of the highest hectares in the appellation, at 400 metres altitude, in Fumane. The wines are outstanding and the reputation of the Acinatico name is growing all the time. Modernity is balanced by earth and roses, so characteristic of the terroir. Best of all, the wines are accessible when young, so there is no need to wait. In 2010, the vision of a new cellar was realised, in the higher part of Accordini’s vineyards, and has allowed the family to realise their highest ambitions for their wines.

Amarone Acinatico is produced from the best selection of grapes from Bessole and Cavalo vineyards, after the drying process which takes 120 days before it spends time ageing in oak barriques. Only specially selected grapes are used to make this wine.

During the first week of January crushing of the grapes takes place without de-stalking. Fermentation is then carried out at temperatures between 12°-23°C. It is macerated for 35 days (of which 15 is cold maceration). The wine is hand pressed twice a day, It is then transferred into barrels at the end of May. Complete malolactic fermentation then occurs. The wine is aged in new French oak barriques, from Allier and Never, for 24 months. The wine will then spend 8 months in bottle. It is bottled without any use of filtration.

This Amarone has a great structure, is complex, elegant and velvet-like. The colour is deep garnet red with a bouquet which is complex but warm, with spicy notes and has the aroma of dried fruit. On the palate it is full bodied, rich and creamy with smooth tannins.

£33.45

Accordini Valpolicella Classico Doc 2017 (1x75cl)

This family-run domain extends over two sites in the heart of Valpolicella Classico: four hectares in Negrar and six of the highest hectares in the appellation, at 400 metres altitude, in Fumane. The wines are outstanding and the reputation of the Acinatico name is growing all the time. Modernity is balanced by earth and roses, so characteristic of the terroir. Best of all, the wines are accessible when young, so there is no need to wait. In 2010, the vision of a new cellar was realised, in the higher part of Accordini’s vineyards, and has allowed the family to realise their highest ambitions for their wines.

The grapes were crushed and de-stalked before the fermentation process began.  The fermentation took place at temperatures between 25°C - 28°C. The wine was macerated for 12 days with hand pressing taking place three times a day. The wine was then kept in stainless steel tanks where complete malolactic fermentation was allowed to occur. The wine was then aged in bottle for 2 months before being released for sale.

The Accordini Valpolicella Classico is an deep ruby red colour with hints of violets. The nose abounds with very intense fruits of the forest, cherries and raspberries. At the start of the palate there the wine is full flavoured but this is balanced with soft and elagant tannins. Hints of spices integrate with flavours of mature fruits.

£11.45

Accordini Valpolicella Classico Ripasso Acinatico Doc 2017 (1x75cl)

This family-run domain extends over two sites in the heart of Valpolicella Classico: four hectares in Negrar and six of the highest hectares in the appellation, at 400 metres altitude, in Fumane. The wines are outstanding and the reputation of the Acinatico name is growing all the time. Modernity is balanced by earth and roses, so characteristic of the terroir. Best of all, the wines are accessible when young, so there is no need to wait. In 2010, the vision of a new cellar was realised, in the higher part of Accordini’s vineyards, and has allowed the family to realise their highest ambitions for their wines.

The Accordini Valpolicella Ripasso Acinatico undergoes re-fermentation and a second maceration with daily mixing for 10 days over the Amarone and Recioto grape skins. As they are still mildly sweet, they enrich the body of the wine alongside the colour, bouquet and alcohol content. The  The wine is the aged in Slovenian oak barrels and barrique for 12 months. It is this contact with the wood that gives the Ripasso its fresh hints of mature fruit, spices and tobacco. It is then bottled and is left to mature for a further 6 months.

This wine has a strong ruby red colour. The aromas are intense yet subtle with hints of spices and vanilla. The flavours are warm and full bodied with traces of dried fruit that are reminiscent of Amarone. It is great when served with all types of meat, but roasts, stews and mature cheeses are particularly good matches.

£16.20

Allegrini La Poja 2012 (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 passed away 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.

Located at the top of Podere La Grola, Sant'Ambrogio di Valpolicella, 320 metres above sea level, the vineyard comprises 2.65 hectares planted in 1979 with a south-east exposure. The soil is well drained, calcareous (78.5% chalk) and stony. Soils are marginally alkaline and combine with the active limestone content to reduce the vines' vigour. The vines are double Guyot trained at a density of approximately 4,240 vines per hectare.

The summer of 2012 was abnormally hot and dry, although a downpour on 17th July, with 25 millimetres of rain managed to restore water reserves and bring the vegetation back into a state of equilibrium. Much needed rains at the beginning of September - about 80 millimetres - changed the macroclimate substantially, bringing with it much cooler nights ensuring a significant diurnal range so indispensable for the retention of acidity, production of aromas and phenolic ripening of the grapes. Average production this year declined 10% - 15% but crucially the heat wave did not scorch the clusters.

The grapes were harvested at the end of September, destemmed and crushed with maceration lasting 12-15 days with regular, daily pumping over. Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks between 22-31ºC with malolactic fermentation occurring naturally in November. The wine was then racked into new oak barriques where it aged for 20 months, followed by eight months in large oak casks. The wine was left to age in the bottle for an additional 10 months.

After more than four years ageing, the wine is still extraordinarily fresh and crisp with a full spectrum of aromas, ranging from dark fruits: blackcurrant and cherry, to liquorice, vanilla and smoky tobacco notes which follow onto the palate. Full bodied and elegant, framed by taut tannins the wine has a long, lingering finish.

£65.20

Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre Igt 2015 (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 passed away 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.

Palazzo della Torre covers 26 hectares of east-facing vineyard planted between 1962 and 2013, situated 240 metres above sea level. Allegrini purchased this vineyard in 1978. Soils are cretaceous and calcareous, with Pergola Trentina trained vines planted at 3,000 vines per hectare.

2015 overall climate and weather pattern were particularly beneficial for the physiological equilibrium of the vines. The high temperatures recorded throughout the Valpolicella in July did not prevent the different varieties from ripening in perfect health. The harvest, which began in early September, took place in ideal conditions due to the total absence of rain. 2015 promises wines with intense aromas and good balance of acidity.

Franco Allegrini used the modern version of the traditional 'ripasso' technique for Palazzo della Torre, drying a proportion of the grapes in the 'Terre di Fumane' drying centre, to intensify the character of this vineyard. The grapes that were dried were hand picked at the beginning of September, and the grapes vinified immediately were picked at the end of the month. 70% of the grapes picked were vinified immediately and 30% were left to dry until the second half of December when they were vinified and then refermented with the wine from the fresh grapes. The wine spent 15 months in second-use barriques, and was blended together for two months, then aged for a further seven months in bottle.

Ruby red in colour, Palazzo della Torre has enticing aromas of cherry with rich dark chocolate notes. Velvety in texture, it is well-balanced and offers ripe, juicy dark fruit, with silky tannins and refreshing acidity.

£18.60

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.

Alpha Zeta's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

Alpha Zeta 'R' Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso – Fiche Technique

£13.80

Alpha Zeta 'A' Amarone 2015 (1x75cl)

The 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)

Alpha Zeta 2013  - May 2017 Decanter review

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 a mixture of clay and limestone with good drainage. The vineyards are south-facing and therefore warmer than other parts of Valpolicella.

Mild temperatures and moderate rains accompanied the winter season. The beginning of the growth cycle in the vineyards, characterised by abundant rain, was followed by a hot and dry period. This allowed for perfect health and organoleptic qualities in the grapes, making this 2015 vintage one of the best, if not the best, of the last 20 years.

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.

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

£24.25

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.

Alpha Zeta's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

Alpha Zeta 'V' Valpolicella 2017 – Fiche Technique

£10.15

Antica Enotria Rosso IGT Puglia 2016 (6 x 75cl)

The 2015 vintage was 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) 2016 (1x75cl)

The Guado al Tasso estate is located some 50 miles (80 kilometers) to the southwest of the city of  Florence near the medieval hamlet of Bolgheri. The property, approximately 2500 acres (1000 kilometers) in total size, extends from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the inland hills. It includes, in addition to 750 acres (300 hectares) of vineyards, terrain planted to the cultivation of wheat, barley, oats, and olive groves along with woods in which a herd of “Cinta senesi” pigs, a prize local breed, roams and feeds.

Il Bruciato was first produced in 2002, one of the most difficult vintages of all for the Guado al Tasso estate, with the precise aim of recounting and in creating a greater perception – in a modern style – of the unique terroir of Bolgheri. The initial blend utilized was that of Guado al Tasso, but then changed over the years both in its varietal composition and in the range of specific vineyard plots assigned for its production. The wine was not produced in the 2003 vintage.

The 2016 vintage was characterized by a mild winter with infrequent but abundant rainfall which assisted in creating important reserves of ground water in the soil. The beginning of the growing season arrived a bit earlier than usual and then continued in a regular fashion, accompanied by a sunny spring with temperatures and rainfall which fully respected normal seasonal averages. Summer was, on the whole, warm and without particular temperature peaks. The ripening of the grapes took place in weather marked by generally warm and sunny days, followed by cool nights which favored the development of aromatic substances and a proper rapport between sugars and acidity. Picking took place between late August and late September.

Once in the cellar, the selected grapes were gently destemmed and softly pressed. The fermentation and the period of skin contact with the must took place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and lasted for a period of 10-15 days at temperatures which ranged from 82° to 86° Fahrenheit (28-30° centigrade). The malolactic fermentation took place partly in oak barrels and partly in stainless steel tanks and terminated in both cases by the end of the year. At this point the Cabernet Sauvignon was blended together with the Merlot and Syrah and the wine went back into the small oak barrels.

The 2016 Bruciato offers an intense ruby red colour. On the nose, the aromas of ripe red berry fruit, sweet spices, and a light and fresh minty note are the most prominent sensations. The palate is well structured, persistent, and very pleasurable in its fruity finish and aftertaste.

£23.35

Antinori - Guado Al Tasso Il Bruciato 2015 (1x75cl)

The Guado al Tasso estate is located some 50 miles (80 kilometers) to the southwest of the city of  Florence near the medieval hamlet of Bolgheri. The property, approximately 2500 acres (1000 kilometers) in total size, extends from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the inland hills. It includes, in addition to 750 acres (300 hectares) of vineyards, terrain planted to the cultivation of wheat, barley, oats, and olive groves along with woods in which a herd of “cinta senesi” pigs, a prize local breed, roam and feed.

The 2015 vintage was characterized by abundant rainfall during the winter and by a dry and mild spring. The bud burst, notably earlier than in 2014, was followed by an equally precocious flowering. The first part of summer saw an important rise in temperatures, which came back into balance during the second half of the month of August, assisting the grapes to achieve a perfect state of ripeness. The harvest began in early September and lasted all the way through the first ten days of October.

The grapes which were selected came from a range of vineyard plots which extend over some 200 acres (80 hectares) and express the typical characteristics of the Bolgheri production zone. The fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and lasted from 10 to 15 days at temperatures between 82° and 86° Fahrenheit (28°-30° centigrade). A part of the Merlot and Syrah must was fermented at lower temperatures to better conserve varietal aromas. The malolactic fermentation took place partly in oak barrels and partly in stainless steel tanks  and terminated for all the different grape varieties by the end of the year. The wine was then racked and went back into small oak barrels for a seven month ageing period, at the end of which it was bottled. Four months of bottle ageing preceded commercial release.

An intense ruby red in colour, the wine shows attractive and complex aromas of red berry fruit, sweet spices, and toasted coffee. The flavours are full, round, and have a good level of both balance and pleasure. It will be a vintage that is very capable of improving over time.

£23.35

Antinori - Prunotto Barolo 2014 (1x75cl)

Prunotto was founded in 1904 by Alfredo Prunotto under the name Ai Vini delle Langhe. In 1989, the Marchesi Antinori family began its collaboration with the Prunotto Company, at first handling distribution and later getting directly involved in the production process, maintaining the excellent level of quality which Alfredo Prunotto had always insisted upon.

This wine comes from vineyards in the townships of Monforte, Castiglione Falletto, and Serralunga. The soils from the Tortonian-Messinian period - the so-called “Sant’Agata fossil marls” - are particularly rich in calcareous clays and elements such as magnesium and manganese.

The 2014 vintage, despite the fact that it was one of the most difficult in terms of the management of the vineyards due to adverse meteorological conditions, gave some pleasurable surprises in terms of the grapes which were fermented thanks to a favourable final phase of the growing season. An early spring favoured a precocious renewal of the vegetative activity of the vines compared to the preceding vintage, but a rainy summer (well above average levels) favored fungal attacks which compromised the quality of the grapes. 
Both the month of September and the month of October were unquestionably positive from the climatic point of view, with useful temperature swings between daytime warmth and evening and nighttime coolness, assisting the ripening of the grapes and the completion of their physiological maturity. For the red grapes, the common factor was the elevated quantity both of colouring material and structuring elements, with wines which were highly coloured and vibrant in their acidity.

The selected grape bunches were destemmed and pressed. The fermentation with skin contact lasted a total of ten days at maximum temperatures of 30° centigrade (86° Fahrenheit). The malolactic fermentation terminated before the end of the winter. The wine ages for at least 18 months in French oak casks. A further period of bottle ageing in the Prunotto cellars preceded commercial release.

The Prunotto Barolo 2014 is garnet red in colour with ample and complex aromas of violets and berry fruit. It has a full and velvety flavour and is very well balanced. Its structure and body make it an ideal match for meat and game dishes and for cheese.

£36.75
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