See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Charles Smith.
The maker says: "When Hollywood’s surprise hit Sideways suddenly spawned anti-Merlot sentiments everywhere, Charles set out to rebuff the movie’s unflattering depiction of this great varietal. One sip of this bold, sultry creation and you’ll know he succeeded at making Merlot sexy again".
More traditionally put: This wine is made by Charles Smith, a self–taught winemaker who brings his rock and roll spirit to the vineyards of Walla Walla, Washington. As a romantic young man, Charles Smith moved across the world to Denmark to follow his love for his girlfriend at the time. In Scandinavia, he became a recognized manager for rock bands such as The Raveonettes. While travelling on the road with these bands, he developed his passion for wine. In 1999, he moved back to Washington, opened a wine store and became friendly with a French winemaker, later convincing him to move to Walla Walla to make wine together.
The aromas are that of cherry, cedar and black cherry, with an intense cherry, blackberry and some tobacco on the finish which is clean and lingers for a full mouth feel.
Letting this wine sit in the glass for 10 to 15 minutes will help to enhance the flavors and bring out the aromas while burning off any surface alcohol. The best foods to pair with this wine are lamb chops, steaks, pork chops, beef stew and hearty soups. This wine can also be enjoyed by itself due to its rich velvety texture on the palate.
ABV = 13.5%.
The Panis-Mialhe family has been passionate about wine production since the 15th century. Techniques have evolved through the generations to combine traditional values with modern methods. Jean Panis produced his first vintage in 1996 and since then his trademark has been the production of wines which are rich in fruit. He is a man that is dynamic and energetic and he always moves in an assured and precise manner. Managing his vineyard and winery is both a labour of love and his birthright.
The vines for this wine are grown in the Val de la Clamoux, which are gravelly alluvial fields that become very dry during the summer. The climate can be described as Mediterranean, hot and dry with oceanic influences.
There is traditional working of the soil in the vineyards of Chateau Donjon. They follow sustainable agriculture practices and are certified by the ‘Vitealys’ organization.
Traditional vinification takes place with with long tank fermentation. There is strict temperature control to ensure the best flavours are extracted from the grapes. The grapes undergo de-stemming in the cellar.
This wine has a dark ruby colour with garnet hues. There are red fruit and spices on the nose. It has an excellent balance in the mouth, with elegant tannins followed by a long finish which melts on the palate. It is a perfect match for regional dishes from the South of France. It will also pair well with red meats, grilled or with a sauce, as well as cheese. It is also a great accompaniement to a pork, chicken liver and prune terrine.
ABV = 13.5%.
The stunning 18th century Château Puy Guilhem is located on the hills of Saillans, overlooking the appellations of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion. The vineyard covers 14.5 hectares and is situated at the highest elevation of the Fronsac appellation, where the quality soils produce rich, concentrated grapes. The vineyard is manually cultivated following a sustainable philosophy and renowned consultant oenologist Stéphane Derenoncourt vinifies by parcel, creating hand-crafted, fruit focused and beautifully balanced wines.
2009 is widely cited as an outstanding vintage. The growing season was almost perfect, with a long, fine, warm summer and crucially, cooler nights which helped to retain balancing acidity. The wines are intensely ripe and rich.
The appellation of Fronsac is on the right bank close to Saint Emilion. The wines are dominated by Merlot. Château Puy Guilhem’s vineyard is situated in an elevated position of the appellation, atop high quality soil composed of a mix of clay and silt, which imparts structure to the wine. The vineyard is managed sustainably without the use of herbicides. Cover crops of grass are grown between the vines and manged with light tilling.
Fermentation took place in temperature controlled vats and lasted for 24 to 48 hours. The fermenting must was manually pumped over, with daily observations to check the evolution of the skins. Maceration lasted between three to four weeks to extract the desired levels of colour, flavour and tannins. The wine was aged for 12 to 16 months in French oak barrels, of which 50% were new and 50% was of one year.
A mature and traditionally styled Bordeaux showing ripe and fleshy black berried fruits with a lovely savoury and earthy finish. A powerful yet elegant red with ripe berried fruits enhanced by a subtle note of oak spice. Full bodied, with juicy fruit and an attractive savoury note on the finish.
ABV = 14.0%.
** TO THE BEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE, WE REMAIN THE ONLY SUPPLIER OF THIS WINE IN THE UK. BEWARE THE STOCKIST ON winesearcher.com WHERE THIS WINE SHOWS AS 2016 BUT IS, IN FACT, 2015!! **
** WE HAVE NOW SOLD ALL OUR IMMEDIATE STOCKS, AND MORE SUPPLIES ARE ON THEIR WAY FROM NEW ZEALAND. HOWEVER, THESE WILL NOT ARRIVE UNTIL EARLY FEBRUARY. AT THIS RANGE, WE WOULD PREFER NOT TO TAKE PAYMENT FROM INTENDING CUSTOMERS. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ORDER SOME, PLEASE EMAIL YOUR REQUIREMENTS TO US ON email@example.com. WE WILL ADD YOU TO OUR WAITING LIST, CONFIRM THAT REQUEST BY EMAIL AND WILL CONTACT YOU WHEN THE WINE LANDS IN EARLY 2020 FOR PAYMENT. **
** 12 BOTTLES PER CUSTOMER ONLY (NB: the 2015 is also available without limits) **
Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).
Craggy Range produces a collection of iconic wines from multiple regions in New Zealand. Owner Terry Peabody and his family pursued the single vineyard approach to winemaking, planting on green fields and bare land ensuring a focus on quality from the very beginning. New Zealand, with its diversity of soils types offered the perfect location to plant the vines. From the stony, warm soils of the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke's Bay to the volcanic, clay soils of Te Muna Road in Martinborough these exceptional vineyards produce wines with amazing aromatics, purity and complexity.
Te Kahu means 'the cloak' in Maori and refers to the mist that envelops Giants Winery in the Tukituki Valley. Legend has it that this mist was used to protect a mythical Maori maiden from the sun as she visited her lover Te Mata.
The grapes are completely destemmed before fermentation begins in closed top stainless steel tanks with the yeast being innoculated into the must. The wine then spends 10 months maturing in oak barriques (28% are new) before being fined, filtered and released for sale.
63% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec.
The Te Kahu is a deep crimson red. It has complex aromatics of ripe plum, a touch of cassis, fresh rosemary and roasted meats. The palate is generous and approachable but also has a high level of sophistication with fine grained tannins enveloping a dense body of succulent black fruits. This wine has the ability to age for around 12 years from vintage.
To see Craggy Range's information sheet for this wine please click on the blue link below.
ABV = 13.4%.
Primera Luz is produced by Viñedos Puertas, a family-run business founded in 1950. The vineyard is comprised of 80 hectares of fields irrigated by water flowing down from the Andes Mountains, and a winery known as El Milagro, located at the heart of the Curico Valley. The wines embody the character of the region, and display brilliant freshness.
This wine is full of fresh, raspberry and strawberry aromas, with a light and juicy palate that is bursting with forest fruit. It is easy-drinking and moreish. This wine is a great match for many foods including lamb chops with coarse-grain mustard and red-tomato chutney, grilled lamb kebabs with cumin and cinnamon, or a duck salad.
ABV = 13.0%.
Naming note: this wine has been available under two different names, hence the bracketed title(!), despite being the same wine. It was previously badged as the Single Valley Lot, but has now joined the fleet of Valley Selection wines from Valdivieso. Technically, the new label is entitled to draw grapes from a slightly wider area of the Rapel Valley, although we believe it will make almost no noticeable change to the wine.
Well-travelled Kiwi winemaker, Brett Jackson, has settled in Chile and much of Valdivieso’s success in recent years can be credited to his talent.
The vineyards for this wine are situated in the Rapel Valley sub-region of Chile's Central Valley where the hot, dry summers allow the grapes to ripen steadily before being harvested. These conditions deliver grapes with soft and silky tannins, distinctive aromas of currants and nuts.
Bright dark red with slight violet reflections. Aroma of fresh red fruits, cherry, plum and spicy notes. Soft and elegant, with silky tannins that deliver good volume and structure. Sweet and rich plum fruit with just a small hint of spice. It is full bodied with hints of cocoa and vanilla.
This is a rich and sumptuous Merlot at an incredible price.
ABV = 13.5%.
Head Winemaker Felipe Tosso joined Vina Ventisquero in 2000. After seriously considering alternate careers as a tennis pro and classical guitarist, he elected to enter the wine business, describing it as “one of my big passions because it’s more than work – it’s a lifestyle”. Tosso’s winemaking travels have taken him to Napa, Sonoma, Argentina, France, Spain, Italy, Australia, back to Concha Y Toro in Chile and then finally to Vina Ventisquero.
This is a wine with a deep ruby red colour as well as having intense aromas of cherries and ripe plums. It has good body and is smooth on the palate making it an ideal accompaniement to pasta dishes, ripe cheese and red meat.
ABV = 12.5%.