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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

A Mano Primitivo Di Puglia 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 grapes for this wine come from 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 a peninsula between the Adriatic and the Ionian seas. The Primitivo vines are quite old; most are the original plantings after phylloxera and range from 70 to 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.

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 hot. The resulting wines promise to be fresh and fragrant.

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

The wine is deeply coloured in the glass and exuberant on the nose, with perfumes of ripe red fruit, especially raspberries, and a spicy note. On the palate, it is youthful and full-bodied, with a great concentration of ripe, rounded fruit characters including blackberry and blueberry. This is a very elegant, fresh and complex Primitivo.

£10.80

Abadia Retuerta Pago Garduna Single Vineyard Syrah 2012 (1x75cl)

The wine has an intense dark purple hue and a peppery nose with hints of warm beetroot, freshly turned earth and forest fruits. The full bodied palate has aromatic notes of violet and smoke that accompany the concentrated fruit flavours of blackberry, blackcurrant and plum. The silky tannins provide an excellent balance to the intense, creamy textures of this seductive wine.

£59.95

Algueira Mencia Ribeira Sacra 2013 (1x 75cl)

The subsequent vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2016 edition's "Weekday Wines" (wines under £25) (see blue link below). 

Algueira Ribeira Sacra Mencia 2014 - Sep 2016 Decanter review

The Algueira winery is located in the midst of old chestnut and oak tree forests,on the banks of the river Sil, where the monks built their monasteries back in the 12th Century, A scenario which reflects the calm and peacefulness necessary for the creation of their wines.

Loads of red fruit aromatics, with flavours of raspberry jam and blueberry. Herbal notes and light balsamic aromas accompany the fruit. This wine is fresh and lively.

£12.20

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 Estate, Amyndeo, Vielles Vignes Single Block Barba Yannis, Xinomavro Reserve 2014 (1x75cl)

The 2013 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2017 (see blue link below).

Alpha Estate Reserve Vielles Vignes Single Block Xino 2013 - January 2018 Decanter review

Alpha Estate is located in Amyndeon, North West Greece. It is the brainchild of two visionaries, second generation vine grower Makis Mavridis and Bordeaux trained wine maker Angelos Iatrides. Angelos is one of the most talented winemakers working in Europe. This pristine estate in the cool highlands of Western Macedonia comprises 120 hectares of privately owned single block vineyards and employs the most up to date vineyard techniques and winemaking technology to produce world class wines from French and indigenous Greek varietals.

The Single Block Barba Yiannis is named in honour of Mr Yiannis, from whom the block was purchased in 1994. The vineyard is located in Amyndeo, in the region of Macedonia. The vines are ungrafted, pre-phylloxera bush vines which are over 90 years old. The summers are hot, so in order to avoid extreme water deficit a "root zone drying irrigation" is used, to ensure the optimum conditions for the nourishment and maturation of the grapes. The vines are grown in sandy clay soils.

The grapes were destemmed, lightly crushed and cold soaked with skin contact. The fermentation took place using an indigenous yeast strain. Fermentation took place at gradually increasing temperatures, before being maintained "sur lie" or on its fine lees for eighteen months with regular stirring. Maturation took place in Allier - Bertrange French oak casks of medium grain, for 24 months, with a minimum of a further 12 months ageing in the bottle. The wine was bottled without fining and filtration.

A complex and typical Xinomavro (pronounced Ksee no' ma vro), showing aromas of smoky black fruits, strawberries, dark cherries, liquorice, sundried tomatoes, and delicate spice. Full bodied and structured on the palate, with a rich depth of fruit, concentrated savoury notes and a touch of oak. The velvety tannins lead through to a persistent and aromatic finish.

A perfect match with juicy red barbecued meats, roasted lamb, spicy sausage and red peppers baked in olive oil.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians.

£18.90

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

Amalaya Malbec, Tannat, Petit Verdot 2016 (1 x 75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition article 30 Great New World Buys under £30 (see blue link below).

Amalaya Malbec/Tannat/PV 2016 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

Amalaya translates to ‘hope for a miracle’ in the indigenous language of the now extinct tribe, the Calchaquí. The winery is situated in Cafayate, Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina at nearly 1,828 metres above sea level. It is a part of the Hess Family Estates and is run with the same dedication to quality, sustainability and social responsibility as the other Hess Estates. All of the Amalaya wines are fruit driven in style, with a finesse that unites them. These wines offer incredible value for their quality and truly reflect their ‘sense of place‘.

The estate's vineyards are located in the Cafayate Valley in the very heart of the Calchaqui Valley, distinguished for being the highest wine region in the world. The climate here is very dry, with just 150mm of rain in an average year and huge temperature fluctuations of around 20°C. The soils here are rocky, poor and sandy so the roots of the vines are forced to dig deep to find the vital nutrients and water they need, which in turn results in a huge concentration of flavour within the fruit.

2016 was a challenging vintage in Argentina with the lowest production in 20 years, around 40% below the previous year. Quality however was very good due to a dry and healthy vintage which allowed grapes to reach optimum maturity. 

After careful sorting by hand at the winery, the grapes underwent four days of cold maceration followed by a slow alcoholic fermentation. Maceration on the skins lasted around 18-20 days to extract good levels of colour and tannins. Malolactic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks and once complete, 25% of the wine was aged in French oak for a period of 10 months.

This wine has a deep ruby red colour with purple edges. There are intense fruity aromas of red berries, raspberries and floral notes with a touch of spice and chocolate. It is well structured, fresh and fruity in the mouth with soft and rounded tannins. Velvety with a long finish.

 

£12.15

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 - La Braccesca Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano 2015 (1x75cl)

Just a few miles away from the city of Montepulciano, near the border between Tuscany and neighboring Umbria, the La Braccesca estate is surrounded by much of the region's splendid history, first Etruscan and Roman, then medieval and Renaissance. The property extends over 508 hectares (1255 acres) where, once upon a time, the holdings of the Bracci Counts– who gave their name to the estate - were located. The Counts, whose name means “arm” in Italian, also gave their coat of arms to the property, an armored arm which holds a sword.

The La Braccesca estate consists of two different blocks. The historical nucleus of the property is located in the area of Montepulciano with 257.5 acres (103 hectares) of vineyard in the finest sub-zones for the production of Vino Nobile. The other block, with 592.5 acres (237 hectares) of vineyards, is situated at the foot of the hills of the town of Cortona. The first vintage of the La Braccesca Vino Nobile was produced in 1990.

The winter of the 2015 growing season, was mild in temperature and characterized by frequent rainfall. Spring experienced above average temperatures, which favoured a precocious bud-break, ten days earlier than usual. The summer was warm and dry but without peaks in temperature, assisting the vines to grow slowly and gradually, guaranteeing an excellent start to the ripening process. The harvest began with the Merlot in early September and terminated with the Sangiovese around mid-October.

The Sangiovese grapes underwent a fermentation aimed at conservation of the aromas and freshness of the fruit. After approximately ten days of maceration on the skins during the fermentation, the wine went into large oak casks where it went through a complete malolactic fermentation and began an aging period which lasted twelve months. After bottling, which took place in the spring of 2017, the wine was given an additional twelve months period of aging before commercial release.

An intense ruby red in colour, the wine offers fruity aromas with notes of violets and vanilla. The palate is ripe, supple, balanced and with tannins supported by a pleasurable vein of acidity, which brings out the flavors of blackberries and cherries. Persistent and with mineral hints on the finish.

£18.65

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

Antinori - Prunotto Barolo 2014 (1x75cl)

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

£36.75
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