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A Mano Imprint Primitivo Appassito 2018 (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.

100% Primitivo.

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.

ABV = 14.5%.

£14.05

Alpha Zeta A Amarone 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, 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.

The 2016 harvest was quite similar to 2015, with a cold winter and abundant rainfall. The beginning of the growing season was characterised by the alternation of dry and rainy periods, which allowed for perfect vine development. The following hot and dry summer led to an abundant harvest with healthy grapes.

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.

85% Corvina/Corvinone , 15% Rondinella,

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.

ABV = 15.0%.

£24.65

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2016 (1x75cl)

** WE HAVE INCOMING STOCK THIS THURSDAY 24th SEPTEMBER. ** 

Awarded a Gold medal and 96 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The not-yet-in-the-UK 2017 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 expert review of South American Cabernet Franc (see blue link below).

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2016 - October 2020 Decanter review

The 2015 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 panel tasting of South American Icon Wines (see blue link below).

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2015 - June 2019 Decanter review

Founded in 2003, Andeluna is a small boutique winery specialising in premium Bordeaux varietals of world class recognition. The vineyard covers 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best subregions of Mendoza. By night you can often see the moon illuminating the magnificent Andes Mountains nearby and the winery has been named after this stunning scene. Situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres, the vineyard produces some of the best fruit in Argentina. Winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Oenologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna's wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers to make outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the global spotlight in a very short space of time. Their Pasionado range is only made in exceptional vintages and rivals some of the great wines of the world.

The grapes come from vineyards located in Gualtallary in Tupungato at an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level. The vines are irrigated by a drip-water system that regulates and supplies the exact amount of water that the plant needs. The vineyard soils are alluvial, sandy and permeable.

The grapes were hand-picked in the cool of dawn in April, when they had reached full polyphenolic maturity. The berries were manually selected and the best berries underwent cold pre- fermentation maceration. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures of 26°C. The wine was aged in used French oak barrels (60% second passage, 40% third passage) for a period of 12 months and then cellared in bottles for a minimum of eight months prior to its release. 

This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc.

Intense aromas fill the glass, with deep red fruits and a remarkable presence of red bell pepper, fennel, mint, anise, eucalyptus and basil. A structured, full bodied wine, with rounded tannins which result in a pleasant and persistent finish. 

Serve with full bodied meats as steak or lamb. Decant and serve at 16°C.

ABV = 13.5%.

£32.75

Antinori Prunotto Barolo 2015 (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 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.

This wine was made using 100% Nebbiolo.

The 2015 Barolo stands on firm ground thanks to the dark and savory qualities that lift heavily from the bouquet. This wine is saturated and rich with dark aromas that are firmly stitched together with spice, licorice and pressed blue flowers. There is power and richness at the deep inner core of this wine. It will unfold and become softer with time (perhaps five years or more). 

ABV = 13.5%. 

£36.90

Bergerie du Capucin, Dame Jeanne Rouge, Pic St Loup 2018 (1x75cl)

** THE LITTLE BROTHER OF THE HIGHLY ACCLAIMED LARMANELA AND VERY WELL WORTH THE INVESTIGATION! **

Awarded a Silver medal and 90 points at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details and review).

For other 2020 DWWA winners, click here.

"A blend of Syrah with 25 per cent Grenache and 5 per cent Mourvèdre (Exel note: this varies year-to-year, see blend mix below), this is a pure, bright and zesty red blend, entirely aged in tank. There’s a wildflower and thyme sweetness to the aromas, a little meaty richness and a twist of orange peel, too – but everything in moderation and just proportion.  Pure and poised.  91/100" - Andrew Jefford, of the 2015 (see his article linked below).

See here for awards for this wine and also for others from La Bergerie du Capucin.

La Bergerie du Capucin (LBdC) extends over more than 15 hectares on Pic Saint Loup land in the communes of Lauret and Valflaunès. For LBdC, wine is a family affair, its beauty and bouquet reflecting the values transmitted from generation to generation. The original Bergerie stands only a few km from the vineyard and modern winery. Jeanne, a beautiful shepherdess on the high plains of the Bergerie du Capucin - inspire their first wine, reminding  of the delicate, round characteristics of our family wines and the hill paths she trod each day.

At up to 650 metres in altitude and ~30 kilometres from the Mediterranean - on the first spurs of the Cevennes and Massif Central - the Pic Saint Loup appellation abounds with the perfume and purity of the most northern (and among the most elevated) of the Languedoc appellations; holm oaks, garrigue scrubland, pines, thyme, laurel and rosemary. Fruit springs to life from the heart of varied soils, chalky-clay on marly sub-soils, and forge their character over contrasting seasons. In winter, the soil receives enough water to balance out the moderately dry summer and the huge - but crucial - swings in temperature between day and night. The exacting and contrasting Pic Saint Loup land, its soil types and climate, are all reflected in the traits of the wines of Pic St-Loup. 

See this excellent article by Andrew Jefford - from Decanter (www.decanter.com) in October 2017 - for far more detail on both Bergerie du Capucin and the Pic St Loup appellation.

For this wine, the Dame Jeanne rouge 2018, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from Guilhem and the team at Bergerie du Capucin. Lest there be any doubt, the Dame Jeanne is not oak aged.

Bergerie du Capucin Dame Jeanne rouge, Pic St Loup - fiche technique

65% Syrah, 17½% Grenache, 17½% Mourvèdre.

A gentle, sweet encounter with woodland berries and spicy aromas, the red hue of Dame Jeanne exalts the soft, fresh and delicate fragrances of our garrigue scrubland populated by green oaks. Created from the marriage of the three essential Pic Saint Loup grape varieties of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. This wine is the perfect accompaniment throughout a meal, from white meats to a chocolate dessert.

ABV = 14.5%.

£16.00

Bergerie du Capucin, Larmanela rouge, Pic St Loup 2017 (1x75cl)

** PLEASE COME BACK IN A DAY OR TWO FOR MORE NEWS - WE ARE JUST SECURING MORE STOCK, AND EXPECT TO HAVE THIS HERE IN MID-LATE OCTOBER! **

** In the meantime, we have stock of the Larmanela's little brother, the Dame Jeanne - recommended! **

___

Awarded a Gold medal and 96 points at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details and review).

For other 2020 DWWA winners, click here.

 ___

See here for more on this new 2017 vintage ...

... and here for details of the 'original' 2016, quality in Languedoc reds and the DWWA award (click link for details).

___

See here for awards for this wine and also for others from La Bergerie du Capucin (click link for details).

___

The 2016 vintage was awarded both Platinum and Best in Show medals and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

___

La Bergerie du Capucin (LBdC) extends over more than 15 hectares on Pic Saint Loup land in the communes of Lauret and Valflaunès. For LBdC, wine is a family affair, its beauty and bouquet reflecting the values transmitted from generation to generation. The original Bergerie stands only a few km from the vineyard and modern winery. Jeanne, a beautiful shepherdess on the high plains of the Bergerie du Capucin - inspire their first wine, reminding  of the delicate, round characteristics of our family wines and the hill paths she trod each day.

At up to 650 metres in altitude and ~30 kilometres from the Mediterranean - on the first spurs of the Cevennes and Massif Central - the Pic Saint Loup appellation abounds with the perfume and purity of the most northern (and among the most elevated) of the Languedoc appellations; holm oaks, garrigue scrubland, pines, thyme, laurel and rosemary. Fruit springs to life from the heart of varied soils, chalky-clay on marly sub-soils, and forge their character over contrasting seasons. In winter, the soil receives enough water to balance out the moderately dry summer and the huge - but crucial - swings in temperature between day and night. The exacting and contrasting Pic Saint Loup land, its soil types and climate, are all reflected in the traits of the wines of Pic St-Loup. 

See this excellent article by Andrew Jefford - from Decanter (www.decanter.com) in October 2017 - for far more detail on both Bergerie du Capucin and the Pic St Loup appellation.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the team at Bergerie du Capucin

Bergerie du Capucin Larmanela rouge, Pic St Loup - fiche technique

Additional note from discussion with winemaker: those barrels are 100% French eco-responsible oak: one-third new, one-third single-use and one-third double-use. The Larmanela draws from BdC's oldest and finest Syrah vines.

99%+ Syrah, tiny balance of Grenache.

For our tasting note, we hand over to the DWWA20 judges:

"Exquisite smoky black fruit, kirsch and sweet vanilla oak interwoven with rosemary and thyme herbal characters; serious and concentrated with ripe tannins and a delightful contrasting freshness".

See also this tasting video (1'18") of the 2015 vintage.

ABV = 14.5%.

£24.95

Bodega Cecchin Graciana 2018 (1x75cl)

At Bodega Cecchin, they play Rugby and make wine....although not at the same time. In these parts the oval ball and grapes like Carignan are revered as in areas of the Corbieres and Fitou. Although the origin of the Cecchin family is Italy having emigrated to Argentina in 1910. In 1959 Jorge and Pedro Cecchin fulfilled a dream and bought 11 hectares of vines in Mendoza and the current now much larger estate is run by their grandson Oscar Alberto. 

The crops in all three of the estates that make up Bodega Cecchin have been certified for organic farming as of 2005. Cecchin‘s handling and processing in the winery is also certified as organic from 2005, so its wines are subsequently certified organic.

Bodega Cecchin also farms biodynamically, but only in a small portion of the vineyards (just 2 hectares in each of the three estates). This is because biodynamic farming is too labour-intensive to be implemented over a larger area of vines. Bodega Cecchin owns not only vineyards planted with a wide range of different grape varieties, but also peach, fig and apricot orchards, olive, walnut and almond groves. The planting of these different crops is necessary to comply with the rules stipulated by the organic certifying agency, OIA.

Giving birth to an organic wine is to foster a natural environment where vines live together with other plants, favoring ecological balance. Their vines welcome a rich variety of vegetation that grows in chemical-free soil.

They pick the fruit at the precise moment, treating it with respect, giving it time and space. This way, their farming and production procedures carry a stamp of “no chemicals” all through the process, preserving the environment. Their wines, oils and grape juice have been produced with the same philosophy for more than 100 years.

100% Graciana. 

Cecchin Graciana is a marvellous deep red with aromas of spice, vanilla and raspberry notes. Round and smooth in the mouth, there is a perfect combination of tannins from the wood and wine, which gives a long and very satisfying aftertaste.

ABV = 13.5%. 

£12.15

Bodega Garzon Tannat Reserva 2018 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK (SEE AMOUNT HELD BELOW) BUT MORE IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. **

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 article, Uruguay - What Next? by Tim Atkin MW (see blue link below).

Bodega Garzon Tannat Reserva 2018 - October 2020 Decanter review

Bodega Garzón is a family owned winery in Maldonado on the Atlantic coast in southern Uruguay. They pioneered viticulture in this area over 10 years ago, and have since become the standard-bearer for premium wines from Uruguay. In November 2018, their pioneering status was recognised by Wine Enthusiast with the ‘New World Winery of the Year’ award. The vineyards at Bodega Garzón are a patchwork quilt of 1,150 individual plots of around 0.2 hectares in size, each plot carefully chosen for a specific variety according to its soil and microclimate. The winery is specially designed to operate as sustainably as possible, and is the first winery outside North America to pursue LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Built on natural terraces, the winery uses cutting-edge technology and operates using a gravity system to ensure quality and energy efficiency at every stage of production.

Located 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity and an intense canopy management. Well-draining granitic soils and cooling Atlantic breezes allow the grapes to ripen steadily. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, palm trees, rocky soils and granite boulders. This single vineyard Tannat comes from a site which is cooler than the other blocks on the estate, with steep slopes, thin soils and excellent drainage thanks to the predominance of ballast in the upper layers.

Average seasonal temperatures meant bud burst and fruit set occurred between September and December. However, strong spring winds meant work had to be undertaken in the vineyard to tie the shoots to their trellises to prevent damage. The hard work continued as rains between December and January threatened the vines and careful canopy management became necessary. Summer was dry and hot, and drip irrigation was necessary. The leaves were left untrimmed to serve as sun protection for the grapes. Late rains at the end of March brought forward the end of harvest. The wines from 2017 are characterised by elegant acidity and freshness.

Please click the blue link below to see a tasting note and more information about this wine, which has been written by the winemakers at Garzon. 

Garzon Tannat Reserva 2018 - fiche technique

100% Tannat.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.70

Bodegas Brisas Altos de Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2019 edition panel tasting of Uruguayan Tannat (see blue link below).

Altos De Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2017 - October 2019 Decanter review

The 2018 vintage (not yet here) was awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 South American supplement article, Sustainable Uruguay.

Bodegas Brisas Altos De Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2018 - April 2020 Decanter review

Altos de Jose Ignacio is nestled in Uruguay’s Maldonado region, an oasis of magical beaches and small villages on the Atlantic coast. Next to the idyllic fishing town of Jose Ignacio, the vines are tempered by cooling ocean breezes, creating the perfect combination of countryside and ocean. This unique terroir and maritime climate is ideal for making premium wines with a rare freshness and purity.

A small, family-run business, Altos de Jose Ignacio had its first commercial harvest in 2015. In typical Uruguayan fashion, the wines are created without the addition of any chemicals. The characteristics of the terroir display beautifully throughout their range, a source of endless pride for winemaker German Bruzzone.  

For this wine, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Altos de Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2017 - fiche technique

(as can be seen from the data sheet, this wine is 'incredibly similar to' the more expensive Garzon Reserva Tannat...)

This wine is 100% Tannat.

A juicy, full-bodied wine. Rich purple in colour with very fresh aromas reminiscent of red and black fruits such as plums and raspberries, with a delicate spicy nose. In the mouth, it presents a strong personality. Its mature tannins and minerality transform it into a wine with great soil identity.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.55

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 (1x75cl)

** ALAS NOW ALL GONE -  WE NOW OFFER THE AWARD-WINNING, HIGHLY-RATED 2011 (click link for product page and here for our comparison of the two vintages). **

Awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition review of 2010 Riojas (see blue link below).

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 - March 2019 Decanter review

"I bought six of these and unfortunately I have given three away to friends. We opened it last night and decanted as per the instructions of your shop staff. The wine is truly spectacular and I am working out how to break in to my friend's flat to steal back the wine I gave him. I have never been moved to comment on a bottle of wine by email. Thank you for the spectacular experience. Another 6 please. I won't be as generous with the next lot!"

- regular (anonymous) Perth customer [who ultimately bought another 12]

In case you missed it reaching this page, here's our article on the Decanter review and this wine.

Bodegas Olarra was created in 1973. Situated on the outskirts of the city of Logroño in Rioja Alta, their winery – a Y-shaped building designed to make optimum use of the space for both production and ageing of the wine – is known as “the Cathedral of La Rioja”. From the beginning, the winery has known how to combine the traditional methods of production and ageing with the most advanced modern techniques of viticulture and vinification. A favourable geographic location, gives the vineyards all the ingredients to produce good fruits. Indeed the clay and chalky soil is watered by the rain and the Ebro river. This area also benefits from warm sunshine and the influence of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. In 1978, Bodegas Olarra achieved their first Gold medal for a Cerro Añon wine in the tenth International Wines and Spirits Competition in the UK. Numerous awards followed from then on, proof of the outstanding quality of their wines.

Grapes for the Gran Reserva are drawn solely from Olarra vineyards; these are located primarily in Rioja Alta, but also in Rioja Alavesa to a lesser extent. Vines in these vineyards are all grown in the traditional way. The average age of the vines is over 30 years. Most of the vineyards sit on a clay-rich soil in Rioja Alta and on limestone-clay soils in Rioja Alavesa.

Harvests took place later than usual in 2010, well into late October, when the fruit was considered to have reached full ripeness; this slower, steadier ripening accounts for much of the quality of this harvest (generally) and the 2010 Gran Reserva (in the specific). Subsequent selection ensured that only grapes in healthy shape made it through to the vinification process. 2010 was a great year in the history of the quality of grapes on the Olarra estate. 

Tempranillo 80%, Mazuelo 10%, Garnacha 5%, Graciano 5%.

Fermentation and maceration lasted for a total of 19 days and were performed in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 28ºC. Later on, the wine was racked into new French (Allier) oak, 225-litre casks/barricas where the malolactic fermentation took place, followed by a stay on the lees for a little over two months, with regular batonnage.

By the end of that winter, the wine was already being racked into new oak barrels, where it remained for a further six months. After this, the rest of the oak ageing - up to the total 27 months - was conducted in different barrels again: Allier and American (Missouri) oak, all with a medium toast, and with different ages spanning from brand new to 5 years. After fining with egg whites, the wine was bottled and stored in Olarra's bottle cellar for 45 months, before it started to be released.

The Gran Reserva 2010 shows a deep red colour with shades of ruby on the rim of the glass. On the nose, at the time of original release, it revealed a delicate balance between ripe red berry aromas and those of spices and smokiness. Over time, this developmental bouquet has grown more complex, showing aromas of leather, tobacco, coffee beans and raisins. On the palate, it is full and round, thanks to its long period in the bottle. Mouthfeel is as firm, elegant and smooth as one should expect from a great Rioja Gran Reserva, with a surprisingly long and fresh finish.

ABV = 14.0% (NB: the figure stated in the Decanter review is incorrect, based on the value stated on the bottle).

£14.95

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 (1x75cl)

** NOW IN STOCK ** 

Awarded 95 points and Gold status at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019.

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 - IWC 2019 Decanter review

The 2010 vintage was famously awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition review of 2010 Riojas (see blue link below).

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 - March 2019 Decanter review

Of the 2010: "I bought six of these and unfortunately I have given three away to friends. We opened it last night and decanted as per the instructions of your shop staff. The wine is truly spectacular and I am working out how to break in to my friend's flat to steal back the wine I gave him. I have never been moved to comment on a bottle of wine by email. Thank you for the spectacular experience. Another 6 please. I won't be as generous with the next lot!"

- regular (anonymous) Perth customer [who ultimately bought another 12]

In case you missed it reaching this page, here's our article on the Decanter review of the 2010 and and the Cerro Añon Gran Reserva overall.

Crucially, you may wish to know how the 2010 and the 2011 compare; customers of the 2010 are naturally asking, "is it as good?We carried out our own tasting and assessment and you can find the results here.

Bodegas Olarra was created in 1973. Situated on the outskirts of the city of Logroño in Rioja Alta, their winery – a Y-shaped building designed to make optimum use of the space for both production and ageing of the wine – is known as “the Cathedral of La Rioja”. From the beginning, the winery has known how to combine the traditional methods of production and ageing with the most advanced modern techniques of viticulture and vinification. A favourable geographic location, gives the vineyards all the ingredients to produce good fruits. Indeed the clay and chalky soil is watered by the rain and the Ebro river. This area also benefits from warm sunshine and the influence of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. In 1978, Bodegas Olarra achieved their first Gold medal for a Cerro Añon wine in the tenth International Wines and Spirits Competition in the UK. Numerous awards followed from then on, proof of the outstanding quality of their wines.

Grapes for the Gran Reserva are drawn solely from Olarra vineyards; these are located primarily in Rioja Alta, but also in Rioja Alavesa to a lesser extent. Vines in these vineyards are all grown in the traditional way. The average age of the vines is over 30 years. Most of the vineyards sit on a clay-rich soil in Rioja Alta and on limestone-clay soils in Rioja Alavesa.

Tempranillo 80%, Mazuelo 10%, Garnacha 5%, Graciano 5%.

Fermentation and maceration lasted for a total of 19 days and were performed in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 28ºC. Later on, the wine was racked into new French (Allier) oak, 225-litre casks/barricas where the malolactic fermentation took place, followed by a stay on the lees for a little over two months, with regular batonnage.

By the end of winter, the wine was racked into new oak barrels, where it remained for a further six months. After this, the rest of the oak ageing - up to the total 29 months - was conducted in different barrels again: Allier and American (Missouri) oak, all with a medium toast, and with different ages spanning from brand new to 5 years. After fining with egg whites, the wine was bottled and stored in Olarra's bottle cellar for 43 months, before it started to be released.

See also the blue link below for Olarra's own fiche technique/technical sheet.

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 - fiche technique

The Gran Reserva 2011 shows a deep red colour with shades of ruby on the rim of the glass. On the nose, at the time of original release, it revealed a delicate balance between predominantly black fruit and ripe red berry aromas, and those of cedarwood, spices and smokiness. Over time, this developmental bouquet has grown more complex, showing aromas of leather, tobacco, coffee beans and prunes. On the palate, it is full and round, thanks to its long period in the bottle. Mouthfeel is as firm, elegant and smooth as one should expect from a great Rioja Gran Reserva, with a surprisingly long and fresh finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.50

Bodegas Verum Ulterior Parcela #17 Graciano 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2020 edition feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).

Bodegas Verum, Ulterior Parcela #17 Graciano 2016 - February 2020 Decanter review

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The origins of the López-Montero family in wine-making and distilling date back to 1788. It was then when the first of their wineries in Tomelloso was registered, which is still on the records at the local archives of the town. In 1963 Juan Antonio López Ramírez and María Victoria Montero established Altosa, a winery and distillery that continues to make and market wines and distilled spirits. In 2005, María Victoria, with her daughter, María Belén, and her sons, Juan Antonio, Pedro José and Elías, created Bodegas y Viñedos Verum. The brand encompasses the wines of the López-Montero family from the best vineyards and terroirs in their property.

Put simply, La Mancha's Bodegas Verum is an organic vineyard which produces mono-varietal wines from both traditional grapes and forgotten indigenous varietals such as Albillo Real and Tinto Velasco.

For this, the Ulterior Parcela #17, a single-vineyard wine from Parcela 17 of the El Romeral vineyard, the grapes are picked by hand, destemmed, crushed and fermented in stainless still tanks, then transferred to old barrels for malolactic fermentation. 10% of the wine is aged in oak demi-muids of 600 liters made of new French oak, the rest in earthen jars (clay) of ~ 5,000 liters for 8 months. After bottling, it is held another 12 months before release.

Verum puts its wines on sale when they are at the optimum moment for consumption;  nevertheless, you can store this wine up to 7 years after harvest.

100% Graciano.

Cherry red with white trim, bright. On the nose it is intense, highlighting a floral character of violets, lavender and other aromatic herbs (typical of ripe Graciano) with a background of black fruit and subtle cocoa. On the palate it is also intense and ripe with smooth/fine-grained tannins that provide structure. There is great persistence that brings back the black fruits and violets, plus a touch of appealing bitterness that adds character.

Or, as DWWA 19 put it:

"Bright and pure purple berry fruit nose with attractive vanilla bean new oak aromas. On the palate, this is sumptuous and rich with generous, fleshy fruit. Very pure and expressive".

ABV = 13.5%.

£15.95

Caballo Loco 17 NV (1x75cl)

** VERY LIMITED UK STOCK. ABOUT TO BE USED IN OUR FORTHCOMING VALDIVIESO/CABALLO LOCO TASTING, SO LIMITED TO TWO BOTTLES PER CUSTOMER UNTIL AFTER THE TASTING! **

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 panel tasting of South American Icon Wines (see blue link below).

Caballo Loco 17 NV - June 2019 Decanter review

The winemaker's own technical sheets appear below (click blue links) - the Spanish inclusion may seem a little leftfield, but includes regional and other info that have yet to be put onto the English version

Caballo Loco 17 - fiche technique - English

Caballo Loco 17 - fiche technique - Spanish

For our article on 'the' (this) Caballo Loco, the appellation/Grand Cru Caballo Locos and the better wines of the Valdivieso fleet, click this link.

Valdivieso's top wine and stable star, the Caballo Loco is known around the world and each year changes merely its edition and, technically, not its vintage. It brings together every Cabollo Loco made since 1992 (the year of version 1), in what is, effectively, a solera system (as used for sherry and brandy de Jerez).

The idea for Caballo Loco was inspired by the legendary Ribera de Duero, Vega Sicilia Único Gran Reserva, which is produced using the solera method. This is the winemaking technique used for sherry and brandy de Jerez production, in which barrel-aged wines from different years are progressively and fractionally blended for reasons of both complexity and consistency.

The first Caballo Loco was produced in 1994 (Caballo Loco 1) and made from a blend of 50% of that year’s vintage with an aged blend from 1992. 

The resulting wine is bottle-aged for at least 18 months before release onto the market, and being a blend of wines from different years, there is, of course, no vintage on the label.

The grapes for the premium Caballo Loco come from four different vineyards in central Chile. The blend of the new wine varies each time it is made. Number 1 for example was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir, whilst later editions have contained varieties as diverse as Syrah, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carménère. Only Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are ever-present, these being blended with the best grapes from the other varieties that were most successful in the particular year (and best suited to create the intended balance of the Caballo Loco).

Each bottle of this version 17 therefore comprises:

- 50% version 16 and

- 50% of grapes from harvests from 2012 and 2013. New for version 17 was Carignan from Melozal (a sub-region of Maule) and Syrah from Limarí. This variety brings to the Caballo Loco another dimension of complexity, with balanced freshness and acidity.

The result is a wine of great concentration, quite unlike any other on the market. There is intense mature berry fruit on the nose and richness on the palate with velvety tannins, and so many layers of flavours that the wine is almost impossible to describe in detail. The secret blend of grapes from different vintages create intense aromas of dark cherry, coffee, and rich fruitcake. Full bodied on the palate with a beautiful lingering structure. 

It is a unique - some say crazy - wine, which is quite incomparable. It has great aromatic complexity and in the mouth, and an ageing potential of at least 10 years.

ABV = 14.5%.

£34.60

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Maipo 2015 (1x75cl)

** BOUGHT IN TO ORDER - ORDERS PLACED BY 9am MONDAY WILL BE IN STOCK FOR DELIVERY THREE DAYS LATER.**

The Caballo Loco Grands Crus were created by Valdivieso to show the different wines that are fundamental components of the icon Caballo Loco wine. For this reason, specific wines from specific valleys wine were born, where each strain/blend reflects the maximum expression of that valley.

One can arguably see these wines as understudies for the "true" Caballo Loco, but they are more than that, being quite superb - and full-throttle - wines in their own right, made with all the care, attention and know-how of the NV/"solera" version.

This Grand Cru Maipo gives the elegance and typical structure of Alto Maipo Valley, with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Maipo 2015 - fiche technique

80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc.

A big, full-bodied wine with delicious aromas and flavours of ripe red cherries, coffee and dark chocolate. It has a luxurious texture and a lingering finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£24.15

Caggiano Taurasi Vigna Macchia dei Gotti DOCG 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded Tre Bicchieri - 2020 by Gambero Rosso.

The 2013 vintage was awarded 95 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition review of Italian Icon Wines (see blue link below) ....

Caggiano Taurasi Vigna Macchia dei Gotti 2013 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

... and awarded 93 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 Italy supplement article on Aglianico (see blue link below).

Caggiano Vigna Macchia dei Gotti Taurasi 2013 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

The estate was established in 1990 by Antonio Caggiano with the help of Professor Luigi Moio, who is one of the major experts on Aglianico. Antonio is also a professional and very talented photographer. Antonio used to have a building enterprise and he decided to build a cellar, in 1990, that was supposed to amaze. The cellar, which is hewn in rock and built underground, is really amazing and was completed in 1995. In the meantime vineyards from the finest crus were bought and plots of land were purchased and planted with selected clones of Aglianico. The new part of the cellar with very modern equipment was designed by Pino and Lorella, both architects and son and daughter of Antonio, and was completed in 2008. Pino, who has a real passion for wine, is now at the helm with the support of Antonio.

The estate could potentially produce one million bottles/year, but Antonio and Pino have chosen to keep production at 150,000-160,000 bottles/year. The total vineyard extension is 26 hectares, 23 hectares of Aglianico and 3 hectares of Fiano. The vineyards of Aglianico are all in Contrada Sala. The zone of Contrada Sala is airy, the altitude is 350-450 meters above sea level. The exposure is south-west. The great Aglianico grape finds ideal conditions here. The Fiano vineyards are in Lapio. Vineyards of Greco (located in Tufo) and vineyards of Falanghina (in the area of Benevento) are contracted. Disease and pest control is carried out following a programme of the Campania region for the respect of the environment and for the care of vines. 

For this flagship Taurasi, fermentation is temperature-controlled, in stainless steel.

Intense maceration with the skins and alcoholic fermentation at 28 deg C for 20-25 days in steel. Malolactic fermentation in barriques. The wine matures in French oak (Troncais, Centre and Vosges) barriques for 18 months. Finishing in the bottle for another 18 months.

100% Aglianico.

This is an intense and complex wine with aromas of red berry fruits on the nose and hints of vanilla and licorice appear on the palate along with wild strawberries and cranberries.

ABV = 14.5%

£31.35
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