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Bruno Rocca Barbaresco 2016 (1x75cl)

The Rocca family originates from Barbaresco. Bruno Rocca took charge of the family business when his father died in 1978, and decided that all the wine produced by the estate would from then on be sold in bottle. The family now has 15 hectares of vineyards. Stylistically, Bruno is a consummate modernist, making wines with great intensity of fruit while retaining the structure and elegance of the Langhe at its best.

The Nebbiolo grapes for this wine come from younger vines, grown in Bruno Rocca's vineyards in Neive, Cru San Cristoforo, Marcorino and Fausoni. The soil originates from the Tertiary Period or the Cenozoic Era of nearly 70 million years ago and is rich in limestone and micronutrients ideal for growing Nebbiolo. The Neive vineyard is particularly sandy and tufaceous, creating full-bodied wines with firm tannins.

The grapes were hand-harvested and selected in the vineyard. A second selection took place on the sorting table. Fermentation was carried out in stainless steel tanks and lasted 20-25 days. The wine was aged in French oak barriques for 18 months, and then spent eight months in bottle before release.

100% Nebbiolo.

Intense garnet in colour, this wine has fruity aromas of blackberries, wild black cherries and plums with overtones of subtle rose, violet with hints of spice. Warm and elegant, the long-lasting flavours finish with a hint of cocoa.

£43.55

Bruno Rocca Barbaresco Rabaja 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The Rocca family originates from Barbaresco. Bruno Rocca took charge of the family business when his father died in 1978, and decided that all the wine produced by the estate would from then on be sold in bottle. The family now has 15 hectares of vineyards. Stylistically, Bruno is a consummate modernist, making wines with great intensity of fruit while retaining the structure and elegance of the Langhe at its best.

Purchased by Bruno Rocca's father, this vineyard is in the Rabajà Cru, in the village of Barbaresco. It was planted in 1964 and completed in 1978. The land planted solely with Nebbiolo has a south-westerly exposure and is a mixture of tufaceous clay, marl and limestone. The vineyard is steep and is situated at an altitude of about 300 metres above sea level. The vines are approximately 50-60 years old.

After a snowy winter, spring of 2015 was warm leading to early budbreak. The summer was one of the hottest and driest of the last 20 years. The harvest started in the first part of September, around two weeks earlier than usual. The grapes harvested were very ripe and healthy. The weather during the harvest was consistently sunny and rather hot for September.

Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 30°C and lasted 20 to 25 days. The wine was aged for 12 months in 225 litre French oak barrels (Allier, medium toast) and another 12 months in large oak barrels.

100% Nebbiolo.

Garnet in colour, this intensely perfumed wine has floral aromas of violets and rosehips, a hint of butter and red fruit notes of raspberry and cherry. These aromas follow onto the palate which is warm and mouthfilling, framed by broad Nebbiolo tannins that have been softened by the warm autumn. Elegant and long.

This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

£75.15

Bruno Rocca Barbera d'Asti 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their December 2019 edition article, Top 40 Piedmont reds beyond Nebbiolo (see blue link below).

Bruno Rocca Barbera D'Asti 2017 - December 2019 Decanter review

The Rocca family originates from Barbaresco. Bruno Rocca took charge of the family business when his father died in 1978, and decided that all the wine produced by the estate would from then on be sold in bottle. The family now has 15 hectares of vineyards. Stylistically, Bruno is a consummate modernist, making wines with great intensity of fruit while retaining the structure and elegance of the Langhe at its best.

The grapes for the Barbera d'Asti come from vineyards in the commune of Vaglio Serra, planted in 2000. Soils here are sandy, with reddish marl and the vines are planted at a density of 4,500 plants per hectare. The vineyard faces south/south-east and yields are approximately 40 hectolitres per hectare.

2017 was, for many reasons, a rather unusual and challenging vintage. While yields were relatively low, quality was very high. Variable weather, which saw frosts in winter and spring and then very little rain during the summer, lowered production. However, Bruno Rocca's attentive and precise work in the vineyard have allowed grapes to achieve their best expression.

Harvest was carried out by hand, and the grapes went through two selections, the first in the vineyard and the second in the winery. Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for 10-15 days at 28ºC. The wine was aged in French oak barriques for 12 months.

100% Barbera.

This wine has an intense, deep red colour with purple hints. On the nose, the wine has fresh, vibrant aromas of ripe plums, blackberries, sour cherries and blueberries with subtle almond and hazelnut nuances. Full-bodied, warm and savoury, this has a well-balanced acidity and an elegant finish.

ABV = 15.0%.

£22.25

Ca Dei Frati Ronchedone 2015 (1x75cl)

The Dal Cero family has transformed their Ca' dei Frati property, situated on the southern shores of Lake Garda, into a model Italian estate over the past two decades. Back in 1987, they had 12 hectares of vineyard but now, following the purchase of a large chunk of prime vineyard in 2008, they have over 160 hectares. This increase in quantity has been matched by an increase in quality and today they remain the best producer in Lugana.

The grapes are grown in the Dal Cero's own vineyards, Ronchedone and La Tür, which are located on the south banks of Lake Garda near the town of Sirmione. The vines from which 'Ronchedone' is made are planted on chalky, limey and sandy clay soils, using single Guyot and cordon training. The yields were eight tonnes per hectare.

Marzemino, an indigenous varietal grown mostly in northern Italy, plus Sangiovese are the main grapes for Ronchedone, together with a maximum of 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon. Maceration and fermentation took place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with extended skin contact. Malolactic fermentation took place in barrique where the wine remained for 14 months, followed by 10 months in bottle.

45% Marzemino , 45% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Rich red fruits, macerated blueberries, maraschino cherries and liberally perfumed. The palate is potent, powerful with good acidity and expressing a strong sense of place.

ABV = 14.5%.

£23.20

Ca' Rugate Campo Lavei Valpolicella Superiore 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2018 edition review Valpolicella Superiore (see blue link below). (NB: label has changed since).

Ca'Rugate Campo Lavei Valpolicella Superiore - May 2018 Decanter review

The family business has been handed down through the generations of the Tessari family since the early 1900s. The estate was renamed Ca'Rugate in 1986, taking its name from the volcanic hills where the vineyards are located. Now run by the fourth generation, Michele has brought with him a lively, passionate and entrepreneurial spirit. Considerable expansion has taken place in recent years with investment in a new technologically advanced cellar and expansion into the Valpolicella area with the purchase of vineyards in the hilly zone of Montecchia di Crosara. Ca'Rugate has been awarded the prestigious 'Tre Bicchieri' award rating from Gambero Rosso multiple times, making it one of the most awarded producers in the competition and has been hailed by the New York Times as one of the "Top Five producers of high end Soave".

A cool winter with high rainfall set the scene for 2016. Dry and rainy periods took place during the spring enabling the vegetative cycle to develop without any stress. The summer saw high temperatures with dry conditions, resulting in high yields of high quality grapes. Vineyard The six hectare Campo Lavei vineyard is situated on the hillsides of Montecchia di Crosara. The vines yield 90 quintals per hectare and are grown in limestone and pebble soils.

At the beginning of October, some of the harvested grapes are set aside to dry in wooden trays until the end of December. The undried grapes were destemmed and fermented immediately after the harvest. The dried grapes were added at a later stage and were allowed to ferment in stainless steel for approximately one week, prior to pressing, which took place at the end of December. The wine was then transferred into small barrels to finish fermentation and mature in oak, for a period of eight to 10 months.

Corvina 45%, Corvinone 40%, Rondinella 15%.

Intense aromas of black fruit and cherries, combined with a twist of spice from the wood. The palate is mellow, balanced and rounded, complete with elegant tannins and a smooth finish. Pair with pasta dishes and meat sauce, grilled or roasted red meat, game or medium aged cheeses.

ABV = 14.5%.

£20.05

Ca Vittoria Appassimento Limited Edition 2018 (1x75cl)

Previously named/badged as the Gold Release.

One of our biggest-selling red wines and the biggest-seller at this price point. It's easy to see why.

Fans of the steeped Valpolicella wines – Amarone, Recioto and Ripasso – will love this, especially as it does what an Amarone does at barely half the price. 

This blend of grapes grown and harvested in the Salento area, with picking occurring as late as October. But it is less the varietals and more the winemaking process that makes this special: instead of the traditional Veneto passito method used with the Valpolicellas - in which the grapes are picked and then allowed to dry to concentrate flavours and sugars - the Puglian appassimento method sees the grapes left in-situ on the vines to dry for a fortnight, ahead of picking and winemaking.

During this period 50% of their weight and moisture is lost. After a rigorous hand harvest, the grapes are pressed and the fermentation starts; the skins are left in the must for a long period to extract flavours and the characteristic ruby red colour. Subsequently the wine is left in oak for about 3 or 4 months; this aging gives pleasant notes of spice and vanilla.

The effect is the same: a wine which has deep colour and a rich luscious nose and palate full of sweet ripe dark cherries, plums, vanilla, and raisins. Result: seriously fruity and wonderfully easy drinking. It’s a great wine for roasted and grilled meats and game dishes.

For this wine, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note (some interesting translations) from the winemakers themselves.

Ca Vittoria Appassimento Gold Release 2018 - fiche technique

~60% Negroamaro, ~25% Merlot, ~15% Malvasia Nera.

This is a wonderful wine at an exceptional price.

ABV = 14.5%.

£10.95

Caballo Loco 17 NV (1x75cl)

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.

£33.75

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Maipo 2014 (1x 75cl)

** UK STOCKS ARE CURRENTLY LOW (although new stocks are expected by the end of May) - WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND CALLING TO CHECK BEFORE ORDERING **

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 2014 - fiche technique

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.

£23.55

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 Caggiano winery is based in the town of Taurasi, the heartland of Aglianico, which is the main focus of their production (they were the first ones to produce a Taurasi cru, aged Bordeaux-style exclusively in barriques in 1994). Antonio Caggiano, the founder of the winery, designed one of the wineries, the most spectacular in Campania in 1990. Today thousands of bottles are laid down in its galleries made of the local “tufo” stone waiting for the sturdy Aglianico to be ready to drink.

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%

£29.45

Cambridge Road Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

Cambridge Road Vineyard is a small family farmed estate established in 1986 with the intention of making world class Pinot Noir and Syrah. They focus both time and energy on perfecting and beautifying their land and cultivating it according to natural biodynamic and eco-farming principles. They believe in minimal intervention winemaking, low yields, and healthy living wines.

This is the latest wine in the history of Syrah production from their home vineyard. 2015 was a low cropping year with beautiful ripeness. Harvested in late April the fruit was handled simply.

It spent 27 with days' skin contact & 12 months in neutral oak casks. It was wild fermented and bottled after one year with no fining or filtration. 

This wine is 100% Syrah.

Dark spiced plum characters are apparent in the silken structured wine. Bold in weight and generous body. 

£42.50

Cantina Mesa Buio Buio Isola dei Nuraghi 2016 (1x75cl)

This is one of the most exciting wineries to come out of Sardinia in two decades. It is the brainchild of Gavino Sanna, a Sardinian who has lived in Milan for the past 50 years, where he built up one of Italy's most successful advertising agencies. On a whim, he decided to sell the agency and seek new challenges. One of these challenges was the creation of a winery in Sulcis in southwestern Sardinia. As might be expected from someone with Sanna's background, the labels are striking. He has also ensured that the contents are equally striking. Stefano Cova, a young winemaker from Trentino, took over with the 2008 vintage, improving on an already high level of quality.

The grapes are grown in the Sulcis area on the south-western tip of Sardinia. The climate here is Mediterranean with low rainfall that usually falls almost entirely in autumn and winter. It is characterised by frequent north-westerly winds, high temperatures in spring and summer, a mild autumn and winters which vary from dry and cold through to relatively mild. Soils are naturally sandy and chalky-clay, sub-alkaline, medium textured with a rocky, schistous character. Moderate nutrient levels and good levels of minerals add a distinctive character to the resulting wines. The vines are espalier trained and spur-cordon pruned.

The grapes were hand-picked then vinified with maceration on the skins at 26-28°C for 10-12 days. Upon completion of malolactic fermentation, the wine spent a minimum of 10 months in second- and third-use barriques, followed by at least four months in bottle.

100% Carignan.

Deep ruby red in colour. The nose offers a complex mix of balsamic notes of red berry fruit and blossoms, together with hints of spices and oak. The palate is rich and full, revealing excellent balance with an appealingly silky texture and long, lingering finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£28.15

Carpineto, Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (1x75cl)

The 2012 vintage of this wine was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2017 edition review of Brunelllo di Montalcino 2012 (see blue links below).

Carpineto Brunelllo 2012 - November 2017 Decanter review

Founded in 1967 by Antonio Zaccheo and Giovanni Sacchet, Carpineto farms 500 hectares of land spread over four estates among Tuscany's most prestigious appellations. The original aim of the producers – to make modern, world-class red wine from the Chianti Classico appellation, has been admirably fulfilled. The Farnito and Dogajolo wines demonstrate the winery’s pioneering approach to making wines from international varieties in Tuscany. Formerly IWSC Italian Wine Producer of the Year, Carpineto was the also the first ever Italian winery to be awarded the IWSC International Winemaker of the Year. Antonio Zaccheo is now assisted by his son Antonio and daughter Francesca, who have both previously worked in the wine trade in the USA. Giovanni Sacchet's daughter, Caterina, joined the Carpineto winemaking team after finishing her viticulture and oenology degree.

2013 was considered to be a more classic vintage, as the harvest took place later than in recent years. The season was marked by a cool, wet spring, followed by cool weather during the early summer. Warm, dry weather during the latter part of the summer encouraged the ripening and maturation of the berries. The resulting wines are harmoniously balanced, with excellent phenolic maturity and delicate bouquets.

Carpineto's Montalcino estate is one of the highest in the appellation at an altitude of 450 metres above sea level, with 10 hectares of vineyard planted to Sangiovese Grosso on a dry farmed hillside. Planted at a density of 2.20 x 0.90 metres, which is the equivalent of over 5,000 vines per hectare, the vines are trained on a unilateral cordon system. The sedimentary soil has a galestro frame with clay accumulations dating to the Eocene era, some 15 million years ago. With a slightly northern exposure, the vineyard is surrounded by thick woods, which protect it from the warm and humid westerly winds that come up from the Maremma.

The grapes were harvested at optimum maturity levels and carefully selected. The fermentation took place in temperature controlled vats followed by maceration on the skins to extract flavour, colour and fine tannins. The wine was aged in Slovenian oak barrels for three years, followed by at least six months bottle ageing.

A mature Brunello showing a decisive and fine bouquet of hints of vanilla, deep red cherries, raspberry and a touch of liquorice. Elegant and well textured, with a warm and smooth palate and a long finish. Ideal with a bistecca all fiorentina, a fine roast leg of lamb with rosemary, pot roasted pheasant or fine, mature cheese.

£34.80

Carpineto, Chianti Classico Riserva 2015 (1x75cl)

Founded in 1967 by Antonio Zaccheo and Giovanni Sacchet, Carpineto farms 500 hectares of land spread over four estates among Tuscany's most prestigious appellations. The original aim of the producers – to make modern, world-class red wine from the Chianti Classico appellation, has been admirably fulfilled. The Farnito and Dogajolo wines demonstrate the winery’s pioneering approach to making wines from international varieties in Tuscany. Formerly IWSC Italian Wine Producer of the Year, Carpineto was the also the first ever Italian winery to be awarded the IWSC International Winemaker of the Year. Antonio Zaccheo is now assisted by his son Antonio and daughter Francesca, who have both previously worked in the wine trade in the USA. Giovanni Sacchet's daughter, Caterina, joined the Carpineto winemaking team after finishing her viticulture and oenology degree.

In the beautiful olive and cypress-studded countryside between Florence and Siena lie the quaint hilltop villages of the Chianti Classico region. The wine of the same name is produced exclusively in this charming and beautiful area in stony soils.

Fermentation took place in temperature controlled vats, followed by a skin contact maceration to extract colour, flavour and fine tannins. The wine was transferred to a combination of oak barrels and casks of Slavonian and French origin for a minimum of 12 months. It was then transferred back into stainless tanks briefly prior to bottling. The wine was bottle aged in temperature controlled cellars for a minimum of 10 months prior to release.

Sangiovese 80%, Canaiolo 20%.

A traditionally styled Chianti Classico, smooth and robust with earthy notes and a savoury finish. An inviting rich ruby red colour, with garnet reflections. Rich, velvety, full-flavoured and warming with hints of vanilla and raspberries, this is a very fine wine with silky tannins and a long, lingering finish.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£19.20

Caruso & Minini - Terre di Giumara - Frappato / Nerello Mascalese IGT 2016 (1x 75cl)

Caruso & Minini are a part of new revival in Sicilian wine. Smaller wineries have sprung up in the past decade with private investment and a strong interest in the potential of the native grapes from Sicily. One example is Caruso & Minini. When Mario Manini met Stefano Caruso it sparked a long-held dream to produce a wine in the historical winemaking region of Marsala in Western Sicily. The Terre di Giumara range focuses on these unique and delicious Sicilian grapes. 

This wine is a blend of Frappato and Nerello Mascalese (the makers do not specify the relative proportions, but it would surprise us if this were not ~50/50).

To see an information and tasting sheet for this wine that has been prepared by the team at Caruso & Minini, please click on the blue link below.

Caruso & Minini Terre di Giumara Frappato Nerello Mascalese - fiche technique

£8.90

Caruso & Minini Corte Ferro Nero D'Avola 2016 (1x75cl)

Caruso & Minini are a part of new revival in Sicilian wine. Smaller wineries have sprung up in the past decade with private investment and a strong interest in the potential of the native grapes from Sicily. One example is Caruso & Minini. When Mario Manini met Stefano Caruso it sparked a long-held dream to produce a wine in the historical winemaking region of Marsala in Western Sicily.

The grapes are all handpicked for this wine and they are carefully selected. The maceration and fermentation of the destemmed grapes happen in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 25°C. for 15-20 days. Malolactic fermentation then takes place in stainless steel tanks. 50% of the wine is aged in acacia wood tonneaux and french oak of 500 litres for 10 months. The rest ages in stainless steel tanks. Finally the wine is aged in bottle for four months before being released for sale.

100% Nero d'Avola.

The wine has a aromas and flavours of jammy red fruits, summer herbs and a touch of violet. On the palate it is rich, yet refreshing; slightly spicy with strong and creamy tannins.

This goes extremely well with Mediterranean dishes as well as roasted meats.

£10.05
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