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.
The 2016 vintage was officially classified as Very Good by the Rioja Control Board (Consejo Regulador) and was the earliest in the history of the Rioja appellation. September in particular was key to attain this vintage’s high level of quality. As a general remark, Olarra's wines from this vintage have a high level of fruitiness, soft, elegant tannins, great potential for aromatic development and outstanding conditions for ageing. The grapes for Cerro Añon Crianza are mostly drawn from their vineyards in Rioja Alavesa, although some from Rioja Alta are also included. The average vine age is around 20 years and the main soil pattern in the vineyards is the well-known limestone/clay mix found in most of north-west Rioja. Harvests took place in mid-September, yielding very healthy fruit and a ripeness level unprecedented at that time of year.
85% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo and 5% Graciano.
Maceration time was 15-16 days with daily pumping-over (remontage) in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 27ºC. One third of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in new 225-litre French and American oak casks, while the remaining two-thirds underwent malolactic in concrete tanks.
Barrel ageing was conducted in 225-litre oak casks/barricas, of which 80% were made of American wood. This lasted fourteen to fifteen months with regular racking. Barrel ages ranged from brand new to 7 years. After fining and bottling, the wine remained Olarra's bottle cellar for a minimum of seven months before the started of release.
At the time of release, this showed a deep purple red with crisp raspberry aromas. On the palate, similar aromas came through followed by layers of spiciness, a firm but velvety mouthfeel and a long clean finish.
This is one of those not-so-frequent examples of a Crianza that will improve for the next 5 to 7 years.
See also blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Bodegas Olarra.
The Bush Telegraph is a fun and colourful new Australian brand. Using popular Australian grape varieties and blends these wines are now available at a very reasonable price point.
This full-bodied wine displays aromas and flavours of blackberries, bramble fruit, coffee and violets. This wine has a soft tannin structure.
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Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).
Cellier des Dauphins was established in 1967 by the Union des Vignerons des Côtes du Rhône. Rather than being a producer in its own right, it encompasses a major co-operative network of grape-growers and winemakers throughout the southern Rhône valley. The Cellier des Dauphins vineyards lie in the Rhône Valley, the foothills of the southern Alps rising in the distance. In these terroirs, sun-drenched vines swaying in the southern breeze, grow the renowned grape varieties that have made the Côtes du Rhône famous: Syrah, Grenache, Viognier and many other regional grapes.
The network comprises over 2,500 families and 12,500 hectares of production land across 20 of the main Southern Rhône appellations, among them Plan de Dieu, Puyméras and Valréas. Exceptional terroirs produce the most illustrious crus: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras, Vinsobres and Cairanne.
Such diversity of both grape varieties and terroirs enables the Cellier's winemakers to produce aromatic blended wines of great complexity, of which this Côtes du Rhône rouge is a standout example.
For greater detail on this wine, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Cellier des Dauphins.
80% Grenache, 20% Syrah.
This wine displays a deep red hue with ruby tints and notes of sun-ripened black fruit on the nose. The palate offers a velvety texture and spicy notes underpinned by ripe black fruit, blackcurrants and black cherries. A more modern take on the traditional Côtes du Rhône style, this wine combines structure, freshness and smooth tannins. It has a seductively elegant, intense and long-lingering finish.
or, as the DWWA19 panel put it:
"This is delicious! Very classy and appealing aromas of flowers, garrigue, spice and forest floor. On the palate sweet vanilla oak marries into the charming and svelte herbal, red and blue fruit mix. It's full of flavour, super supple, super drinkable and authentic. Bouquet, taste, finish: all are magnificent!".
Charles Back, the owner of Fairview, is also the man behind Goats do Roam, which was launched in 1999. Goats do Roam is rare in that it is an amusing and original proposition allied to wines of good quality and value for money. Normally, these 'concept' wines put more money into marketing than into quality but, characteristically, Charles has done the opposite. The fruit for Goats is sourced primarily from Paarl, Malmesbury and Paardeberg. The 'legend' goes that some errant members of Fairview's long established goat herd, supplier of milk for Fairview's internationally award-winning cheeses, escaped one afternoon from their paddock into the Fairview vineyards when Charles Back's young son Jason accidentally left the paddock gate open. The little group happily roamed among the vineyards, showing rare discernment by selecting some of the ripest berries from some of the choicest vines. Their selection serves as the inspiration for the blends of these wines.
This 100% Fairtrade multi-varietal blend comes from vineyards across South Africa's Western Cape. The Shiraz is soucred from trellised vineyards in the Paarl, Stellenbosch and Swartland regions, the Grenache from Piekenierskloof, Paarl and Swartland, the Carignan and Mourvèdre primarily from dryland bushvines in the Swartland and the Petite Sirah from the decomposed granite soils of Paarl.
April and May were very hot and dry with winter arriving late in most regions but was sufficiently cold to break dormancy although rainfall was still below average. Warmer weather in August contributed to an early, even budburst, October and November were characterised by cool nights and warm days, which were perfect for flowering and berry set. The growing season and especially harvest time will be remembered for cooler nights and warmer, drier days and resulted in healthy vineyards.
The grapes were destalked and lightly crushed into stainless steel tanks, with each grape variety fermented separately. The must was inoculated with Rhône yeasts and pump-overs were done up to four times a day during fermentation. After alcoholic fermentation, the wines were racked to tanks and barrels for malolactic fermentation. The wine was then matured in both tanks and barrels prior to blending, stabilization and bottling.
Bright ruby in colour, this wine shows blackcurrant, plum and spice on the nose. Medium bodied with firm tannins, the youthful palate has generous berry fruit and hints of vanilla spice from the oak.
The 2012 vintage was Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in August 2017 (see blue link below).
Molise is located in the southern part of Central Italy. Only 2% of its production is graded as DOC. Hillside vineyards with excellent exposure, morainic and calcareous soils together with a combination of maritime and continental climate provide a favorable terroir for the cultivation of vines. The 15 to 25 year old vines are trained in the Sylvoz and Spur Cordon fashion, with 2800 to 3300 vines planted per hectare, yields are around 110 hl/ha. Grapes were hand and machine harvested in late September.
Made from equal thirds of Aglianico, Montepulciano and Trebbiano. Traditional vinification with 10-12 days of maceration at a controlled temperature of 25°-26°C. The wine is aged for 18 months in large oak barrels, and the for 18 months in stainless steel tanks.
Purply red colour that will develop to garnet with age. The bouquet is complex and intense with hints of blackberry jam. On the palate the wine is velvety and harmonious with pleasant, firm tannins.
The wine pairs well with roast meats, game, pheasant or salami. Serve at 18-20° (ie really quite warm!)
At Red Rock they believe that there are as many hidden depths to Uluru as the amount hard work done unobtrusively by the vines in their effort to produce good quality grapes. These include spreading their roots underground in order to find water and nutrients in the soil. We often overlook the effort that the vines go through to produce a wine that is enjoyable and everyhting that you would hope for.
This is a modern take on Australian wine, concentrating on elegance and freshness. Red Rock shows new wave Australian winemaking at its best. This medium bodied Shiraz has lucious aromas of dark red fruit with just a hint of spice. This is a wine that is equally happy when matched with food or as a drink to enjoy with friends.