Bodegas Ondarre, is based in Viana, a historic town six kilometres from Logroño, Rioja's capital. Founded in 1986 it has quickly become one of the standout producers in the region with its elegant and distinguishable style. Their most acclaimed wines are their Reservas, which win top awards and critical approval every year. They attribute their success to the hard work in the vineyards and their continual investment into the winery and barrel stock. They use both French and American oak casks to help them obtain the incredible character in their wines. As well as their Reservas, they produce a few thousand cases of a single varietal Graciano; this is a real rarity due to the low-yielding nature of the vine.
A cold winter with high rainfall, followed by further rains in April and May created good soil water reserves. Weather patterns were mixed over the summer, with some rain, sunny days and overcast days, but véraison occurred on time and the growth cycle of the vines continued at a steady pace. September saw warm, sunny weather which encouraged the ripening of the berries. The grapes were exceptionally healthy and of very good quality at harvest.
The grapes are grown in vineyards covering 1,200 hectares around the winery, at the point confluence of La Rioja, Alava and Navarra. The area offers an optimum climate and terroir. The vines are grown in clay-based soils with high iron and chalk content.
Each grape variety was fermented separately in temperature controlled vats at 28 to 30°C, which lasted for between 16 to 18 days. The wine was blended and then aged for 16 months in American and French oak, Bordeaux-type casks imparting subtle oak complexity. During the maturation the wine was racked four times, in order to gently extract phenolic compounds by oxygenating the wine. This produced a softer wine which exhibits great varietal fruit character.
Tempranillo 75%, Mazuelo 15%, Garnacha 10%.
Leather, vanilla and spice of traditionally made Rioja enveloped in a smooth and textured palate. Balanced, with ripe, wild strawberries and integrated tannins through to a long, lingering finish.
Awarded 84 points and Commended status by Decanter in their April 2019 Panel Tasting on Chilean Carmenère.
Château Los Boldos was founded in 1991 and is situated 100km south of Santiago in the foothills of the Cachapoal Andes. Working with a portion of old vines originally planted in 1948, the focus from the onset has been on the production of premium wines. The estate has been transformed since it was purchased by Sogrape in 2008. Renowned soil scientist and viticultural consultant Pedro Parra (of Clos des Fous) was brought in to assess the plots and match the right variety to the different soils around the estate. The type of rootstock, planting density, orientation and the frequency of irrigation were all within Pedro’s remit, and the results are now being seen in the wines, especially since Victor Arce, previously of Perez Cruz, joined as winemaker in 2015.
Los Boldos has 170 hectares of vineyards which benefit from a Mediterranean climate. The clear, bright skies during the summer and the diurnal temperature range are ideal for growing fruit that maintains fresh acidity while ripening to perfection. The nearby Cachapoal river also moderates temperatures, while stony alluvial soils in the vineyard ensure low yields. Los Boldos makes wine exclusively from their own vineyards, thereby controlling everything from grape to bottle.
The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks for eight days at temperatures between 25-28°C before undergoing malolactic fermentation. The wine was then aged for six months in oak (60% French, 40% American) to soften tannins and add complexity.
With an intense, deep ruby colour, the wine has red and black cherry notes with black pepper and chocolate on the finish. Its rounded texture and fruitiness give it an appealing, plush mouthfeel.
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.
Il Faggio is made by Alana McGettigan, at one of the region's best co-operatives in the northern part of the Abruzzi. The aim is to capture in the bottle the power and intensity of the grape, together with a lift and freshness which is seldom found in wine from this region. The name, Il Faggio, derives from the fabulous beech trees which proliferate in this area, especially in the Abruzzo national park.
The grapes for this wine were grown on the hills and flatter vineyards surrounding the town of San Salvo in Abruzzo.
The 2017 harvest was 30% smaller than previous years. A cold winter with heavy snowfall was followed by high temperatures in spring and summer with little rain to relieve the vines. This climate favoured the red varieties, which resulted in excellent red wines.
Only the best quality grapes were chosen for this blend, from primarily hand-harvested fruit. At the winery the grapes were de-stemmed, crushed and pumped to stainless steel tanks where the must was innoculated with selected yeast strains and fermented for about 6 days at temperatures up to 34°C. Regular pump overs took place, more frequently during the first few days, to increase extraction which became less frequent towards the end of the fermentation process. After pressing, the wine was transferred to tank for malolactic fermentation to take place.
A deep ruby red in colour, with lifted notes of dark fruits, plums and cherries with a hint of mocha. This wine has soft, ripe tannins and a delicious chocolate-cherry finish.
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!)