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Alfredo Maestro Tejero El Marciano 2017 (1x 75cl)

The 2016 vintage of this wine (now very hard to find - we can't) was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition article on Discovery/New Wave Spain (see blue link below).

Alfredo Maestro Tejero El Marciano 2016 - March 2019 Decanter review

Alfredo Maestro Tejero’s vineyards are located within the Ribera del Duero D.O., but Alfredo has decided not to participate in the D.O., so his wines are classed as Vino de la Tierra de Castillo y León. They are completely natural wines, with no sulphur added in the vineyard or the winery. All vineyard treatments are natural and biodynamic practices are followed.

The isolated Gredos mountain range which lies 70 kilometres west of Madrid is home to a mosaic of tiny old-vine vineyards planted mainly to Grenache. El Marciano comes from one such 70-year-old granitic site lying at a staggering 1,150 metres elevation. The grapes are mainly destemmed, 20% whole bunches were retained and fermented with wild yeasts in stainless steel vat of 2000 litres with daily stirrings. The wine undergoes no filtration or fining and has no added sulphur.

This gorgeous wine typifies Alfredo’s delicate touch and respect for his land. It is juicy and flavoursome, laden with spicy blackberry aromas as well as raspberry, liquorice and a fresh earth scented palate. The texture is rock-sculpted (the granite bedrock of the site lies just a few inched below the surface) and the acidity is thrillingly bright, drawing all corners together.

The label is a representation of the remote and barren granite-ridden landscape that make up this wine’s terroir. It depicts Alfredo directing two martian vineyard workers who are clearly not comfortable in their endeavours. El Marciano translates from Spanish as The Martian. 

£15.20

Alpha Estate, Amyndeo, Vielles Vignes Single Block Barba Yannis, Xinomavro Reserve 2015 (1x75cl)

Alpha Estate is located in Amyndeo, 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 Yannis is named in honour of Mr Yannis, 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. Fermentation took place using an indigenous yeast strain which has been isolated from this specific block. The grapes were vinified 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.

This wine is made using Xinomavro 100%.

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

£19.65

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

Alvear Palacio Quemado La Zarcita 2017 (1x75cl)

Palacio Quemado is located in Extremadura, DO Ribera del Guadiana, in south-western Spain. The winery has 230 acres of 16-year old vines: 50% are Tempranillo and the rest are other varieties well adapted to the area: Garnacha, Syrah, Petit Verdot and local grapes.

In January 2015, Palacio Quemado became part of Grandes Pagos de España, an association of Spanish wine producers dedicated to upholding and promoting very high quality single estate wines. These are wines that faithfully reflect the soils, subsoils and climate from which they hail, each offering an unmistakable personality that can only be drawn from a specific terroir.

Founded in 1999 by the eighth Generation of the Alvear family, this is an estate steeped in tradition, experience, know-how and passion. Since 2010, the Envinate group, a winemaking company that focuses on exploring distinctive parcels mainly in the Atlantic-influenced regions of Ribeira Sacra, Extremadura and the Canary Islands are in charge of Palacio Quemado’s winemaking. Their aim is to make pure and authentic wines that express the terroir of each parcel in a clear and concise manner.

Since 2013, no pesticides are used, only small doses of sulphur and copper, as well as natural plants such as sage, wormwood and cinnamon. 

The winery has different types of soils, calcareous, clay, sandy and rocky, leanding to an exhaustive field work. Each plot of vines is managed and vinified separately, based on its different soils and orientation. Minimum intervention is made in the winery, and only with great care: the grapes enter the winery and tanks almost without crushing, prevented from breaking to preserve the personality of each plot (and of each variety) and the nature of the vintage. Ageing/elevage is carried in second use 500-litres 'super-barriques' to respect the work in the vineyard. This is almost exclusively sourced from France, from different coopers and forests: Allier, Nevers and Vosges.

La Zarcita is one of two wines that Alvear produces in conjunction with Envinate at the Palacio Quemado estate, where the team of Envinate has produced their own label for quite some time. The philosophy of La Zarcita is to blend different indigenous varieties from the single Palacio Quemado estate to produce a young and fresh expression of the terroir of Extremadura. (The philosophy of the second wine - Los Acilates - is to produce an honest and fresh expression of a single plot within the estate, planted with heritage indigenous varieties). La Zarcita is named after a small stream that runs through the vineyards of Palacio Quemado. Ultimately, La Zarcita is a single vineyard wine, and reflects the terroir of the soils and appellation through the use of indigenous Portuguese and Spanish varieties. 

The vineyards for Palacio Quemado extend over 100 hectares, surrounding the bodega. La Zarcita is sourced from sub-plots of this larger vineyard which were selected for their orientation, quality of soil, and grape varieties.

Trincadeira Prieta, Touriga Nacional, Garnacha Tintorera and Syrah are all used, but proportions are not specified by the maker.

The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks. 75% of the wine is aged for eight months in second and third use 500-litre barrels from Allier, Vosges, and Nevers forests. The other 25% is aged in uncoated, concrete tanks.

Cherry red in colour, with nicely balanced floral and fruit notes on the nose and palate. It's very floral and perfumed, with a captivating nose. It's still a straightforward red but with good depth and great freshness. The palate is approachable and soft, with very good acidity.

ABV = 14.0%

£18.20

Amalaya Gran Corte 2016 (1x 75cl)

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 Calchaquí 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 a huge temperature difference 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. The average age of the vines is 35 years old. They are trained using both pergola and vertical shoot positioning and planted at a density of 2,700 plants per hectare and 3,800 plants per hectare respectively.

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. Hydric stress was not a problem, thanks to the lower yields caused by spring frost. The vines survived and produced balanced and ripe Malbec grapes.

The grapes were crushed after both a cluster and berry selection at the winery and then cooled to 8°C, with maceration at 10°C for three days. Alcoholic fermentation took place at temperatures of around 24°C for approximately 21 days. Malolactic fermentation and ageing took place in both American and French oak barrels of which 20% was new and 80% second use. The wine was aged for a total of 12 months in barrel before bottling.

85% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Tannat.

This wine is deep purple in colour, with aromas of red and black fruit with spicy notes, typical of the region. A concentrated, complex and elegant wine full of fruit with rounded, supple tannins, with good length.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.55

Angelo Veglio Barolo 2015 (1x75cl)

A very serviceable Barolo at a great price!

A family history rooted in the territory and in the tradition of grape processing, which in the La Morra winery it is reflected in the quality of the wines on offer: renowned labels, such as Barbera, Fresia, Barolo, accompanied by the production of Chardonnay and Nebbiolo grapes, paying particular attention to the use of modern agricultural techniques and limiting the use of additives to a minimum. The winery and headquarters of the company are located in the Langhe, Piedmontese land that has always been home to a tricolor oenology celebrated all over the world, in the farmhouse that was bought, almost two centuries ago, by the founder of the family, grandfather Francesco. From wholesale and retail marketing to the organization of promotional initiatives and tastings, everything is managed by family entrepreneurs who have been passionate about their profession for generations.

It was 1886 when Francesco, the forefather of the Veglio family, bought the first nucleus of the current La Morra winery, an ancient farmhouse surrounded by vineyards that once belonged to the Opera Pia and the parish benefit, in which wine production was already a tradition rooted and respected. Here, in the Langhe, a long time land of production of standard-bearer Made in Italy quality wines, such as Barolo, Barbera and Fresia, the winery still stands today, two centuries later. A structure renewed in appearance and management, but which still retains attention for the traditional methods of cultivation, harvesting and production of wine.

This wine stems from the municipality of La Morra within Barolo from a Guyot-trained plots of 3.2 hectares, facing S, SW and SE on calcareous soils.

The freshly picked, selected grapes are transported to the cellar for rapidly destemming and soft pressing, before being sent to the thermo-conditioned barrels for fermentation. This occurs at a controlled temperature between 25-27°C for some 8-12 days, during which periodic replacements are made in order to extract the color and necesary polyphenols contained in the grape skins. When all the sugar has turned into alcohol, the wine is drawn off and poured into the same thermo-conditioned barrels at a temperature of about 20 °C, thereby allowing the spontaneous start of the malolactic fermentation.

Ageing takes place in old oak barrels (typical for Barolo) of various sizes, from 20 to 60hl for at least the Barolo minimum period of two years.

100% Nebbiolo.

Ruby red color with orange reflections. Intense ethereal and pleasant bouquet with floral, fruity and spicy and oak notes. Full, elegant and characteristically 'austere' on the palate with good body and soft, enveloping tannins.

£18.80

Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Rosso 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage (now depleted) was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of Best Organic & Biodynamic Buys Under £30 (see blue link below).

OcchipintiSP68 - December 2017 Decanter review

Arianna’s home town of Vittoria lies in the far south of Sicily just to the west of Ragusa. It is here that she has been making wine for the past ten years under the tutelage of her uncle, Giusto Occhipinti who owns and runs the famous COS estate.

The grapes are manually harvested before 15 days of maceration on the skins. Indigenous yeast is used for the fermentation after which the wine is aged for 6 months in concrete vats and 1 month in bottle before release, There is no filtration prior to bottling.

70% Frappato, 30% Nero d’Avola. 

Organic (not certified). Suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.

Slightly opaque purple/red in the glass showing aromas of wild cherries, plum and mulberry with just a touch of raspberry lift. There are hints of flowers, leather, smoke, spice and herbs with wafts of liquorice, earth and mandarin rind. In the mouth the initial attack of fruit is awash with wild cherry sheathed in tobacco leaf with supporting fruit flavours of dark plum and blackberry. Nice cooling gravelly finish.

£20.00

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

** NOW IN STOCK **

** THE UNOAKED (BUT ALSO SYRAH-BASED) SIBLING OF THE DWWA19 BEST IN SHOW LARMANELA! **

"A blend of Syrah with 25 per cent Grenache and 5 per cent Mourvèdre, 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)

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 touge 2017, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the team at Bergerie du Capucin.

Bergerie du Capucin Dame Jeanne rouge, Pic St Loup 2017 - fiche technique

Syrah 75%, Grenache 15%, Mourvèdre 10%.

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 Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. This wine is the perfect accompaniment throughout a meal, from white meats to a chocolate dessert. Savoured it as you would a moment of sharing, in any season.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.95

Beronia Graciano Rioja 2012 (1x 75cl)

Bodegas Beronia is quintessentially Rioja. Its wines are defined by the region and the soils in which the vines are grown, and its name linked to the history of the land where the winery is found. Beronia was founded in 1973 by a group of businessmen, friends from the Basque country who would come to La Rioja on holiday. The friends had a great love of food and wine and created their own gastronomic society in the area. They decided to produce their own wines to enjoy with the local cuisine,  specialising in Reserva and Gran Reserva style wines. Today Beronia is one of the most renowned Spanish wineries both in international and domestic markets, producing pure and traditional Rioja wines.

Graciano is relatively scarce in the Rioja region, normally only used in blends with Tempranillo as it is ideal for ageing due to its high levels of acidity. It is an interesting variety which gives a unique aroma that is much more intense than other varieties in Rioja. During alcoholic fermentation great colour extraction takes place. The wine is then aged in new French oak barrels for six months. This wine was bottled in September 2013 and was released to the market after 6 months of sitting in bottle.

100% Graciano.

Beronia Graciano 2012 shows an intense black cherry colour.  On the nose it has intense aromas of petals and red fruits.  Touches of green pepper blended with dried fruits almonds and walnuts.  On the palate it is fresh and lively with balanced acidity. There are chocolate notes as well as hints of cranberry and cocoa.  This is an elegant, fresh and well structured wine with sweet tannins and a velvety texture.

£16.90

Blank Canvas Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2019 tasting/review of carbonic maceration reds (see blue link below).

Blank Canvas Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015 - July 2019 Decanter review

Matt Thomson has worked over forty vintages in numerous wine regions around the world. "Blank Canvas represents my story as a winemaker. It is an endeavour that is entirely my own expression of winemaking, is from my own funding, and is exclusively my risk". The 'Blank Canvas' is the vineyard and the variety, the winery the brush and palette (no pun intended) at the winemaker's disposal, all the while defined by the scientific grounding Matt laid at university and has built upon over the past 23 years. With partner Sophie Parker-Thomson, the aim is to break some rules with the Blank Canvas wines, but they feel in order to break the rules, you need to know them. This is what sets the Blank Canvas wines apart.

A parcel of special Syrah fruit was sourced from a single vineyard run by a good friend in Hawkes Bay’s famous Gimblett Gravels sub-region. The vineyard is over 15 years old with very low-yielding vines. The freedraining nature of the Gimblett Gravel soils with vineyards being situated on an historic riverbed facilitate this. The vines are VSP trained and cane-pruned on a single fruiting wire with high density planting.

The 2015 vintage in Hawkes Bay enabled a good fruit set in the Gimblett Gravels sub-region with a dry summer. The few rain events during early autumn were followed by cool windy periods which dried out the canopies and allowed the red varieties to continue to ripen. The 2015 was one of the earliest and driest in recent years.

In an unprecedented approach, Matt has co-fermented a select parcel of Syrah fruit with 7.5% Gruner Veltliner skins. This is a similar technique to what is done in Northern Rhone but with Austria’s hallmark white variety instead of France’s Viognier. Matt specifically chose Gruner so the finished wine would benefit from its white pepper note. 60% whole bunches were fermentated. The wine was hand-plunged and fermented by cultured and wild yeasts. Maturation of 10 months in new and seasoned French oak was carried out before the wine was blended and bottled unfiltered in March 2015.

100% Syrah (the Gruner skins above aside!).

Rich, powerful and brooding, the Blank Canvas Syrah is a world first for its inclusion of a unique co-fermentation partner, Gruner Veltliner. Black and red plum and boysenberry perufmes sit alongside savoury notes, particularly bacon. The black pepper and juniper of Syrah complement the white pepper notes of Gruner Veltliner. It has a velvet-like texture, fine tannins and acidity that only a cool-climate can deliver. It is incredibly dense and dark, yet hauntingly perfumed and elegant.

£23.50

Bodegas Lan Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 (1x75cl)

Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition review of 2010 Riojas (see blue link below).

Bodegas Lan Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 - March 2019 Decanter review

Founded in 1972, Bodegas LAN lies in the heart of Rioja Alta. The name LAN comes from the initials of the three provinces of the Rioja Designation of Origin: Logroño, Álava and Navarra. María Barua has been the head winemaker and technical director since 2002, and brings both scientific expertise (with an academic background in chemistry in addition to her oenology degree) and local knowledge (having been born and raised in Rioja). Together with her young and energetic team, María focuses on using the latest advances in winemaking to ‘express the virtues of the land’.

The Tempranillo grapes are selected from 30-year-old, low yielding bush vines in the Rioja Alta region, while the Mazuelo comes from Bodegas LAN's stunning Viña Lanciano vineyard, located on a meander of the Ebro river, where the soils are poor and stony. Proximity to the river helps to regulate the warm temperatures often present in Rioja.

Like many parts of Western Europe, Spain experienced a cool growing season in 2010. But since the country is one of the hottest and driest in Europe, the cool weather was a boon, allowing fruit to ripen gradually. In Rioja, rainstorms during flowering reduced yields. Summer was dry and warm with great diurnal temperature ranges continuing through to harvest, resulting in wines with excellent flavour profiles.

The grapes for this Gran Reserva were destemmed and fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 30ºC. The wine was then macerated for three weeks, pumping over the must daily to favour higher extraction of colour and aromas. The wine was aged for 24 months in American oak and French oak barrels, followed by a minimum of 36 months in the bottle.

Winemaking at LAN follows a principle: "extreme respect for our grapes, preserving the vineyard’s distinctive features in each of the stages of fermentation and ageing, both in the barrel and in the bottle. We manage each tank individually, based on the destination it has been assigned. Such respect implies preparation, manual selection, creativity, tradition and modernity -all these elements play a part in endeavour to outdue ourselves every day. A painstaking oak selection along with malolactic fermentation in new barrels transform our estate’s musts into pleasant, unctuous and round wines."

94% Tempranillo , 6% Mazuelo.

On the nose, aromas of ripe red fruits combine with dried fruits and spicy vanilla, cinnamon and liquorice root notes, which are a result of the extended oak ageing. This wine is full bodied and round Rioja that is elegant, balanced and superbly layered on the palate.

A wine for a special occasion. Recommended to pair with roasted meats, lamb, hearty stews and cured cheeses.

ABV = 13.5%.

£20.30

Bodegas LAN Vina Lanciano Rioja Reserva 2012 (1x75cl)

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.

Bodegas LAN is located in the heart of Rioja Alta. Founded in 1972, Bodegas LAN was named after the initials of the three provinces in the Rioja Designation of Origin: Logroño (now La Rioja), Álava and Navarra. María Barua has been the head winemaker and technical director since 2002. She brings both scientific expertise, with an academic background in chemistry in addition to her oenology degree, and local knowledge, being born, raised and educated in Rioja. She and her young and energetic team focus not only on understanding the technical details of winemaking, but also on ‘expressing the virtues of the land’.

Named after the vineyard it comes from, Viña Lanciano captures the essence of the land and the river around it. The Viña Lanciano vineyard is arguably among Rioja's most spectacular vineyards. Surrounded by a meander of the Ebro river, Viña Lanciano has 72 hectares. These are divided into 24 plots of vines aged up to an average of 60 years, planted on poor, stony soils. Protected from the winds and cold weather by the Sierra Cantabria, and by proximity to the river, the estate follows sustainable viticulture practices in search of balance, reinforcing the plants’ natural defences and providing a suitable environment that favours aeration and optimum sunshine exposure for the grapes. The resulting grapes are fantastically concentrated with complex phenolics.

The wine was fermented in small stainless steel tanks with a long maceration, including daily pump-overs to extract colour, tannin and flavour. Malolactic fermentation occurred in 225-litre French oak barriques. The wine was aged for a total of 36 months. This included 18 months in oak - 12 months in French (Tronçais) oak and six months in Russian Caucasus barrels. This was followed by 18 months of rounding in the bottle prior to release.

85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano. 5% Mazuelo (Carignan). 

Bright crimson with purple hues. Elegant aromas of ripe red and black fruits, liquorice, sweet spice and pastries combined with the minerality characteristic of all the wines from the Viña Lanciano estate. The bouquet is girdled with hints of forest shrub (rockrose) and other balsamic aromas (mint, fennel…). Its attack is silky and elegant, showcasing fruit again on the palate as well as sweet and finely integrated tannins. Very persistent, its finish is pleasant and savory. A remarkable wine from Rioja able to boast of the region’s characteristic elegance and finesse.

£23.70

Bodegas Valdemar, Conde de Valdemar Rioja Reserva 2011 (1x75cl)

The 2010 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja (see blue link below).

Valdemar Rioja Reserva 2010 - March 2018 Decanter review

Bodegas Valdemar is the fruit of five generations of a family which, since 1889, has dedicated all its passion and work to cultivating and caring for the vines, loyal to the philosophy of producing wines exclusively from its own vineyards.

An underground stone cellar, in Oyón is where more than 125 years of history started. Joaquín Martínez Bujanda built it to age the wines that he made from his vineyards. From day one, this family's passion has come from the same place, the land and the vineyard itself. Their wines unite the dreams and passions of several generations. Since the 1980’s Conde Valdemar has become a point of reference in Rioja by making wines that stand out because of their quality. It is acknowledged as one of the wineries in La Rioja with a longstanding tradition and history of producing Gran Reserva wines - true oenological treasures that are proof of the greatness and know-how of  the winemaker.

This wine spent 26 months in oak casks (65% American, 35% French) and was bottled in March 2015.

It has an intense and bright red ruby colour. Complex and clean nose. Ripe fruit aromas with balsamic notes dominate. Very good balance. It is well-rounded in the mouth, with a pleasant structure and a long and persistent finish.

This wine is especially well suited to accompany home-cooked casseroles, roasts and grills, red meat, game or Iberian-pork cold meats.

£17.65

Bodegas Verum, Ulterior Parcela #17 Graciano 2016

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

Bogle Petite Sirah 2016 (1x75cl)

Though the Bogle family has been farming in the Clarksburg region for six generations, their involvement in the wine business spans back 50 years. In addition to passing down a strong work ethic and dedication to quality, the success of Bogle over the years is rooted in the day-to-day involvement of the Bogle family. The family takes great pride in making wines of exceptional character and quality. From vineyard to bottle, the highest standards are set, in order to create a wine that overdelivers each and every time.

To see an excellent tasting / information sheet from Bogle themselves, please click on the blue link below.

Bogle Petite Sirah 2016 - fiche technique

£15.95
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