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A Mano Imprint Primitivo Appassito 2016 (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.

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.

£13.75

Antinori - Prunotto Barbera Dasti Fiulot 2017 (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 the Costamiòle vineyard in the township of Agliano with light-coloured clays rich in calcareous marl.

The 2017 vintage will be remembered for the hot climate and the scarce rainfall which characterized it. Winter saw mild weather with little snowfall, while the first part of springtime was marked by some precipitation and above average temperatures, factors which favored an early growth and development of the vine. Towards the end of the month of April, an abrupt fall in temperatures took place, with frost damage which struck, principally, the valley floors and the cooler parts of the hillside slopes. A lengthy period of fine weather then followed, which culminated in the high temperatures recorded during the summer months. A few isolated rainstorms during the month of August brought useful reserves of water to the soil, fundemental for the continuing of the ripening cycle. Temperatures descended significantly during the first week of September and helped create important temperature swings between daytime warmth and evening and nighttime coolness, thereby favoring the ripening of both the Barbera and Nebbiolo grapes. This was a vintage with an early harvest in which the vines were able to complete their entire cycle of growth in a positive way. The size of the crop was very low per acre. The picking of grapes began with the Moscato and Arneis on August 24th and was completed on September 24th with the Nebbiolo grapes.

The grapes were destemmed and pressed and then fermented on their skins for eight days at maximum temperatures of 28° centigrade (82° Fahrenheit). After being run off its skins, the wine were went through a complete alcoolic and malolactic fermentation before winter. The wine was then aged for several months in stainless steel tanks before bottling in the spring.

Prunotto Barbera D'Asti Fiulot is a vivid and intense ruby red in colour with a grapey and fruity (plum and cherry) aroma. Grapes grown on light and loose-textured soils and modern oenological techniques which enable producers to obtain and conserve fruit and freshness combine to make this a wine which is very pleasurable in its youth. For this reason it goes well with simple dishes such as hors d’oeuvres, soups, risotto, and pasta. The wine is most enjoyable at cool 13°-15° centigrade (55°-59° Fahrenheit) temperatures.

£14.50

Antinori - Tormaresca Masseria Maime 2011 (1x75cl)

Passion, courage and trust in the enormous quality potential that Puglia, and especially the areas of Castel del Monte and Salento were able to express, inspired the Antinoris to invest in the region. The idea that, from the start, characterized Tormaresca's production philosophy was to produce great wines from indigenous varietals.

Made with Negroamaro from the Tormaresca estate, this wine takes its name from the manor farm accessible by a footpath that winds through pine forests and olive groves. The old manor house was built by the noble Capece family from Lecce and they named it after the small chapel standing outside its walls. This chapel, dedicated to Saint Pasquale in Maìme, was built to ensure that farmers who worked on the estate had a proper place to pray during the week when they were far away from home. Such traditions exemplify the values and pace of past lifestyles.

The grapes were harvested towards the end of September and were picked fully mature to bring out all the potential of their ripeness. After pressing, the must was fermented in stainless steel tanks at temperatures between 26°-28°C. The period of skin contact lasted 15 days and used delicate pumping over and rack-and-return techniques in order to favor a gradual and balanced extraction. After being run off it skins, the wine went immediately into 60-gallon French oak barrels where it was put through a complete malolactic fermentation and then aged twelve months before bottling.

This wine is an intense ruby red colour with aromas of flowers (violet, rose), red fruit (black cherry, mulberry), spicy notes (liquorice, anise, cinnamon, cloves) . It has a dry and elegant flavour with balanced and smooth tannins.

£23.30

Bodegas Benito Urbina Urbina Gran Reserva Especial 1994 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja (see blue link below).

Bodegas Benito Urbina Gran Reserva 1994 - March 2018 Decanter review

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2017 edition review of premium Rioja (see blue link below).

Bodegas Benito Urbina Gran Reserva 1994 - March 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2016 edition review of best-buy Rioja (see blue link below).

Bodegas Benito Urbina Gran Reserva 1994 - March 2016 Decanter review

Bodegas Urbina is a family run winery with four generations of dedication to grape growing and winemaking since 1870. The present winery was designed, built and run by the family Urbina since 1986 and has been created solely to facilitate the production of fine wines. Commercial winemaking within the DOC Rioja dates from 1870 and takes place in ancient underground Cuzcurrita drafts.

This wine comes from the best grapes grown on the Estate and it is made using grapes from vines that are all more than 20 years old. It is fermented at a controlled temperature of 28°C and is macerated for the final 28 days, followed by at least 36 months in oak and a further 48 months ageing in bottle.

This wine was made using 90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo.

The Urbina Gran Reserva 1994 is a dark ruby colour with a thin mahogany rim. It has a complex nose, showing splendid maturity, with mineral aromas, ripe fruit, figs, cherries, plums, tomato jam and dried apricots, cigar box, cherry blossom, harmonious and well defined spicy hints of cinnamon, vanilla and clove. Some leather, snuff leaves and nutmeg. There is also a hint of musk, incense and kola nut.  it has a base of toffee candy, and balsamic notes, so is both fresh and elegant. On the palate, the flavours are harmonious and balanced, with oak and fruit tannins, showing great elegance and velvety softness, as well as a wonderful length.

£28.90

Bodegas Escudero Arvum 2005 (1x 75cl)

The Es­cud­ero fam­i­ly owns 150 hectares of vine­yards. The vines av­er­age 50 years of age, and some are more than a cen­tu­ry old. The fourth gen­er­a­tion of the Escudero family have tak­en on the var­i­ous re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the com­pa­ny including viti­cul­ture, man­age­ment and ad­min­is­tra­tion. They have an immense re­spect for the en­vi­ron­ment and always follow their com­mit­ment to of­fer­ing cus­tomers excellent quality wines. Arvum is made as a tribute to their parents.

To see the Escudero family's tasting notes and technical sheet for this wine please click on the blue link below.

Bodegas Escudero Arvum 2005 - fiche technique

£33.95

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Crianza 2016 (1x75cl)

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.

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Crianza 2016 - fiche technique

£10.00

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

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.

We also highly recommend the Gran Reserva's two younger relatives, the 2015 Reserva and the 2016 Crianza.

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.

£14.95

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Reserva 2015 (1x75cl)

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 2015 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 fruit for Cerro Añon Reserva comes from Olarra's vineyards in both Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta. Average vine age is around 25 years; the soil patterns in the vineyards are a combination of the well-known limestone/clay/alluvial mixes to be found in most of Central Rioja.

Approximately, the mix of grapes for Cerro Añón Reserva 2014 is 90% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo and 5% Graciano.

Harvests took place at the end of September, with a good ripeness level (both phenolic and alcoholic); Olarra  managed to harvest most of the grapes intended for use before the weather took a turn for the worse.

Maceration time was 18 days with daily pumping over in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 29ºC. Half of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in new 225-litre French and American oak casks, while the other half saw malolactic in concrete tanks.

Barrel ageing was carried out in 225-litre oak casks/barricas, of which 65% were made of American wood, the rest being French Allier oak. This lasted for 20 months with regular racking. The barrels were aged from brand new to 7 years of age. Once fining and bottling were finished, the wine remained in the bottle cellar for 18 months before the start of release.

At the time of release, this wine showed a bright crimson red colour. On the nose, aromas of sweet ripe fruit and delicate notes of smokiness. On the palate, tastes of cherry, plum and blackberries combine with gentle clean aromas of oak. That's an elegant mouthfeel, a full body and a fresh and fruity aftertaste. This wine still has mases of life in it and should drink very well for the next 10-15 years.

£12.50

Boer & Brit The Field Marshal 2014 (1x 75cl)

Boer & Brit is the combination of winemakers Stefan Gerber, a great, great grandson of President Paul Kruger and Alexander Milner a great, great grandson of Field Marshall John French. These two have, more than a hundred years after the bitter rivalry of their forefathers, created Boer & Brit, a range of dynamic and exciting wines that have gone down a storm both in South Africa and abroad.

The fermentation of this wine took place at controlled temperatures in stainless steel tanks, to maintain the varietal characteristics of each component of the blend, being:

Shiraz 60%, Mourvèdre 25%, Roobernet 15%.

The Field Marshal is a marvellous blend which shows complex aromas of green vegetation, pomegranate, cloves, pepper, ripe plums, and piquant spice leading to a lean, savoury finish. This wine is the ideal match for slow roasted leg of lamb or pheasant pie.

£11.65

Brigaldara Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their May 2019 panel tasting of premium Amarone (see blue link below).

Brigaldara Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2015 - May 2019 Decanter review

Click here to read our blog on this wine, the review above and Amarone more generally.

The Brigaldara winery is located just outside the town of San Floriano, in the heart of the Valpolicella region, north of Verona. It is at the entrance of the Marano valley, one of the four valleys that make up Valpolicella's classical area, the original and oldest wine production area of the region. The estate covers 50 ha, planted with vineyards and olive groves. In 1929, the Cesari family acquired the villa and surrounding land. During the 1960s and 70s the land was reconfigured to specialize in the cultivation of vines and olives. Brigaldara is a founder member of the Families of Amarone – a group of 12 wine producing families dedicated to maintaining high quality Amarone.

This wine has been made using Corvina 45%, Corvinone 45%, Rondinella 10%.

To see an information sheet and tasting notes for this wine that have been put together by the team at Brigaldara, please click on the blue link below.

Brigaldara Amarone della Valpolicella Classico - fiche technique

£31.95

Brigaldara Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Case Vecie 2012 (1x75cl)

The Brigaldara winery is located just outside the town of San Floriano, in the heart of the Valpolicella region, north of Verona. It is at the entrance of the Marano valley, one of the four valleys that make up Valpolicella's classical area, the original and oldest wine production area of the region. The estate covers 50 ha, planted with vineyards and olive groves. In 1929, the Cesari family acquired the villa and surrounding land. During the 1960s and 70s the land was reconfigured to specialize in the cultivation of vines and olives. Brigaldara is a founder member of the Families of Amarone – a group of 12 wine producing families dedicated to maintaining high quality Amarone.

This wine has been made using Corvina 55%, Corvinone 25%, Rondinella 20%

To see an information sheet and tasting notes for this wine that have been put together by the team at Brigaldara, please click on the blue link below.

Brigaldara Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Case Vecie - fiche technique

£34.95

Brigaldara Recioto della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2016 (1x37.5cl)

The Brigaldara winery is located just outside the town of San Floriano, in the heart of the Valpolicella region, north of Verona. It is at the entrance of the Marano valley, one of the four valleys that make up Valpolicella's classical area, the original and oldest wine production area of the region. The estate covers 50 ha, planted with vineyards and olive groves. In 1929, the Cesari family acquired the villa and surrounding land. During the 1960s and 70s the land was reconfigured to specialize in the cultivation of vines and olives. Brigaldara is a founder member of the Families of Amarone – a group of 12 wine producing families dedicated to maintaining high quality Amarone.

This wine has been made using Corvina 55%, Corvinone 25%, Rondinella 20%

To see an information sheet and tasting notes for this wine that have been put together by the team at Brigaldara, please click on the blue link below.

Brigaldara Recioto della Valpolicella Classico DOCG - fiche technique

£15.75

Bush Telegraph Shiraz Viognier 2014 (1x75cl)

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.

£6.40

Ca Vittoria Appassimento Gold Release 2017 (1x75cl)

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. Merlot (25%) makes up the body of the wine while Puglian specialities Primitivo (15%) and Negroamaro (60%) lend it their fruity depth of flavour. 

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.

This is a wonderful wine at an exceptional price.

£10.95

Chateau Branaire Ducru 4Eme Cru Classe 2008 (1x 75cl)

Classified as a fourth growth, Château Branaire-Ducru is located in the Saint-Julien appellation of Bordeaux. It was acquired by a family enterprise in 1988 and Patrick Maroteaux, who manages the estate, has made considerable improvements to the property. This has given the wine wonderfully consistent quality.

The wine is made in an innovative and practical winery that relies on gravity, eliminating the need to use pumps with the harvested fruit and wine. There is a wide range of tanks of different sizes, which makes it possible to carry out a considered and thorough selection based on the varying characteristics of the different vineyard plots. Around a third of the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in new oak barrels. The wines are aged traditionally for between 18 and 24 months in barrels made from French oak (50% of which are new). They are always fined using egg white. 

Château Branaire Ducru is a wine with much complexity and it has the potential to age well over time. The 2008 has an attractive bouquet of ripe plums with densely packed red and black fruit aromas. The palate offers notes of forest, earth and cedar as well as tobacco and leafy notes. It has generous, dense tannins that will soften with age.

£38.90
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