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A Mano Negroamaro 2017 (1x 75cl)

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 Negroamaro grapes for this wine are grown in a single vineyard covering 11 hectares in the heart of Salice Salentino. An old vineyard, it is dry farmed and the vines trained on trellises to prevent the sensitive grapes suffering from sunburn.

On arrival at the cellars, the grapes were pressed, destemmed and cooled to 18°C and the must 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.

2017 was one of the best vintages A Mano have experienced. The weather was perfect, with a cold winter and dry, hot summer, and the vines responded to the excellent conditions. They started harvest on the 25th of August, about 12 days earlier than normal with fruit that was of astounding quality.

100% Negroamaro.

This wine is deep ruby in the glass, the nose opens with crushed berries, black cherries and spices followed by a light floral note. Full and rich, yet sleek and elegant, with lingering spice on the palate.

£11.20

Alain Jaume - Haut de Brun - Cotes du Rhone 2017 (1x75cl)

Established in the northern part of Chateauneuf du Pape, the Jaume family has been dedicated to the art of wine growing since 1826. The family still runs the company today – the eponymous Alain Jaume is still very much involved in the business, but his two sons Christophe (winemaking) and Sebastian (sales and marketing) are now in day to day command.

The cellars are located in Orange, just up the road from Chateauneuf du Pape. All the family’s wines are impressive, balancing sweet fruit with classic southern Rhone warmth and spice. As each vintage is so different from the last, they are constantly evolving their growing techniques to accommodate the ever-changing behaviour of the vines, grapes and terroir. Organic viticulture is in place in two of their vineyards, but across the board the health of the vines is paramount. Yields are low to keep the quality high, and their age-worthy reds capture the power and age-worthiness of the Rhone perfectly.

"This venerable profession is our legacy, but above all it is our passion, requiring discipline, perseverance and a respect for nature and the challenges she presents us with. Every vintage is different from the last and we must skillfully adapt our growing techniques to the ever-changing behaviour of the vines, the grapes and the terroir." 

This wine is a blend of the following: Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre.

To see an information sheet and tasting note for this wine (this sheet describes the previous vintage - 2017 sheet expected soon, but it's hard to see how it would alter...), please click on the blue link below.

Alain Jaume "Haut de Brun" Cotes du Rhone 2016 - fiche technique

£12.10

Allegrini Valpolicella 2018 (1x75cl)

The Allegrini family estate covers 100 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area. The family has been growing grapes here for six generations, but the estate in its current form was founded by Giovanni Allegrini. When he passed away in 1983, it passed to his three children, who ran it together until Walter's death in July 2003. Franco now looks after the vineyards and is the winemaker, and Marilisa is director of marketing.

The south-east facing vineyards are located in the hills of the Valpolicella Classico region at 180-280 metres above sea level. The soil there is very varied but mostly chalky, of volcanic origin. The older vineyards are trained using the pergola Trentina system, planted with about 3,000 vines per hectare, whereas the newer ones use the single Guyot system with 5,000 plants per hectare. The vines are 35 years old on average.

This year the harvest was long, with slow ripening, and abundant, highquality grapes. Spring was particularly wet and in early July, due to the considerable number of bunches, they carried out some thinning to restore the equilibrium of the vineyard. A dry period started in July, interspersed with some timely showers. In September, temperatures rose again, reaching highs of up to 33°C, but equally high fluctuations (even differences of 15°C between day and night), enabled the grapes to attain ideal ripeness. Phenolic maturity was achieved in the last third of September. The grapes were in healthy condition, with high quantities and quality.

The grapes were destemmed before soft-pressing, after which fermentation occurred at 25-31ºC in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Fermentation lasted nine days after which the wine was held in stainless steel tanks until bottling in mid-February where it spent a further two months before release.

This wine was made using Corvina 70%, Rondinella 30%.

This wine is ruby red in colour, with youthful highlights. Fragrant fruit with prominent notes of dark cherries are echoed by fresher hints of pepper and aromatic herbs, typical of Corvina and its genetic cousin Corvinone, the historic varieties of this appellation. This Valpolicella is impressively lively and playful on the palate, whilst exhibiting delicacy and finesse at the same time.

ABV = 13.0%.

£13.85

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

Altos de Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2019 edition panel tasting of Uruguayan Tannat (see blue link below).

Altos De Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2017 - October 2019 Decanter review

Altos de Jose Ignacio is nestled in Uruguay’s Maldonado region, an oasis of magical beaches and small villages on the Atlantic coast. Next to the idyllic fishing town of Jose Ignacio, the vines are tempered by cooling ocean breezes, creating the perfect combination of countryside and ocean. This unique terroir and maritime climate is ideal for making premium wines with a rare freshness and purity.

A small, family-run business, Altos de Jose Ignacio had its first commercial harvest in 2015. In typical Uruguayan fashion, the wines are created without the addition of any chemicals. The characteristics of the terroir display beautifully throughout their range, a source of endless pride for winemaker German Bruzzone.  

For this wine, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Altos de Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2017 - fiche technique

(as can be seen from the data sheet, this wine is 'incredibly similar to' the more expensive Garzon Reserva Tannat...)

This wine is 100% Tannat.

A juicy, full-bodied wine. Rich purple in colour with very fresh aromas reminiscent of red and black fruits such as plums and raspberries, with a delicate spicy nose. In the mouth, it presents a strong personality. Its mature tannins and minerality transform it into a wine with great soil identity.

£14.70

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

Amalaya Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition expert review of Argentina's Calchaqui Valley  (see blue link below).

Amalaya Malbec 2017 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

The 2016 vintage was Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition article 30 Great New World Buys under £30 (see blue link below).

Amalaya Malbec 2016 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

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 Cafayate in the very heart of the Calchaquí Valley, distinguished for being the highest wine region in the world. The climate is very dry, with just 150 millimetres of rain in an average year and huge temperature fluctuations 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 results in fruit with hugely concentrated flavour.

Overall, the Calchaquí Valley enjoyed optimal conditions in 2017, with a perfect balance between quality and quantity. The weather during the growing season was excellent, the lack of spring frost ensuring a good fruit set that resulted in healthy grapes.

After careful sorting by hand at the winery, the grapes underwent four days of cold maceration followed by a slow alcoholic fermentation with maceration on skins lasting around 18-20 days which extracted good levels of colour and tannins. Malolactic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks before 25% of the wine was aged in French oak for a period of 10 months prior to blending and bottling.

85% Malbec, 10% Tannat, 5% Petit Verdot.

Deep ruby red in colour with a purple hue, this wine displays intense fruity red berry aromas of raspberries, floral notes and a touch of spice and chocolate. Well structured, fresh and fruity on the palate with soft, rounded tannins and a velvety long finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£12.30

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 96 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 panel tasting of South American Icon Wines (see blue link below).

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2015 - June 2019 Decanter review

Founded in 2003, Andeluna is a small boutique winery specialising in premium Bordeaux varietals of world class recognition. The vineyard covers 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best subregions of Mendoza. By night you can often see the moon illuminating the magnificent Andes Mountains nearby and the winery has been named after this stunning scene. Situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres, the vineyard produces some of the best fruit in Argentina. Winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Oenologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna's wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers to make outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the global spotlight in a very short space of time. Their Pasionado range is only made in exceptional vintages and rivals some of the great wines of the world.

A warm winter was followed by a perfectly cool summer and between 10 to 50 per cent more rain than usual in the early autumn harvest months. In the Andeluna vineyards, the sloped stony soils and phenomenal drainage allowed the rain to have a mostly destressing effect on the vines, resulting in an incredible balance of flavours. The Malbec in parcels with stony and limestone soils were undisputed superstars. Due to the warm winter, the 2015 harvest was between 10 and 15 days earlier than usual.

The grapes come from vineyards located in Gualtallary in Tupungato at an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level. The vines are irrigated by a drip-water system that regulates and supplies the exact amount of water that the plant needs. The vineyard soils are alluvial, sandy and permeable.

This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc.

The grapes were hand-picked in the cool of dawn in April, when they had reached full polyphenolic maturity. The berries were manually selected and the best berries underwent cold pre- fermentation maceration. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures of 26°C. The wine was aged in used French oak barrels (60% second passage, 40% third passage) for a period of 12 months and then cellared in bottles for a minimum of eight months prior to its release. 

Intense aromas fill the glass, with deep red fruits and a remarkable presence of red bell pepper, fennel, mint, anise, eucalyptus and basil. A structured, full bodied wine, with rounded tannins which result in a pleasant and persistent finish. 

Serve with full bodied meats as steak or lamb. Decant and serve at 16°C.

£31.50

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

Assyrtiko, Ktima Kir-Yianni 2018 (1x75cl)

Kir-Yianni was founded in 1997 by Yiannis Boutaris, one of the leading figures in the Greek wine industry, when he left the Boutari Wine Group, the premium family wine company that his grandfather established in 1879. Today, Stellios Boutaris, a member of the fifth generation of winemakers, leads Kir-Yianni into the next phase of its history, by dynamically exploring the cornerstones of the Kir-Yianni philosophy: the desire for innovation, respect for tradition and using his knowledge of the wine, from the grape to the end consumer.

The vineyard lies at an altitude of 700 meters within the viticultural zone of Agios Panteleimon, in the Amyndeon Appelation in Northwestern Greece. The vineyard’s mean yield does not exceed 40 hl/he. The soil is sandy and poor, thus offering the possibility of producing wines of exquisite quality and rich aromas. The microclimate of the region is characterised by cold winters and warm summers, while the four neighbouring lakes contribute to the creation of a mild continental climate. This Assyrtiko is produced from young vines that are between 6-8 years-old.

The grapes are cold soaked in order to maximize the extraction of aroma precursors into the must. Following racking, the must is inocculated with selected yeasts. After the end of the fermentation, the wine matures for a period of 4-5 months on fine lees, thus gaining more volume and complexity.

This wine is 100% Assyrtiko.

On the nose the wine displays aromas of white fruits and flowers. On the palate, the citrus acidity balances with the warm alcohol and the round mouthfeel of the wine, and finishes with a lingering aftertaste. This is a fine Assyrtiko wine with an intense character produced from young vines growing on the mountainous vineyards of Amyndeon. Intense, with refreshing acidity and firm structure, Assyrtiko is a wine ideal for pairing with a variety of foods including fish fillet roasted or poached, fried cod, oven-roasted stuffed squid, pasta in white sauce and white cheeses. 

£12.60

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

Betz Family Besoleil Columbia Valley 2014 (1x75cl)

Betz is a family run winery in Woodinville, Washington, headed up by Bob Betz MW. Their first vintage was in 1998, and today they have an annual production of 5,000 cases, of which two thirds goes to their domestic mailing list customers. The vineyards are located in the Columbia Valley, specifically in the Red Mountain, Horse Haven Hills, Yakima Valley and Snipes Mountain AVAs. Betz works very closely with long term growers that allow them to select specific rows and vines. The climate is sunny and dry, with the Cascade Mountain range acting as a cloud barrier, ensuring cloudless skies 300 days of the year. The vines are planted on their own roots, rather than on rootstocks, because phylloxera is not a problem in Washington State.

Fruit for this wine was grown on the eastern and Mid Yakima Valley, primarily in the ancient riverbed site of Upland Vineyard. This site has the oldest Grenache planting in WA and the oldest own-rooted Grenache planting in North America. At 325 to 450 metres above sea level, the sites are mostly windy with excellent drainage and steep slopes. Soils include Hezel sandy loam, silt loam, Scooteney, some ancient riverbed, volanic pumice and calcite deposits. The area is very dry, with 12 to 16cm of rain annually.

In the vineyards, 2014 marked the third year in a row for an early start for vine growth. Flowering took place under ideal weather conditions. The warm, calm weather resulted in one of the most compressed flowering periods in recent years, and very even berry size. This also meant that a large crop was hanging in the vineyards, which allowed growers to ‘green harvest’, a mid-season dropping of any bunches that were uneven or lagging behind in development. Steady heat continued through July and August, leading to the earliest harvest ever for Betz Family Winery with the first grapes picked on 3rd September. The wines reflect the steady weather and even grape ripeness.

33% Grenache/Garnacha, 24% Counoise, 20% Syrah/Shiraz, 17% Cinsault, 6% Mourvèdre.

The fruit was placed into open top fermenters where it remained for six to eight days. The must then went into a basket press before the wine went into barrel for malolactic fermentation. It was allowed to age for 12 months, primarily in concrete with a small percentage of neutral, large format barrels.

A finely layered yet deep and brooding blend, with creamy black raspberry, wild dried strawberry, dried herbs and floral notes. This year’s blend represents the highest proportion of Counoise in Bésoleil to date (24%) and reflects the success of the variety in 2014. The typical ruby-red colour of Bésoleil is deepened by the vibrant blue of Counoise, which also imparts notes of white and black pepper alongside an earthy, dusty expression reminiscent of the southern Rhône

ABV = 14.0%.

£45.85

Betz Family La Cote Rousse Syrah 2014 (1x75cl)

Betz is a family run winery in Woodinville, Washington, headed up by Bob Betz MW. Their first vintage was in 1998, and today they have an annual production of 5,000 cases, of which two thirds goes to their domestic mailing list customers. The vineyards are located in the Columbia Valley, specifically in the Red Mountain, Horse Haven Hills, Yakima Valley and Snipes Mountain AVAs. Betz works very closely with long term growers that allow them to select specific rows and vines. The climate is sunny and dry, with the Cascade Mountain range acting as a cloud barrier, ensuring cloudless skies 300 days of the year. The vines are planted on their own roots, rather than on rootstocks, because phylloxera is not a problem in Washington State.

Fruit for this wine comes from the Red Mountain site in the Eastern Yakima Valley, planted at 325 to 420 metres, receiving an average of 12cm of rainfall per year. Soils are composed of Hezel sandy loam, shallow warden loam over scooteney, and some ancient riverbeds. This is the hottest of the three Betz Family Winery Syrah sites.

In the vineyards, 2014 marked the third year in a row for an early start for vine growth. Flowering took place under ideal weather conditions. The warm, calm weather resulted in one of the most compressed flowering periods in recent years, and very even berry size. This also meant that a large crop was hanging in the vineyards, which allowed growers to ‘green harvest’, a mid-season dropping of any bunches that were uneven or lagging behind in development. Steady heat continued through July and August, leading to the earliest harvest ever for Betz Family Winery with the first grapes picked on 3rd September. The wines reflect the steady weather and even grape ripeness.

The fruit was placed into open top fermenters where it remained for six to eight days. It was then transferred into a basket press before the wine went into barrel for malolactic fermentation. It was allowed to age for 12 months in 50% new French oak.

100% Syrah.

The 2014 La Côte Rousse displays the youthful, brooding, dark character expected from these Red Mountain sites. The superb ripening conditions are evident in its deep core of blue and black fruits. The use of whole cluster fermentation has added additional spicy aromatics along with smoked meats, crushed herbs and wood spice.

ABV = 14.2%.

£52.60
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