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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

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 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

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

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

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

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 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.

ABV = 14.0%.

£12.50

Bodegas Ondarre, Ondarre Reserva, Rioja 2014 (1x75cl)

Bodegas Ondarre, is based in Viana, a historic town six kilometres from Logroño, Rioja's capital. Founded in 1986 it has quickly become one of the standout producers in the region with its elegant and distinguishable style. Their most acclaimed wines are their Reservas, which win top awards and critical approval every year. They attribute their success to the hard work in the vineyards and their continual investment into the winery and barrel stock. They use both French and American oak casks to help them obtain the incredible character in their wines. As well as their Reservas, they produce a few thousand cases of a single varietal Graciano; this is a real rarity due to the low-yielding nature of the vine.

A cold winter with high rainfall, followed by further rains in April and May created good soil water reserves. Weather patterns were mixed over the summer, with some rain, sunny days and overcast days, but véraison occurred on time and the growth cycle of the vines continued at a steady pace. September saw warm, sunny weather which encouraged the ripening of the berries. The grapes were exceptionally healthy and of very good quality at harvest.

The grapes are grown in vineyards covering 1,200 hectares around the winery, at the point confluence of La Rioja, Alava and Navarra. The area offers an optimum climate and terroir. The vines are grown in clay-based soils with high iron and chalk content.

Each grape variety was fermented separately in temperature controlled vats at 28 to 30°C, which lasted for between 16 to 18 days. The wine was blended and then aged for 16 months in American and French oak, Bordeaux-type casks imparting subtle oak complexity. During the maturation the wine was racked four times, in order to gently extract phenolic compounds by oxygenating the wine. This produced a softer wine which exhibits great varietal fruit character.

Tempranillo 75%, Mazuelo 15%, Garnacha 10%.

Leather, vanilla and spice of traditionally made Rioja enveloped in a smooth and textured palate. Balanced, with ripe, wild strawberries and integrated tannins through to a long, lingering finish.

£9.95

Bodegas Pinord Mas Blanc Estate '+ 7' Priorat 2015 (1x 75cl)

The 2013 vintage (no longer available) was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their November 2019 edition panel tasting of Priorat (see blue link below).

Bodegas Pinord Mas Blanc Estate '+ 7' Priorat 2013 - November 2019 Decanter review

In the heart of the Priorat appellation, between the villages of Bellmunt and Falset, is Pinord's Mas Blanc estate. Their 18 hectares of vineyard have been farmed organically from the beginning and most recently the family have adopted many biodynamic farming techniques. They believe by attempting to maintain a balance with the land they will be leaving it a better place for future generations

The grapes are sourced from seven different plots of vineyard, where the soils are made up of a slate known locally as licorella. The vines are cultivated organically and harvested by hand.

Following a meticulous selection process, the grapes underwent a careful maceration, extracting the primary aromas, flavours and the deep colour of the final wine. It was then aged for 14 months in American and French oak barrels, followed by 12 months in bottle.

Grenache 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 30%, Syrah 20%.

Generous blackcurrant fruit complemented by vanilla, chocolate and truffle, all enveloped in a dense and layered palate. Ripe, dense black fruits, vanilla and chocolate aromas envelope the full bodied, but elegant palate, which is rich and very silky with a long, smooth finish. 

£28.10

Bonsai Shiraz Cabernet High Eden Berton Vineyard 2016 (1x75cl)

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard is one of Hallgarten's most important partners. The estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

Good winter rainfall was a perfect start to the 2016 growing season. Above average temperatures resulted in early budburst with most varieties. The mild to warm and dry conditions continued with good rainfall in both November and December producing ideal conditions for véraison. February saw the arrival of hot dry weather and with no rainfall or disease pressure, ripening accelerated rapidly resulting in an early harvest for the reds. The 2016 reds are stand outs - rich ripe juicy wines with great length and great depth of colour.

The vineyard was planted in 1996, with vines planted 1.5m apart and with 3.3m between the rows. A single wire trellis system is used which ensures good ventilation and minimal disease. The canopy is typically quite sparse allowing maximum sunlight penetration. The vines are spur pruned and grown in "Podsolics" an old grey soil formed over yellow clay, which is sandy and slightly sodic.

The grapes were fermented in stainless static fermenters for approximately eight days at temperatures of between 22°C and 28°C on premium French untoasted and toasted oak. The grapes were pressed at 0.5 Baumé into stainless steel tanks and fermented until dry. The wine then went through malolactic fermentation and each parcel was clarified via centrifuge. Each parcel was transferred into new and used French oak barrels for approximately 20 months. The best parcels of each of the Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignons were carefully barrel selected.

This Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon impresses with impenetrable violet hues and delivers intense aromas of blueberry, plum, liquorice and toasty oak. Subtle fine tannins marry perfectly on the soft, elegant palate of dark cherry, leather and cigar box. Perfect with roast beef, marinated veal or full-flavoured cheeses.

£22.15
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