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A Mano Imprint Primitivo Appassito 2017 (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.

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. A Mano started harvest on the 25th of August, about 12 days earlier than normal with fruit that was of outstanding quality.

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.

100% Primitivo.

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.

ABV = 14.5%.

£13.95

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

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

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

Alfredo Maestro Tejero El Marciano 2016 - March 2019 Decanter review

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

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

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

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

£15.20

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

Alpha Estate is located in Amyndeo, North West Greece. It is the brainchild of two visionaries, second generation vine grower Makis Mavridis and Bordeaux trained wine maker Angelos Iatrides. Angelos is one of the most talented winemakers working in Europe. This pristine estate in the cool highlands of Western Macedonia comprises 120 hectares of privately owned single block vineyards and employs the most up to date vineyard techniques and winemaking technology to produce world class wines from French and indigenous Greek varietals.

The Single Block Barba Yannis is named in honour of Mr Yannis, from whom the block was purchased in 1994. The vineyard is located in Amyndeo, in the region of Macedonia. The vines are ungrafted, pre-phylloxera bush vines which are over 90 years old. The summers are hot, so in order to avoid extreme water deficit, a "root zone drying irrigation" is used, to ensure the optimum conditions for the nourishment and maturation of the grapes. The vines are grown in sandy clay soils.

The grapes were destemmed, lightly crushed and cold soaked with skin contact. Fermentation took place using an indigenous yeast strain which has been isolated from this specific block. The grapes were vinified at gradually increasing temperatures, before being maintained "sur lie" or on its fine lees, for eighteen months with regular stirring. Maturation took place in Allier-Bertrange French oak casks of medium grain, for 24 months, with a minimum of a further 12 months ageing in the bottle. The wine was bottled without fining and filtration.

This wine is made using Xinomavro 100%.

A complex and typical Xinomavro (pronounced Ksee no' ma vro), showing aromas of smoky black fruits, strawberries, dark cherries, liquorice, sundried tomatoes, and delicate spice. Full bodied and structured on the palate, with a rich depth of fruit, concentrated savoury notes and a touch of oak. The velvety tannins lead through to a persistent and aromatic finish. Serving Suggestion A perfect match with juicy red barbecued meats, roasted lamb, spicy sausage and red peppers baked in olive oil.

£19.65

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)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their January 2020 edition article/feature on Spain's Extremadura region (see blue link below).

Alvear Palacio Quemado La Zarcita 2017 - January 2020 Decanter review

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

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

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.

ABV = 14.0%

£14.50

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

** NOW IN STOCK **

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

"A blend of Syrah with 25 per cent Grenache and 5 per cent Mourvèdre, this is a pure, bright and zesty red blend, entirely aged in tank.  There’s a wildflower and thyme sweetness to the aromas, a little meaty richness and a twist of orange peel, too – but everything in moderation and just proportion.  Pure and poised.  91/100" - Andrew Jefford, of the 2015 (see his article linked below)

La Bergerie du Capucin (LBdC) extends over more than 15 hectares on Pic Saint Loup land in the communes of Lauret and Valflaunès. For LBdC, wine is a family affair, its beauty and bouquet reflecting the values transmitted from generation to generation. The original Bergerie stands only a few km from the vineyard and modern winery. Jeanne, a beautiful shepherdess on the high plains of the Bergerie du Capucin - inspire their first wine, reminding  of the delicate, round characteristics of our family wines and the hill paths she trod each day.

At up to 650 metres in altitude and ~30 kilometres from the Mediterranean - on the first spurs of the Cevennes and Massif Central - the Pic Saint Loup appellation abounds with the perfume and purity of the most northern (and among the most elevated) of the Languedoc appellations; holm oaks, garrigue scrubland, pines, thyme, laurel and rosemary. Fruit springs to life from the heart of varied soils, chalky-clay on marly sub-soils, and forge their character over contrasting seasons. In winter, the soil receives enough water to balance out the moderately dry summer and the huge - but crucial - swings in temperature between day and night. The exacting and contrasting Pic Saint Loup land, its soil types and climate, are all reflected in the traits of the wines of Pic St-Loup. 

See this excellent article by Andrew Jefford - from Decanter (www.decanter.com) in October 2017 - for far more detail on both Bergerie du Capucin and the Pic St Loup appellation.

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

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

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

A gentle, sweet encounter with woodland berries and spicy aromas, the red hue of Dame Jeanne exalts the soft, fresh and delicate fragrances of our garrigue scrubland populated by green oaks. Created from the marriage of the three essential Pic Saint Loup grape varieties Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. This wine is the perfect accompaniment throughout a meal, from white meats to a chocolate dessert. Savoured it as you would a moment of sharing, in any season.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.95

Beronia Graciano Rioja 2012 (1x 75cl)

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

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

100% Graciano.

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

£16.90

Blank Canvas Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

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

Blank Canvas Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015 - July 2019 Decanter review

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

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

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

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

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

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

£23.50

Bodega Garzon Single Vineyard Petit Verdot 2017 (1x75cl)

Bodega Garzón is a family owned winery in Maldonado on the Atlantic coast in southern Uruguay. They pioneered viticulture in this area over 10 years ago, and have since become the standard-bearer for premium wines from Uruguay. In November 2018, their pioneering status was recognised by Wine Enthusiast with the ‘New World Winery of the Year’ award. The vineyards at Bodega Garzón are a patchwork quilt of 1,150 individual plots of around 0.2 hectares in size, each plot carefully chosen for a specific variety according to its soil and microclimate. The winery is specially designed to operate as sustainably as possible, and is the first winery outside North America to pursue LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Built on natural terraces, the winery uses cutting-edge technology and operates using a gravity system to ensure quality and energy efficiency at every stage of production.

Located 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity and an intense canopy management. Well-draining granitic soils and cooling Atlantic breezes allow the grapes to ripen steadily. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, palm trees, rocky soils and granite boulders. The north-facing orientation of this particular single vineyard maximises sun exposure, guaranteeing perfectly ripe Petit Verdot grapes.

Average seasonal temperatures meant bud burst and fruit set occurred between September and December. However, strong spring winds meant work had to be undertaken in the vineyard to tie the shoots to their trellises to prevent damage. The hard work continued as rains between December and January threatened the vines and careful canopy management became necessary. Summer was dry and hot, and drip irrigation was necessary. The leaves were left untrimmed to serve as sun protection for the grapes. Late rains at the end of March brought forward the end of harvest. The wines from 2017 are characterised by elegant acidity and freshness.

The hand-harvested grapes were macerated for five days before fermentation in 80 hectolitre concrete tanks, at 26-28ºC for one week with twice daily pump overs. The wine was then aged on lees for 12-18 months in 25 hectolitre French oak casks, for added complexity. The oak was untoasted and fourth use.

This wine is 100% Petit Verdot.

Intense violet-red in colour, the aromatic nose combines both red and black fruits (blueberry and cherry), hints of vanilla and black pepper spice. This is an elegant full-bodied wine, the fresh acidity and silky tannins framing the spicy ripe fruits and mineral notes. Harmonious and elegant.

£25.20

Bodega Garzon Single Vineyard 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).

Bodega Garzon Single Vineyard Tannat 2017 - October 2019 Decanter review

The 2016 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition article on the Maldonado region of Uruguay (see blue link below).

Bodega Garzón Single Vineyard Tannat 2016 - October 2019 Decanter review

Bodega Garzón is a family owned winery in Maldonado on the Atlantic coast in southern Uruguay. They pioneered viticulture in this area over 10 years ago, and have since become the standard-bearer for premium wines from Uruguay. In November 2018, their pioneering status was recognised by Wine Enthusiast with the ‘New World Winery of the Year’ award. The vineyards at Bodega Garzón are a patchwork quilt of 1,150 individual plots of around 0.2 hectares in size, each plot carefully chosen for a specific variety according to its soil and microclimate. The winery is specially designed to operate as sustainably as possible, and is the first winery outside North America to pursue LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Built on natural terraces, the winery uses cutting-edge technology and operates using a gravity system to ensure quality and energy efficiency at every stage of production.

Located 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity and an intense canopy management. Well-draining granitic soils and cooling Atlantic breezes allow the grapes to ripen steadily. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, palm trees, rocky soils and granite boulders. This single vineyard Tannat comes from a site which is cooler than the other blocks on the estate, with steep slopes, thin soils and excellent drainage thanks to the predominance of ballast in the upper layers.

Average seasonal temperatures meant bud burst and fruit set occurred between September and December. However, strong spring winds meant work had to be undertaken in the vineyard to tie the shoots to their trellises to prevent damage. The hard work continued as rains between December and January threatened the vines and careful canopy management became necessary. Summer was dry and hot, and drip irrigation was necessary. The leaves were left untrimmed to serve as sun protection for the grapes. Late rains at the end of March brought forward the end of harvest. The wines from 2017 are characterised by elegant acidity and freshness.

The hand-harvested grapes were macerated for five days before fermentation in 80 hectolitre cement tanks, at 26-28ºC for one week with twice daily pump overs. The wine was then aged on lees for 12-18 months in 25 hectolitre French oak casks for added complexity. The oak used was untoasted and fourth use.

This wine is 100% Tannat.

Deep purple in colour, this powerful Tannat has an elegant nose with aromas of cherries, strawberries and black plums with hints of smoky tobacco and dark chocolate. Full bodied, with fresh acidity and firm tannins complementing the spicy black fruit on a long, intense finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£25.20

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.

ABV = 14.0%.

£28.90

Bodegas Bilbainas Vina Pomal Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 (1x75cl)

The 2010 vintage was 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).

Vina Pomal Gran Reserva Rioja 2010 - March 2018 Decanter review

Their vineyards are located close to the winery, in the municipality of Haro. 250 hectares of vines make it the largest property in the area, and the Reserva and Gran Reserva are a true reflection of the area. With an average vine age in excess of 25 years, they endeavour to make wines with the utmost balance. The Tempranillo is enhanced with the addition of Graciano, which only matures in great vintages. Those are the vintages when they make Gran Reserva, as it is not made every year.

2011 was a year marked by a dry winter and a rainy spring which favoured vine growth. Fruit setting was irregular due to the rains in May and June. The harvest was characterised by a lack of rain and it commenced early on. A very dry summer with high temperatures speeded up final ripening. In some cases we detected a great deal of vine stress due to drought with a slight imbalance between alcoholic and phenolic ripening. On the other hand, vineyards that usually present more vigour ripened very well this year, yielding good berry quality, Vine health was practically perfect. With proper aging, in order to soften their structure, the wines show a great deal of intensity and cellaring potential.

Viña Pomal Gran Reserva is made following traditional vinification methods. The grapes are selected manually in the vineyards. At the winery, they are destemmed and crushed before undergoing a moderately long maceration in tanks. After alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, the wines are racked and aged in 225 litre Bordeaux barrels, traditionally American oak. After ageing in barrels for one year, the wine is racked back to tanks. This is when the blend for the Gran Reserva is determined, and 10% Graciano, a minority Rioja variety, is added to the Tempranillo. The wine is fined with egg whites and put in barrels again for another year to complete its two years’ ageing in oak. After its stay in barrels, the wine spends a further year in oak vats, where the natural cleaning and assembly process concludes. After ageing for another three years in the bottle, the vinification of this unique Rioja wine is complete.

Garnet and cherry hues introduce this bright Gran Reserva with light orange reflections on the rim. The unique vinification process of this Gran Reserva provides a complex, elegant nose with notes of liquorice and red fruit, typical of the Tempranillo, along with hints of spices subtly added by the Graciano. During bottle ageing, all of this is assembled with toasty and balsamic aromas (vanilla, pepper, tobacco) contributed by the barrels. As the wine airs in the glass, it discloses its full range of nuances and complex aromas. In the mouth, it reflects our surroundings, with a mild entry and a sense of elegance and balance, ending in long persistence, denoting the craft of barrel ageing and the assemblage provided by a long stay in the bottle.

The winemaker does not consider that it is necessary to decant this wine which is ready to drink now and over the next ten years.

£26.15
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