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Abadia Retuerta Seleccion Especial 2016 (1x75cl)

Situated in the historic area of Sardón de Duero in Ribera del Duero is the small, premium artisanal winery of Abadia Retuerta, comprised of a patchwork of 54 individual vineyard plots, each planted with a single variety, and each with starkly different characteristics. Winemaker Pascal Delbeck - proprietor of Château Ausone - has an fascination with international varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc – and he makes great use of them. He is also at the forefront of a movement to get Castillo y Leon - currently Vino de la Tierra - recognised as a DO.

The Selección Especial is Abadia Retuerta's best-known wine worldwide and accounts for some 80% of all their production.

Produced from a selection of the best grapes from each of their vineyards, it combines the richness of a Tempranillo and the elegance of a Cabernet Sauvignon with the strength of a Syrah.

This wine is aged for 16 months in French and American oak barrels. During this time the wood infuses notes of cedar, pastry and notes of toast into the wine.

Tempranillo 100%.

Intense dark garnet color, vivid and bright. The nose shows great aromatic complexity of cherry liqueur notes and subtle nuances of dark chocolate, together with a background of redfruit and blackberries. The palate is warm and delicate, silky tannins enhance its refinement and roundness. Its balanced acidity and surprising freshness are well integrated into a subtle and long finish making this Selección Especial a wine of a sharp elegance.

ABV = 14.5%.

£25.25

Akarua (Bannockburn) Pinot Noir 2017 (1 x 75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their January 2020 edition article, Most Exciting Wines of 2019 (see blue link below).

Akarua (Bannockburn) Pinot Noir 2017 - January 2020 Decanter review

Awarded 95 points and Gold status at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019 (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).

Akarua Pinot Noir 2017 - IWC 2019 award and review

The Skeggs family were among the first people to buy and plant vineyard land in Central Otago in the mid 1990s, so were lucky enough to acquire a superb north facing site in Bannockburn. Planted in 1996, this 50 hectare site has since provided the backbone of the Akarua wines. Due to the short growing season in Central Otago, site selection is one of the key elements in making a great wine, and Akarua have a site that is among the very best. Akarua was re-introduced after many years to Liberty Wines by Tony Jordan, who makes their sparkling wines. Tony built Domaine Chandon in Australia, and is one of the world's leading experts in sparkling wine production. He has been enamoured with the potential for Central Otago to make top quality fizz for quite a while, and is now doing so with Akarua.

All the Pinot Noir grapes were harvested from Akarua's 50 hectare site on Cairnmuir Road in Bannockburn, which lies at 270 metres above sea level. The soil here is young alluvial schist based sand/silt and sandy loams overlaying schist rock. The vines are 16 years old.

The 2017 growing season was uniquely cool, leading to small bunches and low yields. Luckily, this cool weather reduced disease pressure so fruit remained healthy right up until harvest which started in mid-April.

The grapes were hand picked and 90% were destemmed. Pre-fermentation maceration took place over five days, with temperatures peaking at 31°C. Punch downs took place twice daily and post fermentation maceration lasted six days. The wine spent 10 months in French barriques, 30% of which were new.

100% Pinot Noir.

Deep bright ruby in colour. The nose displays intense black fruit flavours and the complexity that Bannockburn Pinot Noir is renowned for, with haunting aromatics of bramble fruits and spice. The palate is elegantly balanced with red fruits and finely textured tannins. A wine with great poise and longevity.

ABV = 14.0%.

£26.90

Amalaya Corte Unico (Finca San Isidro) 2017 (1x75cl)

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‘.

This is Amalaya's flagship wine. 

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.

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 with almost 100 millimetres of rainfall and good sunshine hours. The lack of spring frost ensuring a good fruit set that resulted in healthy grapes and a strong yield.

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, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Tannat.

This wine is deep ruby red in colour, with aromas of red and black fruit with spicy, vanilla notes imparted from the oak. This is a concentrated, fruit-forward wine with rounded, supple tannins and a long finish..

ABV = 14.5%.

£23.60

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.

100% Barbera.

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

Bodega Garzon Tannat Reserva 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. 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.

Please click the blue link below to see a tasting note and more information about this wine, which has been written by the winemakers at Garzon. 

Garzon Tannat Reserva 2017 - fiche technique

100% Tannat.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.70

Bodegas Brisas 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

The 2018 vintage (not yet here) was awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 South American supplement article, Sustainable Uruguay.

Bodegas Brisas Altos De Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2018 - April 2020 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.

ABV = 14.5%.

£14.70

Bodegas Protos Gran Reserva 2004 (1x 75cl)

The guiding philosophy of Protos is Quality above all. For this reason, the whole process leading to the production of their wine undergoes an in-depth analysis. The vineyards are controlled exhaustively by both technicians and experts throughout the growth cycle, yielding a production of the highest quality. This also gives them in-depth information about all the grapes to be used before they reach the winery.

Protos Gran Reservas are only produced in excellent vintages. The vines used to make the Gran Reserva are all over 60 years old.

100% Tempranillo.

Harvesting is 100% manual, gathered in 20-kilo boxes; the grapes are then spread over sorting tables. This allows them to guarantee that only completely healthy, whole grapes reach the fermentation tanks, where the wine sees skin maceration and a fermentation of 28 days at 28ºC.  The wine then spends 24 months ageing in French (80%) and American (20%) oak barrels. before maturing for a further 36 months in bottle.

The Protos Gran Reserva has a deep cherry colour, which is bright and intense. The nose is very expressive and powerful with complex, elegant, roasted coffee and dark chocolate aromas, as well as candied fruit. On the palate it is fleshy, full-bodied and powerful. It also has creamy, spicy notes and a seductive, lingering finish.

This wine should always be enjoyed with a meal. Our suggestions include roast lamb (a simply perfect and famous combination), roast pork, roast beef, hearty stews, big game and mature cheese such as a full-flavoured Cheddar or Stilton.

ABV = 14.5%.

£39.00

Bodegas Verum Ulterior Parcela #17 Graciano 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2020 edition feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).

Bodegas Verum, Ulterior Parcela #17 Graciano 2016 - February 2020 Decanter review

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The origins of the López-Montero family in wine-making and distilling date back to 1788. It was then when the first of their wineries in Tomelloso was registered, which is still on the records at the local archives of the town. In 1963 Juan Antonio López Ramírez and María Victoria Montero established Altosa, a winery and distillery that continues to make and market wines and distilled spirits. In 2005, María Victoria, with her daughter, María Belén, and her sons, Juan Antonio, Pedro José and Elías, created Bodegas y Viñedos Verum. The brand encompasses the wines of the López-Montero family from the best vineyards and terroirs in their property.

Put simply, La Mancha's Bodegas Verum is an organic vineyard which produces mono-varietal wines from both traditional grapes and forgotten indigenous varietals such as Albillo Real and Tinto Velasco.

For this, the Ulterior Parcela #17, a single-vineyard wine from Parcela 17 of the El Romeral vineyard, the grapes are picked by hand, destemmed, crushed and fermented in stainless still tanks, then transferred to old barrels for malolactic fermentation. 10% of the wine is aged in oak demi-muids of 600 liters made of new French oak, the rest in earthen jars (clay) of ~ 5,000 liters for 8 months. After bottling, it is held another 12 months before release.

Verum puts its wines on sale when they are at the optimum moment for consumption;  nevertheless, you can store this wine up to 7 years after harvest.

100% Graciano.

Cherry red with white trim, bright. On the nose it is intense, highlighting a floral character of violets, lavender and other aromatic herbs (typical of ripe Graciano) with a background of black fruit and subtle cocoa. On the palate it is also intense and ripe with smooth/fine-grained tannins that provide structure. There is great persistence that brings back the black fruits and violets, plus a touch of appealing bitterness that adds character.

Or, as DWWA 19 put it:

"Bright and pure purple berry fruit nose with attractive vanilla bean new oak aromas. On the palate, this is sumptuous and rich with generous, fleshy fruit. Very pure and expressive".

ABV = 13.5%.

£15.95

Ca Dei Frati Ronchedone 2015 (1x75cl)

The Dal Cero family has transformed their Ca' dei Frati property, situated on the southern shores of Lake Garda, into a model Italian estate over the past two decades. Back in 1987, they had 12 hectares of vineyard but now, following the purchase of a large chunk of prime vineyard in 2008, they have over 160 hectares. This increase in quantity has been matched by an increase in quality and today they remain the best producer in Lugana.

The grapes are grown in the Dal Cero's own vineyards, Ronchedone and La Tür, which are located on the south banks of Lake Garda near the town of Sirmione. The vines from which 'Ronchedone' is made are planted on chalky, limey and sandy clay soils, using single Guyot and cordon training. The yields were eight tonnes per hectare.

Marzemino, an indigenous varietal grown mostly in northern Italy, plus Sangiovese are the main grapes for Ronchedone, together with a maximum of 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon. Maceration and fermentation took place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with extended skin contact. Malolactic fermentation took place in barrique where the wine remained for 14 months, followed by 10 months in bottle.

45% Marzemino , 45% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Rich red fruits, macerated blueberries, maraschino cherries and liberally perfumed. The palate is potent, powerful with good acidity and expressing a strong sense of place.

ABV = 14.5%.

£23.20

Ca Vittoria Appassimento Limited Edition 2017 (1x75cl)

Previously named/badged as the Gold Release.

One of our biggest-selling red wines and the biggest-seller at this price point. It's easy to see why.

Fans of the steeped Valpolicella wines – Amarone, Recioto and Ripasso – will love this, especially as it does what an Amarone does at barely half the price. 

This blend of grapes grown and harvested in the Salento area, with picking occurring as late as October. But it is less the varietals and more the winemaking process that makes this special: instead of the traditional Veneto passito method used with the Valpolicellas - in which the grapes are picked and then allowed to dry to concentrate flavours and sugars - the Puglian appassimento method sees the grapes left in-situ on the vines to dry for a fortnight, ahead of picking and winemaking.

During this period 50% of their weight and moisture is lost. After a rigorous hand harvest, the grapes are pressed and the fermentation starts; the skins are left in the must for a long period to extract flavours and the characteristic ruby red colour. Subsequently the wine is left in oak for about 3 or 4 months; this aging gives pleasant notes of spice and vanilla.

The effect is the same: a wine which has deep colour and a rich luscious nose and palate full of sweet ripe dark cherries, plums, vanilla, and raisins. Result: seriously fruity and wonderfully easy drinking. It’s a great wine for roasted and grilled meats and game dishes.

For this wine, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note (some interesting translations) from the winemakers themselves.

Ca Vittoria Appassimento Gold Release 2018 - fiche technique

~60% Negroamaro, ~25% Merlot, ~15% Malvasia Nera.

This is a wonderful wine at an exceptional price.

ABV = 14.5%.

£10.95

Caballo Loco 17 NV (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 panel tasting of South American Icon Wines (see blue link below).

Caballo Loco 17 NV - June 2019 Decanter review

The winemaker's own technical sheets appear below (click blue links) - the Spanish inclusion may seem a little leftfield, but includes regional and other info that have yet to be put onto the English version

Caballo Loco 17 - fiche technique - English

Caballo Loco 17 - fiche technique - Spanish

For our article on 'the' (this) Caballo Loco, the appellation/Grand Cru Caballo Locos and the better wines of the Valdivieso fleet, click this link.

Valdivieso's top wine and stable star, the Caballo Loco is known around the world and each year changes merely its edition and, technically, not its vintage. It brings together every Cabollo Loco made since 1992 (the year of version 1), in what is, effectively, a solera system (as used for sherry and brandy de Jerez).

The idea for Caballo Loco was inspired by the legendary Ribera de Duero, Vega Sicilia Único Gran Reserva, which is produced using the solera method. This is the winemaking technique used for sherry and brandy de Jerez production, in which barrel-aged wines from different years are progressively and fractionally blended for reasons of both complexity and consistency.

The first Caballo Loco was produced in 1994 (Caballo Loco 1) and made from a blend of 50% of that year’s vintage with an aged blend from 1992. 

The resulting wine is bottle-aged for at least 18 months before release onto the market, and being a blend of wines from different years, there is, of course, no vintage on the label.

The grapes for the premium Caballo Loco come from four different vineyards in central Chile. The blend of the new wine varies each time it is made. Number 1 for example was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir, whilst later editions have contained varieties as diverse as Syrah, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carménère. Only Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are ever-present, these being blended with the best grapes from the other varieties that were most successful in the particular year (and best suited to create the intended balance of the Caballo Loco).

Each bottle of this version 17 therefore comprises:

- 50% version 16 and

- 50% of grapes from harvests from 2012 and 2013. New for version 17 was Carignan from Melozal (a sub-region of Maule) and Syrah from Limarí. This variety brings to the Caballo Loco another dimension of complexity, with balanced freshness and acidity.

The result is a wine of great concentration, quite unlike any other on the market. There is intense mature berry fruit on the nose and richness on the palate with velvety tannins, and so many layers of flavours that the wine is almost impossible to describe in detail. The secret blend of grapes from different vintages create intense aromas of dark cherry, coffee, and rich fruitcake. Full bodied on the palate with a beautiful lingering structure. 

It is a unique - some say crazy - wine, which is quite incomparable. It has great aromatic complexity and in the mouth, and an ageing potential of at least 10 years.

ABV = 14.5%.

£34.60

Cantina Mesa Buio Buio Riserva (Isola dei Nuraghi), Carignano del Sulcis 2016 (1x75cl)

** NOT IN IMMEDIATE STOCK. WITH US THURSDAY 9th APRIL **

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2020 edition article on Sulcis and Sardinia (see blue link below).

Cantina Mesa Buio Buio Riserva (Isola Dei Nuraghi), Carignano Del Sulcis 2016 - May 2020 Decanter review

This is one of the most exciting wineries to come out of Sardinia in two decades. It is the brainchild of Gavino Sanna, a Sardinian who has lived in Milan for the past 50 years, where he built up one of Italy's most successful advertising agencies. On a whim, he decided to sell the agency and seek new challenges. One of these challenges was the creation of a winery in Sulcis in southwestern Sardinia. As might be expected from someone with Sanna's background, the labels are striking. He has also ensured that the contents are equally striking. Stefano Cova, a young winemaker from Trentino, took over with the 2008 vintage, improving on an already high level of quality.

The grapes are grown in the Sulcis area on the south-western tip of Sardinia. The climate here is Mediterranean with low rainfall that usually falls almost entirely in autumn and winter. It is characterised by frequent north-westerly winds, high temperatures in spring and summer, a mild autumn and winters which vary from dry and cold through to relatively mild. Soils are naturally sandy and chalky-clay, sub-alkaline, medium textured with a rocky, schistous character. Moderate nutrient levels and good levels of minerals add a distinctive character to the resulting wines. The vines are espalier trained and spur-cordon pruned.

The grapes were hand-picked then vinified with maceration on the skins at 26-28°C for 10-12 days. Upon completion of malolactic fermentation, the wine spent a minimum of 10 months in second- and third-use barriques, followed by at least four months in bottle.

100% Carignan.

Deep ruby red in colour. The nose offers a complex mix of balsamic notes of red berry fruit and blossoms, together with hints of spices and oak. The palate is rich and full, revealing excellent balance with an appealingly silky texture and long, lingering finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

** NOT IN IMMEDIATE STOCK. WITH US THURSDAY 9th APRIL **

£28.15

Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos Douro Tinto 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded 95 points, Gold and overall Trophy status (Portuguese Red Trophy and Great Value Red between £8 and £12) at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019 (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).

Papa Figos 2017 - IWC 2019 award and review

This historic producer, founded in 1751, was purchased by Sogrape in 1987.  Today they have 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions:  Lower Corgo, Upper Corgo and Douro Superior.  The winemaking is headed up by the talented Luis Sottomayor, who manages to restrain the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Estevo and Papa Figos, allied to a wonderful depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Red and Quinta da Leda.

About 25% of the grapes for Papa Figos come from Casa Ferreirinha's Quinta da Leda estate, and the rest from producers owning north-facing vineyards at relatively high altitudes. The soil in the Duoro Valley is made up of schist - a slate-like metamorphic rock that is rich in nutrients and has useful water retention properties. 

The golden oriole (papa figos in Portuguese) is one of the rarest birds in the Douro region. An attractive, brightly-coloured migratory bird, its uniqueness and rarity make it the perfect inspiration for this lovely wine.

The 2018 vintage saw a cold and dry winter which was followed by an extremely wet spring which replenished water reserves in the soil but also affected flowering and increased disease pressure on the vine. These factors significantly reduced the yield but a hot and dry summer allowed for a balanced maturation and the fruit harvested was of excellent quality

After gentle destemming and crushing, the grapes were transferred to stainless steel tanks. Intense maceration is achieved by pumping over. After maceration, the wine is run off the solids, the free-run wine is kept separate from the press wine. Malolactic fermentation was encouraged in controlled conditions. The blend was selected and remained in stainless tanks throughout the winter. 25% of the total of the blend spent eight months in used French oak barrels, and the final blend was bottled after 12 months.

35% Tinta Roriz, 30% Tinta Barroca, 20% Touriga Franca, 15% Touriga Nacional.

This wine is ruby red in colour with violet nuances. Intensely aromatic with fresh black fruits, red berries, heather, chocolate and balsamic savoury spice on the nose. The spicy red fruit profile follows onto the full bodied palate that balances smooth tannins with well-integrated acidity on the long lasting finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£11.60

Casa Ferreirinha, Vinha Grande Douro Tinto 2017 (1x75cl)

This producer, founded in 1952, is named after the legendary Porto matriarch Dona Antónia Ferreira. Affectionately nicknamed 'Ferreirinha' by her countrymen, the house pays homage to her memory and was the first house in the region dedicated to making light wines. Purchased by Sogrape in 1987, it has 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions: Lower Corgo, Upper Corgo and Douro Superior. The winemaking is headed up by Luís Sottomayor, who restrains the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Esteva and Papa Figos, allied to a lovely depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Tinto and Quinta da Leda.

The selected grape varieties were sourced from the Quinta do Sairrão estate located at a high altitude in the Cima Corgo region. The mountainous vineyards here have schist soils with vines planted either in vertical rows or on traditional patamares (terraces). The selected plots are ideal for optimal maturation thanks to the hot days and cool evenings bringing out the fresh fruit character of the grapes.

Like the rest of Portugal, this region suffered from a severe lack of water throughout the 2017 growing season with high daytime temperatures tempered only by the cooling effect of the high altitude. The harvest was very early and yields were much lower than average. The region suffered a series of wildfires due to the extremely dry conditions and many vineyards were damaged and in some cases, completely destroyed. However, despite the atypical harvest year, the resulting wines have great balance, elegance and concentration.

Grapes selected for the Vinha Grande Tinto went through gentle crushing and destemming prior to temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Long skin contact during fermentation ensured optimal extraction, which was facilitated by pumping over and robotic plunging. Maturation took place for between 12 and 18 months in used French oak barrels. The blend was then selected based on both sensory and technical analyses. The wine was then lightly filtered before bottling. In addition, the wine did not undergo cold stabilisation, which may mean it will have natural sediment in the bottle.

40% Touriga Franca , 25% Touriga Nacional, 25% Tinta Roriz, 10% Tinta Barroca.

This wine has a deep ruby colour and intense aromas of flowers, strawberry and raspberry fruit, a touch of black pepper and well-integrated oak. The voluminous palate has well-integrated acidity, velvety tannins, a delicate minerality and notes of red berries. The finish is elegant and long.

ABV = 14.0%.

£13.35

Cave De Fleurie, Fleurie Millesime 2017 (1x75cl)

This wine is bursting with ripe red berry fruit flavours. It is soft and fresh, with delicate light tannins.

Gamay 100%.

ABV = 13.0%.

£13.20
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