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Pinot Noir

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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

Akarua RUA Pinot Noir 2018 (1x75cl)

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 convinced of the potential for Central Otago to make top quality fizz for quite a while, and is now doing so with Akarua.

All fruit was sourced from the Akarua Estate vineyards in Central Otago. The vines are 21 years old and grow at an average of 270 metres above sea level with a north-western aspect. Soils are young alluvial, schist based sandy/silt and sandy loams overlaying schist rock.

The 2018 harvest followed an exceptionally warm, dry spring and an early summer which gave unusually high early season growth. The extraordinary summer temperatures brought the growing season forward for the earliest harvest to date. Late summer brought record high rainfall and welcome cooler daytime temperatures. The fruit was harvested in excellent condition.

Grapes for the Rua were cold-soaked for five days before fermentation commenced and the cap was punched down twice daily. The wine was given another six days on the skins post fermentation to provide the tannic backbone it requires. It then spent six months ageing in 100% French oak barriques, of which 10% were new. The result is a remarkably attractive - and great value - Pinot Noir from Central Otago.

100% Pinot Noir.

This Pinot Noir has a bright cherry-red colour in the glass and lifted cherry aromas with floral violet notes. On the palate, this well-defined Central Otago Pinot Noir exhibits juicy red fruits and a touch of spice. Supple tannins complement savoury highlights, with a long finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£17.65

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded a Gold Medal and 95 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Set against the backdrop of the majestic Pisa mountain range, Amisfield is one of the largest single estate vineyard in Central Otago. Spurred on by fond memories of childhood holidays in Central Otago, Amisfield founder John Darby was determined to master this breathtaking yet often unforgiving high country, convinced that this dramatic landscape presented the perfect environment for cool-climate viticulture. They are currently in the process of conversion to organic certification, implementing a host of advanced initiatives in organic wine production. Their simple philosophy is to nurture nature at every step and a hands-off approach means that the process takes time, with their wines yielding exceptional purity, intensity and vibrancy.

For a full description and tasting note of/for this wine, we would direct you to the data sheet/fiche technique from Amisfield themselves (click blue link below)

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

£25.65

Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Ata Rangi is owned and run by Clive Paton and his wife Phyll, together with Clive's sister Alison and winemaker Helen Masters. Clive planted the bare, stony five hectare home paddock at the edge of Martinborough in 1980 and, in doing so, was one of a handful of people who pioneered grape growing in the area. Renowned for their Pinot Noir, which is consistently ranked as one of New Zealand's best, Ata Rangi also produces a range of white wines including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Crimson is a wine which was inspired by a love of New Zealand's native 'Christmas Trees', the rata and pohutukawa trees. Sales of this wine support Project Crimson, a charitable conservation trust which plants and protects these trees. The Pinot Noir grapes for Crimson are produced from 10-20 year old Martinborough vines in Lismore, Waiora and Walnut Ridge blocks.

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.

The grapes were hand picked and 100% destemmed, keeping as much whole-berry fruit as possible. Pre-fermentation maceration lasted between two and six days. The must was inoculated with indigenous yeasts and hand plunged during fermentation that lasted two to three weeks in stainless-steel tanks. The wine was racked into barrel, of which 20% was new oak, where it remained for a further nine months after malolactic fermentation until bottling.

100% Pinot Noir.

The 2017 vintage was cooler than average, delivering wines of complexity and vibrant acid structure. This Pinot Noir has an enticing nose of mulberry and bramble fruits complemented by spicy notes of tamarind paste and crushed sumac berry. The palate is long and textural with a thread of fine tannins.

ABV = 13.0%.

 

£22.00

Carrick Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 regional profile of NZ's Central Otago  (see blue link below).

Carrick Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2015 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

Carrick has always been about place. The name derives from the gold mining town and the mountain range to which Carrick looks. The wines are of Central Otago and its subregion, Bannockburn. Carrick's own vineyards are nestled around the winery and every effort is made to allow the wines to express their place and their providence. 

Vibrant fruit with fragrant aromatics are the hallmarks of this wine. The vintage was a little light with red fruits to the fore. The wine shows texture and a lingering finish.

To see the winemaker's notes for this wine please click on the blue link below.

Carrick Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2015 - fiche technique

£29.70

Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae Malbec 2015 (1x75cl)

“Like many other 2015s, there is a little more ripeness in the 2015 Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae, and the year is more marked and more noticeable in this bottling. It's juicy, floral, expressive and more gentle within the serious and austere profile the place provides.”  Wine Advocate, 95 points, 29 June 2018

“Very complex aromas of blueberries and blackberries with hints of cheese and wet earth. Hot stones. Full body, dense and layered with lots of firm yet polished tannins and a gorgeous finish. Succulent. So delicious. You want to drink it!” James Suckling, 97 points, 27 March 2018

In 1902, Nicola Catena, an Italian immigrant, planted his first vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina. The winery has remained under family control — now in its fourth generation — and is one of the few family-owned wine companies in Argentina that remains in Argentine hands. Owned today by Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura, Bodega Catena Zapata is known as the pioneer of fine wine from Argentina, and Nicolás is recognized as the vintner who revolutionized wine quality in Argentina. A trained economist, Nicolás began this revolution in the early 1980s and continues to challenge himself and his team to make wines that can be counted among the best in the world. His measured approach to viticulture has taken its place in wine history as the pioneer of Malbec and high-altitude viticulture.

Catena wines, first launched in 1992, set a new standard for quality in South America. The wines immediately proved the quality potential of Argentina and garnered the first outstanding reviews for Argentine wines from worldwide media. After more than 20 years, the wines of Catena continue to lead the way in Argentine viticulture and winemaking. The family and the winery’s employees take great pride in carrying on the tradition that began over a century ago.

The Catena family’s estate vineyards are located in the premier growing regions of Villa Bastías, Tupungato; Agrelo, Lujan de Cuyo; Lunlunta, Maipu; Gualtallary, Tupungato and La Consulta, San Carlos. Nicolás believes the terroir of Mendoza's high altitude wine country (3,000 - 5,000 feet above sea level) is unique to the world, and the reality of this belief is expressed in every bottle of Catena wine crafted.

For this wine, see/click the link below for more data from the winemakers themselves.

Catena Adrianna Fortuna Terrae Malbec 2015 - fiche technique

100% Malbec.

A big and rich-tasting red, balanced and sumptuous, with concentrated dark currant, olive and dried blackberry flavors. Chocolate and Asian spice notes fill the powerful finish, which features accents of black liqorice.

ABV = 14.0%.

£76.05

Chateau de Santenay Mercurey 1er Cru Les Puillets 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Red Cote de Beaune over £15) at the 2016 Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2016 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Chateau de Santenay Les Puilllets 1er Cru 2014 - August 2016 Decanter review

This magnificent property, which dates back to the 9th century, is also known as Château Philippe le Hardi, as it was once owned by the first Duc of Burgundy. Philippe le Hardi is famous as the person who banned the cultivation of Gamay in the Côte d'Or, saying in his edict of 1395 that only Pinot Noir could be used in the production of red wines from the already fabled slopes. Despite its long history, the property had fallen on hard times until it was taken over by the French bank Crédit Agricole in recent years. They have invested heavily, bringing in a new team to support the general manager, Gérard Fagnoni, and putting the emphasis on quality. The property has 98 hectares of vineyard, 72 of which are in Mercurey. These are remarkably well made and good value wines from the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise.

The eight hectare 'Les Puillets' vineyard is located on the south-south west facing hillslide slopes in the appellation of Mercurey. The average age of the vines is 30 years. The soils here are rich in clay, but the limestone is still very present as well as some areas of marl. These characteristics give the red wines of Mercurey power and a beautiful structure.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were cold soaked for seven days at 8°C to extract colour and flavour from the skins. Temperature-controlled fermentation lasted 12 to 14 days with daily pumping over, finishing with a rack and return, or 'délestage', to impart the grainy tannins that give the wines a lovely structure and length. The wine was then aged in oak barrels for 13 months, of which 20% were new, before bottling.

100% Pinot Noir.

A medium colour. The nose is focused on woody notes and kirsch. Full and rich, the palate shows red cherry and redcurrant flavours with mouthwatering freshness and pleasant tannins on the finish. Though drinking well now, it will reward some time in the cellar.

ABV = 13.0%.

£25.75

Chateau de Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 edition tasting of Best Buy Red Burgundy (see blue link below).

Chateau De Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2016 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

This magnificent property, which dates back to the 9th century, is also known as Château Philippe le Hardi, as it was once owned by the first Duc of Burgundy. Philippe le Hardi is famous as the person who banned the cultivation of Gamay in the Côte d'Or, saying in his edict of 1395 that only Pinot Noir could be used in the production of red wines from the already fabled slopes. Despite its long history, the property had fallen on hard times until it was taken over by the French bank Crédit Agricole in recent years. They have invested heavily, bringing in a new team to support the general manager, Gérard Fagnoni, and putting the emphasis on quality. The property has 98 hectares of vineyard, 72 of which are in Mercurey. These are remarkably well made and good value wines from the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise.

The fruit for the Mercurey Rouge comes from Chateau de Santenay's 72 hectares of vines planted across the Mercurey appellation. The soils are rich in clay, but the limestone is still very present as well as some areas of marl. These characteristics give the red wines of Mercurey finesse and structure.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were cold soaked for seven days at 8°C to extract colour and flavour from the skins. Temperature-controlled fermentation lasted 12 to 14 days with daily pumping over, finishing with a rack and return, or 'délestage', to impart the grainy tannins that give the wines a lovely structure and length. The wine was then aged in oak barrels for 13 months, of which 20% were new.

100% Pinot Noir.

This wine is dark ruby in colour, it is bright and lifted with excellent concentration. the nose is elegant with aromas of ripe red fruit including cherries, and a touch of oak. The palate is full with great structure and an attractive chewy and grainy character. The finish is long and fresh.

ABV = 13.0%.

** See also Chateau de Santenay's excellent Premier Cru Mercurey - the 2014 vintage was rated as a DWWA 2017 Best in Category Wine **

£22.65

Costa & Pampa Pinot Noir, Trapiche 2017 (1x75cl)

The grapes are harvested by hand in the early hours of the morning. The fruit is carefully selected from vines that produce highly-concentrated grapes. The juice is cold macerated for 72 hours then fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for 7 months in French oak barrels. The wine is clarified, stabilised & filtered before being bottled.

The vineyards for this wine are in Chapadmalal, Buenos Aires, surrounded by gentle hills and incredible fields that end in the South Atlantic. The winery location is 6 kilometers from the sea, where the particular climate of the coast makes this land a unique place for the development of wines with marked oceanic influence.

100% Pinot Noir.

Aromas of red fruits such as raspberries and cherries, with soft spicy notes. On the palate, this wine is gentle and round, with a long length. It is very well balanced showing harmony between acidity, sweetness and fruit.

£14.25

Craggy Range Martinborough Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Craggy Range produces a collection of iconic wines from multiple regions in New Zealand. Owner Terry Peabody and his family pursued the single vineyard approach to winemaking, planting on green fields and bare land ensuring a focus on quality from the very beginning. New Zealand, with its diversity of soils types offered the perfect location to plant the vines. From the stony, warm soils of the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke's Bay to the volcanic, clay soils of Te Muna Road in Martinborough these exceptional vineyards produce wines with amazing aromatics, purity and complexity.

of French oak cuves and open-top stainless steel tanks. The wine is then left to mature in French oak barriques (7% are new) for 9 months.

Gentle handling with whole-bunch fermentation and delicate French oak Barrique treatment ensures a floral wine which embodies the distinctive intense fruit characters of the region. An elegant, silky texture with a delicately balanced tannin structure and a texturally dry finish.

100% Pinot Noir.

This wine is bright red with a vibrant crimson hue. Enticing pure fruit aromas of red cherry and raspberry meld with rose and damp earth. Supple and fleshy across the palate with a youthful fruit profile and lovely fine tannins creating an elegant dry finish. Beautifully varietal.

To see Craggy Range's information sheet for this wine please click on the blue link below.

Craggy Range Martinborough Pinot Noir 2017 - fiche technique

ABV = 13.5%.

£21.60

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

** FOR THOSE SEEKING THE 2017 VERSION OF THIS WINE (THAT FARED WELL IN THE FEBRUARY EDITION OF DECANTER), WE HAVE LEARNED THAT CRAGGY RANGE ARE NOW NOT RELEASING THIS WINE IN THE UK UNTIL LATE 2020. LIKE YOU, WE'RE PRETTY DISAPPOINTED.

The forthcoming (not on release in the UK yet) 2017 vintage was awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their February 2020 edition panel tasting of New World, single-vineyard Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2017 - February 2020 Decanter review

THAT SAID, THIS, THE 2016, AS ATTESTED TO HERE - AND FULLY AVAILABLE - IS RATHER FINE. **

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.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Craggy Range.

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

The grapes for this wine are picked by hand.  The wine is fermented in a combination of stainless steel vats and oak, then is matured for 10 months prior to bottling.

Matt Stafford, the chief winemaker at Craggy range describes the Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir as "a dark and brooding Pinot Noir, grown at our secret place in Martinborough, with a wonderful depth and beauty."

100% Pinot Noir.

The wine has a bright red cherry colour with a crimson hue. Seductive aromas of dark cherry, dried rose petals, thyme and damp earth. Beautifully varietal, elegant and long on the palate. Medium weight red fruit richness and fine-grained tannins are drawn out long across the palate by acidity to create a finish which is savoury and dry.

This wine matches perfectly with duck dishes. It can be cellared for 5-7 years from vintage but only if you can resist opening it before then!

ABV = 13.9%.

£27.40

Darenberg Feral Fox Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breath-taking McLaren Vale in South Australia and produces an enviable range of wines. From humble beginnings, these wines quickly gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges alike – it’s a deft combination of winemaking tradition and vinous innovation. A tall order for some, but one that d’Arenberg takes in their stride as they continue to push the boundaries and get under the skin of each individual vineyard in order to get the best from the vines. This is backed up by an engaging consumer-friendly approach to the ‘deadly serious fun’ of wine.

100% Pinot Noir.

D'arenberg's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

d'Arenberg Feral Fox Pinot Noir 2017 - fiche technique

ABV = 14.5%.

£16.60

Dawson James Pinot Noir 2014 (1x75cl)

Dawson James is the project of Peter Dawson and Tim James, who met in 1976 when they were both working at Hardy & Sons, and where they continued to work alongside each other for 20 years. They have since moved on to different projects, but have collaborated again to produce the Dawson & James wines in Tasmania. Their shared passion for Australian art, farming, camping and gastronomy, as well as their dedication to fine Australian wine, have combined in this exciting project, and the wines are the proof of their winemaking wisdom and enthusiasm. The wines come from the Meadowbank Vineyard, which is located around 60 kilometres north-west of Hobart, an area characterised by rugged topography and the fast flowing, pristine waters of the Derwent river.

The Meadowbank vineyard is located in the upper Derwent Valley in southern Tasmania and was planted in 1989. The site is 70 metres above the river level and the north-easterly aspect gives it optimal sunlight exposure for grape ripening. The soil is a combination of brown sandy loams over structured clays and sandstone rock. It has a devigorating nature, helping the balanced growth and structure of the vines. Vines are trellised to single cordon and managed to one bunch per shoot, and yields are kept at less than six tonnes per hectare.

The 2014 vintage began with above average winter rainfall which ensured that the vines had sufficient water reserves during the growing season. Cold and windy conditions at the beginning of the summer disrupted flowering slightly and this caused some millerandage within the bunches. Nevertheless, a good summer meant that the Pinot Noir achieved optimum ripeness levels and was hand-picked on 17th April.

Following hand-picking, 25% of the fruit was retained as whole bunches, the remaining 75% was destemmed and crushed. The whole bunches and crushed fruit underwent a four day cold soak prior to fermentation with natural yeasts in open-topped fermenters. The wine was then pressed in a traditional basket press before being transferred to Burgundian coopered oak barriques where it underwent malolactic fermentation and 12 months ageing. 40% of the barriques were new, the remaining 60% was a mixture of 500 litre puncheons and 5-year-old Tronçais oak barriques.

100% Pinot Noir.

The Pinot Noir has great delicacy and balance. Aromas of ripe cherries and rose petals are complemented by the savoury oak influence. Complex and layered, with smooth tannins, it has a creamy texture and a wonderfully long finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£44.25

De Loach Heritage Reserve California Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Note: the 'Heritage Reserve' series is increasingly termed the 'Heritage Collection' by De Loach.

The winery and vineyards were originally owned and run by Cecil and Christine De Loach. In 2003, the family run Burgundian estate Jean-Claude Boisset purchased De Loach and brought the focus back to the estate's original high quality winemaking philosophy, with specific emphasis on small lot winemaking, particularly of Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. The winery's 17-acre estate vineyard has been completely restored and converted to organic and Biodynamic viticulture, a tradition upheld by many foremost Burgundian vineyards. The De Loach estate vineyards are certified organic by CCOF.

All the De Loach wines are made and bottled at their estate facility. The Pinot Noir was made from fruit grown in premium vineyards throughout northern and central California, helping to achieve a unique balance of delicate Pinot characteristics and more intense fruit flavours.

Fruit for this Pinot Noir was primarily sourced from the Delta region of California and underwent minimal handling. A pre-fermentation cold soak was followed by fermentation in closed-top fermenters. Post fermentation warm maceration took place to extract good colour and ripe tannins. A small portion of the wine was barrel aged to add some slight oak complexity, but most was kept in stainless steel tanks in order to stay true to its lighter, food-friendly style.

The 2017 California Pinot Noir is an elegant and well-balanced wine. Offering mouthwatering flavours of cherry and strawberry, it is accented beautifully with just a touch of spice and earthiness.

100% Pinot Noir.

Please click the blue link below to see a full technical/tasting note for this wine from De Loach themselves.

De Loach Heritage Reserve/California Pinot Noir 2017 - fiche technique

ABV = 13.5%.

£16.65

De Loach Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

The winery and vineyards were originally owned and run by the Cecil and Christine De Loach. In 2003, the family run Burgundian estate Jean-Claude Boisset purchased De Loach and brought the focus back to the estate's original high quality winemaking philosophy, with specific emphasis on small lot winemaking, particularly of Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. The winery's 17-acre estate vineyard has been completely restored and converted to organic and Biodynamic® viticulture, a tradition upheld by many foremost Burgundian vineyards. The De Loach estate vineyards are certified organic by CCOF.

The Pinot Noir is sourced from four vineyard sites across the Russian River: the BCD Vineyard, the Becnel Vineyard, the Heintz Vineyard and the Murray Vineyard. Each of these Russian River Valley Vineyards contributes their unique complexities to the final blend. The vines are grown on Huichica clay loam soils.

Crafted using traditional Burgundian techniques, the grapes were hand-sorted then fermented in small vats with all punch-downs done by hand. The wine was aged for 10 months in French oak barrels (25% new oak) to create a complex, multi-layered Pinot Noir.

Please click the blue link below to see a full tasting note for this wine from De Loach themselves.

De Loach Russian River Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

100% Pinot Noir.

The 2016 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir opens with inviting aromas of raspberry, strawberry and a touch of vanilla. Silky on the palate, the wine offers flavours of strawberry, rhubarb, clove and plum. It is well balanced with moderate tannins and bright acidity.

ABV = 14.5%.

£22.75
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