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Amalaya Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

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

Amalaya Malbec 2017 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

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

Amalaya Malbec 2016 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

Amalaya translates to ‘hope for a miracle’ in the indigenous language of the now extinct tribe, the Calchaquí. The winery is situated in Cafayate, Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina at nearly 1,828 metres above sea level. It is a part of the Hess Family Estates and is run with the same dedication to quality, sustainability and social responsibility as the other Hess Estates. All of the Amalaya wines are fruit driven in style, with a finesse that unites them. These wines offer incredible value for their quality and truly reflect their ‘sense of place‘.

The estate's vineyards are located in Cafayate in the very heart of the Calchaquí Valley, distinguished for being the highest wine region in the world. The climate is very dry, with just 150 millimetres of rain in an average year and huge temperature fluctuations of around 20°C. The soils here are rocky, poor and sandy so the roots of the vines are forced to dig deep to find the vital nutrients and water they need, which results in fruit with hugely concentrated flavour.

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

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

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

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

£12.30

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

£26.65

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of Value Malbec (see blue link below). 

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2015 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

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

The result of the El Niño phenomenon in 2016 was relatively high humidity and frequent rains. Fortunately the rocky soils in the vineyard at Gualtallary facilitate drainage of the rainwater and keeps moisture to a minimum, reducing the threat of disease. Vine maturation was delayed by approximately 25 days, due to lower temperatures during the summer, however the lack of rain in March, enabled the grapes to reach good physiological ripeness and harvest took place as usual. Low sugar levels at resulted in wines with lower alcohol levels but plenty of flavour and varietal purity.

The grapes come from the vineyard located in Tupungato, which is situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level. The area is characterised by its great diurnal temperature swings, which encourages aromatic expression and a great intensity of colour in the wine. The vines are irrigated by a drip-water system that regulates and supplies the exact amount of water that the plant needs. Grown in soils which are predominantly alluvial and sandy, the vines undergo strict canopy management in order to reduce yields.

The clusters were manually selected and underwent pre-fermentation maceration at low temperatures. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks at temperatures maintained at approximately 26°C. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for eight to 12 months, followed by a minimum of six months in bottle, prior to release.

This wine is made using Malbec 100%.

A full flavoured Malbec with intense aromas of red fruits and violets. Sweet fruit on the palate is backed by soft, but high volume tannins which give the wine a long and exquisite finish. Serve with a juicy pan-fried steak, braised lamb shanks or a rich lentil stew.

£15.95

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of South American Cabernet Franc  (see blue link below)

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2014 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

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

2014 was a challenging vintage with severe frosts significantly reducing the yields. December and January saw heatwaves which helped the growing season to progress, but late season heavy rainfall and lower temperatures just before the harvest threatened the vintage with mildew and rot. The timing of the harvest was crucial to avoid rot and careful selections took place, vinifying only the best grapes. The wines show fine aromatics and fruit concentration, with refined tannins.

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

The grapes were hand-picked in the coolness of dawn in April, when they had reached full polyphenolic maturity. The berries were manually selected and the best berries underwent cold pre- fermentation maceration. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures of 26°C. The wine was aged in new French oak barrels for a period of 12 to 18 months and then cellared in bottles for a minimum of eight months prior to its release.

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

£31.50

Antinori - Guado Al Tasso Il Bruciato 2015 (1x75cl)

The Guado al Tasso estate is located some 50 miles (80 kilometers) to the southwest of the city of  Florence near the medieval hamlet of Bolgheri. The property, approximately 2500 acres (1000 kilometers) in total size, extends from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the inland hills. It includes, in addition to 750 acres (300 hectares) of vineyards, terrain planted to the cultivation of wheat, barley, oats, and olive groves along with woods in which a herd of “cinta senesi” pigs, a prize local breed, roam and feed.

The 2015 vintage was characterized by abundant rainfall during the winter and by a dry and mild spring. The bud burst, notably earlier than in 2014, was followed by an equally precocious flowering. The first part of summer saw an important rise in temperatures, which came back into balance during the second half of the month of August, assisting the grapes to achieve a perfect state of ripeness. The harvest began in early September and lasted all the way through the first ten days of October.

The grapes which were selected came from a range of vineyard plots which extend over some 200 acres (80 hectares) and express the typical characteristics of the Bolgheri production zone. The fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and lasted from 10 to 15 days at temperatures between 82° and 86° Fahrenheit (28°-30° centigrade). A part of the Merlot and Syrah must was fermented at lower temperatures to better conserve varietal aromas. The malolactic fermentation took place partly in oak barrels and partly in stainless steel tanks  and terminated for all the different grape varieties by the end of the year. The wine was then racked and went back into small oak barrels for a seven month ageing period, at the end of which it was bottled. Four months of bottle ageing preceded commercial release.

An intense ruby red in colour, the wine shows attractive and complex aromas of red berry fruit, sweet spices, and toasted coffee. The flavours are full, round, and have a good level of both balance and pleasure. It will be a vintage that is very capable of improving over time.

£23.35

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.

£14.50

Antinori - Tormaresca Masseria Maime 2011 (1x75cl)

Passion, courage and trust in the enormous quality potential that Puglia, and especially the areas of Castel del Monte and Salento were able to express, inspired the Antinoris to invest in the region. The idea that, from the start, characterized Tormaresca's production philosophy was to produce great wines from indigenous varietals.

Made with Negroamaro from the Tormaresca estate, this wine takes its name from the manor farm accessible by a footpath that winds through pine forests and olive groves. The old manor house was built by the noble Capece family from Lecce and they named it after the small chapel standing outside its walls. This chapel, dedicated to Saint Pasquale in Maìme, was built to ensure that farmers who worked on the estate had a proper place to pray during the week when they were far away from home. Such traditions exemplify the values and pace of past lifestyles.

The grapes were harvested towards the end of September and were picked fully mature to bring out all the potential of their ripeness. After pressing, the must was fermented in stainless steel tanks at temperatures between 26°-28°C. The period of skin contact lasted 15 days and used delicate pumping over and rack-and-return techniques in order to favor a gradual and balanced extraction. After being run off it skins, the wine went immediately into 60-gallon French oak barrels where it was put through a complete malolactic fermentation and then aged twelve months before bottling.

This wine is an intense ruby red colour with aromas of flowers (violet, rose), red fruit (black cherry, mulberry), spicy notes (liquorice, anise, cinnamon, cloves) . It has a dry and elegant flavour with balanced and smooth tannins.

£23.30

Antinori Pian Delle Vigne Brunello Di Montalcino 2013 (1x75cl)

The 2012 vintage was Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2017 edition review of Brunelllo di Montalcino 2012 (see blue links below).

Antinori PdV Brunello 2012 - November 2017 Decanter review

The Pian delle Vigne estate is located six kilometers (3.5 miles) to the south of the town of Montalcino  above the Orcia river valley. The property consists of 184 hectares (460 acres) , 65 of which (some 160 acres) are planted to vines situated between 130 and 200 meters (440-660 feet) above sea level and with an exposure which is principally to the southeast. The soil consists prevalently of clay and limestone and is rich in small stones. It takes its name from a period-style 19th century railroad station situated within the estate’s confines. 

This wine is 100% Sangiovese.

To see an excellent 3 page information sheet and tasting note that has been prepared by the team at Antinori, please click on the blue link below.

Antinori Pian Delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino 2013 - fiche technique

£45.60

Argento Esquinas de Argento Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

Established in 1998 in Argentina’s most famous wine region, Mendoza, Argento has been the leading Argentinean wine brand in Europe for the last ten years. Mendoza’s high altitude vineyards, desert-like climate and natural irrigation from Andean snow melt create the perfect conditions to produce world-class fruit. The winemaking team at Argento first set out to unlock the extraordinary potential of Malbec and reveal its vibrant, velvety character and intense fruit flavours. Expanding on their success with Malbec, Argento now applies the same philosophy to producing Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Bonarda and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Esquinas represents the vibrant, urban Buenos Aires, where life happens on the streets. Each one of the Esquinas de Argento labels pays tribute to the emblematic corners (esquinas) of the city, where the colours, the movements, the sounds and the people give the town its captivating energy. “Esquinas: where life happens”.

The fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks at 22-28°C for 7 days. The wine is then micro-oxygenated prior to malolactic fermentation. The wine is then aged for 6 months in 60% French and 540% American oak.

Dark purple with bluish glints, this superb Malbec offers vibrant aromas of cherries, ripe plums, blackberries and truffles. Unctuous in the mouth with notes of plum and sweet cherry, with a touch of chocolate and cinnamon from oak aging, leading into a long lingering finish with velvety tannins.

£11.45

Argento Seleccion Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

Established in 1998 in Argentina’s most famous wine region, Mendoza, Argento has been the leading Argentinean wine brand in Europe for the last ten years. Mendoza’s high altitude vineyards, desert-like climate and natural irrigation from Andean snow melt create the perfect conditions to produce world-class fruit. 

At Bodega Argento they are very proud of Argentina’s wine heritage and the unique terroir of Mendoza. They are dedicated to making wines that express a true varietal character. Fruit purity, freshness, vibrancy and elegance are the distinct hallmarks of the Argento style.

This wine undergoes a stainless steel fermentation at 77-80°F for 7 days. Once this part of the winemaking process is complete, the wine is aged in oak for 6 months (60% French and 40% American oak).

This superb Malbec has a deep violet colour and offers concentrated aromas of black cherries and chocolate notes. The rich blackberry and black currant fruit flavours are rounded off perfectly by soft, supple tannins.

£9.90

Arianna Occhipinti Il Frappato 2016 (1x75cl)

The Arianna Occhipinti Il Frappato has truly been a labour of love for Arianna: "Il Frappato stems from a dream which I had when I was a girl to make a wine that knows the land that I work, the air I breath, and my own thoughts. It is the wine that most resembles me, brave, original and rebellious."

This wine is organic and is therefore made without any chemical intervention. The grapes were harvested during the first 10 days of October before a 30 day fermentation using only indigenous yeasts occurred.  The wine was then moved to large Slavonian oak barrels and was allowed to mature for 14 months before being bottle without the use of any filtration. 

Frappato  is an Italian red grape variety, mostly planted in Sicily and thought to be related to Sangiovese. This wine has a light red hue to it but the nose is very complex with notes of cherry, raspberry and white pepper. On the palate there are flavours of strawberry and raspberry fruit, complimented by herbs, flowers, black tea, salt and minerals. 

£29.20

Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Rosso 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage (now depleted) was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of Best Organic & Biodynamic Buys Under £30 (see blue link below).

OcchipintiSP68 - December 2017 Decanter review

Arianna’s home town of Vittoria lies in the far south of Sicily just to the west of Ragusa. It is here that she has been making wine for the past ten years under the tutelage of her uncle, Giusto Occhipinti who owns and runs the famous COS estate.

The grapes are manually harvested before 15 days of maceration on the skins. Indigenous yeast is used for the fermentation after which the wine is aged for 6 months in concrete vats and 1 month in bottle before release, There is no filtration prior to bottling.

70% Frappato, 30% Nero d’Avola. Organic (not certified). Suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.

Slightly opaque purple/red in the glass showing aromas of wild cherries, plum and mulberry with just a touch of raspberry lift. There are hints of flowers, leather, smoke, spice and herbs with wafts of liquorice, earth and mandarin rind. In the mouth the initial attack of fruit is awash with wild cherry sheathed in tobacco leaf with supporting fruit flavours of dark plum and blackberry. Nice cooling gravelly finish.

 

£19.50

Assyrtiko, Ktima Kir-Yianni 2017 (1x 75cl)

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

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

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

On the nose the wine displays aromas of white fruits and flowers. On the palate, the citrus acidity balances with the warm alcohol and the round mouthfeel of the wine, and finishes with a lingering aftertaste. This is a fine Assyrtiko wine with an intense character produced from young vines growing on the mountainous vineyards of Amyndeon.

Intense, with refreshing acidity and firm structure, Assyrtiko is a wine ideal for pairing with a variety of foods including fish fillet roasted or poached, fried cod, oven-roasted stuffed squid, pasta in white sauce and white cheeses. 

£12.60

Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

2016 started well with a gentle spring that encouraged even flowering and fruit set across the vineyards. Early summer was calm, without the winds that plagued 2015 and the vines were in great shape to deal with a hotter than average February. March saw a return to cooler conditions, a perfect finish to the season.

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 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. 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 in February 2017.

The 2016 very much shows a turning point from vibrant youth to tension and complexity that more mature vines bring. Aromatically this wine offers layers of flavours: violets, dark cherry and plum, notes of bitter chocolate and tobacco with a hint of game. There is a fresh vibrancy on the palate of acid and smooth tannins pulling the wine through to a long, salivating finish.

£22.00

Barbi Brunello Di Montalcino 2013 (1x 75cl)

The Colombini family traces its roots back to the middle ages when, among other things, it had a hand in governing the city-state of Siena. During the twentieth century, the Fattoria dei Barbi was headed by Pio Colombini, then by Giovanni, and then by Francesca. It is currently run by Stefano Cinelli Colombini. Each of these family members helped to develop the estate as part of a long-standing family tradition. The Cinelli Colombini family’s philosophy has always been that of marrying state-of-the-art technology with tradition in order to improve their wines without ever altering their classic character.

This red wine has been produced since 1892 and has received many awards for its quality. This wine is the heart of Barbi's production and it is made with 100% Sangiovese grapes from their best vineyards in Montalcino.

Before fermentation, the grapes were subjected to a cold pre-fermentative maceration which consists of cooling the grapes at a temperature of 16° C in an environment protected by CO². This process increases the extraction of polyphenols and aroma compounds. The regular alcoholic fermentation followed and lasted 16/17 days at a controlled temperature of 27°- 28°C. After the racking and the malolactic fermentation, the wine aged in small-medium size oak barrels (2,25 – 15 hl) for several months. Later it completed the ageing process in larger oak barrels, for a total period of two years and then is bottled at least 4 months before being released for sale.

Powerfully structured, this is an austere, warm, amply flavoured wine with a deep ruby to brick-red colour and a richly complex, dry, full and soft palate. A muscular, full-bodied wine with great richness.

£36.70
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