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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

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

Bastide de Coupe Roses Minervois 2017 (1x75cl)

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Chateau Coupe-Roses.

Bastide de Coupe-Roses Minervois 2017 - fiche technique

Pale red colour, brilliant which shines with light shades of purple. The scent reminds you of its fruitiness and the Carignan from where this wine comes, it is also in the mouth where the fresh red fruits dominate, associated with a refreshing liveliness. A perfect wine for all occasions, aperitifs or meals.

£10.35

Bianchi `Famiglia Bianchi` Organic Malbec 2016 (1x75cl)

The Bianchi family winery was founded in 1928 by Italian immigrant Valentin Bianchi. It now covers 350 hectares of vineyard, situated 750 metres above sea level in San Rafael, about 240km south of Mendoza city. This is a cooler area than Mendoza's major vineyard areas of Luján de Cuyo and Agrelo because it is further south, which helps the flavours and perfumes develop more gradually, resulting in more aromatic wines. The estate is now run by the third generation of the family and has undergone a gradual transformation in the past few years, modernising both the winery and the vinification processes. Finca Los Primos comprises a range of excellent value varietals. Famiglia Bianchi, Particular and Enzo are each a step up in concentration and depth of fruit, from older and lower yielding vineyards.

The grapes for this wine come primarily from the Doña Elsa Estate, situated in Rama Caída, San Rafael, Mendoza, around 760m above sea level. It is an ideal climate for the Malbec grape because of the warm days and cool nights that are typical of the area. The soil is sand and limestone.

Spring 2014 began with uneven budding in some areas, resulting in fewer grapes than the previous year. A late frost in November was followed by a fairly warm and dry December and January, giving excellent health to the vineyards. However, February was very rainy, with an average of 140 mm that month, more than half of the average yearly rainfall. Though March was much drier, there were some intense rains. The mean temperatures dropped significantly in February and especially in March.

The grapes were hand picked, then fermented at temperatures not exceeding 30ºC, with gentle and frequent pumping over for a period of 21 days to ensure good extraction of colour and ripe tannins. The wine was then aged for 12 months in French oak (75%) and American oak (25%) barriques of which 33% were new, 33% were one year old and 33% were two years old, before bottling.

Intense ruby with a glint of violet. Raspberry aromas mix with prunes, spices, tobacco and subtle mocha notes. Full-bodied and smooth on the palate with rounded tannins. Coffee and bitter chocolate from the oak ageing add complexity to the mature red fruit character on the long, well-balanced finish.

£15.35

Cambridge Road Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

Cambridge Road Vineyard is a small family farmed estate established in 1986 with the intention of making world class Pinot Noir and Syrah. They focus both time and energy on perfecting and beautifying their land and cultivating it according to natural biodynamic and eco-farming principles. They believe in minimal intervention winemaking, low yields, and healthy living wines.

This is the latest wine in the history of Syrah production from their home vineyard. 2015 was a low cropping year with beautiful ripeness. Harvested in late April the fruit was handled simply.

It spent 27 with days' skin contact & 12 months in neutral oak casks. It was wild fermented and bottled after one year with no fining or filtration. 

This wine is 100% Syrah.

Dark spiced plum characters are apparent in the silken structured wine. Bold in weight and generous body. 

£42.50

Capezzana Carmignano `Villa di Capezzana` 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2019 Claret Alternatives article; (see blue link below)

Tenuta di Capezzana, Villa di Capezzana 2015 - February 2019 Decanter review

The Capezzana estate, 24 kilometres north west of Florence, is owned by the Contini Bonacossi family. The younger generation is now firmly in charge of the estate's 100 hectares of vineyard, with daughter Benedetta Contini Bonacossi as winemaker and Francesco Bernabei as consultant winemaker. The wines and the olive oil have an elegance which marks this estate out from the crowd.

Grapes are grown on the estate's 104 hectares of vineyard which have been converted to organic production. Vines are situated at approximately 150-200 metres above sea level, facing south, south-east and south-west. Soils are schistous clay with limestone.

Lower temperatures in April 2015 delayed budding by about 10 days. A warm spring was followed by a hot summer with little rain. Luckily the month of September was perfect with the right amount of rain and the right atmospheric humidity. This largely contributed to an extremely healthy crop with excellent maturation throughout.

75% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Canaiolo, 5% Cabernet Franc.

Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks for 25 days at temperatures between 18-25°C. At the end of the alcoholic fermentation the wine was put in French oak for the malolactic fermentation and then aged in 3.5 hectolitre tonneaux for 12 months, followed by 12 months in bottle before release.

Ruby red in colour with a restrained, elegant nose. Perfumes of dark cherry and liquorice give way to spice and plums on the palate. Rounded tannins from the Sangiovese are lifted by the cassis concentration of the Cabernet and melt into a long, perfumed finish.

£24.20

Cazes 'Ego' Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2017 (1x75cl)

Domaine Cazes is situated in Rivesaltes in the Roussillon. With 220 hectares of vines planted, Domaine Cazes is the largest certified organic and biodynamic estate in France. It was founded in 1895 by Michel Cazes and the wines are made by the fourth generation of winemakers, headed up by Emmanuel Cazes. The family makes a range of interesting dry wines alongside the regional specialities, Vin Doux Naturels. They took the decision to move to organic and biodynamic viticulture in 1997. Based on their view that the natural environment needs natural preparation, they plough the soils and use only natural ingredients as treatments, arranging their work according to the lunar calendar.

Maison Cazes is set in the sunniest French region. Since the family started farming biodynamically, they have found that the vineyards are healthier and the vines are stronger, with longer roots. Vines grow on clay and limestone soils, covered by 'galets roulés' (the 'pudding stones' also found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape). The low yielding vines are about 30 years old, and produce 30 hectolitres per hectare.

2017 was a very early vintage thanks to the good water reserves in the soil and the mild temperature from February. The warmer temperatures in July and August aided the vegetative cycle. The grapes were picked early, when the optimal sugar and acidity levels had been obtained.

40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre. The three varieties were 100% de-stemmed and before being put in separate stainless steel vats. Only naturally occurring yeasts were used; no yeast was added to the must. Fermentation was temperature controlled at 28°C. The residual matter was circulated by pump-overs and the sediment was broken up by hand twice a day to extract the best qualities. The wine was macerated for four weeks before pressing after which it underwent malolactic fermentation.

As well as being biodynamic and organic, this wine is suitable for vegans.

The palate is bright with ripe red and black fruit aromas and rich liquorice notes, balanced by delicate tannins. This wine has a remarkable balance, thanks to its good acidity and freshness. Long finish with white pepper flavours.

£16.90

Cesconi Moratel 2014 (1x 75cl)

The four Cesconi brothers have transformed their family estate in the village of Pressano, in the past decade. Whereas they previously sold all their fruit to the co-op at Lavis, today they are making some of Italy's most exciting white wines. All their vineyards are now farmed organically and biodynamically. Stylistically, their whites are more intense and perfumed than those from Friuli and slightly lighter, without the weight or fat that some of the top Friuli wines have. Their reds, on the other hand, have more weight than their Friulian counterparts.

The Lagrein grapes are grown on the warm, flat pastures of Pressano, where soils are deep and loose. The vines are pergola trained, with 3,500 vines per hectare. The Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Teroldego are grown in the Sarca valley, between the villages of Ceniga and Dro, 13km north of Lake Garda, at an altitude of 120 metres above sea level. Soils here are moderately chalky with 30% clay. The vines are on average 20 years old, both Guyot and pergola trained, planted at an average density of 4,000 per hectare.

2014 was a very tricky vintage. A mild and wet winter followed by a wet summer meant that pests and micro-organisms flourished leading to disease pressure in the vineyards. The wines are more aromatic than in 2013 and lighter in body than previous vintages.

The grapes were handpicked, destemmed and left as whole bunches. Fermentation took place over eight days in temperature-controlled stainless-steel vats between 25-30°C before it underwent further maceration, 10 days for the Lagrein and Teroldego and 20 days for the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was then transferred into 225 litre French oak barrels (of which 20-30% was new oak) for 12 months during which time malolactic fermentation took place. After bottling the wine was aged for a further six months prior to release.#

This wine is made using Lagrein 40%, Merlot 40%, Teroldego 10%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%.

Deep ruby red in colour, with youthful violet highlights. This aromatically complex wine has aromas of wild cherry, raspberry and blackcurrant which follow through onto a supple palate that is supported by a firm tannic backbone so typical of clay soils.

£15.65

Chateau Coupe Roses Les Plots Minervois 2017 (1x75cl)

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Chateau Coupe-Roses.

Chateau Coupe-Roses Les Plots Minervois 2017 - fiche technique

Its expression is a blend of power and complex aromatic characters, candied fruits, spice, pepper and blackcurrant, with a fresh acidity.

£13.05

Chateau De Chambert Cahors Malbec 2014 (1x75cl)

Château de Chambert lies 30 kilometres west of the town of Cahors, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Owned and run by Philippe Lejeune since 2007, with the additional support of consultant winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt, the estate has already garnered considerable attention in France and is top critic Michel Bettane’s ‘One to Watch’. The elegant, modern wines are made from the deep-coloured Malbec variety, which traditionally produced the ‘black wines’ of Cahors.

Vineyards are planted with 85% Malbec and 15% Merlot at the highest part of the South Quercy limestone plateau (causse), at an average altitude of 300 metres above sea level. The soil contains two distinct geological components; red clay with high concentration of red which lends the wine power, spice and black fruit aromas; and white clay with limestone similar to that of Chablis, which produces minerality and finesse. Located between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, the unique mesoclimate takes effect especially towards harvest when hot winds from Africa aid grape ripening. Careful leaf-thinning and green harvesting ensure well exposed fruit. The vines are 25 years old and yields are low at around 28 hectolitres per hectare. The grapes are hand-harvested.

Warm weather early in the year brought the 2014 bud-burst forward to 19th March, two weeks earlier than average. Summer began with a beautiful, dry June, but July and August suffered from intermittent rain, which increased disease pressure and slowed ripening. A warm, dry September allowed full sugar and phenolic ripeness, and healthy vines, with the long growing season encouraging complexity and concentration. The harvest started with on 3rd October, and was completed by the middle of the month.

The grapes are separated by parcel and vinified spearately. After a pneumatic press, the free-run juice and pressings were separated. Fermentation took place with ambient yeasts at controlled temperatures of 25-30°C, and the cap was managed by a combination of pump-overs and plunging. The fermenting must spent 25 days on skins. Malolactic fermentation took place in barrel. The wine was matured for 12 months in french oak, 20% of which were new.

This wine is beautifully dark and intense in colour. On the nose, it has refined ripe fruit aromas of blueberry and violet. On the palate, the tannins are silky and round and the mineral character on the finish balances the black fruit and ripe flavours.

£21.80

Chateau De Pibarnon Bandol Rouge 2014 (1x 75cl)

The vineyards overlook the valley, facing the sea, covering terraces upon terraces up to 300 metres altitude, on slopes forming a vast amphitheatre, sheltered from the mistral. The high altitude of the vineyards means cool nights and slow ripening of the grapes. The Château de Pibarnon vineyard is planted on very old and highly calcareous, Triassic ground. This limestone enhances the bouquet in the wine. It also allows the extraction of very fine and elegant tannins. Moreover it is this which causes the freshness and minerality, giving an exemplary type and flavour. Château de Pibarnon focuses on 12 main plots, all located at the summit of the estate including Bel Air, Jourdan, Pointes-Blanches and le Cirque.

This wine has been made using 90% Mourvedre and 10% Grenache.

To see an excellent information sheet and tasting note which has been produced by the team at Chateau de Pibarnon, please click on the blue link below.

Chateau de Pibarnon Rouge 2014 - fiche technique

£34.40

Chateau Musar Hochar Pere et Fils Red 2015 (1x75cl)

Hochar Père et Fils is sourced from specially selected vineyards near the village of Aana in the Bekaa Valley, characterised by deep, gravelly soil over a limestone base. Low yields (25-30 hectolitres per hectare) result in concentrated wines and the altitude keeps the average yearly temperatures at around 25 º C, encompassing cold, snowy winters, mild springs and hot summers.

To see Chateau Musar's excellent tasting note and information on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Château Musar Hochar Pére et Fils 2015 - fiche technique

£20.65

Chateau Musar Jeune Red 2016 (1x 75cl)

Chateau Musar first started producing the Musar Jeune range of wines in 2006 from the fruit of low-yielding Bekaa Valley vines at around 1,000 metres above sea level. Altitude keeps the average temperature at 25 degrees Celsius with hot sunny days and cool nights and with 300 days of sunshine a year, grapes are ripened to perfection. Unoaked and made according to Musar’s natural non-interventionist winemaking philosophy, Musar Jeune wines are vibrantly fruity, richly concentrated and this vintage is no exception.

The Musar Jeune Red is a blend of old vines Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon from organically certified vineyards.

The wines were fermented in concrete vats between 27 and 29 ºC, they were not fined or filtered and sedimentation occurred naturally. After the varieties were blended it rested in concrete vats again until being bottled in the summer.

This wine is a deep burgundy red with an attractive red cherry and violet aroma. The flavours are of juicy, sweet summer fruits; raspberries, black cherries with hints of elderberry and hibiscus. The flavours are beautifully balanced with soft tannins and fresh underlying acidity and incense-like spice.

£14.60

Chateau Musar Red 2010 - half bottle (1x37.5cl)

The wines of Château Musar are unique expressions from a country with an ancient wine-making culture, as vines have been cultivated in Lebanon's high altitude Bekaa Valley for over 6000 years. In 1930, at just 20 years old, Gaston Hochar founded Château Musar, inspired by Lebanon’s winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux. 

Seven years in the making, Chateau Musar Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault from vineyards near the Bekaa Valley villages of Aana and Kefraya on gravelly soils over limestone. Planted from the 1930s onwards, yields are low from these mature bushvines (average age: 40 years).

To see Château Musar's excellent tasting note and information on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Château Musar 2010 - fiche technique

£15.85

Chateau Musar Red 2011 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2019 Claret Alternatives article; (see blue link below)

Chateau Musar 2011 - February 2019 Decanter review

The wines of Chateau Musar are unique expressions from a country with an ancient wine-making culture, as vines have been cultivated in Lebanon's high altitude Bekaa Valley for over 6000 years. In 1930, at just 20 years old, Gaston Hochar founded Chateau Musar, inspired by Lebanon’s winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux. 

Seven years in the making, Chateau Musar Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault (see fiche technique below for greater detail) from vineyards near the Bekaa Valley villages of Aana and Kefraya on gravelly soils over limestone. Planted from the 1930s onwards, yields are low from these mature bushvines (average age: 40 years).

To see Chateau Musar's excellent tasting note and information on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Château Musar 2011 - fiche technique

£29.05
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