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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

Alain Jaume, Haut de Brun Cotes du Rhone 2018 (1x75cl)

Established in the northern part of Chateauneuf du Pape, the Jaume family has been dedicated to the art of wine growing since 1826. The family still runs the company today – the eponymous Alain Jaume is still very much involved in the business, but his two sons Christophe (winemaking) and Sebastian (sales and marketing) are now in day to day command.

The cellars are located in Orange, just up the road from Chateauneuf du Pape. All the family’s wines are impressive, balancing sweet fruit with classic southern Rhone warmth and spice. As each vintage is so different from the last, they are constantly evolving their growing techniques to accommodate the ever-changing behaviour of the vines, grapes and terroir. Organic viticulture is in place in two of their vineyards, but across the board the health of the vines is paramount. Yields are low to keep the quality high, and their age-worthy reds capture the power and age-worthiness of the Rhone perfectly.

"This venerable profession is our legacy, but above all it is our passion, requiring discipline, perseverance and a respect for nature and the challenges she presents us with. Every vintage is different from the last and we must skillfully adapt our growing techniques to the ever-changing behaviour of the vines, the grapes and the terroir." 

This wine is a blend of the following: Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre.

To see an information sheet and tasting note for this wine (this sheet describes the previous vintage - 2018 sheet expected soon, but it's hard to see how it would alter...), please click on the blue link below.

Alain Jaume "Haut de Brun" Cotes du Rhone 2017 - fiche technique

ABV = 13.0%.

£12.40

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

Bertani Catullo Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2016 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS NOT - REPEAT NOT - HELD IN IMMEDIATE STOCK, UNLIKE ALMOST ALL OTHER WINES ON THE SITE AT PRESENT. IT WILL BE ORDERED FROM THE SUPPLIER ON MONDAY 5th APRIL, AND SHOULD BE WITH CUSTOMERS ON FRIDAY 9th, MAYBE MONDAY 12th. **

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2020 edition's panel tasting of Valpolicella Ripassos (see blue link below).

Bertani Catullo Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2016 - May 2020 Decanter review

We have created a 3-minute video tasting of this Ripasso.

In 1957, the Bertani family bought the Tenuta Novare, a unique place in the heart of the Valpolicella Classica area. The estate is situated in a green hollow, in a sort of natural amphitheatre, where the vineyards alternate with woods and lush nature. It is an extraordinary land where constant water is guaranteed by 7 natural springs. Amarone Bertani wouldn’t be the authentic and distinctive wine we know today, if this unique place didn’t exist.

Tenuta Novare has a continuous and unusual alternation of soils: clay at the bottom of the valley, calcareous soils rich in iron and manganese and soils rich in basalt, ideal for producing grapes destined to making great red wines.

The mild climate, as shown by the presence of cypresses and olive trees, defines this welcoming and noble profile of Valpolicella.

From this same site, the Catullo Ripasso is produced, an elegant, balanced and harmonious wine with a classic style made with the second fermentation ripasso technique.

70% Corvina Veronese, 20% Corvinone, 10% Rondinella.

For this wine, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Bertani Catullo Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2016 - fiche technique

This is a wine of medium body, with gentle spicy notes of vanilla and chocolate and the typical notes of cherry, black cherry and white pepper. On the palate, freshness and drinkability (typical of Valpolicella) combine with a silky tannic structure and an intense aromatic persistence, more typical of Amarone. Fresh, soft and sapid finish.

Exel note: it has a markedly lower residual sugar level than many ripassos.

ABV = 13.5%.

** THIS WINE IS NOT - REPEAT NOT - HELD IN IMMEDIATE STOCK, UNLIKE ALMOST ALL OTHER WINES ON THE SITE AT PRESENT. IT WILL BE ORDERED FROM THE SUPPLIER ON MONDAY 5th APRIL, AND SHOULD BE WITH CUSTOMERS ON FRIDAY 9th, MAYBE MONDAY 12th. **

£34.40

Berton Reserve Barossa Shiraz 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com(see blue link below).

Berton Reserve Shiraz 2015 - August 2017 Decanter review

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard's estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

The grapes come from the Barossa Valley, in South Australia. Situated at a latitude of 34° South, the region is made up of rolling hills and valley floors. The growing season often sees hot, warm weather with temperatures of 35°C, which can result in vine stress, helping to concentrate the flavours in the berries. The wide diurnal temperature differences help to retain balancing acidity. Some of the grapes come from Berton's original vineyard in the Eden Valley, where the climate is cooler. The vine age is varied, but all vines have been spur pruned and are generally trained on a single wire cordon trellising system. The vines are planted at approximately 1.8 metres apart with 3.6 metres between the rows, to allow machinery access. The soil styles in the vineyards are varied, ranging from clay, to limestone and sandy soils, with each terroir adding its own characteristic to the final wine.

In 2017, the vineyard saw a wet winter followed by mild summer conditions, which provided the vines with good access to water and a long ripening period. This combination resulted in a great season. Cool nights allowed excellent flavour development in the grapes resulting in wines with concentrated flavours and balancing acidity. Harvesting took place during the last few days of April and first week of May.

The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks with regular skin submersion in order to extract the required colour and flavour from the grapes. After fermentation, the wine was pressed off into stainless steel tanks where it completed malolactic fermentation in the late autumn. The wine was then racked off into both French and American oak barrels resulting in a rich, spicy complex Shiraz.

Shiraz 100%.

The Reserve Shiraz is deepest dark red with a very youthful and vibrant garnet hue. The aromas are powerful and complex with a wealth of fruit ranging from ripe black cherries and blackberries with hints of eucalypt and spice. The rich and full palate displays soft flavours of plum skin, mulberry and hints of vanilla and blackberry, These abundant flavours are underpinned by fine vanilla from the oak and defined by exciting spicy tannins.

ABV = 14.5%.

£14.25

Berton Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 96 points and rare Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2017 edition review of New World Cabernet Sauvignons (see blue link below) in which it emerged as the runaway Number One.

Berton Reserve 2014 - April 2017 Decanter review

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard is one of Hallgarten's most important partners. The estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

Good winter rainfall was a perfect start to the 2016 growing season. Above average temperatures resulted in early budburst with most varieties. The mild to warm and dry conditions continued with good rainfall in both November and December producing ideal conditions for véraison. February saw the arrival of hot dry weather and with no rainfall or disease pressure, ripening accelerated rapidly resulting in an early harvest for the reds. The 2016 reds are stand outs - rich ripe juicy wines with great length and great depth of colour.

The grapes come from two parcels of fruit within the same vineyard, in the prized Terra Rossa region of Coonawarra. One block is on a slightly more elevated area of the vineyard, which produces more subtle fruit characters. The warm days are moderated by off-shore breezes and the rich red loam over free draining limestone soil is the foundations for the Coonawarra's justified reputation for producing premium quality Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

The grapes were fermented in stainless vertical sweep arm fermenters for 10 days between 22 ° and 28°C on premium French oak until dry. Each parcel of wine was then pressed at 0.5 Baumé through a bag press and clarified via centrifuge into stainless steel storage tanks. The parcels were then transferred into new and old French (90%) and American (10%) oak barrels for 12 months. Only the best parcels were selected and carefully blended to arrive at this exceptional wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon 99%, Shiraz 1%.

This shows intense and generous black fruit aromas with hints of chocolate, eucalyptus and mint. The Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet has an impenetrable black colour with a vibrant garnet hue. The aromas are powerful and complex with a wealth of fruit ranging from ripe blackcurrant and blackberries with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. The rich and harmonious palate displays abundant flavours of prune, plum jam and mint, underpinned by fine toasty French oak and defined by a soft yet dense tannin profile.

ABV = 14.5%.

£13.75

Berton Winemakers Reserve (The Black) Shiraz 2017 (1x75cl)

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard is one of Hallgarten's most important partners. The estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

2017 in Padthaway saw a wet and slightly warmer winter, which resulted in later bud burst than usual. The ripening period was slow and gradual with perfect weather conditions to allow flavours and colour to develop to full maturity.

Predominantly sourced from the vineyards in Padthaway, South Australia, where the soils are sandy loam over clay, formed on old lagoon sediments. These sandy soils lead to poor nutrient and water retention which helps to concentrate the flavours in the fruit. The vines are grown on single wire trellises, ensuring an open canopy. Drip irrigation is used in the vineyards to manage the water supply and reduce evaporation, as water is applied directly above the roots.

The parcels of fruit were fermented in stainless steel vertical fermenters for four to six days at temperatures maintained between 26 to 30°C. Wine was then bag pressed at 1° Baumé and left to ferment until dry. It was then racked onto French oak for malolactic fermentation. The wine was clarified via centrifuge into stainless steel storage. Once all parcels were completed, the final cuvée wascarefully blended and prepared for bottling.

Grape Shiraz 92%, Durif 8%.

Densely hued, this is a rich and fleshy Shiraz with generous minty blackberry, chocolate and mint flavours over hints of cedar oak. The Winemakers Reserve Black Shiraz is an extreme example of this Australian Shiraz with deep colour and aromas of blackberry and plum over toasty coffee and spicy oak. The palate is full flavoured and intense with rich plum, blueberry and mocha notes. The tannins are ripe and dense imparting great structure and length to the palate.

ABV = 14.5%.

£10.20

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 Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 (1x75cl)

** ALAS NOW ALL GONE -  WE NOW OFFER THE AWARD-WINNING, HIGHLY-RATED 2011 (click link for product page and here for our comparison of the two vintages). **

Awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition review of 2010 Riojas (see blue link below).

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 - March 2019 Decanter review

"I bought six of these and unfortunately I have given three away to friends. We opened it last night and decanted as per the instructions of your shop staff. The wine is truly spectacular and I am working out how to break in to my friend's flat to steal back the wine I gave him. I have never been moved to comment on a bottle of wine by email. Thank you for the spectacular experience. Another 6 please. I won't be as generous with the next lot!"

- regular (anonymous) Perth customer [who ultimately bought another 12]

In case you missed it reaching this page, here's our article on the Decanter review and this wine.

Bodegas Olarra was created in 1973. Situated on the outskirts of the city of Logroño in Rioja Alta, their winery – a Y-shaped building designed to make optimum use of the space for both production and ageing of the wine – is known as “the Cathedral of La Rioja”. From the beginning, the winery has known how to combine the traditional methods of production and ageing with the most advanced modern techniques of viticulture and vinification. A favourable geographic location, gives the vineyards all the ingredients to produce good fruits. Indeed the clay and chalky soil is watered by the rain and the Ebro river. This area also benefits from warm sunshine and the influence of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. In 1978, Bodegas Olarra achieved their first Gold medal for a Cerro Añon wine in the tenth International Wines and Spirits Competition in the UK. Numerous awards followed from then on, proof of the outstanding quality of their wines.

Grapes for the Gran Reserva are drawn solely from Olarra vineyards; these are located primarily in Rioja Alta, but also in Rioja Alavesa to a lesser extent. Vines in these vineyards are all grown in the traditional way. The average age of the vines is over 30 years. Most of the vineyards sit on a clay-rich soil in Rioja Alta and on limestone-clay soils in Rioja Alavesa.

Harvests took place later than usual in 2010, well into late October, when the fruit was considered to have reached full ripeness; this slower, steadier ripening accounts for much of the quality of this harvest (generally) and the 2010 Gran Reserva (in the specific). Subsequent selection ensured that only grapes in healthy shape made it through to the vinification process. 2010 was a great year in the history of the quality of grapes on the Olarra estate. 

Tempranillo 80%, Mazuelo 10%, Garnacha 5%, Graciano 5%.

Fermentation and maceration lasted for a total of 19 days and were performed in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 28ºC. Later on, the wine was racked into new French (Allier) oak, 225-litre casks/barricas where the malolactic fermentation took place, followed by a stay on the lees for a little over two months, with regular batonnage.

By the end of that winter, the wine was already being racked into new oak barrels, where it remained for a further six months. After this, the rest of the oak ageing - up to the total 27 months - was conducted in different barrels again: Allier and American (Missouri) oak, all with a medium toast, and with different ages spanning from brand new to 5 years. After fining with egg whites, the wine was bottled and stored in Olarra's bottle cellar for 45 months, before it started to be released.

The Gran Reserva 2010 shows a deep red colour with shades of ruby on the rim of the glass. On the nose, at the time of original release, it revealed a delicate balance between ripe red berry aromas and those of spices and smokiness. Over time, this developmental bouquet has grown more complex, showing aromas of leather, tobacco, coffee beans and raisins. On the palate, it is full and round, thanks to its long period in the bottle. Mouthfeel is as firm, elegant and smooth as one should expect from a great Rioja Gran Reserva, with a surprisingly long and fresh finish.

ABV = 14.0% (NB: the figure stated in the Decanter review is incorrect, based on the value stated on the bottle).

£14.95

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 (1x75cl)

** TUES 7th APRIL - PLENTY MORE STOCK JUST ARRIVED!! **  

Awarded 95 points and Gold status at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019.

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 - IWC 2019 Decanter review

The 2010 vintage was famously awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition review of 2010 Riojas (see blue link below).

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 - March 2019 Decanter review

Of the 2010: "I bought six of these and unfortunately I have given three away to friends. We opened it last night and decanted as per the instructions of your shop staff. The wine is truly spectacular and I am working out how to break in to my friend's flat to steal back the wine I gave him. I have never been moved to comment on a bottle of wine by email. Thank you for the spectacular experience. Another 6 please. I won't be as generous with the next lot!"

- regular (anonymous) Perth customer [who ultimately bought another 12]

In case you missed it reaching this page, here's our article on the Decanter review of the 2010 and and the Cerro Añon Gran Reserva overall.

Crucially, you may wish to know how the 2010 and the 2011 compare; customers of the 2010 are naturally asking, "is it as good?We carried out our own tasting and assessment and you can find the results here.

Bodegas Olarra was created in 1973. Situated on the outskirts of the city of Logroño in Rioja Alta, their winery – a Y-shaped building designed to make optimum use of the space for both production and ageing of the wine – is known as “the Cathedral of La Rioja”. From the beginning, the winery has known how to combine the traditional methods of production and ageing with the most advanced modern techniques of viticulture and vinification. A favourable geographic location, gives the vineyards all the ingredients to produce good fruits. Indeed the clay and chalky soil is watered by the rain and the Ebro river. This area also benefits from warm sunshine and the influence of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. In 1978, Bodegas Olarra achieved their first Gold medal for a Cerro Añon wine in the tenth International Wines and Spirits Competition in the UK. Numerous awards followed from then on, proof of the outstanding quality of their wines.

Grapes for the Gran Reserva are drawn solely from Olarra vineyards; these are located primarily in Rioja Alta, but also in Rioja Alavesa to a lesser extent. Vines in these vineyards are all grown in the traditional way. The average age of the vines is over 30 years. Most of the vineyards sit on a clay-rich soil in Rioja Alta and on limestone-clay soils in Rioja Alavesa.

Tempranillo 80%, Mazuelo 10%, Garnacha 5%, Graciano 5%.

Fermentation and maceration lasted for a total of 19 days and were performed in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 28ºC. Later on, the wine was racked into new French (Allier) oak, 225-litre casks/barricas where the malolactic fermentation took place, followed by a stay on the lees for a little over two months, with regular batonnage.

By the end of winter, the wine was racked into new oak barrels, where it remained for a further six months. After this, the rest of the oak ageing - up to the total 29 months - was conducted in different barrels again: Allier and American (Missouri) oak, all with a medium toast, and with different ages spanning from brand new to 5 years. After fining with egg whites, the wine was bottled and stored in Olarra's bottle cellar for 43 months, before it started to be released.

See also the blue link below for Olarra's own fiche technique/technical sheet.

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 - fiche technique

The Gran Reserva 2011 shows a deep red colour with shades of ruby on the rim of the glass. On the nose, at the time of original release, it revealed a delicate balance between predominantly black fruit and ripe red berry aromas, and those of cedarwood, spices and smokiness. Over time, this developmental bouquet has grown more complex, showing aromas of leather, tobacco, coffee beans and prunes. On the palate, it is full and round, thanks to its long period in the bottle. Mouthfeel is as firm, elegant and smooth as one should expect from a great Rioja Gran Reserva, with a surprisingly long and fresh finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£14.95

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 Taron Pantocrator Rioja 2005 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 96 points, Gold and overall Trophy status (two trophies, in fact: Rioja Reserva and Rioja Trophy) at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019 (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).

Bodegas Taron Pantocrator Rioja 2005 - IWC 2019 award and review

Awarded a Gold medal at the 2019 Sommelier Wine Awards (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).

Bodegas Taron Pantocrator Rioja 2005 - SWA 2019 award and review

Bodegas Taron is a cooperative based in the northernmost part of Rioja Alta. The cooperative is made up of four small towns; Cuzcurrita de Rio Tiron, Sajazarra, Villaseca and Tirgo. These four towns decided that as they share not only the landscape but their culture too, they would benefit from pooling together their vineyards and knowledge to create one bodega focussed on creating high quality Riojas. Bodegas Taron have 700 hectares of vineyards spread over more than 1000 small plots. Some of the oldest vines are over 100 years old which go into making their premium wine, Cepas Centenarias.

Only made in the very best vintages, Pantocrator is a blend of Tempranillo and Mazuelo hand picked from bush vines over 70 years old. The two varieties are aged separately in American oak barrels for 12 months and then blended and returned to the barrels for another 6 months, the wine is then left in stainless steel tanks for 12 months where it is further refined and only then is it deemed ready for bottling. A perfect balance of power and elegance, with notes of black cherries, liqourice, sweet spices such as cinnamon and clove and a light mineral touch on the finish.

Tempranillo 90%, Mazuelo 10%.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note on the Pantocrator 2005 from the winemakers at Bodegas Taron.

Bodegas Taron Pantocrator Rioja 2005 - fiche technique

A cherry red wine of great depth. Good glyceric density, with gentle legs sliding down the sides of the glass, giving an indication of its great volume. Elegant aromas of liquorice, with ripe fruit, and spicy, pepper aromas, underscored by minty notes and a light mineral touch. Fine, elegant, silky tannins in the mouth, with good acidity to balance the palate. The sensations of fruit and spices remain for a long time. A Classic Rioja that beautifully reflects the benefits of one of the best vintages of the 21st Century.

ABV = 13.5%.

£24.50

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
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