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A Mano Imprint Primitivo Appassito 2017 (1x75cl)

Mark Shannon and Elvezia Sbalchiero, the duo behind A Mano, have worked in the wine business for most of their lives. Elvezia is a northern Italian wine marketing expert and Mark is a Californian winemaker. They fell in love with Puglia and, when they decided to start their own label, made it their home. By producing high quality wines, Mark and Elvezia have succeeded in making Primitivo one of Italy's most talked about grape varieties. They pay high prices for the best grapes from 70-100 year old vines and focus solely on quality and a modern style. After over 15 vintages, they are now getting access to some of Salento's best grapes.

The grapes for this wine come from a selection of Mark's four favourite vineyards in the heart of the Primitivo growing region, located in the low hills east of Taranto in Puglia. The region is an old sea bed, full of fossils of clams, oysters and urchins. The altitude is approximately 30-60 metres above sea level and annual rainfall is 35 centimetres. The climate is classically Mediterranean, as Puglia is on a peninsula between the Adriatic and the Ionian seas. The Primitivo vines are quite old; most are the original post phylloxera plantings and range from 70-100 years old. As with most vineyards planted at that time, they are small bush vines called 'alberello' which are non-irrigated and low yielding. The average Primitivo vineyard is quite small, less than half a hectare and the best sites have a crumbly, dark reddish brown soil that resembles instant coffee.

The Primitivo grapes were dried for five weeks. On arrival at the cellars, the grapes were pressed, destemmed and cooled to 18°C and the must was allowed to ferment at its own pace. After racking in mid-November, the wine remained in an underground cement tank where the temperature did not exceed 10°C until bottling under stelvin closure.

A deeply coloured wine with exuberant perfumes of ripe red and black berry fruits, with notes of spice from the oak ageing. Made in the style of an Amarone, it is concentrated and opulent on the palate, with great balance. It is elegant, velvety and supple, with a long finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£13.95

A Mano Negroamaro 2017 (1x 75cl)

Mark Shannon and Elvezia Sbalchiero, the duo behind A Mano, have worked in the wine business for most of their lives. Elvezia is a northern Italian wine marketing expert and Mark is a Californian winemaker. They fell in love with Puglia and, when they decided to start their own label, made it their home. By producing high quality wines, Mark and Elvezia have succeeded in making Primitivo one of Italy's most talked about grape varieties. They pay high prices for the best grapes from 70-100 year old vines and focus solely on quality and a modern style. After over 15 vintages, they are now getting access to some of Salento's best grapes.

The Negroamaro grapes for this wine are grown in a single vineyard covering 11 hectares in the heart of Salice Salentino. An old vineyard, it is dry farmed and the vines trained on trellises to prevent the sensitive grapes suffering from sunburn.

On arrival at the cellars, the grapes were pressed, destemmed and cooled to 18°C and the must allowed to ferment at its own pace. After racking in mid-November, the wine remained in an underground cement tank where the temperature did not exceed 10°C until bottling under Stelvin closure.

2017 was one of the best vintages A Mano have experienced. The weather was perfect, with a cold winter and dry, hot summer, and the vines responded to the excellent conditions. They started harvest on the 25th of August, about 12 days earlier than normal with fruit that was of astounding quality.

100% Negroamaro.

This wine is deep ruby in the glass, the nose opens with crushed berries, black cherries and spices followed by a light floral note. Full and rich, yet sleek and elegant, with lingering spice on the palate.

£11.20

Abadia Retuerta Pago Garduna Single Vineyard Syrah 2015 (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.

100% Syrah.

To see an excellent information sheet/tasting note for this wine by the team at Abadia Retuerta, please click on the blue link below.

Abadia Retuerta Pago Garduna 2015 - fiche technique

£62.50

Abadia Retuerta Pago Negralada Single Vineyard Tempranillo 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) when this wine review was tasted by Sarah Jane Evans MW (see blue link below).

Abadia Retuerta Negralada 2015 - Decanter review

The 2014 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Best Northwest Spanish Red) at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below)...

Abadia Retuerta Negralada 2014 - 2017 DWWA Decanter review

...and was awarded 93+ points by Wine Advocate (click here).

In their single vineyard wines Abadia Retuerta seek to bring out, above all, the true character of the terroir. Pago Negralada comes from a plot of Tempranillo, the noblest Spanish grape variety. The vines are planted in deep gravel soils intermixed with sand at the surface, and produce wines with a distinctive firm, tannic character.

Having aged 18 months in new French oak barrels, the wine has now developed its full potential. Its full ripeness comes to the fore with layers of fragrant strawberry fruit, liquorice, herbs and minerals with soft, silky tannins on the palate.

The Pago Negralada has a very intense, fresh nose, with aromas of wild black fruit and subtle creamy notes. Following on from the vibrancy of the nose, the palat attack invades then the palate with delicacy, leading to an ample wine, solid, meaty and oily with unusual refined tannins for a Tempranillo. It has a very long finish which is well marked with the character of the varietal. With its great ageing potential, this is a wine for the long haul, a wine with its roots firmly in the past and its sights set on future triumphs.

ABV = 14.5%.

£62.50

Accordini Amarone Classico Acinatico DOC 2016 (1x75cl)

This family-run domaine extends over two sites in the heart of Valpolicella Classico: four hectares in Negrar and six of the highest hectares in the appellation, at 400 metres altitude, in Fumane. The wines are outstanding and the reputation of the Acinatico name is growing all the time. Modernity is balanced by earth and roses, so characteristic of the terroir. Best of all, the wines are accessible when young, so there is no need to wait. In 2010, the vision of a new cellar was realised, in the higher part of Accordini’s vineyards, and has allowed the family to realise their highest ambitions for their wines.

Amarone Acinatico is produced from the best selection of grapes from Bessole and Cavalo vineyards, after the drying process which takes 120 days before it spends time ageing in oak barriques. Only specially selected grapes are used to make this wine.

During the first week of January crushing of the grapes takes place without de-stalking. Fermentation is then carried out at temperatures between 12°-23°C. It is macerated for 35 days (of which 15 is cold maceration). The wine is hand pressed twice a day, It is then transferred into barrels at the end of May. Complete malolactic fermentation then occurs. The wine is aged in new French oak barriques, from Allier and Never, for 24 months. The wine will then spend 8 months in bottle. It is bottled without any use of filtration.

Corvina Veronese 75%, Rondinella 20%, Molinara 5%.

This Amarone has a great structure, is complex, elegant and velvet-like. The colour is deep garnet red with a bouquet which is complex but warm, with spicy notes and has the aroma of dried fruit. On the palate it is full bodied, rich and creamy with smooth tannins.

£34.90

Accordini Valpolicella Classico Doc 2018 (1x75cl)

This family-run domain extends over two sites in the heart of Valpolicella Classico: four hectares in Negrar and six of the highest hectares in the appellation, at 400 metres altitude, in Fumane. The wines are outstanding and the reputation of the Acinatico name is growing all the time. Modernity is balanced by earth and roses, so characteristic of the terroir. Best of all, the wines are accessible when young, so there is no need to wait. In 2010, the vision of a new cellar was realised, in the higher part of Accordini’s vineyards, and has allowed the family to realise their highest ambitions for their wines.

The grapes were crushed and de-stalked before the fermentation process began.  The fermentation took place at temperatures between 25°C - 28°C. The wine was macerated for 12 days with hand pressing taking place three times a day. The wine was then kept in stainless steel tanks where complete malolactic fermentation was allowed to occur. The wine was then aged in bottle for 2 months before being released for sale.

The Accordini Valpolicella Classico is an deep ruby red colour with hints of violets. The nose abounds with very intense fruits of the forest, cherries and raspberries. At the start of the palate there the wine is full flavoured but this is balanced with soft and elagant tannins. Hints of spices integrate with flavours of mature fruits.

£12.05

Accordini Valpolicella Classico Ripasso Acinatico 2017 (1x75cl)

This family-run domaine extends over two sites in the heart of Valpolicella Classico: four hectares in Negrar and six of the highest hectares in the appellation, at 400 metres altitude, in Fumane. The wines are outstanding and the reputation of the Acinatico name is growing all the time. Modernity is balanced by earth and roses, so characteristic of the terroir. Best of all, the wines are accessible when young, so there is no need to wait. In 2010, the vision of a new cellar was realised, in the higher part of Accordini’s vineyards, and has allowed the family to realise their highest ambitions for their wines.

The Accordini Valpolicella Ripasso Acinatico undergoes re-fermentation and a second maceration with daily mixing for 10 days over the Amarone and Recioto grape skins. As they are still mildly sweet, they enrich the body of the wine alongside the colour, bouquet and alcohol content. The  The wine is the aged in Slovenian oak barrels and barrique for 12 months. It is this contact with the wood that gives the Ripasso its fresh hints of mature fruit, spices and tobacco. It is then bottled and is left to mature for a further 6 months.

Corvina Veronese 60%, Corvinone 15%, Rondinella 20%, Molinara 5%,

This wine has a strong ruby red colour. The aromas are intense yet subtle with hints of spices and vanilla. The flavours are warm and full bodied with traces of dried fruit that are reminiscent of Amarone. It is great when served with all types of meat, but roasts, stews and mature cheeses are particularly good matches.

£16.95

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

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.

£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.

£17.65

Alain Jaume - Haut de Brun - Cotes du Rhone 2017 (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 - 2017 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 2016 - fiche technique

£12.10

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

Allegrini La Poja 2013 (1x75cl)

The Allegrini family estate covers 100 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area. The family has been growing grapes here for six generations, but the estate in its current form was founded by Giovanni Allegrini. When he passed away in 1983, it passed to his three children, who ran it together until Walter's death in July 2003. Franco now looks after the vineyards and is the winemaker, and Marilisa is director of marketing.

Located at the top of Podere La Grola, Sant'Ambrogio di Valpolicella, 320 metres above sea level, the vineyard comprises 2.65 hectares planted in 1979 with a south-east exposure. The soil is well drained, calcareous (78.5% chalk) and stony. Soils are marginally alkaline and combine with the active limestone content to reduce the vines' vigour. The vines are double Guyot trained at a density of approximately 4,240 vines per hectare.

2013 started with a very rainy and snowy winter, with temperatures above the seasonal average. The mild conditions continued throughout spring. The grapes enjoyed gradual ripening, which came about mainly by virtue of light rather than heat, and this led to the accumulation of polyphenols in the red grapes. The months of July and August saw high temperatures and an excellent diurnal temperature range which was ideal for ripening. The conditions during harvest in September and October were mostly good, despite being interspersed with days of heavy rain.

The grapes were harvested at the end of September, destemmed and crushed with maceration lasting 12-15 days with regular, daily pumping over. Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks between 22-31ºC with malolactic fermentation occurring naturally in November. The wine was then racked into new oak barriques where it aged for 20 months, followed by eight months in large oak casks. The wine was left to age in the bottle for an additional 10 months.

100% Corvina/Corvinone.

See also the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Allegrini La Poja 2013 - fiche technique

After some years now of ageing, the wine is still extraordinarily fresh and crisp with a full spectrum of aromas, ranging from dark fruits: blackcurrant and cherry, to liquorice, vanilla and smoky tobacco notes which follow onto the palate. Full bodied and elegant, framed by taut tannins the wine has a long, lingering finish.

£70.20

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre IGT 2016 (1x75cl)

The Allegrini family estate covers 100 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area. The family has been growing grapes here for six generations, but the estate in its current form was founded by Giovanni Allegrini. When he passed away in 1983, it passed to his three children, who ran it together until Walter's death in July 2003. Franco now looks after the vineyards and is the winemaker, and Marilisa is director of marketing.

Palazzo della Torre covers 26 hectares of east-facing vineyard planted between 1962 and 2013, situated 240 metres above sea level. Allegrini purchased this vineyard in 1978. Soils are cretaceous and calcareous, with Pergola Trentina trained vines planted at 3,000 vines per hectare.

Franco Allegrini used the modern version of the traditional ripasso technique for Palazzo della Torre, drying a proportion of the grapes in the 'Terre di Fumane' drying centre, to intensify the character of this vineyard. The grapes that were dried were hand picked at the beginning of September, and the grapes vinified immediately were picked at the end of the month. 70% of the grapes picked were vinified immediately and 30% were left to dry until the second half of December when they were vinified and then refermented with the wine from the fresh grapes. The wine spent 15 months in second-use barriques, and was blended together for two months, then aged for a further seven months in bottle.

70% Corvina/Corvinone , 25% Rondinella, 5% Sangiovese.

Ruby red in colour, Palazzo della Torre has enticing aromas of cherry with rich dark chocolate notes. Velvety in texture, it is well-balanced and offers ripe, juicy dark fruit, with silky tannins and refreshing acidity.

£19.05

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre IGT magnum 2015 (1x1.5L)

The Allegrini family estate covers 100 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area. The family has been growing grapes here for six generations, but the estate in its current form was founded by Giovanni Allegrini. When he passed away in 1983, it passed to his three children, who ran it together until Walter's death in July 2003. Franco now looks after the vineyards and is the winemaker, and Marilisa is director of marketing.

Palazzo della Torre covers 26 hectares of east-facing vineyard planted between 1962 and 2013, situated 240 metres above sea level. Allegrini purchased this vineyard in 1978. Soils are cretaceous and calcareous, with Pergola Trentina trained vines planted at 3,000 vines per hectare.

2015's overall climate and weather pattern were particularly beneficial for the physiological equilibrium of the vines. The high temperatures recorded throughout the Valpolicella in July did not prevent the different varieties from ripening in perfect health. The harvest, which began in early September, took place in ideal conditions due to the total absence of rain. 2015 promises wines with intense aromas and good balance of acidity.

Franco Allegrini used the modern version of the traditional ripasso technique for Palazzo della Torre, drying a proportion of the grapes in the 'Terre di Fumane' drying centre, to intensify the character of this vineyard. The grapes that were dried were hand picked at the beginning of September, and the grapes vinified immediately were picked at the end of the month. 70% of the grapes picked were vinified immediately and 30% were left to dry until the second half of December when they were vinified and then refermented with the wine from the fresh grapes. The wine spent 15 months in second-use barriques, and was blended together for two months, then aged for a further seven months in bottle.

70% Corvina/Corvinone, 25% Rondinella, 5% Sangiovese.

Ruby red in colour, Palazzo della Torre has enticing aromas of cherry with rich dark chocolate notes. Velvety in texture, it is well-balanced and offers ripe, juicy dark fruit, with silky tannins and refreshing acidity.

£42.00

Allegrini Valpolicella 2018 (1x75cl)

The Allegrini family estate covers 100 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area. The family has been growing grapes here for six generations, but the estate in its current form was founded by Giovanni Allegrini. When he passed away in 1983, it passed to his three children, who ran it together until Walter's death in July 2003. Franco now looks after the vineyards and is the winemaker, and Marilisa is director of marketing.

The south-east facing vineyards are located in the hills of the Valpolicella Classico region at 180-280 metres above sea level. The soil there is very varied but mostly chalky, of volcanic origin. The older vineyards are trained using the pergola Trentina system, planted with about 3,000 vines per hectare, whereas the newer ones use the single Guyot system with 5,000 plants per hectare. The vines are 35 years old on average.

The grapes were destemmed before soft-pressing, after which fermentation occurred at 25-31ºC in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Fermentation lasted nine days after which the wine was held in stainless steel tanks until bottling in mid-February where it spent a further two months before release.

This wine was made using Corvina 70%, Rondinella 30%.

This Valpolicella is ruby red in colour, with youthful highlights. Fragrant fruit with prominent notes of dark cherries are echoed by fresher hints of pepper and aromatic herbs, typical of Corvina and its genetic cousin Corvinone, the historic varieties of this appellation. When young, this Valpolicella is impressively lively and playful on the palate and will express greater delicacy and finesse with two or more years of ageing.

£13.85
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