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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.

This year the harvest was long, with slow ripening, and abundant, highquality grapes. Spring was particularly wet and in early July, due to the considerable number of bunches, they carried out some thinning to restore the equilibrium of the vineyard. A dry period started in July, interspersed with some timely showers. In September, temperatures rose again, reaching highs of up to 33°C, but equally high fluctuations (even differences of 15°C between day and night), enabled the grapes to attain ideal ripeness. Phenolic maturity was achieved in the last third of September. The grapes were in healthy condition, with high quantities and quality.

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 wine 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. This Valpolicella is impressively lively and playful on the palate, whilst exhibiting delicacy and finesse at the same time.

ABV = 13.0%.

£13.90

Alpha Estate, Amyndeo, Vielles Vignes Single Block Barba Yannis, Xinomavro Reserve 2015 (1x75cl)

Alpha Estate is located in Amyndeo, North West Greece. It is the brainchild of two visionaries, second generation vine grower Makis Mavridis and Bordeaux trained wine maker Angelos Iatrides. Angelos is one of the most talented winemakers working in Europe. This pristine estate in the cool highlands of Western Macedonia comprises 120 hectares of privately owned single block vineyards and employs the most up to date vineyard techniques and winemaking technology to produce world class wines from French and indigenous Greek varietals.

The Single Block Barba Yannis is named in honour of Mr Yannis, from whom the block was purchased in 1994. The vineyard is located in Amyndeo, in the region of Macedonia. The vines are ungrafted, pre-phylloxera bush vines which are over 90 years old. The summers are hot, so in order to avoid extreme water deficit, a "root zone drying irrigation" is used, to ensure the optimum conditions for the nourishment and maturation of the grapes. The vines are grown in sandy clay soils.

The grapes were destemmed, lightly crushed and cold soaked with skin contact. Fermentation took place using an indigenous yeast strain which has been isolated from this specific block. The grapes were vinified at gradually increasing temperatures, before being maintained "sur lie" or on its fine lees, for eighteen months with regular stirring. Maturation took place in Allier-Bertrange French oak casks of medium grain, for 24 months, with a minimum of a further 12 months ageing in the bottle. The wine was bottled without fining and filtration.

This wine is made using Xinomavro 100%.

A complex and typical Xinomavro (pronounced Ksee no' ma vro), showing aromas of smoky black fruits, strawberries, dark cherries, liquorice, sundried tomatoes, and delicate spice. Full bodied and structured on the palate, with a rich depth of fruit, concentrated savoury notes and a touch of oak. The velvety tannins lead through to a persistent and aromatic finish. Serving Suggestion A perfect match with juicy red barbecued meats, roasted lamb, spicy sausage and red peppers baked in olive oil.

ABV = 13.5%.

£19.65

Alpha Zeta A Amarone 2016 (1x75cl)

Alpha Zeta was created in 1999 by UK wine importer, David Gleave MW, and New Zealand winemaker, Matt Thomson with this belief in mind. They realised that the key is to marry local grape growers with impeccable winemaking. All Alpha Zeta wines are made from indigenous grape varieties grown in the hills north-east of Verona.  The flavours of the grape shine through in the glass offering great value, quality and balance. Matt works with local Veronese grape growers in hillside vineyards to select parcels of fruit, rather than buying in bulk wine. They have worked together to reduce yields and the grapes are now picked later. In this way, they have been able to improve grape quality and obtain riper flavours.

The vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley. Cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, which helps to moderate the climate, enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is a mixture of clay and limestone with good drainage. The vineyards are south-facing and therefore warmer than other parts of Valpolicella.

The 2016 harvest was quite similar to 2015, with a cold winter and abundant rainfall. The beginning of the growing season was characterised by the alternation of dry and rainy periods, which allowed for perfect vine development. The following hot and dry summer led to an abundant harvest with healthy grapes.

Selected grapes were picked in mid September and left to dry in specially ventilated rooms until the end of January. During this time the grapes lost about 40% of their natural weight. The grapes were destemmed and crushed at the end of January. Fermentation temperature was between 18°-22°C with daily periodic pumping over, while the length of maceration was 20 days. This Amarone was matured in oak (a mixture of large 'botti' and French oak barriques) for 18 months before bottling.

85% Corvina/Corvinone , 15% Rondinella,

This Amarone is deep and intense on the nose with aromas of dried cherries and blueberries and notes of spiced autumn fruit compote. On the palate it is powerful, with a lovely balance of ripe tannins and spiced, concentrated savoury cherry fruit character. A touch of woodsmoke completes the long finish.

ABV = 15.0%.

£24.65

Alpha Zeta R Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2017 (1x75cl)

Alpha Zeta was started in 1999 when Liberty Wines set out to produce a range of modern, fruit-driven wines from the hills outside Verona. Working with leading New Zealand winemaker, Matt Thomson, our aim was to work with growers (rather than buy bulk wine, which is standard among most wines from Verona at this price) to obtain ripe grapes (by reducing yields and picking later) and then, using Matt's expertise, preserve these flavours in the finished wines. The result is a realisation of the potential inherent in Veronese viniculture.

The vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley. Cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, helping to moderate the climate and enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is poor and chalky so the vines are put under stress helping to produce superior-quality fruit.

The 2017 vintage began with a cold, rainy winter and was compounded by a late frost at the end of April. Flowering was late, beginning towards the end of May on the higher slopes, a little earlier in the lower vineyards. Sunny weather followed throughout the summer months. Overall, 2017 was a relatively challenging vintage because of the difficult start and quantities were down on the previous year. Despite this, the grapes were harvested in good condition and quality levels were high.

This wine was made using a traditional Veronese practice known as ripasso. Traditionally, the young wine was re-fermented on the skins of the Amarone grapes once they had finished fermenting in March. The modern approach is to ferment the young wine together with dried grapes in the January following the vintage, giving the wine more body and depth. Following fermentation, the wine was aged for just over a year in a mixture of large and small, French oak barrels prior to bottling. This blend of modern and traditional winemaking produces a wine with a combination of freshness, structure and depth that is fairly rare among Ripasso wines.

85% Corvina/Corvinone, 15% Rondinella.

Ruby red in colour, this Ripasso opens with a concentrated perfume of red and dried cherries. Full-bodied on the palate, it shows lovely balance between opulent cherry-pie character and supple structure. The finish is long with a mouthwatering bitter-cherry twist.

ABV = 13.5%.

£14.15

Alpha Zeta V Valpolicella 2018 (1x75cl)

Alpha Zeta was created in 1999 by UK wine importer, David Gleave MW, and New Zealand winemaker, Matt Thomson with this belief in mind. They realised that the key is to marry local grape growers with impeccable winemaking. All Alpha Zeta wines are made from indigenous grape varieties grown in the hills north-east of Verona.  The flavours of the grape shine through in the glass offering great value, quality and balance. Matt works with local Veronese grape growers in hillside vineyards to select parcels of fruit, rather than buying in bulk wine. They have worked together to reduce yields and the grapes are now picked later. In this way, they have been able to improve grape quality and obtain riper flavours.

The vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley. Cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, which helps to moderate the climate, enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is poor and chalky so the vines are put under stress which helps to produce superior quality fruit.

Winter 17-18 saw cold temperatures and frequent rains. The beginning of the growing season was marked by abundant rains, followed by a hot and dry period. The harvest was abundant; the hillsides gave lower quantities of very high quality grapes, whilst the lower lying vineyards produced higher quantities than usual.

The grapes were hand harvested, destemmed, crushed and pumped into temperature controlled stainless steel fermenters. The must was left in contact with the skins for seven days, then fermentation took place at up to 30°C. The wine was then moved to stainless steel tanks, where malolactic fermentation took place and the wine was held until bottling.

75% Corvina/Corvinone, 25% Rondinella.

This is a lively, youthful ruby coloured wine with fresh cherry aromas that develop into a rich cherry pie character in the mouth. Body comes from soft, supple tannins that match the concentrated fruit through to the characterful finish.

ABV = 12.5%.

£10.30

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

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

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Gualtallary Valle de Uco Malbec 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition's "Steven Spurrier's Fine Wine World" (see blue link below).

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Gualtallary Valle De Uco Malbec 2014 - August 2018 Decanter review

Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the only officially recognised appellation in Mendoza and one of the region's premium vine growing areas. The estate is known as a Malbec specialist with a reputation as one of the country's top five producers of this particular variety. Alberto Antonini and fellow Tuscan, Antonio Morescalchi, were so impressed with the vineyards in the area around Mendoza, following their first trip to Argentina in 1995, that they persuaded a few friends to join with them in buying this estate. The estate covers 88 hectares with 56 in production.

100% of this Malbec was grown on the loamy soils of Gualtallary, lying at 1,300 metres above sea level. There, limestone-covered pebbles and gravels occupy 50-60% of the soil volume, with a high percentage of free calcium carbonate giving the wine a chalky, fresh minerality. A small percentage of clay (3%) allows the Malbec to express fresh fruit flavours.

2016 began with an unusually cool and rainy spring with temperatures well below average Mendoza standards. This caused some difficulties during flowering and fruit set and led to lower than normal yields. Nevertheless, this reduction in quantity meant that the grapes which did successfully ripen were very high in quality and incredibly concentrated in flavour.

The grapes went through a double selection process and into small stainless steel tanks for pre-fermentation maceration at 5°C for seven days. The alcoholic fermentation began with indigenous yeasts at 24°C and continued for 15 days. In total, the wine spent three weeks on its skins. Pumping over was not carried out in order to minimise over-extraction of grape skin compounds. Instead, the cap was rotated by manual pigeage (punching down) throughout the fermentation. Once this was completed, post-fermentation maceration began for four days. The wine was matured in 3,500 litre untoasted foudres for 18 months followed by 12 months in bottle.

100% Malbec.

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

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Gualtallary Valle De Uco Malbec 2016 - fiche technique

Fresh red fruit notes, cranberries and wild strawberries are followed by layers of spice and herbs. On the palate, fruit is intensely concentrated intensifying through the mid-palate to the finish. The limestone tannins and calcareous soils build a firm but balanced structure in the mouth, with elegant minerality and a long finish.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

ABV = 14.0%.

£32.55

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Paraje Altamira Malbec 2014 (1x75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of South American signature grapes (see blue link below). 

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation (Paraje Altamira) Malbec 2014 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Argentine reds (Altamira and Gualtallary) (see blue link below)...

Altos las Hormigas Appellation Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 95 points and Outstanding status in their October 2017 edition review of South American Extreme Viticulture (see blue link below)...

Altos las Hormigas Appellation Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status in their October 2016 edition review of Argentina (see blue link below).

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Altamira Malbec 2014 - October 2016 Decanter review 

Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the first officially recognised appellation in Mendoza and one of the region's premium vine growing areas. The estate is known as a Malbec specialist with a reputation as one of the country's top five producers of this particular variety. Alberto Antonini and fellow Tuscan, Antonio Morescalchi, were so impressed with the vineyards in the area around Mendoza, following their first trip to Argentina in 1995, that they persuaded a few friends to join with them in buying this estate. The estate covers 88 hectares with 56 in production.

The Altamira vineyard is certified organic. The grapes are sourced from the alluvial terrace of Altamira, lying at 1,200 metres above sea level. Limestone covered pebbles and gravels occupy 85% of the soil volume, providing elegance and minerality in the wines. 3% of clay in the fine matrix allows the Malbec to express fresh red fruit flavours, as well as a delicate and elegant roundness on the palate.

The season began with severe frosts that lowered yields by 30%. November brought a few dry Zonda winds that challenged the flowering stage and lowered yields even more. December and January brought heatwaves and late summer rains. In three weeks the region received equivalent to two years worth of rain. Grapes were harvested before mildew or rot had chance to set in and the resulting grapes showed good levels of acidity, lower alcohol content and fine tannins. 

The grapes went through a double selection process and were harvested into small concrete containers. The alcoholic fermentation began with indigenous yeasts at 24°C. The wine spent three weeks on its skins. In order to maintain careful, gentle handling, pumping over was not used, instead the cap was rotated by manual pigeage throughout the fermentation. The wine was matured in 3,500 litre untoasted Foudres for 18 months, and a further 12 months in bottle. There was a coarse filtration prior to bottling, to ensure that the quality of the wine was not interfered with.

100% Malbec.

Fresh and delicate on the nose showing layers of red cherries and raspberries combined with herbal notes of wild rocket and thyme and a touch of minerality. On the palate it is elegant and supple with fine tannins providing structure. A graceful, complex, deep and structured wine with considerable length.

ABV = 14.5%.

£32.60

Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Clasico 2018 (1x75cl)

Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the only officially recognised appellation within Mendoza and one of the region's premium vine growing areas. The estate is known as a Malbec specialist with a reputation as one of the country's top five producers of this particular variety. Alberto Antonini and fellow Tuscan, Antonio Morescalchi, were so impressed with the vineyards in the area around Mendoza, following their first trip to Argentina in 1995, that they persuaded a few friends to join with them in buying this estate. The estate covers 88 hectares with 56 in production.

Most of the fruit for the Clasico is from vineyards in Luján de Cuyo with sandy loam soils. This is supplemented with some fruit from the high altitude vineyards of the Uco Valley, both of which bring different characteristics to the wine. The area has a semi-desert climate with little rainfall and hot days and cool nights. The soils are deep which delays ripening and avoids hydrological stress.

The 2018 vintage can be described as a classic year for Mendoza Malbec. Low rainfall and cool temperatures in the harvest months of February to April gave rise to fruit with optimal ripeness, smooth tannins and fresh natural acid.

Grapes from different vineyards were vinified separately before the final blend was assembled. After a careful double sorting process, the grapes were gently pressed and fermented with indigenous yeasts in order to express the character of each of the selected vineyards. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks between 24-28°C for 10 days. Each tank is tasted three times a day to determine what is needed. The wine is then aged for a minimum of nine months in concrete vats.

100% Malbec.

This Malbec is deep violet-red in colour. The nose displays characteristic notes of red fruits, raspberries and freshly picked plums with white pepper. This wine is all about freshness - the palate is supple and juicy, with soft but structured tannins and a long finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£12.65

Altos Las Hormigas Valle De Uco Malbec Reserva 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2016 edition review of Argentina (see blue link below).

Altos Las Hormigas Reserva Malbec 2014 - October 2016 Decanter review

Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the only officially recognised appellation within Mendoza and one of the region's premium vine growing areas. The estate is known as a Malbec specialist with a reputation as one of the country's top five producers of this particular variety. Alberto Antonini and fellow Tuscan, Antonio Morescalchi, were so impressed with the vineyards in the area around Mendoza, following their first trip to Argentina in 1995, that they persuaded a few friends to join with them in buying this estate. The estate covers 88 hectares with 56 in production.

The Malbec is hand-picked from 100% calcareous soil of the Uco Valley, limestone over alluvial deposits of the Tunuyan River in Altamira, the alluvial terrace of Arroyo Grande in Vista Flores, and the alluvial with calcareous highlands of Gualtallary.

The 2014-2015 harvest presented mean temperatures well below historic averages. Only in March did temperatures approach mean or close-to-mean values. Red varieties were marked by slow ripening until late March, especially with regards to berry sugar content. Then, halfway through April, ripening suddenly accelerated. This prolonged ripening period yielded very expressive wines.

Grapes were harvested by hand and carefully sorted. The wine spent three weeks on its skins. During fermentation, gentle pigeage was undertaken in order to avoid over extraction. The juice was fermented using indigenous yeasts. The wine was matured in 3,500 litre untoasted foudres for 22 months, and then 12 months in bottle.

100% Malbec.

This wine is deep ruby red in colour, with violet hues. On the nose, it is complex, expressive and aromatic with notes of plum, raspberries, chocolate and a touch of leather. This wine offers a strong, well-structured palate and a long, elegant finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£24.15

Altos Las Hormigas Valle De Uco Malbec Terroir 2016 (1x75cl)

Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the only officially recognised appellation within Mendoza and one of the region's premium vine growing areas. The estate is known as a Malbec specialist with a reputation as one of the country's top five producers of this particular variety. Alberto Antonini and fellow Tuscan, Antonio Morescalchi, were so impressed with the vineyards in the area around Mendoza, following their first trip to Argentina in 1995, that they persuaded a few friends to join with them in buying this estate. The estate covers 88 hectares with 56 in production.

Fruit is sourced from the oldest part of the Uco Valley – vineyards in the sub-region of La Consulta and two areas in Tupungato. The soils are gravelly and alluvial. Vines are planted at high density to balance growth in low vigour, nutrient-poor soils and the grapes are hand harvested.

2016 began with an unusually cool and rainy spring with temperatures well below average Mendoza standards. This caused some difficulties during flowering and fruit set and led to lower than normal yields. Nevertheless, this reduction in quantity meant that the grapes which did successfully ripen were very high in quality and incredibly concentrated in flavour.

Grapes from different vineyards were vinified separately before being blended together. The grapes went through a vigorous selection process on a double selection table before being gently pressed. Indigenous yeasts began the fermentation which lasted 12 days and took place in stainless steel tanks at 24-28ºC. The wine was aged for 18 months before being bottled, 25% in large oak foudres and 75% in concrete. The wine was then aged for a further six months in bottle before release.

100% Malbec.

This wine has an intense ruby red colour. On the nose, it has a beautiful bouquet of sweet cherries, cranberries, fresh figs and hints of violet. Crisp and round on the palate, there is a perfect harmony of bright red fruit and floral nuances and a great balance of acidity and tannin. The finish is fresh and long.

ABV = 14.5%.

£16.15

Alvear Palacio Quemado La Zarcita 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their January 2020 edition article/feature on Spain's Extremadura region (see blue link below).

Alvear Palacio Quemado La Zarcita 2017 - January 2020 Decanter review

Palacio Quemado is located in Extremadura, DO Ribera del Guadiana, in south-western Spain. The winery has 230 acres of 16-year old vines: 50% are Tempranillo and the rest are other varieties well adapted to the area: Garnacha, Syrah, Petit Verdot and local grapes.

In January 2015, Palacio Quemado became part of Grandes Pagos de España, an association of Spanish wine producers dedicated to upholding and promoting very high quality single estate wines. These are wines that faithfully reflect the soils, subsoils and climate from which they hail, each offering an unmistakable personality that can only be drawn from a specific terroir.

Founded in 1999 by the eighth Generation of the Alvear family, this is an estate steeped in tradition, experience, know-how and passion. Since 2010, the Envinate group, a winemaking company that focuses on exploring distinctive parcels mainly in the Atlantic-influenced regions of Ribeira Sacra, Extremadura and the Canary Islands are in charge of Palacio Quemado’s winemaking. Their aim is to make pure and authentic wines that express the terroir of each parcel in a clear and concise manner.

Since 2013, no pesticides are used, only small doses of sulphur and copper, as well as natural plants such as sage, wormwood and cinnamon. 

The winery has different types of soils, calcareous, clay, sandy and rocky, leanding to an exhaustive field work. Each plot of vines is managed and vinified separately, based on its different soils and orientation. Minimum intervention is made in the winery, and only with great care: the grapes enter the winery and tanks almost without crushing, prevented from breaking to preserve the personality of each plot (and of each variety) and the nature of the vintage. Ageing/elevage is carried in second use 500-litres 'super-barriques' to respect the work in the vineyard. This is almost exclusively sourced from France, from different coopers and forests: Allier, Nevers and Vosges.

La Zarcita is one of two wines that Alvear produces in conjunction with Envinate at the Palacio Quemado estate, where the team of Envinate has produced their own label for quite some time. The philosophy of La Zarcita is to blend different indigenous varieties from the single Palacio Quemado estate to produce a young and fresh expression of the terroir of Extremadura. (The philosophy of the second wine - Los Acilates - is to produce an honest and fresh expression of a single plot within the estate, planted with heritage indigenous varieties). La Zarcita is named after a small stream that runs through the vineyards of Palacio Quemado. Ultimately, La Zarcita is a single vineyard wine, and reflects the terroir of the soils and appellation through the use of indigenous Portuguese and Spanish varieties. 

The vineyards for Palacio Quemado extend over 100 hectares, surrounding the bodega. La Zarcita is sourced from sub-plots of this larger vineyard which were selected for their orientation, quality of soil, and grape varieties.

Trincadeira Prieta, Touriga Nacional, Garnacha Tintorera and Syrah are all used, but proportions are not specified by the maker.

The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks. 75% of the wine is aged for eight months in second and third use 500-litre barrels from Allier, Vosges, and Nevers forests. The other 25% is aged in uncoated, concrete tanks.

Cherry red in colour, with nicely balanced floral and fruit notes on the nose and palate. It's very floral and perfumed, with a captivating nose. It's still a straightforward red but with good depth and great freshness. The palate is approachable and soft, with very good acidity.

ABV = 14.0%

£13.25

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

Amalaya Gran Corte 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‘.

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 purple in colour, with aromas of red and black fruit with spicy notes, typical of the region. A concentrated, complex and elegant wine full of fruit with rounded, supple tannins, with good length.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.55

Amalaya Malbec 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was 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

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.

The 2018 vintage can be described as a classic year for Mendoza Malbec. Low rainfall and cool temperatures in the harvest months of February to April gave rise to fruit with optimal ripeness, smooth tannins and fresh natural acid.

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.

ABV = 14.0%.

£11.45
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