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  • Bottle Size: 75cl

Chateau Leoville Barton 2016 (1x75cl)

 ** THIS WINE IS NOT HELD IN STOCK BUT QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON THE WEDNESDAY. **

The Barton family's passion for wine is reflected in the elegance and consistency of Château Léoville Barton. This estate was classified as a 2nd Grand Cru Classé in 1855 and lies within the iconic terroir of Saint Julien in the Médoc.

Cabernet Sauvignon 86% and Merlot 14%.

Intense ruby colour, the nose reveals vivid notes of black fruits (black cherry, blackcurrant, blueberry) with a touch of ink. The mouth is ample, powerful and you feel the freshness of the red fruits. The tannins are delicate with a long finish.

ABV = 13.0%.

£117.15

Chateau Mayne Mazerolles, Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and a Silver medal at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA19).

The historic property of Château Mayne Mazerolles is situated close to the town and Citadel of Blaye, a Vauban fortress which is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The vineyard stretches over 30 hectares in the Blaye appellation on the right bank of the Gironde in Bordeaux. The estate is now managed by winemaker Jacques Chardat who follows a philosophy of utmost respect for the vines, cultivating the vineyard sustainably and is in conversion to organic status. He produces stunning Merlot based wines of real character.

The château is located in the town of Cars, in the appellation of Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux. The vineyard is made up of south facing plots on a plateau with claylimestone soils and a terroir known locally as gruppes, which is formed of small, white pebbles. The vineyard is cultivated according to traditional and sustainable viticulture practices, with an emphasis on respecting the soil, the environment and the vine. The vines are trained according to the double Guyot system and are carefully pruned to ensure a maximum yield of 45 hectolitres per hectare. The soil under the vines is scattered with oats or barley to produce a green manure; insecticides are not used. The vineyard is in conversion to organic.

2016 saw another excellent red Bordeaux vintage. Spring had the complication of an episode of frost. However, a very dry summer followed, bringing the growth cycle back into alignment. Rain in early September revived the vines after a dry period. An Indian summer allowed for optimal maturity in the grapes, which were perfectly ripened at harvest time.

Traditional Bordeaux vinification, with pre-fermentation maceration taking place at low temperatures, in order to extract the vibrant fruit flavours. Fermentation took place at controlled temperatures. 20% of the wine was aged in barrels for six months; the remainder was aged in vat to retain the purity of fruit, elegance and freshness.

Merlot 80%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%, Malbec 10%.

An elegant, black fruited wine with discreet notes of spicy, vanilla oak and wild sage. Opulent and textured with fine, smooth tannins and blackberry flavours that linger on the persistent finish.

As the DWWA19 panel said, "Sweet blueberry, plum, graphite and blackberry. Seductive, with plush tannins, this is a lovely claret with a long finish not distracted by oak".

ABV = 13.5%.

£11.95

Chateau Potensac, Cru Bourgeois, Medoc 2015 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS NOT HELD IN STOCK BUT QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON THE WEDNESDAY. **

 

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) (see link below).

Chateau Potensac, Cru Bourgeois, Medoc 2015  - Decanter review

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For other reviews, see the fiche technique/data sheet link below.

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The estate has been in the same family since time immemorial and has always been handed down by women. The current owner, Jean-Hubert Delon, inherited the estate from his paternal grandmother, Georgette Liquard. Although close to the river, Potensac is situated on a high point of land in North Medoc. Because of this position, the site has been populated since ancient times.

Planted on the best quality soils in the Ordonnac district, the vineyards now extend over 60 hectares on a terroir where the typical characteristics of each grape variety express themselves very distinctly and give the wine superb ageing potential.

Château Potensac's vineyards extend mainly over hilly mounds with a limestone subsoil covered with clay and gravel outcrops containing a high proportion of gravel (graves). These limestone soils are very similar to those found in the Saint-Estèphe appellation. On this very special terroir, some plots of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc planted over 80 years ago still produce perfectly ripe, healthy grapes. The hamlet of Potensac was already cited in the first edition of Féret for the special characteristics and longevity of its wines

The estate's Grand Vin's vineyards are located west of Ordonnac village. Its rows of vines grow on a double thalweg of gravelly-clay. They produce a very fine wine with tight texture, great richness and wonderful freshness. On the palate, the wine is pure and powerful, the tannins dense and spicy, and the finish of great depth with glorious aromas. Because of these qualities, Château Potensac is often considered to represent the pure Medoc style. It should be noted that Potensac was the only Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel of its appellation.

For top detail on this, the 2015, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the Chateau themselves. There's a fair smattering of French when you first opne it, but look down the page and it's all translated. There's also a wealth of reviews on this sheet.

Chateau Potensac, Medoc 2015 - fiche technique

Merlot 45%, Cabernet Sauvignon 38%, Cabernet Franc 17%.

To quote Wine Spectator, "Pepper, savory and bay leaf notes lead the way, with a core of medium-weight cassis and cherry flavors. A tobacco hint and chalky minerality extend the finish, which has a pleasant austerity. A touch reticent in style, but will age well".

ABV = 13.5%.

£37.85

Chateau Poujeaux, Cru Bourgeois, Moulis 2011 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS NOT HELD IN STOCK BUT QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON THE WEDNESDAY. **

 

"Supple and Merlot-influenced, the red from this Moulis superstar is one of the value-for-money wines of the vintage, as it was in 2010. Coffee bean and tobacco on the nose, with a hint of sweet spice on the palate, fine tannins and textured, balanced fruit. 6+ years. 91 points". Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2012.

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Chateau Poujeaux is situated in Moulis-en-Medoc which is in the heart of the vineyards of the Haut-Médoc, 3 miles from the two great appellations of Margaux and St-Julien. The name ‘Château Poujeaux’ first appeared in 1806 but Terre de Poujeaux, situated in Moulis-en-Médoc, had existed since the Middle Ages. During the 19th Century, the estate produced its first wines and became truly independent. 

In 2008, the estate was acquired by the Cuvelier family, already owners of the famous Clos Fourtet, 1er Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Émilion. Won over by the quality of the wines and recognising the potential of the terroir, the Cuvelier family have brought a decidedly modern touch to Poujeaux, raising its profile to place it among the best-loved fine wines of Bordeaux. Today, Matthieu Cuvelier and Christophe Labenne co-manage Château Poujeaux with enthusiasm and a determination to perpetuate and transmit Château Poujeaux’s family and team spirit. The vineyard and winery teams follow the technical advice given to them by their esteemed colleague, Stéphane Derenoncourt.

This, the Grand Vin of Château Poujeaux, unites qualities of elegance, depth and balance. 250,000 bottles are typically produced each year.

Harvest time is the culmination of a year’s work, generally beginning in mid-September and ending in mid-October. Each plot is picked by hand at optimal maturity, determined with the help of technical analysis and tasting of the berries. The cut grapes are sorted then transferred to the winery. The fruit is separated according to the age of the vines, vineyard location and grape variety in order to obtain separate batches with complimentary characteristics.

After a month of alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in vat, ageing takes place in French oak barrels over 12 months.

To see the informative fiche technique for this wine which has been written by the team at Chateau Poujeaux themselves, please click on the blue link below.

Chateau Poujeaux 2011 - fiche technique

48% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc.

The wines of Château Poujeaux invariably have a very deep, rich colour. The aromas are subtle, the tannins soft and silky and never aggressive even in their youth. Power, charm, elegance and balance characterize these wines perfectly. Château Poujeaux is a classic that will delight many wine enthusiasts, as it perfectly represents the Médoc. 

ABV = 13.0%.

£31.00

Chateau Puy Guilhem, Fronsac 2009 (1x75cl)

The stunning 18th-century Château Puy Guilhem is located on the hills of Saillans, overlooking the appellations of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion. The vineyard covers 14.5 hectares and is situated at the highest elevation of the Fronsac appellation, where the quality soils produce rich, concentrated grapes. The vineyard is manually cultivated following a sustainable philosophy and renowned consultant oenologist Stéphane Derenoncourt vinifies by parcel, creating hand-crafted, fruit focused and beautifully balanced wines.

2009 is widely cited as an outstanding vintage. The growing season was almost perfect, with a long, fine, warm summer and crucially, cooler nights which helped to retain balancing acidity. The wines are intensely ripe and rich.

The appellation of Fronsac is on the right bank close to Saint-Emilion. The wines are dominated by Merlot. Château Puy Guilhem’s vineyard is situated in an elevated position of the appellation, atop high quality soil composed of a mix of clay and silt, which imparts structure to the wine. The vineyard is managed sustainably without the use of herbicides. Cover crops of grass are grown between the vines and manged with light tilling.

Fermentation took place in temperature controlled vats and lasted for 24 to 48 hours. The fermenting must was manually pumped over, with daily observations to check the evolution of the skins. Maceration lasted between three to four weeks to extract the desired levels of colour, flavour and tannins. The wine was aged for 12 to 16 months in French oak barrels, of which 50% were new and 50% was of one year.

100% Merlot.

A mature and traditionally styled Bordeaux showing ripe and fleshy black berried fruits with a lovely savoury and earthy finish. A powerful yet elegant red with ripe berried fruits enhanced by a subtle note of oak spice. Full bodied, with juicy fruit and an attractive savoury note on the finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£23.40

Chateau Saint-Esteve, H de M, Corbieres, 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 edition panel tasting of Corbières (see blue link below).

 

Château Saint-Esteve, H de M, Corbieres, 2017 - April 2020 Decanter review

Situated in the south of France, near the Mediterranean coast, the estate is located in the heart of Corbières, on the terroir of Boutenac, with its clay-limestone soils and round pebbles, in a century-old pine forest. Château Saint-Estève revels in the beauty and the charm of a protected landscape. This is a special place: the estate echoes to singing cicadas in summer, sits among magnificent pine trees and visitors can admire the garrigue, blue sky, protruding rocks and magnificent nature.

Owner Eric Latham has been cultivating the Château's 120 ha of vineyards since 1984. The adventurous and daring spirit of the family, has been strongly influenced by the experiences of their ancestors and their bold lifestyle choices. For example, his great-grand-uncle, Hubert Latham, an aviation pioneer, was known for his attempts to cross the Channel and his rivalry with Louis Blériot. Eric's grand-father, Henry de Monfreid - after whom this wine is named - was a famous adventurer, photographer and writer, native to Corbières and best known for his exploits in the Red Sea.

Carignan and Syrah principally grow on the lands of Saint-Estève; Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre and Cinsault (also varieties of the Corbières appellation) to a lesser extent. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Caladoc are also present in addition for the production of IGP wines. The red varieties naturally dominate although Grenache Blanc, Chardonnay and Muscat are also grown.

Although the Château itself sits within the Boutenac cru, this wine, the H de M, is drawn from vineyards that lie outwith that demarcation and classes as 'standard' Corbières .

Syrah 60%, Carignan 20%, Grenache 10%, Mourvedre 10%.

For more/full details of this wine, see the blue link below for a detailed data sheet from/by the Château themselves. <NB: an additional precision to information listed there, having checked with the producer is: 50% of the wine is aged in barrels which are 2 to 3 years old.>

Chateau Saint-Esteve, H de M, Corbieres - fiche technique

Garnet colour with ruby glints. Intense nose of ripe fruits (blueberry, blackcurrant), spices and vanilla. In the mouth, cocoa and praline notes. Tannins are silky and round. Carignan brings elegance and freshness to this distinguished wine.

ABV = 14.0%.

£14.95

Chateau Simard, Grand Cru, St-Emilion 2010 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS NOT HELD IN STOCK BUT QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON THE WEDNESDAY. **

Although a small and relatively little known estate, Simard enjoys a sought-after position in amongst some of the premier estates of St-Emilion, including the mighty Ausone.

Château Simard is a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru which belongs to the very famous Vauthier family, who also own the world-renowned Château Ausone. Chateau Simard has been classified as Saint Emilion Grand Cru from the 2008 vintage. It has an enviable address on the sunny southern slopes of Saint Emilion. It has an excellent exposure and predominantly clay soil, mixed with sand and gravel. 

Stepping back to 1870, in those days, Chateau Simard was a much larger vineyard. In an effort to expand the wine trade in St-Emilion, to help in the shipping of their wine, a railroad was established that runs through the bottom of the Saint Emilion appellation.

However, the tracks were placed right in the middle of the Simard vineyard, cutting it in half. A new wine was created out of the now-split vineyard, Chateau Haut Simard.

Chateau Simard was purchased by the Maziere family in the 1920’s. Today, the estate is owned by Alain Vautheir, a direct descendant of Claude Maziere, who managed Chateau Simard since 1954. Alain Vauthier manages Chateau Simard and Chateau Haut Simard with the able assistance of his daughter, Pauline Vauthier. Pauline Vauthier is in charge of the winemaking of Château Simard’s 40 hectares of vines.

The 48-hectare, Right Bank vineyard of Chateau Haut Simard is in reality two separate parcels. The larger 40-hectare parcel used for Simard is planted to 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc. The remaining 8 hectares are reserved for Chateau Haut Simard, which is planted to 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.

Chateau Simard has a completely different aging process as the wine does not see any new oak for the aging. Instead, the wine of Chateau Simard is aged in concrete vats. Fermentation is in concrete vats; maceration is for ~30 days, depending on the vats. 100% malolactic fermentation is encouraged; there is no oak aging.

80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc.

The blend each year reflects the vineyard's makeup of Merlot with small parcels of Cabernet Franc. The wine has attractive, up-front fruit with a fairly long finish that is drinking well presently but also could be cellared for a number of years.a brick-like hue and mellow aromas of leather, pudding spice and leaf tea aromas. The palate offers rich, raisined fruit and fine-grained tannins.

On average, the production of Chateau Simard is close to 12,000 cases per year.

ABV = 14.0%.

£26.70

Chateau Siran 2012, Cru Bourgeois, Margaux (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS NOT HELD IN STOCK BUT QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON THE WEDNESDAY. **

 

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in November 2018 (see link below).

Chateau Siran 2012, Margaux - November 2018 Decanter review

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For further reviews, see link at foot of this page.

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Produced from soils made up of a deep layer of gravel, the wines of Siran are typical of the great Margaux growths. Both powerful and delicate, they express the perfect balance between tannin, fruit and acidity. They are long-ageing wines, which over time develop sweetness on the palate, giving a characteristic silky and velvety mouth-feel. Made from a subtle blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, Château Siran generally expresses finesse, femininity and silkiness rather than the raw power and virility of some Médoc wines. The high percentage of Petit Verdot, which can be as much as 15% of the final blend in some years, brings a spicy finish which enhances the unique character of the wines of Château Siran. Château Siran displays charm when young but is also a wine of very long ageing potential. Wine enthusiasts particularly appreciate the complexity of its aromas that it develops over time.

For more detail on this this, the 2015, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Chateau Siran 2012, Margaux - fiche technique

46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc.

By way of tasting notes and further reviews, please see the link below.

Chateau Siran 2012, Margaux - tasting notes amd reviews

ABV = 13.5%.

£30.00

Chateau Talbot, 4eme CC, St-Julien 2015 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS NOT HELD IN STOCK BUT QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON THE WEDNESDAY. **

 

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in December 2017 (see link below).

Chateau Talbot, 4eme CC, St-Julien 2015 - Dec 2017 Decanter review

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"A big, rich wine for St. Julien with plenty of power and concentration, which enables it to carry plenty of spicy and toasty oak. The tannins need some time to soften, but the elegant finish says that from 2020 this should really impress. 94 points. James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, February 2018.

having been tasted earlier...

"A refined yet chewy young red with lots of blackberry and blueberry aromas and flavors. Full body, ripe tannins and a fresh and clean finish. 92/93 points". James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, March 2016.

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Château Talbot comprises 110 hectares of a single vineyard in the heart of the Saint-Julien commune, an outstanding appellation as it counts no fewer than 11 Classified Growths/Crus Classes. Ideally situated on the banks of the Gironde estuary on hilltops of alluvial gravel carried by the Dordogne River from the Massif Central and from the Pyrenees by the Garonne, Château Talbot’s terroir is exceptional. The estate has a rich history. Its name originates with Connétable Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, governor of Guyenne as well as being a famous English military commander, who was defeated at the battle of Castillon in 1453.

For winemaking detail on this, the Grand Vin, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the Château themselves.

Chateau Talbot, 4eme CC, St-Julien 2015 - fiche technique

Cabernet Sauvignon 66%, Merlot 31% and Petit Verdot 3%.

A dark purple color already shows the depth of this vintage. Refined and floral aromas on the nose with red fruits combined with a delicate and precise oak. Dense, silky and fleshy on the palate with a great elegance of fine tannins. A deep length finishing with black fruits. 

ABV = 13.5%.

£73.20

Chateau Tour Des Gendres Bergerac Rouge Le Classique 2016 (1x75cl)

Here are the thoughts of the de Conti family of Chateau Tour des Gendres: "We are innovative and determined winemakers, passing on our savoir-faire actively. The personality and success of our wines is thanks to our authenticity and typicality… The Muscadelle à Petits Grains & the Malbec are historical Bergerac grape varieties, present in the Appellation for nearly a thousand years. We continue learning how to work with them naturally, through winemaking and blending, all the while reflecting on and doing something for our terroir and the environment. Since we started farming organically, we have learnt a lot about the nature, and we continue learning and trying new things with the new arrivals and generations… We are continuously evolving!"

After the grapes are brought to the winery, the bunches are destalked, then the grapes are then left to macerate for 4 days at a cold temperature before fermentation. The fermentation and ageing on the lees occurs in stainless steel vats, with a 20 day maceration period. Filtration is minimal.

This wine is 60 % Merlot40% Malbec.

This wine has a bright garnet-coloured touch. The aromas are very elegant; a fresh nose of red fruits, fresh cherry. The mouth is intriguing – it has a lovely body and soft tannins.

ABV = 14.0%. 

£11.65

Chateau Tour Des Gendres Bergerac Rouge Le Classique 2017 (1x75cl)

Here are the thoughts of the de Conti family of Chateau Tour des Gendres: "We are innovative and determined winemakers, passing on our savoir-faire actively. The personality and success of our wines is thanks to our authenticity and typicality… The Muscadelle à Petits Grains & the Malbec are historical Bergerac grape varieties, present in the Appellation for nearly a thousand years. We continue learning how to work with them naturally, through winemaking and blending, all the while reflecting on and doing something for our terroir and the environment. Since we started farming organically, we have learnt a lot about the nature, and we continue learning and trying new things with the new arrivals and generations… We are continuously evolving!"

After the grapes are brought to the winery, the bunches are destalked, then the grapes are then left to macerate for 4 days at a cold temperature before fermentation. The fermentation and ageing on the lees occurs in stainless steel vats, with a 20 day maceration period. Filtration is minimal.

This wine is 60 % Merlot40% Malbec.

This wine has a bright garnet-coloured touch. The aromas are very elegant; a fresh nose of red fruits, fresh cherry. The mouth is intriguing – it has a lovely body and soft tannins.

ABV = 13.0%. 

£11.65

Chateaux Ollieux Romanis Atal Sia Corbieres Boutenac 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 edition panel tasting of Corbières (see blue link below).

Chateaux Ollieux Romanis, Atal Sia, Corbieres-Boutenac 2016 - April 2020 Decanter review

Located in Boutenac, just south of the village of Corbières in the Languedoc region, Ollieux Romanis is now one of the largest privately owned wineries in Corbières, spanning some 130 hectares. First planted to vine in the 11th century AD, Ollieux Romanis actually came into existence as a farm producing grains, olives, and mutton in Roman times, some eight centuries earlier. It was the Durban-Latreille family who saw its potential and began planting it to vine. Soon, a priory was formed and the domaine flourished, as tending to the vine was part of the monks’ daily religious ritual, for production of the holy sacrament.

Through the Middle Ages Les Ollieux became part of the Abbey of Fontfroide and then subsequently changed hands many times. Today it is owned and maintained by the Bories family, who settled at Les Ollieux some 200 years ago.  Pierre Bories is assisted by winemaker Jean-Pierre Amiques.  There are some very interesting  and unusual terroirs featured at the domaine, including Mediterranean red clay, sandstone, and puddingstone. Along with the requisite Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Marsanne, and Roussanne, the Bories also cultivate Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Merlot, and Mourvèdre, the ‘unapproved’ varietals going into their fun entry-level VdP label Capucines.

Les Ollieux is currently working its way to fully organic status having dispensed with herbicides and pesticides in the late 1990s. Instead, Pierre composts with marc, or the leftover solids (sins, seeds, pulps, pits) of his grapes and olives after pressing. 80% of the harvest is done manually (rare for such a large estate) – all grapes for Atal Sia (their high end cuvee) and Corbieres Classique red and white harvested manually.

Atal Sia translates to “let it be” in the local Languedocien dialect and is the perfect expression for this wine, which beautifully translates the authenticity of the terroir in Boutenac.

The grapes for the Atal Sia are grown on the pudding stone (over sandstone) terroir of Boutenac. This is a lush confection of Carignan 40%, Grenache 30%, Mourvèdre 20% and a dollop (5%) of Syrah for spice. No oak here, yet this is still a deep and intense wine with black fruits, orange peel, spice and liquorice and a smooth, silky, almost sweet palate.

The grapes for this wine are harvested manually before undergoing whole cluster maceration. Once the winemaking process is complete, the wine spends a year maturing in the bottle before being released for sale. 

This has had no oak influence, yet is still a deep and intense wine with characteristics of black fruits, orange peel, spice and liquorice, as well as a smooth, silky, almost sweet palate.

ABV = 14.5%.

£20.50

Chiara Condello Romagna Sangiovese Predappio (normale) 2016 (1x75cl)

For the curious, interested and time-rich, see this excellent webinar/tasting with Chiara Condello from May 2020.

Here's our video tasting here of this wine, which combines with one for a rare Roero DOCG Nebbiolo.

Chiara Condello is a young winemaker located in the town of Predappio in Emilia-Romagna, specifically Romagna. Chiara owns 7 hectares of land, 4.8 of which are planted to Sangiovese; the rest are split between woods and olive trees.  Her family also makes wine in Predappio under their own label called Condè, but Chiara works in her own way, with her own vineyards and own cellar.  Her first vintage was 2015, and in short time she’s combined her bright-eyed enthusiasm with a clear vision of what her Sangiovese should be.

Romagna is no stranger to Sangiovese; many ampelographers believe it originates here and not in Tuscany. Predappio is one of twelve villages that give their names to Sangiovese subzones authorized as of the 2011 vintage. It is located in the foothills of the Apennines, and is characterized by a sedimentary soil called spungone, which is relatively young (three million years old, from the Pliocene epoch).  It contains abundant, intact shells of marine life, often quite large, and is chunky and porous, held together by a calcareous sandstone 'cement'.

A Romagna Sangiovese with an authorized subzone on the label must be 95% Sangiovese, with lower yields and more stringent ageing requirements compared to a regular Romagna Sangiovese.  Chiara’s two wines—a normale (this wine) and a Riserva called Le Lucciole (an emerging superstar wine retailing at ~£60 and on strict allocation)are both 100% Sangiovese and go above and beyond what is required by the appellation.  Farming is organic, making use of cover crops and the occasional application of horse manure. In the cellar, Chiara draws inspiration from the late Giulio Gambelli, often using open-top fermenters with extended maceration (sometimes with whole clusters), and a preference for ageing in large neutral vessels.

Harvested late September/early October 2016. 100% Sangiovese from three vineyards parcels between 150m and 350m above sea level, with a north/northeast exposure.  One is clay-limestone, one is red clay with high spungone content, and the last is clay-limestone with veins of spungone. The vines are approximately 40 years old. The grapes were partially destemmed but not crushed, leaving whole berries intact. Fermentation was spontaneous in small stainless steel tanks (with temperature control), and open-top tronconic wood vats and tonneaux. Macerations lasted 15-25 days. Ageing was for one year in used 3500-litre Slavonian oak botti plus 6 months in bottle. Unfined and unfiltered.

Annual production is just 12,000 bottles.

Organically produced.

Exel tasting note: Clear (in that way Sangiovese is), with a bright ruby colour. The Predappio has an intense, seriously fruity nose: classic (and very ripe) red cherries, married with blacker-than-usual fruits for Sangiovese – most notably, blackberries and black cherries. There’s florality and complexity here: hints of violets and rose allied with soft, sweet vanilla tones from the oak. Very balanced in the mouth with silky tannins and beautiful acidity; long and elegant. This is ripe, rich and sumptuous for a Sangiovese, reflecting the warmth of the vineyards. This is thus a more easy-drinking (and ready-to-drink) style of Sangiovese, with acidity and tannins tamed (a little) more than usual, yet lacking neither in complexity or the ability to age (easily five years, and probably ten).

ABV = 14.0%.

£16.95

Clos Cibonne, Cuvee Tradition Tibouren rouge, Cotes de Provence 2019 (1x75cl)

** PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS THE RED VERSION OF THE HIGHLY-RATED ROSE IN THE AUGUST 2010 edition of DECANTER (and not the rose itself, despite being the same price, having a similar name and a similar bottle and label!) **

The property of Clos Cibonne dates back to 1797 when the Roux Family purchased it from Jean Baptiste de Cibon, captain of the royal marines of Louis XVI. In 1930, André Roux modernized the winery in order to pursue his goal of producing top quality wines at the estate. This revival ignited an era of fame for the rosés of Clos Cibonne.

In the 1980s, hard times fell upon the estate and it drifted without clear direction until Bridget, André Roux’s granddaughter, and her husband, Claude Deforge, took it over in the late 1990s. Their immediate goal was to bring the estate back to its former grandeur. By renovating the cellars while preserving the tradition of aging in old foudres, the family began to re-establish the vaunted reputation of the domaine. Thanks to their effort, Clos Cibonne once again lives up to its standing as one of the 18 Crus Classés in Côtes de Provence.

NB: There are 18 estates in the Côtes de Provence classed as Cru Classé – a designation created in 1955, as much as 22 years before the appellation itself (!), their reputation based on history rather than commonality of terroir

The heart of the estate is their Tibouren. André Roux was a great fan of this native grape variety and believed it to be the ideal grape for the region. As part of his revitalisation, he replaced all of the estate’s Mourvèdre with Tibouren. Tibouren had been in drastic decline since the onset of the phylloxera blight. An ancient Mediterranean variety reputedly favoured by Julius Caesar, it was transported over the Alps by Napoleon’s troops and took root in Liguria as Rossese. Here in Provence, it makes thirst-quenching, smoky, sapid pinks, and earthy, red-fruited fine reds. 

Clos Cibonne soon became synonymous with Tibouren and received special permission from the AOC to list the grape on its labels.

The estate’s 15 hectares of vineyards are located a mere 800 meters from the coast and are surrounded by hillsides in the base of a bowl that faces the sea. This topography creates air circulation that allows for perfect maturation of the grapes and helps to reduce vintage variation.

Organic production, albeit without certification yet.

For more/all the winemaking detail, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the Clos itself; it does feature some interesting translationIt features the 2017 bottle in image; the fiche applies to all vintages.

Clos Cibonne, Cuvee Tradition Tibouren rouge - fiche technique

90% Tibouren, 10% Grenache.

For a tasting not, see link above.

ABV = 14.5%.

£22.50

Colome Estate Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of Value Malbec (see blue link below). 

Colome Estate Malbec 2016 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

Bodega Colomé was established in 1831 by the Spanish Governor of Salta, Nicolás Severo de Isasmendi y Echalar. In 1854, his daughter Ascensión brought the first French pre-phylloxera Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon vines to Colomé. Grapes from three vineyards (of four hectares each) planted in that year are still used to make wines. Located in the Upper Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina, not only is Colomé the oldest winery in Argentina, but it also claims to own the world's highest vineyard.

The high altitude of the Upper Calchaquí Valley has a positive impact on the quality of the grapes as the more exposed they are to the sun's ultraviolet rays, the better they are able to generate a thicker and darker skin to protect themselves. This leads to more colour and concentration of flavour building up in the grapes. The climate here is dry, on average around 120 millimetres per year. There is a large difference (20°C) between day and night time temperatures that aids the retention of natural acidity in the grapes. Soils are sandy with layers of gravel which aid drainage. The vineyards are all farmed biodynamically. Fruit comes from vineyards at four different altitudes; La Brava Estate at 1,800 metres above sea level that brings ripe fruit, Colomé Estate at 2,300 that brings complexity and weight, El Arenal Estate at 2,600 that brings elegance and Altura Maxima at 3,111 that brings florality and fine grain tannins to the blend.

Calchaquí Valley enjoyed excellent conditions in 2016, except for frost in mid-October which caused a reduction of yields. During maturity, rainfall was low so there was no botrytis development, but many cloudy days gave freshness to the fruit and reduced the risk of sunburn. This resulted in fresh, healthy grapes at harvest time.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were hand sorted twice to ensure no green material or imperfect fruit entered the must. The grapes were cold macerated and then fermented for 15 days with natural yeast. The must underwent two soft pumpings per day. An extended maceration period of 30 days to extract good levels of colour and tannin. The wine aged for 15 months in French-oak barrels of which 15% was new, 85% second fill. The wine was then aged for a further six months in bottle prior to release.

This Malbec is deep, bright red in colour with a magenta hue. It has aromas of black and red fruits including blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and cherries and hints of spices and well-integrated oak. Fresh and fruity on the palate with crisp acidity and velvety tannins. This full-bodied wine is delicate yet has a lengthy finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£18.15
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