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Martin Meinert, The Graduate Syrah 2017 (1x75cl)

** IMMEDIATE STOCK SOLD, MORE AROUND 18th OCTOBER! **

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details and review).

For other 2020 DWWA winners, click here.

Meinert Wines produces a small and personalised range of wines in limited quantities from both the hillside Devon Crest vineyard outside Stellenbosch as well as a number of vineyard sites across the Cape Winelands. One such wine is the Meinert Sauvignon Blanc sourced from the cool climate region of Elgin, an area also renowned for apples and pears. Each wine is created with much thought and care to ensure uniqueness and individual character.

Meinert's Family Collection wines are unique bottlings from small lots made for family, friends and loyal customers, and one such wine is The Graduate Syrah. While traversing the Cape’s many vineyards in order to find ‘that’ unique vineyard, they by chance, stumbled across gnarled Syrah vines basking in the sea breezes of Hermanus. In true fashion, these grapes are always the last to ripen and when allowed to take their own course, yield an interesting and unique wine. This wine bears testament to not only the graduation of the vines from soil to glass, but also its custodian, Brendan Butler, a Cape Wine Master.

Meinert are not allowed to mention this on the wine’s back label as the SA Wine & Spirit Board prohibits pretension of single vineyard status unless so certified. However, the grapes are sourced from a single Syrah block in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde overlooking the coast and are farmed with much love and a surgical-precision attention to detail yielding truly remarkable fruit.

The Syrah grapes are always the last come into the cellar, and after careful hand harvesting, the fruit is transported by means of refrigerated truck to the Meinert cellar in Devon Valley. A portion of the fruit is whole-bunch fermented where whole bunches are placed into stainless steel red wine fermenters and covered with de-stemmed and partially-crushed berries. The balance is fermented traditionally following careful destemming and berry sorting. Fermentation took eight days to complete where after the wine was left on its skins for a further 5 days. The individual components are matured for 12 months prior to bottling in a combination of seasoned barrels and Flexcube tanks. Only 3,000 bottles were made.

100% Syrah.

With the grapes hanging on the vine late into the harvest season, the tannins are always supple and silky and supported by an elegant fruit profile of blueberry, blackberry, plums and true Syrah pepper tones. A minimalist approach to vinification ensures the ultimate expression of terroir that pairs superbly with venison carpaccio and hearty beef steaks. This wine is ever charming in its youth but will develop further with careful cellaring for the next 8 – 12 years.

ABV = 13.0%.

£18.25

Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Clasico 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2020 edition's Weekday Wines (see  blue link below). 

Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Clasico 2018 - July 2020 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.

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

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2020 edition's Weekday Wines (see  blue link below). 

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2016 - June 2020 Decanter review

Founded in 2003, Andeluna is a small boutique winery specialising in premium Bordeaux varietals of world class recognition. The vineyard covers 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best subregions of Mendoza. By night you can often see the moon illuminating the magnificent Andes Mountains nearby and the winery has been named after this stunning scene. Situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres, the vineyard produces some of the best fruit in Argentina. Winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Oenologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna's wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers to make outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the global spotlight in a very short space of time. Their Pasionado range is only made in exceptional vintages and rivals some of the great wines of the world.

The result of the El Niño phenomenon in 2016 was relatively high humidity and frequent rains. Fortunately the rocky soils in the vineyard at Gualtallary facilitate drainage of the rainwater and keeps moisture to a minimum, reducing the threat of disease. Vine maturation was delayed by approximately 25 days, due to lower temperatures during the summer, however the lack of rain in March, enabled the grapes to reach good physiological ripeness and harvest took place as usual. Low sugar levels at resulted in wines with lower alcohol levels but plenty of flavour and varietal purity.

The grapes come from the vineyard located in Tupungato, which is situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level. The area is characterised by its great diurnal temperature swings, which encourages aromatic expression and a great intensity of colour in the wine. The vines are irrigated by a drip-water system that regulates and supplies the exact amount of water that the plant needs. Grown in soils which are predominantly alluvial and sandy, the vines undergo strict canopy management in order to reduce yields.

The clusters were manually selected and underwent pre-fermentation maceration at low temperatures. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks at temperatures maintained at approximately 26°C. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for eight to 12 months, followed by a minimum of six months in bottle, prior to release.

This wine is made using Malbec 100%.

A full flavoured Malbec with intense aromas of red fruits and violets. Sweet fruit on the palate is backed by soft, but high volume tannins which give the wine a long and exquisite finish. Serve with a juicy pan-fried steak, braised lamb shanks or a rich lentil stew.

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.95

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2016 (1x75cl)

** WE HAVE INCOMING STOCK THIS THURSDAY 24th SEPTEMBER. ** 

Awarded a Gold medal and 96 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The not-yet-in-the-UK 2017 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 expert review of South American Cabernet Franc (see blue link below).

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2016 - October 2020 Decanter review

The 2015 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 panel tasting of South American Icon Wines (see blue link below).

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2015 - June 2019 Decanter review

Founded in 2003, Andeluna is a small boutique winery specialising in premium Bordeaux varietals of world class recognition. The vineyard covers 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best subregions of Mendoza. By night you can often see the moon illuminating the magnificent Andes Mountains nearby and the winery has been named after this stunning scene. Situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres, the vineyard produces some of the best fruit in Argentina. Winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Oenologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna's wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers to make outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the global spotlight in a very short space of time. Their Pasionado range is only made in exceptional vintages and rivals some of the great wines of the world.

The grapes come from vineyards located in Gualtallary in Tupungato at an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level. The vines are irrigated by a drip-water system that regulates and supplies the exact amount of water that the plant needs. The vineyard soils are alluvial, sandy and permeable.

The grapes were hand-picked in the cool of dawn in April, when they had reached full polyphenolic maturity. The berries were manually selected and the best berries underwent cold pre- fermentation maceration. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures of 26°C. The wine was aged in used French oak barrels (60% second passage, 40% third passage) for a period of 12 months and then cellared in bottles for a minimum of eight months prior to its release. 

This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc.

Intense aromas fill the glass, with deep red fruits and a remarkable presence of red bell pepper, fennel, mint, anise, eucalyptus and basil. A structured, full bodied wine, with rounded tannins which result in a pleasant and persistent finish. 

Serve with full bodied meats as steak or lamb. Decant and serve at 16°C.

ABV = 13.5%.

£32.75

Bergerie du Capucin, Larmanela rouge, Pic St Loup 2017 (1x75cl)

** PLEASE COME BACK IN A DAY OR TWO FOR MORE NEWS - WE ARE JUST SECURING MORE STOCK, AND EXPECT TO HAVE THIS HERE IN MID-LATE OCTOBER! **

** In the meantime, we have stock of the Larmanela's little brother, the Dame Jeanne - recommended! **

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Awarded a Gold medal and 96 points at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details and review).

For other 2020 DWWA winners, click here.

 ___

See here for more on this new 2017 vintage ...

... and here for details of the 'original' 2016, quality in Languedoc reds and the DWWA award (click link for details).

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See here for awards for this wine and also for others from La Bergerie du Capucin (click link for details).

___

The 2016 vintage was awarded both Platinum and Best in Show medals and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

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La Bergerie du Capucin (LBdC) extends over more than 15 hectares on Pic Saint Loup land in the communes of Lauret and Valflaunès. For LBdC, wine is a family affair, its beauty and bouquet reflecting the values transmitted from generation to generation. The original Bergerie stands only a few km from the vineyard and modern winery. Jeanne, a beautiful shepherdess on the high plains of the Bergerie du Capucin - inspire their first wine, reminding  of the delicate, round characteristics of our family wines and the hill paths she trod each day.

At up to 650 metres in altitude and ~30 kilometres from the Mediterranean - on the first spurs of the Cevennes and Massif Central - the Pic Saint Loup appellation abounds with the perfume and purity of the most northern (and among the most elevated) of the Languedoc appellations; holm oaks, garrigue scrubland, pines, thyme, laurel and rosemary. Fruit springs to life from the heart of varied soils, chalky-clay on marly sub-soils, and forge their character over contrasting seasons. In winter, the soil receives enough water to balance out the moderately dry summer and the huge - but crucial - swings in temperature between day and night. The exacting and contrasting Pic Saint Loup land, its soil types and climate, are all reflected in the traits of the wines of Pic St-Loup. 

See this excellent article by Andrew Jefford - from Decanter (www.decanter.com) in October 2017 - for far more detail on both Bergerie du Capucin and the Pic St Loup appellation.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the team at Bergerie du Capucin

Bergerie du Capucin Larmanela rouge, Pic St Loup - fiche technique

Additional note from discussion with winemaker: those barrels are 100% French eco-responsible oak: one-third new, one-third single-use and one-third double-use. The Larmanela draws from BdC's oldest and finest Syrah vines.

99%+ Syrah, tiny balance of Grenache.

For our tasting note, we hand over to the DWWA20 judges:

"Exquisite smoky black fruit, kirsch and sweet vanilla oak interwoven with rosemary and thyme herbal characters; serious and concentrated with ripe tannins and a delightful contrasting freshness".

See also this tasting video (1'18") of the 2015 vintage.

ABV = 14.5%.

£24.95

Berton Reserve Barossa Shiraz 2017 (1x75cl)

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

Berton Reserve Shiraz 2015 - August 2017 Decanter review

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

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

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

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

Shiraz 100%.

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

ABV = 14.5%.

£14.25

Berton Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (1x75cl)

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

Berton Reserve 2014 - April 2017 Decanter review

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

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

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

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

Cabernet Sauvignon 99%, Shiraz 1%.

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

ABV = 14.5%.

£13.75

Bodega Colome, Lote Especial Finca Colome Salta Tannat 2018 (1x75cl)

** WITH US THURSDAY 8th OCTOBER (small possibility of being a day or so after) **

** ONLY SMALL QUANTITIES OF THIS WINE ARE AVAILABLE, AT LEAST FOR THE NEXT TWO MONTHS. SO, FOR NOW, LIMITED TO 4 BOTTLES PER CUSTOMER. **

Awarded a Platinum medal, Best In Show medal and 98 points at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details and review).

Bodega Colomé was established in 1831 and is the oldest working winery in Argentina with one of the world’s highest vineyards. The winery is in the far north of Argentina in the Upper Calchaquí Valley and is thought to have been founded by the Spanish Governor of Salta, Nicolás Severo de Isasmendi y Echalar. Today, the winery has 140 hectares of biodynamically run vineyard planted at altitudes of between 1,750 and 3,111 metres above sea level. The ‘Lote Especial’ wines are made from special parcels of fruit from the estate vineyards.

The fruit comes from a single plot in the Colomé vineyard that surrounds the winery, located at 2,300 metres above sea level in the Calchaquí Valley. The high altitude and large diurnal range (up to 25°C difference) ensure the grapes ripen steadily over a long growing season and retain good levels of natural acidity. The vines are planted on complex soils of sand, clay and granite. The area has very low rainfall and the vineyards have drip irrigation systems installed.

The grapes were harvested by hand and carefully sorted in the vineyard and then again at the winery on the optical sorting table. After fermentation in small stainless-steel tanks, the wine was aged in barrel for 12 months before bottling.

100% Tannat. 

This wine is deep ruby in colour. On the nose, there are aromas of black fruits, spice and floral notes. On the palate, it is complex and structured with firm tannins and fresh acidity.

Or, as DWW20 said, "Few wines caused more of a stir amongst our judges this year than this Tannat from the extreme high-altitude vineyards of Argentina's Salta. It wasn't the fact that it was an impenetrable midnight black in colour, nor was it the fact that the wine needs plenty of air and agitation to wake up its aromatic profile: both are common features of Tannat the world over. The real surprise was the drama and purity of its fruits, drenching the tongue and lifting aromatically in the mouth: this was a Tannat of ravishing chic and elegance, and a far cry from the sometimes burly and clumsy flavour presence Tannat shows elsewhere. No fan of Argentina's remarkable red wines should miss this."

ABV = 14.5%.

£18.95

Bodegas Benito Urbina Gran Reserva 2004 (1x75cl)

Bodegas Urbina is a winery which has been in the Urbina family for four generations since 1870. The present winery was designed, built and run by the family in 1986 and was created to facilitate producing fine wines.  Urbina has 75 hectares of vineyards located at two main vineyard sites - the first is at Cuzcurrita de Rio Turon, a well-known area for producing Riojas capable of ageing for many years and the others are at Uruñuela, in the heart of the Rioja DOC, which consistently produces wines of great quality and body. The grapes used are from vines aged over 20 years old. The vines are grown in accordance with traditional practices, no herbicides and limited use of pesticides and fungicides. 

Urbina Gran Reserva is a blend of mainly Tempranillo with some Graciano and Mazuelo.

This wine comes from the best grapes from the Estate, all from vines over 40 years old. The wine making team is headed by Pedro Urbina. The wine is undergoes fermentation at 28C followed by a period of maceration of 28 days. The wine is aged for a minimum of 36 months in oak casks with a further 48 months in bottle before release. Only indigenous yeasts are used.

The Urbina Gran Reserva has a splendid ripe, complex nose, is reddish-garnet in colour with harmonious and well-balanced oak and fruit tannins.  It also displays intense rich fruit, great finesse and velvet smoothness on the palate.  It goes perfectly with slow roasted lamb shoulder or with game - particularly duck and pheasant.

ABV = 14.0%.

£23.90

Bodegas Brisas Altos de Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2019 edition panel tasting of Uruguayan Tannat (see blue link below).

Altos De Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2017 - October 2019 Decanter review

The 2018 vintage (not yet here) was awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 South American supplement article, Sustainable Uruguay.

Bodegas Brisas Altos De Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2018 - April 2020 Decanter review

Altos de Jose Ignacio is nestled in Uruguay’s Maldonado region, an oasis of magical beaches and small villages on the Atlantic coast. Next to the idyllic fishing town of Jose Ignacio, the vines are tempered by cooling ocean breezes, creating the perfect combination of countryside and ocean. This unique terroir and maritime climate is ideal for making premium wines with a rare freshness and purity.

A small, family-run business, Altos de Jose Ignacio had its first commercial harvest in 2015. In typical Uruguayan fashion, the wines are created without the addition of any chemicals. The characteristics of the terroir display beautifully throughout their range, a source of endless pride for winemaker German Bruzzone.  

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

Altos de Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2017 - fiche technique

(as can be seen from the data sheet, this wine is 'incredibly similar to' the more expensive Garzon Reserva Tannat...)

This wine is 100% Tannat.

A juicy, full-bodied wine. Rich purple in colour with very fresh aromas reminiscent of red and black fruits such as plums and raspberries, with a delicate spicy nose. In the mouth, it presents a strong personality. Its mature tannins and minerality transform it into a wine with great soil identity.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.55

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 (1x75cl)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

£14.95

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

** NOW IN STOCK ** 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 - fiche technique

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

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.50

Bodegas Verum Ulterior Parcela #17 Graciano 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2020 edition feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).

Bodegas Verum, Ulterior Parcela #17 Graciano 2016 - February 2020 Decanter review

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The origins of the López-Montero family in wine-making and distilling date back to 1788. It was then when the first of their wineries in Tomelloso was registered, which is still on the records at the local archives of the town. In 1963 Juan Antonio López Ramírez and María Victoria Montero established Altosa, a winery and distillery that continues to make and market wines and distilled spirits. In 2005, María Victoria, with her daughter, María Belén, and her sons, Juan Antonio, Pedro José and Elías, created Bodegas y Viñedos Verum. The brand encompasses the wines of the López-Montero family from the best vineyards and terroirs in their property.

Put simply, La Mancha's Bodegas Verum is an organic vineyard which produces mono-varietal wines from both traditional grapes and forgotten indigenous varietals such as Albillo Real and Tinto Velasco.

For this, the Ulterior Parcela #17, a single-vineyard wine from Parcela 17 of the El Romeral vineyard, the grapes are picked by hand, destemmed, crushed and fermented in stainless still tanks, then transferred to old barrels for malolactic fermentation. 10% of the wine is aged in oak demi-muids of 600 liters made of new French oak, the rest in earthen jars (clay) of ~ 5,000 liters for 8 months. After bottling, it is held another 12 months before release.

Verum puts its wines on sale when they are at the optimum moment for consumption;  nevertheless, you can store this wine up to 7 years after harvest.

100% Graciano.

Cherry red with white trim, bright. On the nose it is intense, highlighting a floral character of violets, lavender and other aromatic herbs (typical of ripe Graciano) with a background of black fruit and subtle cocoa. On the palate it is also intense and ripe with smooth/fine-grained tannins that provide structure. There is great persistence that brings back the black fruits and violets, plus a touch of appealing bitterness that adds character.

Or, as DWWA 19 put it:

"Bright and pure purple berry fruit nose with attractive vanilla bean new oak aromas. On the palate, this is sumptuous and rich with generous, fleshy fruit. Very pure and expressive".

ABV = 13.5%.

£15.95

Caballo Loco 17 NV (1x75cl)

** VERY LIMITED UK STOCK. ABOUT TO BE USED IN OUR FORTHCOMING VALDIVIESO/CABALLO LOCO TASTING, SO LIMITED TO TWO BOTTLES PER CUSTOMER UNTIL AFTER THE TASTING! **

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 panel tasting of South American Icon Wines (see blue link below).

Caballo Loco 17 NV - June 2019 Decanter review

The winemaker's own technical sheets appear below (click blue links) - the Spanish inclusion may seem a little leftfield, but includes regional and other info that have yet to be put onto the English version

Caballo Loco 17 - fiche technique - English

Caballo Loco 17 - fiche technique - Spanish

For our article on 'the' (this) Caballo Loco, the appellation/Grand Cru Caballo Locos and the better wines of the Valdivieso fleet, click this link.

Valdivieso's top wine and stable star, the Caballo Loco is known around the world and each year changes merely its edition and, technically, not its vintage. It brings together every Cabollo Loco made since 1992 (the year of version 1), in what is, effectively, a solera system (as used for sherry and brandy de Jerez).

The idea for Caballo Loco was inspired by the legendary Ribera de Duero, Vega Sicilia Único Gran Reserva, which is produced using the solera method. This is the winemaking technique used for sherry and brandy de Jerez production, in which barrel-aged wines from different years are progressively and fractionally blended for reasons of both complexity and consistency.

The first Caballo Loco was produced in 1994 (Caballo Loco 1) and made from a blend of 50% of that year’s vintage with an aged blend from 1992. 

The resulting wine is bottle-aged for at least 18 months before release onto the market, and being a blend of wines from different years, there is, of course, no vintage on the label.

The grapes for the premium Caballo Loco come from four different vineyards in central Chile. The blend of the new wine varies each time it is made. Number 1 for example was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir, whilst later editions have contained varieties as diverse as Syrah, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carménère. Only Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are ever-present, these being blended with the best grapes from the other varieties that were most successful in the particular year (and best suited to create the intended balance of the Caballo Loco).

Each bottle of this version 17 therefore comprises:

- 50% version 16 and

- 50% of grapes from harvests from 2012 and 2013. New for version 17 was Carignan from Melozal (a sub-region of Maule) and Syrah from Limarí. This variety brings to the Caballo Loco another dimension of complexity, with balanced freshness and acidity.

The result is a wine of great concentration, quite unlike any other on the market. There is intense mature berry fruit on the nose and richness on the palate with velvety tannins, and so many layers of flavours that the wine is almost impossible to describe in detail. The secret blend of grapes from different vintages create intense aromas of dark cherry, coffee, and rich fruitcake. Full bodied on the palate with a beautiful lingering structure. 

It is a unique - some say crazy - wine, which is quite incomparable. It has great aromatic complexity and in the mouth, and an ageing potential of at least 10 years.

ABV = 14.5%.

£34.60

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Limari 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded a high 17 points (of 20) on Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages (www.JancisRobinson.comreviewer Alistair Cooper MW - in Feb 2020 (see blue link below).

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Limari 2015 - jancisrobinson.com May 2020 review

Awarded 86 points and Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 panel tasting of South American Syrah (see blue link below).

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Limari 2015 - October 2020 Decanter review

The Caballo Loco Grands Crus were created by Valdivieso to show the different wines that are fundamental components of the icon Caballo Loco wine. For this reason, specific wines from specific valleys wine were born, where each strain/blend reflects the maximum expression of that valley.

One can arguably see these wines as understudies for the "true" Caballo Loco, but they are more than that, being quite superb - and full-throttle - wines in their own right, made with all the care, attention and know-how of the NV/"solera" version.

This Grand Cru Apalta represents all the fruit power and smoothness of the Limari Valley, showcasing the excellent Syrah (100% here) of this region.

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

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Limari 2015 - fiche technique

A big, full-bodied wine with delicious aromas and flavours of ripe red cherries, coffee and dark chocolate. It has a luxurious texture and a lingering finish.

ABV = 15.0%.

£24.15
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