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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

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

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Reserva 2016 (1x75cl)

** BACK IN STOCK! **

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.

The 2016 vintage was officially classified as Very Good by the Rioja Control Board (Consejo Regulador).

The fruit for Cerro Añon Reserva comes from Olarra's vineyards in both Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta. Average vine age is around 25 years; the soil patterns in the vineyards are a combination of the well-known limestone/clay/alluvial mixes to be found in most of Central Rioja.

Approximately, the mix of grapes for Cerro Añón Reserva 2016 is 90% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo and 5% Graciano.

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

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Reserva 2016 - fiche technique

At the time of release, this wine showed a bright crimson red colour. On the nose, aromas of sweet ripe fruit and delicate notes of smokiness. On the palate, tastes of cherry, plum and blackberries combined with gentle clean aromas of oak. Elegant mouthfeel, a full body and a fresh and fruity aftertaste. This wine still has plenty of life in it and should drink very well for the next 10-15 years.

ABV = 14.0%.

£12.70

Bodegas Taron Pantocrator Rioja 2005 (1x 75cl)

** LAST BOTTLES OF THIS TOP VINTAGE **

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

Bodegas Taron Pantocrator Rioja 2005 - IWC 2019 award and review

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

Bodegas Taron Pantocrator Rioja 2005 - SWA 2019 award and review

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

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

Tempranillo 90%, Mazuelo 10%.

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

Bodegas Taron Pantocrator Rioja 2005 - fiche technique

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

ABV = 13.5%.

£24.50

Carpineto Dogajolo Toscana Rosso 2017

Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2020 edition review of Best High Street Italian Reds (see blue link below).

Carpineto Dogajolo Toscana Rosso 2017 - May 2020 Decanter review

Founded in 1967 by Antonio Zaccheo and Giovanni Sacchet, Carpineto farms 500 hectares of land spread over four estates among Tuscany's most prestigious appellations. The original aim of the producers – to make modern, world-class red wine from the Chianti Classico appellation, has been admirably fulfilled. The Farnito and Dogajolo wines demonstrate the winery’s pioneering approach to making wines from international varieties in Tuscany. Formerly IWSC Italian Wine Producer of the Year, Carpineto was the also the first ever Italian winery to be awarded the IWSC International Winemaker of the Year. Antonio Zaccheo is now assisted by his son Antonio and daughter Francesca, who have both previously worked in the wine trade in the USA. Giovanni Sacchet's daughter, Caterina, joined the Carpineto winemaking team after finishing her viticulture and oenology degree.

This was a unique vintage due to the severe drought that affected the vineyards, which resulted significantly reduced yields and a limited production. The wines show excellent concentration of ripe fruit flavours.

The vines are grown in the heart of Tuscany in sand, clay and limestone soils.

Whole bunches were carefully selected at harvest. The grape varieties were vinified separately, as they reached maturity at different times. Fermentation took place in stainless steel vats at 25°C, followed by 15 to 20 days maceration with frequent aerations, pump overs and punch-downs of the cap for optimal polyphenol extraction. Towards the end of fermentation they were blended and placed in small wooden casks where they slowly completed alcoholic and malolactic fermentation.

Sangiovese 70%, Cabernet Sauvignon 20% and other varieties 10%.

Modern Tuscan style displaying red cherry flavours with a rich mouthfeel, smooth and juicy. An innovative baby Super-Tuscan, Dogajolo combines the power and deep flavours of a young wine, with the elegance and balance from the oak ageing. Full bodied, yet soft on the palate with fruity cherry notes interlaced with coffee, vanilla and spice, this is complex and well-developed. 

ABV = 13.0%.

£11.50

Casa Ferreirinha, Vinha Grande Douro Tinto 2017 (1x75cl)

This producer, founded in 1952, is named after the legendary Porto matriarch Dona Antónia Ferreira. Affectionately nicknamed 'Ferreirinha' by her countrymen, the house pays homage to her memory and was the first house in the region dedicated to making light wines. Purchased by Sogrape in 1987, it has 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions: Lower Corgo, Upper Corgo and Douro Superior. The winemaking is headed up by Luís Sottomayor, who restrains the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Esteva and Papa Figos, allied to a lovely depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Tinto and Quinta da Leda.

The selected grape varieties were sourced from the Quinta do Sairrão estate located at a high altitude in the Cima Corgo region. The mountainous vineyards here have schist soils with vines planted either in vertical rows or on traditional patamares (terraces). The selected plots are ideal for optimal maturation thanks to the hot days and cool evenings bringing out the fresh fruit character of the grapes.

Like the rest of Portugal, this region suffered from a severe lack of water throughout the 2017 growing season with high daytime temperatures tempered only by the cooling effect of the high altitude. The harvest was very early and yields were much lower than average. The region suffered a series of wildfires due to the extremely dry conditions and many vineyards were damaged and in some cases, completely destroyed. However, despite the atypical harvest year, the resulting wines have great balance, elegance and concentration.

Grapes selected for the Vinha Grande Tinto went through gentle crushing and destemming prior to temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Long skin contact during fermentation ensured optimal extraction, which was facilitated by pumping over and robotic plunging. Maturation took place for between 12 and 18 months in used French oak barrels. The blend was then selected based on both sensory and technical analyses. The wine was then lightly filtered before bottling. In addition, the wine did not undergo cold stabilisation, which may mean it will have natural sediment in the bottle.

40% Touriga Franca , 25% Touriga Nacional, 25% Tinta Roriz, 10% Tinta Barroca.

This wine has a deep ruby colour and intense aromas of flowers, strawberry and raspberry fruit, a touch of black pepper and well-integrated oak. The voluminous palate has well-integrated acidity, velvety tannins, a delicate minerality and notes of red berries. The finish is elegant and long.

ABV = 14.0%.

£13.35

Cave De Fleurie, Fleurie Millesime 2018 (1x75cl)

This wine comes from the Beaujolais (pronounced Bow-juhlay) region in France. It is a light, fresh and fruity style of wine with lots of juicy, strawberry flavours. Sometimes it is served slightly chilled . Cave de Fleurie dates back to the First World War when the women of the village tended the vines whilst the men were at the front line. The spirit of cooperation between the women led to the formal creation of the cooperative in 1927. Today, the Cave has members across Beaujolais and produces excellent value for money wines.

Gamay 100%.

Fresh, attractive and bright with clean fruit flavours – archetypal Beaujolais, in other words. A striking and vivid red colour with several punnets worth of red berry fruit on the nose and palate. Soft and fresh with light ripe tannins and crisp acidity. 

ABV = 13.0%.

£13.20

Cenatiempo Per e Palummo Ischia DOC 2018 (1x75cl)

As Cenatiempo will tell you, Ischia wine is mountain wine. The vineyards all over the island are influenced by the close proximity to the Tyrrhenian Sea (off the West Coast of Italy, not far from Naples) but also from their elevation – their grapes are grown up to elevations of 600 meters. The winery is run by Pasquale Cenatiempo and his partner, Federica Predoni. They make compelling, focused, mineral-driven wines from the island’s indigenous varieties on the volcanic slopes of Ischia. 

Ischia is situated just off the coast of Naples. Here the soil is volcanic. In fact, the island was formed by a volcano which last erupted in 1302. The winery was founded in 1945 by Pasquale’s father Francesco, who, like Pasquale today, made wine from his own grapes as well as from some of his friends and neighbors throughout the island. Not much has changed over the last 70 years. 

Sites located on different sides of the island of Ischia at elevations ranging from 50-450 m ASL with diverse exposures.

Vines are guyot, sapling, and spur-pruned cordon trained: All grapes are hand-harvested in October.

Grapes are macerated for 4-6 days and fermented in stainless steel tank under temperature control using indeginous yeasts, with minimal use of sulphites and minimal intervention.

Aged 4 months on the lees in concrete and stainless steel followed by 1 month bottle ageing in the cellar prior to release.

100% Per e' Palummo.

Ruby colour, very bright. On the nose a mix of red fruit, strawberry and red berries with hints of violets and spices. On the palate it is dry and clean with a refreshing and pleasant character.

ABV = 13.0%.

£16.00

Chateau Beau-Site, Cru Bourgeois, Saint-Estephe 2012 (1x75cl)

Beau-Site means beautiful site and lies just behind Grand Cru Château Calon-Segur on one of Medoc's highest points with fantastic views over the river Gironde. It was originally classified as a Cru Bourgeoius Superieur in 1932 but in 1966 Beau Site was reclassified as a Cru Grand Bourgeois Exceptionnel. The Castéja family, who also own Château Batailley and Château Trotte Vieille, bought the château in 1955. The château has nearly 100 hectares of vines with an average age of 35 years. Beau-Site's 18th-century underground cellar is one of the oldest in the Médoc and presents the perfect maturing conditions for a wine that is vinified with the same care and technique as a Grand Cru Classé. Beau-Sites wine is full of power and temperament, a typical Saint-Estèphe with tannins allowing for stocking this wine for some years.

The vineyard sits on predominantly gravel soil which provides good drainage for the vines. The vines, which have an average age of 36 years, are trained according to the double Guyot method and are planted at a density of 5,500 per hectare. The average yields are 40 hectolitres per hectare.

The grapes were manually sorted and destemmed before being gently pressed. Fermentation took place in temperature controlled stainless steel vats for four weeks, with each plot vinified separately. Malolactic fermentation took place in the stainless steel tanks. The wine was then matured in French oak 225-litre barriques for a period of 16 months.

Cabernet Sauvignon 70%, Merlot 30%

Classic and traditionally styled Saint-Estèphe showing cedar oak with earthy hints of dark chocolate and a meaty texture. The majority of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend yields a wine with ripe blackcurrant, cedar tree and earthy aromas. Notes of cherry, cranberry, spice and hints of liquorice continue on the palate which is enveloped in smooth, ripe tannins. This wine shows lovely balance, depth and structure with an elegant finish.

ABV = 13.0%.

£28.10

Chateau Beau-Site, Cru Bourgeois, Saint-Estephe 2013 (1x75cl)

Beau-Site means beautiful site and lies just behind Grand Cru Château Calon-Segur on one of Medoc's highest points with fantastic views over the river Gironde. It was originally classified as a Cru Bourgeoius Superieur in 1932 but in 1966 Beau Site was reclassified as a Cru Grand Bourgeois Exceptionnel. The Castéja family, who also own Château Batailley and Château Trotte Vieille, bought the château in 1955. The château has nearly 100 hectares of vines with an average age of 35 years. Beau-Site's 18th-century underground cellar is one of the oldest in the Médoc and presents the perfect maturing conditions for a wine that is vinified with the same care and technique as a Grand Cru Classé. Beau-Sites wine is full of power and temperament, a typical Saint-Estèphe with tannins allowing for stocking this wine for some years.

2013 in Bordeaux was a challenging vintage, resulting in lower yields. A cool, wet winter, continued into spring, but the summer brought about warmer, sunny weather which allowed the grapes to achieve good ripeness levels. September was cool, but good diurnal temperatures differences promoted ripening. 2013 required attention in the vineyard; precise focus on the harvest dates, meticulous selection of the grapes and care and attention in the cellar, has resulted in a satisfying wine, which has retained its structure and aromatic fruit.

The vineyard sits on predominantly gravel soil which provides good drainage for the vines. The vines, which have an average age of 36 years, are trained according to the double Guyot method and are planted at a density of 5,500 per hectare. The average yields are 40 hectolitres per hectare.

The grapes were manually sorted and destemmed before being gently pressed. Fermentation took place in temperature controlled stainless steel vats for four weeks, with each plot vinified separately. Malolactic fermentation took place in the stainless steel tanks. The wine was then matured in French oak 225-litre barriques for a period of 16 months.

Cabernet Sauvignon 80%, Merlot 15%, Petit Verdot 3% and Cabernet Franc 2%.

Classic and traditionally styled Saint-Estèphe showing cedar oak with earthy hints of dark chocolate and a meaty texture. The majority of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend yields a wine with ripe blackcurrant, cedar tree and earthy aromas. Notes of cherry, cranberry, spice and hints of liquorice continue on the palate which is enveloped in smooth, ripe tannins. This wine shows lovely balance, depth and structure with an elegant finish.

ABV = 13.0%.

£27.25

Chateau de Pez, Cru Bourgeois, St-Estephe 2014 (1x75cl)

Created in the 15th century, Château de Pez is the oldest domain in Saint-Estèphe. The Pontac family, who also created Haut-Brion, gave Pez its vineyards. The domain was sold as a property of the state after the French Revolution and was owned by a succession of families before Champagne Louis Roederer purchased it in 1995.

The Château de Pez estate covers more than 26 hectares. The wines are left to ferment in traditional oak vats before being blended, and left to develop for a period of 16 to 18 months in oak barrels, 40 percent of them new.

The month of June saw ideal conditions for ripening although July and August were much more dreary. September, on the other hand, brought a glorious and endless Indian Summer. These weather conditions, much appreciated in Bordeaux, laid the foundations for this classic and highly promising vintage. The harvesting lasted 5 long weeks as we harvested each parcel at optimum ripeness. This vintage gave powerful, generous and very expressive Merlots, distinctive and elegant Cabernet Sauvignons and exceptionally complex Cabernet Francs and Petit Verdots. The wines are powerful, voluptuous, rich and well-balanced.

The Château de Pez winery remains resolutely faithful to wood. The blend is composed in December, then the wine is stored in barrels (40% new wood, 40% in “premier vin” casks and 20% in “deuxième vin” casks) and racked every three months. Vatting: 22-30 days. It is to be noted that the wine undergoes absolutely no filtration. The wines of Château de Pez have an attractive tannic structure worthy of further ageing. They are sometimes referred to as the ‘Pomerols’ of St-Estèphe, in part due to the smooth roundness brought to the wine by the Merlot vines grown on the exceptional soils. They tend to be dark in colour and have great length, body and distinction and are best appreciated after 5+ years.

This wine is 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot.

Complex nose of spice and red fruits. Long palate with smooth, elegant tannins and notes of black fruits and ripe, juicy strawberries. Pairs well with lamb, red meats, cheese, truffle, chocolate.

ABV = 13.5%.

£33.65

Chateau de Rouillac, Pessac-Leognan 2012 (1x75cl)

Based in Pessac-Leognan on the left bank of Bordeaux, the elegant and noble Château de Rouillac is imbued with a historic past. In the 19th century Château de Rouillac was owned by Baron Haussmann, who produced a delicious wine which is said to have delighted Napoleon III. The current proprietor Laurent Cisneros and his family took up the reins of this magnificent property in 2009, passionately championing sustainable and environmental practices. The property has had a long association with horses and possesses beautiful stables; Titan their huge and impressive horse is still used today to plough the exceptional gravel soils in the vineyard. Renowned oenologist Eric Boissenot produces wines which are delicately blended with the utmost precision to reveal their optimum expression.

The property is located in the Pessac-Léognan appellation and is right at the entrance to the city of Bordeaux. The vineyard sits on an exceptional terroir of gravel. The estate covers 36 hectares of which 26 hectares are planted with vines. The vines are cultivated sustainably, with respect for the environment and the biodiversity on the estate. Herbicides are not employed; instead the vineyard is cultivated in the traditional manner. The grapes are manually harvested.

2012 was a challenging vintage characterised by high rainfall. However, a hot, dry period during the summer promoted the growth cycle and ripening of the grapes. 2012 was a grower’s vintage; meticulous work in the vineyard reduced the risks of disease pressure and allowed for a harvest of good quality. Harvest dates were carefully chosen, resulting in good quality fruit with silky tannins. Harvest took place 1st to 12th October 2012.

Fermentation and maceration of the skins took place in temperature controlled stainless steel vats, lasting for 20 to 25 days. During vinification daily pump-overs and punching down of the cap took place in order to extract colour and tannins; and impart structure and flavour. 100% of the wine was transferred to French oak barrels, one third of which was new and the wine underwent malolactic fermentation; two thirds of the wine were aged in barrels of one year.

Cabernet Sauvignon 58%, Merlot 42%.

A concentrated deep red wine, with ripe red and black fruit flavours enhanced by spicy notes of cloves and subtle truffle flavours. Silky smooth on the palate with fine and elegant tannins and a long, succulent finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£29.35

Chateau de Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 edition tasting of Best Buy Red Burgundy (see blue link below).

Chateau De Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2016 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

This magnificent property, which dates back to the 9th century, is also known as Château Philippe le Hardi, as it was once owned by the first Duc of Burgundy. Philippe le Hardi is famous as the person who banned the cultivation of Gamay in the Côte d'Or, saying in his edict of 1395 that only Pinot Noir could be used in the production of red wines from the already fabled slopes. Despite its long history, the property had fallen on hard times until it was taken over by the French bank Crédit Agricole in recent years. They have invested heavily, bringing in a new team to support the general manager, Gérard Fagnoni, and putting the emphasis on quality. The property has 98 hectares of vineyard, 72 of which are in Mercurey. These are remarkably well made and good value wines from the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise.

The fruit for the Mercurey Rouge comes from Chateau de Santenay's 72 hectares of vines planted across the Mercurey appellation. The soils are rich in clay, but the limestone is still very present as well as some areas of marl. These characteristics give the red wines of Mercurey finesse and structure.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were cold soaked for seven days at 8°C to extract colour and flavour from the skins. Temperature-controlled fermentation lasted 12 to 14 days with daily pumping over, finishing with a rack and return, or 'délestage', to impart the grainy tannins that give the wines a lovely structure and length. The wine was then aged in oak barrels for 13 months, of which 20% were new.

100% Pinot Noir.

This wine is dark ruby in colour, it is bright and lifted with excellent concentration. the nose is elegant with aromas of ripe red fruit including cherries, and a touch of oak. The palate is full with great structure and an attractive chewy and grainy character. The finish is long and fresh.

ABV = 13.0%.

** See also Chateau de Santenay's excellent Premier Cru Mercurey - the 2014 vintage was rated as a DWWA 2017 Best in Category Wine **

£22.65

Chateau La Fleur Grands Landes, Montagne St-Emilion 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of the St-Emilion satellite appellations 2015 vintage (see blue link below).

Château La Fleur Grands-Landes Montagne St. Emilion 2015 - April 2018 Decanter review

The Durand family has owned the seven hectare estate in the Montagne district since the 18th century. In 1969, M. Carrère, Mme Durand's husband took over the estate, shaping it to its current form. Since 1997, his daughter Isabelle Carrère, oenologist from Michel Rolland's team, has been running the estate having taught viticulture and oenology for 10 years.

The vines are grown on slopes in clay soils. The vineyards are carefully managed throughout the year, with debudding, manual removal of the vine-shoots, leafthinning and green harvesting all being carefully performed. Chemical fertilisers are not used; instead vegetal based compost is added moderately to the soil having monitored its equilibrium. A manual harvest takes place when the grapes are slightly overripe to get a better phenolic maturity of the skins and the pips.

Generous flowering took place followed by a hot, dry early summer. August was slightly cooler and damper, followed by good weather in September enabling the grapes to reach full maturity. Generally the harvest took place earlier than the previous year. 2015 has been cited as a great modern Bordeaux vintage of excellent quality.

The grapes were carefully sorted by hand after a total destemming on the sorting table. 20% of the wine was bled off. A cold maceration took place prior to fermentation, which lasted three to four days. The fermentation was carried out in temperature controlled stainless steel vats, with daily pump-overs and lasted for three weeks. The wine was then matured, with 80% aged in vats and 20% in oak barrels.

Merlot 80%, Cabernet Franc 15%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%.

A medium bodied Bordeaux , with spicy, dark fruits and herbal notes combined with earthy hints. A beautifully balanced wine with silky tannins and a light finish. A lovely match for beef wellington or barbequed chicken.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

ABV = 14.0%.

£14.60
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