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%.
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.
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%.
Amalaya translates to ‘hope for a miracle’ in the indigenous language of the now extinct tribe, the Calchaquí. The winery is situated in Cafayate, Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina at nearly 1,828 metres above sea level. It is a part of the Hess Family Estates and is run with the same dedication to quality, sustainability and social responsibility as the other Hess Estates. All of the Amalaya wines are fruit driven in style, with a finesse that unites them. These wines offer incredible value for their quality and truly reflect their ‘sense of place‘.
This is Amalaya's flagship wine.
The estate's vineyards are located in the Cafayate Valley in the very heart of the Calchaquí Valley, distinguished for being the highest wine region in the world. The climate here is very dry, with just 150mm of rain in an average year and a huge temperature difference of around 20°C. The soils here are rocky, poor and sandy so the roots of the vines are forced to dig deep to find the vital nutrients and water they need, which in turn results in a huge concentration of flavour within the fruit. The average age of the vines is 35 years old. They are trained using both pergola and vertical shoot positioning and planted at a density of 2,700 plants per hectare and 3,800 plants per hectare respectively.
Overall, the Calchaquí Valley enjoyed optimal conditions in 2017, with a perfect balance between quality and quantity. The weather during the growing season was excellent with almost 100 millimetres of rainfall and good sunshine hours. The lack of spring frost ensuring a good fruit set that resulted in healthy grapes and a strong yield.
The grapes were crushed after both a cluster and berry selection at the winery and then cooled to 8°C, with maceration at 10°C for three days. Alcoholic fermentation took place at temperatures of around 24°C for approximately 21 days. Malolactic fermentation and ageing took place in both American and French oak barrels of which 20% was new and 80% second use. The wine was aged for a total of 12 months in barrel before bottling.
85% Malbec, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Tannat.
This wine is deep ruby red in colour, with aromas of red and black fruit with spicy, vanilla notes imparted from the oak. This is a concentrated, fruit-forward wine with rounded, supple tannins and a long finish..
ABV = 14.5%.
Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2020 edition's Weekday Wines (see blue link below).
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%.
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.
2017 in Padthaway saw a wet and slightly warmer winter, which resulted in later bud burst than usual. The ripening period was slow and gradual with perfect weather conditions to allow flavours and colour to develop to full maturity.
Predominantly sourced from the vineyards in Padthaway, South Australia, where the soils are sandy loam over clay, formed on old lagoon sediments. These sandy soils lead to poor nutrient and water retention which helps to concentrate the flavours in the fruit. The vines are grown on single wire trellises, ensuring an open canopy. Drip irrigation is used in the vineyards to manage the water supply and reduce evaporation, as water is applied directly above the roots.
The parcels of fruit were fermented in stainless steel vertical fermenters for four to six days at temperatures maintained between 26 to 30°C. Wine was then bag pressed at 1° Baumé and left to ferment until dry. It was then racked onto French oak for malolactic fermentation. The wine was clarified via centrifuge into stainless steel storage. Once all parcels were completed, the final cuvée wascarefully blended and prepared for bottling.
Grape Shiraz 92%, Durif 8%.
Densely hued, this is a rich and fleshy Shiraz with generous minty blackberry, chocolate and mint flavours over hints of cedar oak. The Winemakers Reserve Black Shiraz is an extreme example of this Australian Shiraz with deep colour and aromas of blackberry and plum over toasty coffee and spicy oak. The palate is full flavoured and intense with rich plum, blueberry and mocha notes. The tannins are ripe and dense imparting great structure and length to the palate.
ABV = 14.5%.
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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 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.
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%.
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).
Awarded a Gold medal at the 2019 Sommelier Wine Awards (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).
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.
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%.
"Another great value from Bogle, this wine is very polished and smooth. Blackberry and blueberry flavors abound on the full-bodied palate, with fine-grained tannins. There are no rough edges, just wonderful fruitiness and light salt-and-pepper spices". (Wine Enthusiast, of the 2015 vintage).
Though the Bogle family has been farming in the Clarksburg region for six generations, their involvement in the wine business spans back 50 years. In addition to passing down a strong work ethic and dedication to quality, the success of Bogle over the years is rooted in the day-to-day involvement of the Bogle family. The family takes great pride in making wines of exceptional character and quality. From vineyard to bottle, the highest standards are set, in order to create a wine that overdelivers each and every time.
For years, Bogle winemakers have sought out vines ranging in age from 60 to 80 years old for our Old Vine Zinfandel. These gnarly head-trained and dry farmed pioneers produce low yields of small, concentrated clusters of fruit, producing incredibly intense and flavorful wines.
91% Zinfandel, 7% Primitivo, 1% Merlot, 1% Petite Syrah.
This supple and mouth-filling vintage leads with juicy raspberry and ripe boysenberry fruit. Hints of spiced chocolate integrate well with fruit that is surprisingly luscious and silky on the palate, partnered with black pepper backbone that gives structure and weight. Flavours of toasted oak and pipe tobacco create further structure, allowing this wine to stand up to a variety of hearty fare.
ABV = 14.5%.
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).
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%.
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%.
This wine is bursting with ripe red berry fruit flavours. It is soft and fresh, with delicate light tannins.
ABV = 13.0%.
This wine is bursting with ripe red berry fruit flavours. It is soft and fresh, with delicate light tannins.
ABV = 13.0%.
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%.
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.
Cabernet Sauvignon 80%, Merlot 15%, Petit Verdot 3% and Cabernet Franc 2%
ABV = 13.0%.
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 = 13.0%.