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Bodegas Escudero Arvum 2005 (1x75cl)

The Es­cud­ero fam­i­ly owns 150 hectares of vine­yards. The vines av­er­age 50 years of age, and some are more than a cen­tu­ry old. The fourth gen­er­a­tion of the Escudero family have tak­en on the var­i­ous re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the com­pa­ny including viti­cul­ture, man­age­ment and ad­min­is­tra­tion. They have an immense re­spect for the en­vi­ron­ment and always follow their com­mit­ment to of­fer­ing cus­tomers excellent quality wines. Arvum is made as a tribute to their parents.

To see the Escudero family's tasting notes and technical sheet for this wine please click on the blue link below.

Bodegas Escudero Arvum 2005 - fiche technique

ABV = 14.0%.

£33.95

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)

** IN STOCK! ** 

** THE CERRO ANON RESERVA IS ALSO AVAILABLE AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED **

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 Protos Gran Reserva 2004 (1x 75cl)

The guiding philosophy of Protos is Quality above all. For this reason, the whole process leading to the production of their wine undergoes an in-depth analysis. The vineyards are controlled exhaustively by both technicians and experts throughout the growth cycle, yielding a production of the highest quality. This also gives them in-depth information about all the grapes to be used before they reach the winery.

Protos Gran Reservas are only produced in excellent vintages. The vines used to make the Gran Reserva are all over 60 years old.

100% Tempranillo.

Harvesting is 100% manual, gathered in 20-kilo boxes; the grapes are then spread over sorting tables. This allows them to guarantee that only completely healthy, whole grapes reach the fermentation tanks, where the wine sees skin maceration and a fermentation of 28 days at 28ºC.  The wine then spends 24 months ageing in French (80%) and American (20%) oak barrels. before maturing for a further 36 months in bottle.

The Protos Gran Reserva has a deep cherry colour, which is bright and intense. The nose is very expressive and powerful with complex, elegant, roasted coffee and dark chocolate aromas, as well as candied fruit. On the palate it is fleshy, full-bodied and powerful. It also has creamy, spicy notes and a seductive, lingering finish.

This wine should always be enjoyed with a meal. Our suggestions include roast lamb (a simply perfect and famous combination), roast pork, roast beef, hearty stews, big game and mature cheese such as a full-flavoured Cheddar or Stilton.

ABV = 14.5%.

£39.00

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

Bogle Merlot 2017 (1x75cl)

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.

To see an excellent tasting/information sheet from Bogle themselves, please click on the blue link below.

Bogle Merlot 2016 - fiche technique

100% Merlot.

Concentrated and full-bodied, the Merlot is a study in contrasts. Subtle and silky, yet bright and intense, this deep red wine is multifaceted. Black raspberry and dark cherry greet the nose, while the brighter fruit of ripe summer plum dazzles the palate. The toast and spice of twelve months in American oak seamlessly integrate with the tannin structure of this wine, leaving a long, lingering finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.10

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 Maipo 2015 (1x75cl)

** BOUGHT IN TO ORDER - ORDERS PLACED BY 9am MONDAY WILL BE IN STOCK FOR DELIVERY THREE DAYS LATER.**

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 Maipo gives the elegance and typical structure of Alto Maipo Valley, with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

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

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Maipo 2015 - fiche technique

80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc.

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 = 14.5%.

£24.15

Caggiano Taurasi Vigna Macchia dei Gotti DOCG 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded Tre Bicchieri - 2020 by Gambero Rosso.

The 2013 vintage was awarded 95 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition review of Italian Icon Wines (see blue link below) ....

Caggiano Taurasi Vigna Macchia dei Gotti 2013 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

... and awarded 93 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 Italy supplement article on Aglianico (see blue link below).

Caggiano Vigna Macchia dei Gotti Taurasi 2013 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

The estate was established in 1990 by Antonio Caggiano with the help of Professor Luigi Moio, who is one of the major experts on Aglianico. Antonio is also a professional and very talented photographer. Antonio used to have a building enterprise and he decided to build a cellar, in 1990, that was supposed to amaze. The cellar, which is hewn in rock and built underground, is really amazing and was completed in 1995. In the meantime vineyards from the finest crus were bought and plots of land were purchased and planted with selected clones of Aglianico. The new part of the cellar with very modern equipment was designed by Pino and Lorella, both architects and son and daughter of Antonio, and was completed in 2008. Pino, who has a real passion for wine, is now at the helm with the support of Antonio.

The estate could potentially produce one million bottles/year, but Antonio and Pino have chosen to keep production at 150,000-160,000 bottles/year. The total vineyard extension is 26 hectares, 23 hectares of Aglianico and 3 hectares of Fiano. The vineyards of Aglianico are all in Contrada Sala. The zone of Contrada Sala is airy, the altitude is 350-450 meters above sea level. The exposure is south-west. The great Aglianico grape finds ideal conditions here. The Fiano vineyards are in Lapio. Vineyards of Greco (located in Tufo) and vineyards of Falanghina (in the area of Benevento) are contracted. Disease and pest control is carried out following a programme of the Campania region for the respect of the environment and for the care of vines. 

For this flagship Taurasi, fermentation is temperature-controlled, in stainless steel.

Intense maceration with the skins and alcoholic fermentation at 28 deg C for 20-25 days in steel. Malolactic fermentation in barriques. The wine matures in French oak (Troncais, Centre and Vosges) barriques for 18 months. Finishing in the bottle for another 18 months.

100% Aglianico.

This is an intense and complex wine with aromas of red berry fruits on the nose and hints of vanilla and licorice appear on the palate along with wild strawberries and cranberries.

ABV = 14.5%

£31.35

Cantina Mesa Buio Buio Riserva (Isola dei Nuraghi), Carignano del Sulcis 2016 (1x75cl)

** WE HAVE JUST SECURED A BLOCK DIRECTLY FROM CANTINA MESA - NOW IN STOCK! **

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2020 edition article on Sulcis and Sardinia (see blue link below).

Cantina Mesa Buio Buio Riserva (Isola Dei Nuraghi), Carignano Del Sulcis 2016 - May 2020 Decanter review

This is one of the most exciting wineries to come out of Sardinia in two decades. It is the brainchild of Gavino Sanna, a Sardinian who has lived in Milan for the past 50 years, where he built up one of Italy's most successful advertising agencies. On a whim, he decided to sell the agency and seek new challenges. One of these challenges was the creation of a winery in Sulcis in southwestern Sardinia. As might be expected from someone with Sanna's background, the labels are striking. He has also ensured that the contents are equally striking. Stefano Cova, a young winemaker from Trentino, took over with the 2008 vintage, improving on an already high level of quality.

The grapes are grown in the Sulcis area on the south-western tip of Sardinia. The climate here is Mediterranean with low rainfall that usually falls almost entirely in autumn and winter. It is characterised by frequent north-westerly winds, high temperatures in spring and summer, a mild autumn and winters which vary from dry and cold through to relatively mild. Soils are naturally sandy and chalky-clay, sub-alkaline, medium textured with a rocky, schistous character. Moderate nutrient levels and good levels of minerals add a distinctive character to the resulting wines. The vines are espalier trained and spur-cordon pruned.

The grapes were hand-picked then vinified with maceration on the skins at 26-28°C for 10-12 days. Upon completion of malolactic fermentation, the wine spent a minimum of 10 months in second- and third-use barriques, followed by at least four months in bottle.

100% Carignan(o).

Deep ruby red in colour. The nose offers a complex mix of balsamic notes of red berry fruit and blossoms, together with hints of spices and oak. The palate is rich and full, revealing excellent balance with an appealingly silky texture and long, lingering finish.

ABV = 14.5%. 

£28.15

Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos Douro Tinto 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded 95 points, Gold and overall Trophy status (Portuguese Red Trophy and Great Value Red between £8 and £12) at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019 (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).

Papa Figos 2017 - IWC 2019 award and review

This historic producer, founded in 1751, was purchased by Sogrape in 1987.  Today they have 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 the talented Luis Sottomayor, who manages to restrain the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Estevo and Papa Figos, allied to a wonderful depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Red and Quinta da Leda.

About 25% of the grapes for Papa Figos come from Casa Ferreirinha's Quinta da Leda estate, and the rest from producers owning north-facing vineyards at relatively high altitudes. The soil in the Duoro Valley is made up of schist - a slate-like metamorphic rock that is rich in nutrients and has useful water retention properties. 

The golden oriole (papa figos in Portuguese) is one of the rarest birds in the Douro region. An attractive, brightly-coloured migratory bird, its uniqueness and rarity make it the perfect inspiration for this lovely wine.

The 2018 vintage saw a cold and dry winter which was followed by an extremely wet spring which replenished water reserves in the soil but also affected flowering and increased disease pressure on the vine. These factors significantly reduced the yield but a hot and dry summer allowed for a balanced maturation and the fruit harvested was of excellent quality

After gentle destemming and crushing, the grapes were transferred to stainless steel tanks. Intense maceration is achieved by pumping over. After maceration, the wine is run off the solids, the free-run wine is kept separate from the press wine. Malolactic fermentation was encouraged in controlled conditions. The blend was selected and remained in stainless tanks throughout the winter. 25% of the total of the blend spent eight months in used French oak barrels, and the final blend was bottled after 12 months.

35% Tinta Roriz, 30% Tinta Barroca, 20% Touriga Franca, 15% Touriga Nacional.

This wine is ruby red in colour with violet nuances. Intensely aromatic with fresh black fruits, red berries, heather, chocolate and balsamic savoury spice on the nose. The spicy red fruit profile follows onto the full bodied palate that balances smooth tannins with well-integrated acidity on the long lasting finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£11.60

Cascina Val Del Prete Vigna di Lino (Roero DOCG) 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2016 Roero Vigna di Lino offers a broader, richer expression of Nebbiolo from Roero. Dark fruit, leather, menthol and spice all flesh out in striking, beautifully layered wine that dazzles from the very first taste. The purity of the flavors is just remarkable. There is a bit of oak influence that gives the wine an element of raciness. I do wonder what a more transparent expression of Nebbiolo might be like here, but there is no denying the beauty of what is in the glass. 93 points.” Antonio Galloni

Here's our video tasting here of this wine, which follows that for a rare Emilia-Romagna Sangiovese.

Cascina Val del Prete - or valley of the priest - takes its name from the exiled Bishop of Asti who lived there in 1850. In 1977 Bartolomeo Roagna and his wife Carolina bought the farm Val del Prete where they had worked as sharecroppers. Their first task was  to replace some grain and fruit with vines. The grapes are planted on south-facing slopes in a splendid natural amphitheater. Over the years, they have increased the area under vine to 27 acres. Their son, Mario, has entered the family business and now takes care of the vineyards. Cascina Val del Prete continues to be well received due to Mario’s commitment to great wine.

The Roero is situated in the north-eastern most part of the province of Cuneo and it owes its name to an ancient family that held the district, a hilly area, as a feudal possession. The sandy soil of the Roero hills yields an intense red wine, bearing the district’s name, that differs from the other great Piedmontese wines in that it quickly attains good balance while the others require aging. The wine was created through the tenacity of the producers and their stubbornness and diligence in identifying the areas with exposures and soils best suited to vines.

Mario Roagna is one of Roero’s rising winemakers. In a certain sense, his story is symbolic of a territory that has grown and asserted itself as one of winning quality. His philosophy is to plant only native grape varieties such as Arneis, Barbera and Nebbiolo and to let the characteristics of the terroir speak through the wine. Farming is done biodynamically and the estate has converted to organic farming. Fermentation in the cellars is spontaneous with indigenous yeasts.

The Vigna di Lino vineyard extends for about 3 acres on the left bank of the Tanaro river in the commune of Priocca. It lies at around 250m above sea level and enjoys an exposure to the south. The vines are 30+ years old with a density of 2,300 vines per acre.

The harvest is made by hand at the end of October to ensure optimum physiological ripeness of the late-ripening Nebbiolo. 

A 25-day maceration and fermentation in stainless steel tanks with 6-7 daily pump-overs. Racking into French oak barrels where the malolactic fermentation takes place. Ageing for 16 months in used French oak barriques and then 8 months in-bottle.

Annual production is just 4,500 bottles.

100 % Nebbiolo. 

A red wine of great structure. Ruby red color with garnet hues developing with age. Elegant tannins and notes of blackberries, mushrooms and roses. This can (and will) age for years. Pairs well with roast lamb, game and dry cheeses.

ABV = 15.0%.

£23.50

Catena Appellation (Vista Flores) Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

In 1902, Nicola Catena, an Italian immigrant, planted his first vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina. The winery has remained under family control — now in its fourth generation — and is one of the few family-owned wine companies in Argentina that remains in Argentine hands. Owned today by Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura, Bodega Catena Zapata is known as the pioneer of fine wine from Argentina, and Nicolás is recognized as the vintner who revolutionized wine quality in Argentina. A trained economist, Nicolás began this revolution in the early 1980s and continues to challenge himself and his team to make wines that can be counted among the best in the world. His measured approach to viticulture has taken its place in wine history as the pioneer of Malbec and high-altitude viticulture.

Catena wines, first launched in 1992, set a new standard for quality in South America. The wines immediately proved the quality potential of Argentina and garnered the first outstanding reviews for Argentine wines from worldwide media. After more than 20 years, the wines of Catena continue to lead the way in Argentine viticulture and winemaking. The family and the winery’s employees take great pride in carrying on the tradition that began over a century ago.

See/click the link below for data on this wine from the winemakers themselves.

Catena Appellation Vista Flores Malbec 2017 - fiche technique

100% Malbec.

The Catena Malbec Appellation Vista Flores shows a dark violet colour with black reflections. The nose offers ripe, concentrated dark and red fruit aromas with delicate floral notes of lavender and violet, and mocha. The mouthfeel is rich and full with notes of sweet spice and a touch of leather. The finish presents soft, well-integrated tannins with bright, crisp acidity that gives the wine exceptional length.

ABV = 13.5%.

£14.90

Charles Smith Velvet Devil Merlot 2017 (1x75cl)

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Charles Smith.

Charles Smith Velvet Devil Merlot 2017 - fiche technique

The maker says: "When Hollywood’s surprise hit Sideways suddenly spawned anti-Merlot sentiments everywhere, Charles set out to rebuff the movie’s unflattering depiction of this great varietal. One sip of this bold, sultry creation and you’ll know he succeeded at making Merlot sexy again".

More traditionally put: This wine is made by Charles Smith, a self–taught winemaker who brings his rock and roll spirit to the vineyards of Walla Walla, Washington. As a romantic young man, Charles Smith moved across the world to Denmark to follow his love for his girlfriend at the time. In Scandinavia, he became a recognized manager for rock bands such as The Raveonettes. While travelling on the road with these bands, he developed his passion for wine. In 1999, he moved back to Washington, opened a wine store and became friendly with a French winemaker, later convincing him to move to Walla Walla to make wine together.

The aromas are that of cherry, cedar and black cherry, with an intense cherry, blackberry and some tobacco on the finish which is clean and lingers for a full mouth feel.

89% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Malbec.

Letting this wine sit in the glass for 10 to 15 minutes will help to enhance the flavors and bring out the aromas while burning off any surface alcohol. The best foods to pair with this wine are lamb chops, steaks, pork chops, beef stew and hearty soups. This wine can also be enjoyed by itself due to its rich velvety texture on the palate.

ABV = 13.5%.

£16.05

Chateau Beaumont, Cru Bourgeois, Haut-Medoc 2015 (1x75cl)

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

 

Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) (see link below).

Chateau Beaumont. Haut-Medoc 2015 - Decanter review

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"Seriously savory and texturally complex, this is a powerful wine that’s also very fresh. I love the long, crisp finish. If this had a little bit more concentration it would be sensational. Drink or hold. 92 points" James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com, February 2018

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The land for what is now this Château was in/from 1772, and the estate became the property of Henri Labarthe, who cleaned it up and prepared it for growing vines. The vineyard of Beaumont was born in 1824, with its new owner M Bonnin.

From 1830 to 1847 the house of Beaumont belonged to the Marquis d’Aligre, one of the wealthiest men in France, who tripled the area under vine. In 1849 the estate passed into the hands of the Bonnin brothers, who built Château Beaumont in 1854 in a Renaissance mansard style. In 1860, the Comte de Gennes, great-uncle of Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, who won the Nobel prize for physics in 1991, acquired the property which he resold in 1872 to Jean-Victor Herran, the minister for Honduras. The Parisian industrialist Joseph Germain succeeded him in 1890. By his devotion he managed to raise the wines of Château Beaumont to the top tier of the Médoc Crus Bourgeois. He built the vat house in 1894. From 1925 to 1986, the estate saw a succession of owners: the Milanese company Della Grazia et Cie, the lieutenant-colonel of Caracas Ignacio Andrade, the former Venezuelan senator Dionisio Ramon Bolivar Carvajal and then the winegrower Bernard Soulas, who entirely reconstructed the vineyard and restored the Château. In 1986, Château Beaumont started on its 12th life with the arrival of the GMF group, which joined with Japanese group Suntory to create the company Grands Millésimes de France, also owner of Château Beychevelle and the Bordeaux merchant Barrière Frères.

Château  Beaumont lays claim to some 105 hectares of vineyards; the blend typically is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, with a small proportion of Cabernet Franc and/or Petit Verdot. The wines are matured in French oak barriques (typically, 30-40% of which are new oak) for between 12 and 18 months, varying with the vintage.

The wines of Château Beaumont can be appreciated for their fruit when they are still very young or can be cellared for fifteen or so years, when they reveal all their complexity. Blossoming on the gravel hilltops, the Cabernet Sauvignon gives the wine its structure, the Merlot its smoothness and the Petit Verdot its sparkle. Coming from young vines, these grapes are vinified in a special way to give delicious wines with generous fruit. This wine can be appreciated in its youth.

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

Chateau Beaumont, Haut-Medoc 2015  - fiche technique

50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot.

Great intensity. Very deep colour with garnet reflections. The nose is very open and inviting with soft oaky notes of vanilla and spice bringing out the red fruits such as blackcurrant and black cherry. The attack on the palate is smooth and fresh. The tannic development is of great quality, with fatness giving real mouthfeel. The lightly oaked fruit aromas are very elegant and contribute to the fine aromatic persistence.

ABV = 13.5%.

£22.90
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