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Bodega Cecchin Graciana 2018 (1x75cl)

At Bodega Cecchin, they play Rugby and make wine....although not at the same time. In these parts the oval ball and grapes like Carignan are revered as in areas of the Corbieres and Fitou. Although the origin of the Cecchin family is Italy having emigrated to Argentina in 1910. In 1959 Jorge and Pedro Cecchin fulfilled a dream and bought 11 hectares of vines in Mendoza and the current now much larger estate is run by their grandson Oscar Alberto. 

The crops in all three of the estates that make up Bodega Cecchin have been certified for organic farming as of 2005. Cecchin‘s handling and processing in the winery is also certified as organic from 2005, so its wines are subsequently certified organic.

Bodega Cecchin also farms biodynamically, but only in a small portion of the vineyards (just 2 hectares in each of the three estates). This is because biodynamic farming is too labour-intensive to be implemented over a larger area of vines. Bodega Cecchin owns not only vineyards planted with a wide range of different grape varieties, but also peach, fig and apricot orchards, olive, walnut and almond groves. The planting of these different crops is necessary to comply with the rules stipulated by the organic certifying agency, OIA.

Giving birth to an organic wine is to foster a natural environment where vines live together with other plants, favoring ecological balance. Their vines welcome a rich variety of vegetation that grows in chemical-free soil.

They pick the fruit at the precise moment, treating it with respect, giving it time and space. This way, their farming and production procedures carry a stamp of “no chemicals” all through the process, preserving the environment. Their wines, oils and grape juice have been produced with the same philosophy for more than 100 years.

100% Graciana. 

Cecchin Graciana is a marvellous deep red with aromas of spice, vanilla and raspberry notes. Round and smooth in the mouth, there is a perfect combination of tannins from the wood and wine, which gives a long and very satisfying aftertaste.

ABV = 13.5%. 

£12.15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Annual production is just 12,000 bottles.

Organically produced.

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

ABV = 14.0%.

£16.95

De Loach Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

The winery and vineyards were originally owned and run by the Cecil and Christine De Loach. In 2003, the family run Burgundian estate Jean-Claude Boisset purchased De Loach and brought the focus back to the estate's original high quality winemaking philosophy, with specific emphasis on small lot winemaking, particularly of Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. The winery's 17-acre estate vineyard has been completely restored and converted to organic and Biodynamic® viticulture, a tradition upheld by many foremost Burgundian vineyards. The De Loach estate vineyards are certified organic by CCOF.

The Pinot Noir is sourced from four vineyard sites across the Russian River: the BCD Vineyard, the Becnel Vineyard, the Heintz Vineyard and the Murray Vineyard. Each of these Russian River Valley Vineyards contributes their unique complexities to the final blend. The vines are grown on Huichica clay loam soils.

Crafted using traditional Burgundian techniques, the grapes were hand-sorted then fermented in small vats with all punch-downs done by hand. The wine was aged for 10 months in French oak barrels (25% new oak) to create a complex, multi-layered Pinot Noir.

Please click the blue link below to see a full tasting note for this wine from De Loach themselves.

De Loach Russian River Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

100% Pinot Noir.

The 2016 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir opens with inviting aromas of raspberry, strawberry and a touch of vanilla. Silky on the palate, the wine offers flavours of strawberry, rhubarb, clove and plum. It is well balanced with moderate tannins and bright acidity.

ABV = 14.5%.

£22.75

Domaine Catherine & Dominique Derain Mercurey Rouge, La Plante Chassey 2013 (1x75cl)

Catherine & Dominique Derain are biodynamic producers in Burgundy with vines in a number of different Burgundian appellations. Dominique Derain started his career making wine barrels but decided, instead, to study wine making in Beaune where he met Catherine, his wife. In 1988 he and Catherine purchased 5.5 hectares of vineyards in Saint Aubin just south of Beaune and began tending the vines biodynamically and making their wines in a very non-interventionist way.

The Derains always adopt a minimalist approach. They farm biodynamically, hand harvest, do not chaptalize or acidify and use the barest amount of sulphur in their winemaking approach. All the fruit is hand-picked and they destem 90% of their red grapes before fermentation, which occurs in wooden vats. After fermentation the wine is aged in old oak casks for 12-18 months. The couple never use SO2 during the winemaking process, adding only a small amount at bottling for stabilization.

Their thrilling Mercurey from old biodynamically-tended vines (100 years old) reaches an altogether different level. It is a blend of 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Beurrot (related to the Pinot Gris).

There is a silky nature to this Mercurey giving it a supple mouthfeel and a detailed range of raspberry and cherry fruit with a touch of pomegranate. It has lovely spice notes and touch of lavender on the nose. Striking elegance, complexity and length.

ABV = 12.0%.

£37.85

Fatalone Primitivo Gioia Del Colle Riserva Speciale 2017 (1x75cl)

Fatalone are a small, historic, family winery. In the late 19th Century, ancestor Petrera Nicola decided to build his home within the winery and chose the hill called Spinomarino, for its lofty, well-aired and sunny position, among the best in the entire area of Gaudella (south-eastern area of Gioia del Colle) to grow Primitivo grapes. Fatalone's tradition of artisan vine-dressers can be traced back to that time. The land was cleared, with the trees replanted in another area of the property, and cisterns were dug out to ensure an adequate water supply. The excavated stones were used to build the ancient farm or Masseria. A triangle, carved on the highest stone of the building and used as a symbol for the winery, defines the farm as the oldest historical building in the countryside and as a cartographic point of reference. Nicola Petrera’s passion for Primitivo grapes has been handed down from father to son along with the following words: “Who loves and respects Nature, loves God and himself”.

In 1988, inside the small cellar dug out within the rocks, the first bottle of Primitivo DOC Gioia del Colle marked Fatalone (vintage 1987) was born. The brand name of the wine originated with Filippo Petrera (2nd generation), Nicola’s son, who was, in his time, nicknamed Il Fatalone. It quickly caught on becoming the family nickname. Fatalone translates literally into “Lady Killer” or “one who can boast to be an irresistible seducer of women” much like the legendary Don Juan. Filippo Petrera lived until the age of 98, metaphorically speaking between Bacchus and Venus, having breakfast every morning till his last day with half a litre of Primitivo and half a litre of fresh milk.

In 1987, Fatalone were the first winery to produce and bottle the Gioia del Colle DOC. Primitivo as a single varietal wine. Their winery, with its strict family management, has always practiced organic farming; since 2000, they have been Certified Organic by the Institute for Ecology and Ethics Certification (ICEA).

For this wine, there is spontaneous fermentation of the must in contact with the skin for 240-300 hours at controlled temperature and just with autochthonous yeasts. Open-cycle process with frequent pumping of the must over the pomace. Natural malolactic fermentation. No addition of sulphites during the whole vinification process.  Only after the end of the malolactic, re-integration of the sulphites lost during the vinification steps to restore the initial natural value.

This wine spends 12 months in stainless steel tanks, 12 months in Slavonic oak 750-liter-casks with the application of music therapy to optimize the spontaneous microxigenation process and improve the fining of the wine, 6 months in bottle.

100% Primitivo.

Ruby red intense colour with slight burgundy hues. Scent typical of very ripe fruits and slightly toasted wood and spices, with some balsamic notes. Full bodied, rich in minerality and freshness, balanced smooth taste of black sour cherry and plum tending to velvety with ripe fruity notes of blackberry and mulberry, and spices like clove and cacao. The feature that makes our natural authentic Primitivo of Gioia del Colle unique is the toasted almond aftertaste.

This wine is best when served with strong flavoured dishes like pasta with rich sauces, roasted beef, game, grilled meat as well as fish and aged cheese. The Riserva is also particularly fine with dark chocolate sweets.

ABV = 15.5%.

£16.55

Il Palagio di Panzano Torgentile IGT 2015 (1x75cl)

For our article on Chianti Classico and Il Palagio di Panzano, click here.

Il Palagio di Panzano produces wines that mirror the unique character of the area. They are members of the Unione Viticoltori di Panzano and have made the decision to produce organic wine. For the family, sustainability for us is a synonym for “family-run”, too. They have the belief that they can guarantee the high quality of their wines by remaining as a small, family-run winery

The Torgentile is an unusual wine for the very heart of Chianti Classico country. It is 100% Merlot, but made with all the same love, care and attention used for Il Palagio's Chianti Classicos. Chianti Classico must (absolutely must) be 80% Sangiovese, and although that allows for a blend light on Merlot, it does not allow for a full Merlot blend... which is a shame given how very well it grows here. Hence, the Torgentile steps outside the Chianti Classico DOCG rules and into the denominazione of IGT Toscana which allows for the use of Merlot.

The grapes for the Torgentile are always harvested by hand from Il Palagio's single hectare of Merlot. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at a maximum temperature of  28° for 21 days. Malolactic fermentation is then allowed to occur before a full 24 months of maturation in French oak barriques.

100% Merlot.

The Torgentile is bright ruby red in colour with light reflections. The aromas are intense with hints of red fruits, spices and oak. The palate is well structured and harmonious with well-rounded, persistent tannins. The finish is reminiscent of spices, oak and liquorice. 

ABV = 14.0%.

£18.00

Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 2018 (1x75cl)

** THIS IS AN ADVANCE (pseudo-en-primeur) OFFERING OF THE SOON-TO-BE-RELEASED 2018 VINTAGE. **

** WE HAVE TAKEN A SMALL AMOUNT OF FREE STOCK AND THESE BOTTLES ARE AVAILABLE BELOW. **

** WINES WILL BE DELIVERED IN EARLY OCTOBER.**

 

"Although the fruit sourcing has changed from the old days, the 2018 Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert remains a solid offering in the Jaboulet lineup. Violets accent blackberries and plums on the nose, while the palate is full-bodied, lush and velvety, underscored by doses of salinity and licorice on the lengthy finish. 93-95 points".  Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, December 2019

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"The 2018 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert comes from deeper, pebbly soils and is a full-bodied, opulent wine. Notes of blackcurrants, tobacco leaf, ground pepper, and melted licorice all flow to a full-bodied wine that has tons of baby fat as well as sound underlying structure. 92-94 points"Jeb Dunnuck, December 2019

Jaboulet produces some of the world's greatest wines in the Rhone Valley, with Hermitage La Chapelle being its most famous wine. It was for many years run by Gérard Jaboulet, who was one of the great ambassadors for Rhône wines, tirelessly travelling the world and spreading the Gospel according to the Holy Grail of Hermitage. He died suddenly in 1997 and the firm has been run by Philippe & Jacques Jaboulet, until 2006 when the real estate entrepreneur Jean-Jacques Frey purchased the wine company.

The Frey family has  of long standing in the Champagne region and are owners of Château La Lagune in Bordeaux. Jacques and Nicolas Frey are now involved in the day-to-day running of the Maison Jaboulet, while Caroline Frey (pictured right), the eldest daughter, is at the helm of the wine-making team. Under Caroline’s leadership, in 2006, the vineyards earned Sustainable Farming status while Jaboulet's winegrowing is in the course of conversion towards biodynamic certification. 

Jaboulet produces wine from 26 different appellations in the Rhône. Domaine de Thalabert, property of Paul Jaboulet Aîné since 1834, is the oldest vineyard in the appellation. The Crozes Hermitage vineyard is the largest of all the Northern Rhône Valley appellations and extends over 11 communes situated in the Drôme, on the left bank of the Rhône. A former farmhouse that belonged to the Gounon family, the building and its enclosure now house Jaboulet's first LPO (= French RSPB) biodiversity refuge, Clos Gounon. 

The autumn of 2017 was exceptionally dry. Winter 2017-18 was moderately watered and did not fully offset the water deficit. The winter season was very cool, temperatures returned to normal at the beginning of April resulting in later budburst. The whole spring was regularly and correctly watered. Temperatures remained and sometimes were above normal. These alternating hot and rainy periods led to very rapid growth of the vine. Phenology progressed very quickly and the season became early. At the beginning of July, temperatures were getting hotter/ the sanitary state of the vineyard was excellent, berries were juicy, well inflated and often larger than last year. The few rains in August allowed to unlock the situation and the harvest of September took place in a summer atmosphere under particularly heavy heat.

Click this link for Wine Advocate's review and opinion of the 2018 Northern Rhone harvest

Grapes were hand-picked, sorted on the plot, in small crates. The vatting period lasted around 4 weeks with gentle extractions. Aged in French oak barrels (20% new).

See the link below for more details of the wine and winemaking from Jaboulet themselves.

Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes Hermitage Domaine De Thalabert 2018 - fiche technique

100% Shiraz/Syrah. 

For tasting notes, we refer you to the reviews above.

ABV = 13.5% (estimated, not known until bottled)

£24.95

Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 2018 (1x75cl)

** THIS IS AN ADVANCE (pseudo-en-primeur) OFFERING OF THE SOON-TO-BE-RELEASED 2018 VINTAGE. **

** WE HAVE TAKEN A SMALL AMOUNT OF FREE STOCK AND THESE BOTTLES ARE AVAILABLE BELOW. **

** WINES WILL BE DELIVERED IN EARLY OCTOBER.**

 

"Jaboulet's 2018 Hermitage La Chapelle features scents of crushed stone, violets and cassis. It's a classic trio, backed by a wine that's full-bodied, rich and powerful yet also airy, somehow carrying intense plum and black olive flavors without any sense of heaviness or excess weight. Then the wine finishes long and softly dusty, with tannins that accentuate its savory character, picking up delicious hints of licorice at the very end. The proportion of new oak has been trimmed back to a very reasonable 20% and is hardly noticeable in the wine. 98-100 points". Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, December 2019

"A deep, powerful, primordial wine, the inky hued 2018 Hermitage La Chapelle offers tons of crème de cassis as well as a liquid rock-like minerality, peppery herbs, burning embers, and graphite aromas and flavors. The palate mirrors the intensity of the bouquet and is full-bodied, concentrated, and tight, yet still packs a huge amount of baby fat. The 2018 is a beautifully pure, balanced, massively endowed La Chapelle that will need a decade of cellaring and keep for 3-4 decades with no problems.  97-99 points." Jeb Dunnuck, December 2019

Jaboulet produces some of the world's greatest wines in the Rhone Valley, with this wine, Hermitage La Chapelle, being its most famous. It was for many years run by Gérard Jaboulet, who was one of the great ambassadors for Rhône wines, tirelessly travelling the world and spreading the Gospel according to the Holy Grail of Hermitage. He died suddenly in 1997 and the firm has been run by Philippe & Jacques Jaboulet, until 2006 when the real estate entrepreneur Jean-Jacques Frey purchased the wine company.

The Frey family has  of long standing in the Champagne region and are owners of Château La Lagune in Bordeaux.  Jacques and Nicolas Frey are now involved in the day-to-day running of the Maison Jaboulet, while Caroline Frey (pictured right), the eldest daughter, is at the helm of the wine-making team. Under Caroline’s leadership, in 2006, the vineyards earned Sustainable Farming status while Jaboulet's winegrowing is in the course of conversion towards biodynamic certification. 

Jaboulet produces wine from 26 different appellations in the Rhône. Hermitage La Chapelle is named after the small hermit's chapel built in 1235 on the Hermitage hill, the wine regularly rivals Bordeaux 1st Growths for its incredible array of flavours - fruity and enticing when young but acquiring complex leathery and gamey overtones with age.

La Chapelle comes from the blending of the greatest western terroirs of the Hermitage hill. The Roucoules terroir, as well as the generous side of the Meal and Les Greffieux, are complemented by the Bessards deepness and Varogne's freshness.

Click this link for Jaboulet's map/schematic of their Hermitage plots

The autumn of 2017 was exceptionally dry. Winter 2017-18 was moderately watered and did not fully offset the water deficit. The winter season was very cool, temperatures returned to normal at the beginning of April resulting in later budburst. The whole spring was regularly and correctly watered. Temperatures remained and sometimes were above normal. These alternating hot and rainy periods led to very rapid growth of the vine. Phenology progressed very quickly and the season became early. At the beginning of July, temperatures were getting hotter/ the sanitary state of the vineyard was excellent, berries were juicy, well inflated and often larger than last year. The few rains in August allowed to unlock the situation and the harvest of September took place in a summer atmosphere under particularly heavy heat.

Click this link for Wine Advocate's review and opinion of the 2018 Northern Rhone harvest

Grapes were hand-picked, sorted on the plot, in small crates. The vatting period lasted around 4 weeks with gentle extractions. Aged in French oak barrels (20% new).

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

Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes Hermitage La Chapelle 2018 - fiche technique

100% Shiraz/Syrah.

For tasting notes, we refer you to the reviews above.

ABV = 14.5% (estimated, not known until bottled)

£159.00

Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Maison Bleue 2018 (1x75cl)

** THIS IS AN ADVANCE (pseudo-en-primeur) OFFERING OF THE SOON-TO-BE-RELEASED 2018 VINTAGE. **

** WE HAVE TAKEN A SMALL AMOUNT OF FREE STOCK AND THESE BOTTLES ARE AVAILABLE BELOW. **

** WINES WILL BE DELIVERED IN EARLY OCTOBER.**


"The 2018 Hermitage La Maison Bleue offers up aromas of mocha, raspberries and a hint of black olive. It's full-bodied, velvety and plush, with a finish that's marked by hints of maple syrup and a slightly open-knit quality. It should drink well for at least a decade after release. 93-95 points." Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, December 2019

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"The 2,000-case 2018 Hermitage La Maison Bleue comes from the eastern side of the appellation and is a much more fleshy, opulent wine compared to the more mineral-laced La Chapelle. Jammy blackberry and cassis fruit, notes of ground herbs, graphite, and violets, full-bodied richness, beautiful concentration, and a great finish all make for a compelling Hermitage. It’s going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age. 94-96 points." Jeb Dunnuck, December 2019

_____

Jaboulet produces some of the world's greatest wines in the Rhone Valley, with Hermitage La Chapelle being its most famous wine. It was for many years run by Gérard Jaboulet, who was one of the great ambassadors for Rhône wines, tirelessly travelling the world and spreading the Gospel according to the Holy Grail of Hermitage. He died suddenly in 1997 and the firm has been run by Philippe & Jacques Jaboulet, until 2006 when the real estate entrepreneur Jean-Jacques Frey purchased the wine company.

The Frey family has  of long standing in the Champagne region and are owners of Château La Lagune in Bordeaux. Jacques and Nicolas Frey are now involved in the day-to-day running of the Maison Jaboulet, while Caroline Frey (pictured right), the eldest daughter, is at the helm of the wine-making team. Under Caroline’s leadership, in 2006, the vineyards earned Sustainable Farming status while Jaboulet's winegrowing is in the course of conversion towards biodynamic certification. 

Jaboulet produces wine from 26 different appellations in the Rhône. Along the Petite Pierrelle street, not far from the stream of Torras and the road where the blackbirds sing, lies the pretty Maison Bleue. Leaning against the Hermitage Hill, one of the most beautiful vineyards in the world, this small stone house with blue shutters was once a real haven of peace for the winegrowers: a place to work, rest and share located in the heart of a legendary terroir. Today, this house of winegrowers has regained new youth. Winegrowers and horses take there shelter from time to time. Grapes come from the most easterly vineyards of the hill, where soils are deeper, less stony and slope flatter.

The autumn of 2017 was exceptionally dry. Winter 2017-18 was moderately watered and did not fully offset the water deficit. The winter season was very cool, temperatures returned to normal at the beginning of April resulting in later budburst. The whole spring was regularly and correctly watered. Temperatures remained and sometimes were above normal. These alternating hot and rainy periods led to very rapid growth of the vine. Phenology progressed very quickly and the season became early. At the beginning of July, temperatures were getting hotter/ the sanitary state of the vineyard was excellent, berries were juicy, well inflated and often larger than last year. The few rains in August allowed to unlock the situation and the harvest of September took place in a summer atmosphere under particularly heavy heat.

Click this link for Wine Advocate's review and opinion of the 2018 Northern Rhone harvest

Grapes were hand-picked, sorted on the plot, in small crates. The vatting period lasted around 4 weeks with gentle extractions. Aged in French oak barrels (20% new).

See the link below for more details of the wine and winemaking from Jaboulet themselves.

Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Maison Bleue 2018 - fiche technique

100% Shiraz/Syrah. 

For tasting notes, we refer you to the reviews above.

ABV = 14.5% (estimated, not known until bottled). 

£48.50

Raymond Vineyards Reserve Selection Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of 2014 Californian Cabernet Sauvignon (see blue link below).

Raymond Reserve CS 2014 - April 2018 Decanter review

The yet-to-be-released-in-the-UK 2015 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 edition review of 2015 Californian Cabernet Sauvignon (see blue link below).

Raymond Reserve CS 2015 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

Raymond Vineyards, founded in 1970, is one of the Napa Valley’s pioneering estates. The Raymond family arrived in Napa in 1933 and have become deeply connected to the valley’s winemaking origins. In 1970, they established a 36 hectare estate in Rutherford, which now comprises 121 hectares in Rutherford, St. Helena and Jameson Canyon. Raymond’s Rutherford and St. Helena estate vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic; and 100% of the winery’s power comes from renewable solar energy. Five generations of the Raymond family have created a Napa icon, with an enduring reputation for elegant wines with a beautiful balance of finesse, opulence and complexity.

In honour of the Raymond family’s first harvest in 1974, 40 years of exceptional wines are celebrated with the 2014 Napa Valley Reserve Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 vintage in Napa Valley was one of the earliest harvested vintages in years. A warm spring led to early bud break and created the perfect environment for flowering and fruit set. With warm days and cool nights, the ideal balance of acidity with optimum, bright fruit flavours was achieved.

The grapes for the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from the vineyards in Rutherford and St. Helena, as well as select nearby growers. The estate vineyards are located on gravelly alluvial fan soils with good drainage, necessary for growing excellent quality Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyards are diligently monitored throughout the growing season to balance the crop size and quality. Shoot thinning and leaf removal early in the growing season, followed by cluster thinning at véraison, help to achieve evenly ripened grapes with concentrated flavours.

The 2016 vintage across California was a near-perfect growing season. A mild winter and spring led to a steady mild July and August, followed by warm days at the end of the season for the perfect ripeness. With warm days and cool nights in the summer, grape growers were able to maintain ideal acid levels with balanced, concentrated fruit flavors.

This wine spent between 21 and 63 days on the skins, then was aged for 19 months in 100% French oak, of which 30% was new. The balance was aged in twice and thrice used French oak. The final blend includes a small proportion of additional varieties for added depth and complexity. The wine was bottled unfiltered, contributing greater texture and presence to the mid palate.

With inviting aromas of dark spices and currants that mingle with fresh raspberry and blueberry, the round and plush entry is complemented by toasted oak and a fruit compote creating a velvety texture. Flavours of dark berry fruits and spice continue through to the long and rich finish creating a wine of great density.

Cabernet Sauvignon 90%, Petit Verdot 4%, Merlot 3%, Malbec 2% and Petite Sirah 1%

ABV = 15.0%.

£39.25

Tenuta di Bibbiano Chianti Classico 2018 (1x75cl)

** NOW IN STOCK! **

PLEASE SEE ALSO THE FULL CHIANTI CLASSICO RANGE WE TAKE FROM BIBBIANO (all with Decanter scores).

Awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) at their Chianti Classico & Brunello Value Picks Tasting in Feb 2020 (see blue link below).

Tenuta Di Bibbiano Chianti Classico 2018 - Feb 2020 Decanter review

Founded in 1865, Bibbiano is located in the historiic Chianti region, in the municipality of Castellina-in-Chianti, overlooking the Elsa Valley towards the castle of Monteriggioni. Today’s owners, Tommaso and Federico Marrocchesi Marzi, are the fifth generation. Surrounded by vast olive groves consisting of over three thousand trees, Bibbiano’s vineyards cover an area of about 25 hectares, at an altitude ranging from 270 to 300 meters, with enviable exposure and excellent microclimate. The vineyards consist of plants of Sangiovese and Sangiovese Grosso grapes as well as a smaller quantity of Colorino.

Tenuta di Bibbiano was the longest standing consultancy of famed winemaker Giulio Gambelli, also famous for his long relationships with Montevertine and Case Basse di Soldera. Their decades-long association with Gambelli, under whom Bibbiano’s current winemaker trained, still lives on in their traditional approach to winemaking and their commitment to 100%-pure Sangiovese wines. Their harvest is still conducted manually and grapes carefully selected, with different vinification procedures according to the position of the slopes on which the grapes were grown. They are committed to replanting vineyards using wood poles and columns and by planting only autochthonous grapes. Bibbiano is committed to promoting conservative renovation of the farms, in order to not lose their architectural and human heritage and its very ancient history. The estate was certified organic in 2011.

Tommaso Marrocchesi Marzi is a leading voice in the push to establish formal village appellations in Chianti Classico and is a great supporter of the new Gran Selezione category, which requires wines labeled as such to be made exclusively from estate fruit and bottled at the origin. With the 2014 vintage, Bibbiano raised their Montornello Riserva to a Gran Selezione, lowering production significantly. The Montornello, now a limited production single-vineyard Riserva, comes from the northern face of the estate where calcareous clay and stony alberese soils give the wine its distinctive acidity and red-fruited profile. This wine, the Capannino, continues as a Gran Selezione Riserva, featuring the dense structure and rich, black fruits that result from these reddish-brown, clay-rich soils planted exclusively to Sangiovese Grosso. There is also - and this - a Chianti Classico Riserva, made from exclusively from the Sangiovese da Chianti clone grown on the Montornello side of the property, selected after the very best bunches are picked for the Montornello single-vineyard bottling.

The Annata (or 'standard' Chianti Classico) is produced using grapes cultivated on both exposures of the property, across a vineyard area of 30 hectares including all the estates's vineyards in Bibbiano and Castellina-in-Chianti.

The 2018 harvest started on September 13th.

Fermentation was for 16 days in stainless steel. Ageing was for 12 month in concrete vats.

100% Sangiovese. 

Brilliant ruby red. A very floral, aromatic nose, especialy of red cherry and wild berries. Fresh and persistent flavours, with lively acidity.

ABV = 13.5%.

£16.95

Tenuta di Bibbiano Vigna del Capannino Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016 (1x75cl)

** OUT OF STOCK, AT LEAST FOR JUNE. **

** HOWEVER, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN A WAITING LIST FOR THIS WINE, PLEASE EMAIL US ON communications@exelwines.co.uk. **

** PLEASE SEE ALSO THE FULL CHIANTI CLASSICO RANGE WE TAKE FROM BIBBIANO (all with Decanter scores). **

___

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2020 edition panel tasting of top-end Chianti Classico (see blue link below).

Tenuta Di Bibbiano Vigna Del Capannino Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016 - May 2020 Decanter review

For a short Exel tasting video of both this wine and another Outstanding (the Perano Riserva) from that review, click here.

Also awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) at their Feb 2020 tasting of new Chianti Classico releases (see blue link below).

Tenuta Di Bibbiano Vigna Del Capannino Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016 - Feb 2020 Decanter review

"This 100% Sangiovese Grosso, single vineyard Gran Selezione is a wonderfully expressive and balanced wine. It has a multifaceted bouquet and a deeply flavored, admirably concentrated, harmonious palate. There’s terrific fruit and graphite minerals at its core, and fine-grained tannins lend just enough spine. Finishes with an exceptionally long and pure aftertaste. 15% alc. Great value! 94 points", International Wine Review (reviewer, Donald Winkler), June 2020, full article here

___

Founded in 1865, Bibbiano is located in the historiic Chianti region, in the municipality of Castellina-in-Chianti, overlooking the Elsa Valley towards the castle of Monteriggioni. Today’s owners, Tommaso and Federico Marrocchesi Marzi, are the fifth generation. Surrounded by vast olive groves consisting of over three thousand trees, Bibbiano’s vineyards cover an area of about 25 hectares, at an altitude ranging from 270 to 300 meters, with enviable exposure and excellent microclimate. The vineyards consist of plants of Sangiovese and Sangiovese Grosso grapes as well as a smaller quantity of Colorino.

Tenuta di Bibbiano was the longest standing consultancy of famed winemaker Giulio Gambelli, also famous for his long relationships with Montevertine and Case Basse di Soldera. Their decades-long association with Gambelli, under whom Bibbiano’s current winemaker trained, still lives on in their traditional approach to winemaking and their commitment to 100%-pure Sangiovese wines. Their harvest is still conducted manually and grapes carefully selected, with different vinification procedures according to the position of the slopes on which the grapes were grown. They are committed to replanting vineyards using wood poles and columns and by planting only autochthonous grapes. Bibbiano is committed to promoting conservative renovation of the farms, in order to not lose their architectural and human heritage and its very ancient history. The estate was certified organic in 2011.

Tommaso Marrocchesi Marzi is a leading voice in the push to establish formal village appellations in Chianti Classico and is a great supporter of the new Gran Selezione category, which requires wines labeled as such to be made exclusively from estate fruit and bottled at the origin. With the 2014 vintage, Bibbiano raised their Montornello Riserva to a Gran Selezione, lowering production significantly. The Montornello, now a limited production single-vineyard Riserva, comes from the northern face of the estate where calcareous clay and stony alberese soils give the wine its distinctive acidity and red-fruited profile. This wine, the Capannino, continues as a Gran Selezione Riserva, featuring the dense structure and rich, black fruits that result from these reddish-brown, clay-rich soils planted exclusively to Sangiovese Grosso. There is also a Chianti Classico Riserva, made from exclusively from the Sangiovese da Chianti clone grown on the Montornello side of the property, selected after the very best bunches are picked for the Montornello single-vineyard bottling.

Sloping to the south-west, the Vigna del Capannino vineyard - which overlooks Monteriggioni - sits on calcareous clay soil stratified with alberese. It totals 7ha and is planted with a massal selection of Sangiovese clones (Sangiovese Grosso) from Montalcino.

Vigna del Capannino is made only in the finest years. Some 30,000 bottles of the 2016 vintage was produced.

The harvest started on October 10th.

Fermentation was for 33 days in cement vats, with cap management/maceratin/extraction managed by rack-and-return (delestage). 

Ageing was for 24 months, part in cement, part in French oak tonneaux (large barrels) and part in botti (even larger barrels) of Slavonian oak, followed by 6 months in bottle before release. 

100% Sangiovese (Grosso). 

Intense ruby red, with purple hues. The nose is classic Chianti Classico: sour black cherry, prune, balsamic with sweet spices, cinnamon and cloves. On the palate, the wine has outstanding flavor wrapped in an elegant softness.

Or as Anthony Jefford put it in Decanter "A gorgeously teased, poised aromatic ripeness here: subtle incense spice just hidden behind the refined, perfumed plums; a hint of orange peel. Shapely, fresh, vivid and vigorous: super purity, admirable finesse".

ABV = 15.0%.

£29.30

Urlar Organic Pinot Noir 2018 (1x75cl)

Proudly family-owned, Urlar Estate produces outstanding single vineyard wines using organic and biodynamic principles. Urlar is a Gaelic word that means “the Earth”. Their desire is to bring an abundance of life back to our ancient soils so that the drinker can discover the purity of flavour inherent in the land. Their journey from the highlands of Scotland to the stony soils and cool climate of Gladstone, Wairarapa has cemented a love for all things pure and true.

See this blog on Urlar, especially regarding their organic credentials.

For the Pinot Noir, the grapes were handpicked according to flavour and skin ripeness. Each clone was fermented separately in a mixture of traditional oak cuves and stainless steel vats after undergoing a period of cold soak to enhance colour extraction. Our winemaking style encourages texture, complexity and balance. Once these elements are in unison the wine is pressed off and matured in 20% new French oak barriques. The wine is gently fined but not filtered.

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

Urlar Pinot Noir 2018 - fiche technique

The 2018 vintage delivers an elegant wine of dark red berry fruits, dried herbs and spicy savoury notes. There are complex layers of spice, earthy cedar and forest floor. Elegantly concentrated with fine tannins and a silky texture and a lingering intensity of dark chocolate. Beautifully suited to a rack of lamb or game dishes such as venison or duck.

ABV = 13.0%.

£17.65
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