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Benoit Courault La Coulee 2015 (1x75cl)

Benoit Courault is a young and established vigneron in Faye d’Anjou, a little village south of Angers along the Layon river. Not a son of a winemaker, early on, Ben decided to study wine. He went to Beaune. From 2003 until 2006, he worked with the famous vigneron Eric Pfifferling from Domaine L’Anglore in Tavel.

Back in his native Loire, he found 5ha of vineyards and started his estate in 2006. Benoit’s aim is to propose authentic wines of excellent quality produced with a constant concern for the natural balance of life cycles, a statement that you will find on his label “Vignes cultives dans le respect du vivant”. Ben’s practices are simple and traditional, organic farming, use of the horse, natural vinification, very little use of sulfites, no fining and no filtration. 

£18.80

Bianchi `Famiglia Bianchi` Organic Malbec 2014 (1x75cl)

Intense red violet colour. Red fruit notes such as raspberries mix with prunes, spices, tobacco, chocolate and a hint of coffee on the nose. Full-bodied and smooth on the palate with rounded tannins. Notes of coffee and bitter chocolate from the oak ageing add complexity to the mature red fruit character on the long, well-balanced finish.

£15.00

Bodega Cecchin Graciana 2015 (6x 75cl)

The first members of the Cecchin family came from Italy to Argentina in 1910 and found work in the local vineyards.  In 1959, Jorge and Pedro Cecchin fulfilled their dream of owning their own land by acquiring 11 hectares of vineyards and olive groves, and the winery which dates back to 1901. Bodegas Cecchin have been certified organic both in the vineyards and in the processing of grapes since 2005.

In addition to the vineyards which are planted with a wide range of varieties, Bodega Cecchin also has peach and apricot orchards, olive groves and walnut and almond groves to add to the biodiversity of the estate.   

The wine is fermented in 12000 litre vats at a controlled temperature after which malolactic fermentation is allowed to occur.  The wine is then filtered but not fined before bottling.

The grape variety of Rioja shows a relaxed countenance in Mendoza. The fruit is soft - more on the strawberry side - with a touch of liquorice and herbal seasoning.  

 

£70.50

Cambridge Road Syrah 2011 (1x 75cl)

From a biodynamic vineyard in Martinborough, this Syrah is a ripe and smooth wine with black cherry and plum flavours and a touch of peppery spice and tar.

£34.25

Cambridge Road Syrah 2013 (6x75cl)

From a biodynamic vineyard in Martinborough, this Syrah is a ripe and smooth wine with black cherry and plum flavours and a touch of peppery spice and tar.

£229.65

Cazes `Ego` Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2013 (1x75cl)

Domaine Cazes is situated in Rivesaltes in the Roussillon. With 220 hectares of vines planted, Domaine Cazes is the largest certified Organic and Biodynamic estate in France. It was founded in 1895 by Michel Cazes and the wines are still made by the fourth generation of winemakers, headed up by Emmanuel Cazes. The family make a range of interesting dry wines alongside the regional specialities, Vin Doux Naturels. They took the decision to move to organic and biodynamic viticulture in 1997. Based on their view that the natural environment needs natural preparation, they plough the soils and use only natural ingredients as treatments, arranging their work according to the lunar calendar.

Maison CAZES is set in the sunniest French region. Since the family started farming biodynamically, they have found that the vineyards are healthier and the vines are stronger, with longer roots. There is also more freshness and minerality in the wines. Vines grow on clay and limestone soils, covered by 'galets roulés' (the 'pudding stones' also found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape). The low yielding vines are about 30 years old, and produce 30 hectolitres per hectare.

Harvest was delayed by up to three weeks due to a late flowering accompanied by cold and wet weather. An Indian summer lasted through to the end of October and provided vital assistance to the final ripening stage given the warm days, cool nights and dry northerly winds. The wines have ripe fruit and bright, lively acidity.

The three varietals were totally de-stemmed and de-stalked before being put in separate stainless steel vats. Only naturally occurring yeasts were used; no yeast was added to the must. Fermentation was temperature controlled at 28°C. The residual matter was circulated by pump-overs and the sediment was broken up by hand twice a day to extract the best qualities. The wine was macerated for four weeks before pressing after which it underwent malolactic fermentation.

The nose reveals great aromas of ripe black and red fruits. On the palate, these melt with leather and liquorice notes, and soft, velvety tannins. This is a round and rich wine with wonderful balance as well as a pleasantly refreshing acidity. Long finish with hints of black pepper.

£15.85

Château de Grand Pre Fleurie 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Beaujolais Crus (see blue link below).

Grand Pre Fleurie 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

A robust and concentrated wine with a floral bouquet of violets and wild spicy strawberries aromas combined with liquorice

The Château de Grand Pré comprises a beautiful 18th-Century castle complete with vaulted cellars, a lieu-dit vineyard and an eight-hectare family domaine in the Beaujolais region. The winery is located in the heart of Fleurie where they own six hectares of vineyards, with a further two hectares in the village of Morgon. 

A modern and organic approach is employed, tending the vines with a complete respect for the environment and using sustainable techniques. The estate has been certified Organic since 2012. These are wines of purity and precision, a true expression of their Beaujolais terroir. Fleurie is one of the 10 Beaujolais Crus and is famous for the elegance and finesse of its wines, which is closely linked to the (shattered) pink granite soils.

The Château de Grand Pré prunes their vines very precisely into the traditional gobelet shape and undertakes a green harvest encouraging concentration in the berries. As the vines are more than 30 years old, the yields are very low, at approximately 40 hl/ ha. The granitic soils in the vineyard impart a mineral characteristic to the final wine. The harvest was carefully selected by hand. Carbonic maceration of the grapes - 100% Gamay - took place for 10 to 15 days, a slow process in order to gently extract the complexity of aromas. No sulphites were added during the vinification process and only minimal sulphur was added at bottling. A natural yeast fermentation took place at controlled temperatures. The wine was then aged for several months in small barrels and demimuids of 500 litres.

This is a very elegant wine with a floral bouquet of violets and roses, leading through to velvety palate of wild strawberries combined with a hint of liquorice and spice. A wonderful accompaniment to grilled meat, poultry, charcuterie, red fruit desserts and fresh cheeses. 

£14.95

Chateau De Pibarnon Bandol Rouge 2012 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 96 points/Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2016 edition review of Provence and 93 points/Highly Recommended status in their September 2017 edition review of Provence Reds (see blue links below). 

Pibarnon 2012 - Sept 2016 Decanter review

Pibarnon 2012 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

The vineyards overlook the valley, facing the sea, covering terraces upon terraces up to 300 metres altitude, on slopes forming a vast amphitheatre, sheltered from the mistral. The high altitude of the vineyards means cool nights and slow ripening of the grapes. The Château de Pibarnon vineyard is planted on very old and highly calcareous, Triassic ground. This limestone enhances the bouquet in the wine. It also allows the extraction of very fine and elegant tannins. Moreover it is this which causes the freshness and minerality, giving an exemplary type and flavour. Château de Pibarnon focuses on 12 main plots, all located at the summit of the estate including Bel Air, Jourdan, Pointes-Blanches and le Cirque.

The icy winter had little effect on the vines. The winter ended with a dry month in March. The months of April and May provided the necessary rainfall that the grapes need in order to thrive.  In July and August, the nights were very cool (sometimes 15°C early in the morning).  The fermentation was followed by a very long maceration (about 3 weeks) before running off. The wine was then aged in oak for 20 months.

2012 is a vintage revealing firmness as well as great elegance. It has less powerful tannins than in 2011 - these are distinguished by their velvety texture and finesse. This wine seems to offer juicy fruits from the first sip, it then reveals unexpected depths and lengths with subtle spicy and minty notes.

 

£29.80

Chateau De Pibarnon Bandol Rouge 2013 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 96 points/Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2016 edition review of Provence and 93 points/Highly Recommended status in their September 2017 edition review of Provence Reds (see blue links below). 

Pibarnon 2012 - Sept 2016 Decanter review

Pibarnon 2012 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

The vineyards overlook the valley, facing the sea, covering terraces upon terraces up to 300 metres altitude, on slopes forming a vast amphitheatre, sheltered from the mistral. The high altitude of the vineyards means cool nights and slow ripening of the grapes. The Château de Pibarnon vineyard is planted on very old and highly calcareous, Triassic ground. This limestone enhances the bouquet in the wine. It also allows the extraction of very fine and elegant tannins. Moreover it is this which causes the freshness and minerality, giving an exemplary type and flavour. Château de Pibarnon focuses on 12 main plots, all located at the summit of the estate including Bel Air, Jourdan, Pointes-Blanches and le Cirque.

The icy winter had little effect on the vines. The winter ended with a dry month in March. The months of April and May provided the necessary rainfall that the grapes need in order to thrive.  In July and August, the nights were very cool (sometimes 15°C early in the morning).  The fermentation was followed by a very long maceration (about 3 weeks) before running off. The wine was then aged in oak for 20 months.

2012 is a vintage revealing firmness as well as great elegance. It has less powerful tannins than in 2011 - these are distinguished by their velvety texture and finesse. This wine seems to offer juicy fruits from the first sip, it then reveals unexpected depths and lengths with subtle spicy and minty notes.

 

£31.40

Chateau Maris Minervois Organic 2016 (1x75cl)

This is a superb wine which jumps out of the glass with vibrant aromas of violets, plums and fresh blueberries. Crushed redcurrant and blueberry fruit characters on the palate are carried through on a wave of velvety elegance towards a soft spiciness of sprinkled white pepper on the finish. This wine has plenty of substance, combined with finesse which makes it wonderful for quaffing. Enjoy!

£12.30

Conterno Fantino Barbera Dalba Doc Vignota 2016 (1x 75cl)

A wine ruby red in appearance with cherry reflections. Elegantly scented with pleasant notes of cherry and sour cherry. Very rich extractions on the palate, persistent but simultaneously soft.

£18.50

Conterno Fantino Barolo Vigna Del Gris Docg 2010 (1x 75cl)

A powerful, concentrated, complex and commanding nose. The palate is full and structured but surprisingly well rounded with black fruit, liquorice and mocha flavours, hints of rose petal and a defiant finish.

£64.14

Cullen Diana Madeline 2015 (1x75cl)

The new 2015 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition in Steven Spurrier's Fine Wine World column (see blue link below)....

Cullen Diana Madeline 2015 - October 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 97 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of Margaret River wines (see blue link below).

Cullen Diana Madeline 2015 - December 2017 Decanter review

Cullen Wines is a certified biodynamic, carbon neutral and naturally powered estate, with their philosophy summed up in three simple words; ‘Quality, Integrity and Sustainability’. It is one of the oldest and most awarded family wineries in Wilyabrup, in Western Australia’s famous Margaret River region. First established in 1971 by Dr Kevin and Diana Cullen and now run by their daughter Vanya, the winery has built an outstanding reputation for fine certified biodynamic wines that receive critical national and international acclaim. All wines produced are sourced from grapes grown on the Cullen and adjoining Mangan Estates. Both are certified biodynamic, to allow the soil to be nurtured and the wines to reflect their sense of place.

The soils at Cullen are old granite and gravelly sandy loam, overlaying lateric subsoils. The fruit is all taken from the Cullen Vineyard, The Cabernet Sauvignon comprises 11.33 hectares and was planted in 1971. The Merlot was planted in 1976 and covers 1.76 hectares. Vanya feels that her conversion to biodynamic viticulture has given her better fruit, the character of which she has preserved during the winemaking process. She is determined to ensure that these characters are retained in the bottle, and feels that this is best done by using a Stelvin closure.

The grapes were grown biodynamically and hand harvested. The fruit was carefully sorted before natural primary and malolactic fermentation. The two varieties were vinified separately. Primary fermentation took an average of 35 days, wtih the average skin contact lasting for 49 days. The wine was then aged for 17 months in French oak barriques, 60% of which were new. No acid or yeast were added, producing a wine which has a great sense of place.

Deep crimson in colour, with fantastic complexity on the nose. Layers of well-ripened dark fruits are enhanced by leafy notes and classic Wilyabrup cassis, violets, chocolate and ironstone. A fruit driven palate of blackcurrant and mulberry fruits finishes with fine grained tannins. Subtle layers of complexity arise from fruit that was harvested at the pinnacle of ripeness.

£78.00

Darenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2011 (1 x 75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2016 edition review of 'Langton's Classification' (Australia's finest bottles) (see blue link below).

 

D'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2011 - Dec 2016 Decanter review 

 

Harmony between environmental sustainability and wine industry practice is a strong commitment upheld by d’Arenberg in carrying out operations throughout the entire business, and the goal of d'Arenberg’s current custodians is to pass on a sustainable business to the next generation. Minimal input viticulture practices are in place, with all d’Arenberg estate and leased vineyards NASAA Certified for organic and biodynamic processes.

Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often affected vines are severely pruned or replanted. One half, or an 'arm' of the vine slowly becomes reduced to dead wood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side, while low yielding, display amazing intensity. The 2011 Dead Arm is all about style, poise and savouriness. The gods may have thrown us challenging conditions and admittedly, there is a slight shift in style when compared to the more classic years of The Dead Arm, but the quality of this wine speaks for itself and an avid Dead Arm drinker will identify all the hallmarks of this iconic Shiraz. 

The nose gives a fair insight into what to expect. Sweet fruits are initially subdued, the wine appears all about cedar, peat, fresh turned soil, ironstone, fennel and cured meats. If decanted, (highly recommended), slowly the layers of savoury aromas unfurl, releasing an entirely new array of sweeter fruit characters which gently develop, eventually taking pride of place, front and centre. A raft of black and purple fruits, blackberry, satsuma plum, blackcurrant, liquorice and sweet beetroot. The palate follows suit. Initially earthy and savoury, slowly giving way to sweeter and spicier fruits. The mouthfeel is very sleek and focused. Despite this it feels dense and compact, only fleshing out with time. It's amazing how much complexity is built into such a relatively elegant (in Dead Arm terms) package. Tannins are prominent and drive the wine to a long finish but never feel hard or extracted. All in all, an ethereal wine, that will reward the connoisseur with patience!

£29.75
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