Alpha Zeta was started in 1999 when Liberty Wines set out to produce a range of modern, fruit-driven wines from the hills outside Verona. Working with leading New Zealand winemaker, Matt Thomson, our aim was to work with growers (rather than buy bulk wine, which is standard among most wines from Verona at this price) to obtain ripe grapes (by reducing yields and picking later) and then, using Matt's expertise, preserve these flavours in the finished wines. The result is a realisation of the potential inherent in Veronese viniculture.
The vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley. Cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, which helps to moderate the climate, enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This means the grapes retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is poor and chalky so the vines are put under stress which helps to produce superior quality fruit.
Bud burst was delayed by 10-12 days compared to 2018, but rainfall and high temperatures in the following weeks brought forward flowering. On the whole, the grapes developed normally and in excellent condition. Yields were slightly lower than the 2018 vintage but significantly higher than in 2017.
The grapes were hand harvested, and then destemmed, crushed and macerated on their skins for about 18 hours. After maceration, the must was pressed and fermented at a relatively low temperature (14-15°C) in order to retain the delicate cherry perfumes of Corvina. The wine was held in temperaturecontrolled, stainless-steel tanks until bottling to maximise freshness.
Corvina 70% , Merlot 20% and Rondinella 10%.
Residual sugar = 5g/litre - ie just on the cusp of dry and off-dry.
This wine is pale pink in colour with attractive aromas of strawberries and cherries, which are complemented by subtle floral notes. This wine is dry on the palate, with a vibrant red fruit character and a slightly mineral finish.
ABV = 12.5%.
Charles Melton Wines has produced premium Barossa red wines since 1984. At that time, Charlie and a small band of Barossan winemakers turned their winemaking efforts to what were then considered a couple of unfashionable varieties: Shiraz and Grenache. These wines were initially styled on those from the Rhône but are now considered leading examples of the varieties in their own right.
At Charles Melton Wines, great emphasis is placed on the quality of fruit. All grapes are dry grown and harvested from the winery's own 80 acres of prime Barossa vineyard land, as well as from a select group of grape growers. Yields are extremely low with often only one tonne per half hectare and the vineyards are truly old with many exceeding 80 years.
Average winter and spring rainfall set the vineyard up for a great 2017/18 season. Warm and dry conditions in late spring and early summer encouraged early ripening and harvest began the first week of February.
The fruit was crushed and destemmed, then cold soaked on its skins for 48 hours. The juice was then drained and the skins pressed. Only the free-run juice was used for the Rose of Virginia. The juice was then cold settled, and racked off its lees after two days. The wine was fermented at low temperatures (10-12ºC) in stainless steel tanks to retain the elegant fruit and floral aromatics.
This wine is a blend of 64% Grenache/Garnacha, 27% Syrah/Shiraz, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon.
This rosé has a fragrant Turkish Delight bouquet, with a little pepper and spice to add complexity. The usual unique vibrant cerise tint adds colour to the table. Balanced acidity, tannin and weight give the usual Rose of Virginia combination of richness yet crispness. It will retain its fruit sweetness and perfume over a couple of years at least.
ABV = 12.5%.
The 2017 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition interview with Sacha Lichine of Chateau d'Esclans (see blue link below).
Chateau d’Esclans is located on an exceptional site, on elevated land near the Gorges de Pennafort, twenty five kilometers northwest of the ancient Roman city of Frejus on the Mediterranean coast.
As a negociant and vinificateur (winery), Caves d’Esclans identifies vineyards, grapes and wines from Château d’Esclans as well as local growers to make what has reputedly become the world’s greatest rosé. As their objective is to obtain the best quality grapes and wines, they have created good working relationships with the local grape growers, situated beside Caves d’Esclans, whose vineyards are treated with the same high standards of quality as are the vineyards of Château d’Esclans.
This wine is rapidly becoming an icon rosé...
It is made using a blend of Grenache 20%, Cinsault 20%, Rolle 20%, Syrah 20% and Tibouren 20%.
To see Château d’Esclans' fiche technique for this wine, please click on the blue link below.
ABV = 13.5%.
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Awarded a Platinum medal, Best In Show medal and 97 points at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details and review).
The 2018 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition panel tasting of Provence rosé (see blue link below).
When Brigitte and Jean-Pierre Fayard first discovered Château Sainte Marguerite in 1977 it was love at first sight, and the beginning of an ambitious venture which was to inspire the whole family. Over the years the children, together with their spouses, became part of the project, each of them contributing their various skills across all the estate’s activities: viticulture, oenology, design, commerce…. A dynamic and close knit unit, the Fayard family is driven by enthusiasm, a sense of rigor, perseverance, and animated by a permanent quest for excellence.
Recognised since 1955, Château Sainte Marguerite is one of only 18 prestigious wine estates that have been awarded the status of Cru Classé of Provence. With their concern for the environment, the Fayard family are precursors in the field and have practiced 100% organic farming since 2003, certified by ECOCERT. Going a step further than organic agriculture, Château Sainte Marguerite’s production is 100% vegan, with no use of animal products or derivatives.
The Fayard family describe the Symphonie wines as "the fruit of a permanent quest for excellence and the skilful command of an exceptional terroir." This wine offers a good example of the best of Provence in an exceptional bottle of stunning design. Subtle and harmonious, it offers a gustative symphony that will render sublime your moments of pleasure and gastronomy.
It was made using Grenache 70%, Cinsault 30%.
Residual sugar = ~3g/litre (ie dry).
This wine is floral and delicate with aromas of white flowers and passion fruit. Symphonie rosé is a great wine for matching with food and is at its best when served with fine cuisine and high quality produce. Enjoy with truffle and scallop risotto, seafood, sushi and Thai dishes.
ABV = 12.5%.
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Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2020 edition panel tasting of Provence Rosé (see blue link below).
"If you are looking for a rosé with personality and grace, Clos Cibonne offers both in spades. The Roux family specializes in Tibouren, a rare variety also found in Liguria, where it’s called Rossese di Dolceacqua. Vinified in stainless steel, then aged under a layer of yeast (à la Sherry) in old 500-liter foudres, it makes for a substantial, complex rosé in Cuvée Tradition: It’s dark and earthy in feel, suffused with flavors that range from tangy citrus to woodsy spice, orange zest and fresh, fruity mushrooms. Delicious now, it has the structure to gain more complexity with age. 93 points." Wine & Spirits.
The property of Clos Cibonne dates back to 1797 when the Roux Family purchased it from Jean Baptiste de Cibon, captain of the royal marines of Louis XVI. In 1930, André Roux modernized the winery in order to pursue his goal of producing top quality wines at the estate. This revival ignited an era of fame for the rosés of Clos Cibonne.
In the 1980s, hard times fell upon the estate and it drifted without clear direction until Bridget, André Roux’s granddaughter, and her husband, Claude Deforge, took it over in the late 1990s. Their immediate goal was to bring the estate back to its former grandeur. By renovating the cellars while preserving the tradition of aging in old foudres, the family began to re-establish the vaunted reputation of the domaine. Thanks to their effort, Clos Cibonne once again lives up to its standing as one of the 18 Crus Classés in Côtes de Provence.
NB: There are 18 estates in the Côtes de Provence classed as Cru Classé – a designation created in 1955, as much as 22 years before the appellation itself (!), their reputation based on history rather than commonality of terroir.
The heart of the estate is their Tibouren. André Roux was a great fan of this native grape variety and believed it to be the ideal grape for the region. As part of his revitalisation, he replaced all of the estate’s Mourvèdre with Tibouren. Tibouren had been in drastic decline since the onset of the phylloxera blight. An ancient Mediterranean variety reputedly favoured by Julius Caesar, it was transported over the Alps by Napoleon’s troops and took root in Liguria as Rossese. Here in Provence, it makes thirst-quenching, smoky, sapid pinks, and earthy, red-fruited fine reds.
Clos Cibonne soon became synonymous with Tibouren and received special permission from the AOC to list the grape on its labels.
The estate’s 15 hectares of vineyards are located a mere 800 meters from the coast and are surrounded by hillsides in the base of a bowl that faces the sea. This topography creates air circulation that allows for perfect maturation of the grapes and helps to reduce vintage variation.
Organic production, albeit without certification yet.
After harvest, the wines - and this applies to this, the Cuvee Tradition rosé - are fermented in stainless steel and then aged under fleurette (a thin veil of yeast) for 12 months in 100-year-old, 1,500-litre old oak foudres.
Clos Cibonne thus crafts a wine that is completely its own through combining a rare grape with a unique aging process.
For more/all the winemaking detail, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the Clos itself; it does feature some interesting translation. It features the 2017 bottle in image; the fiche applies to all vintages.
90% Tibouren, 10% Grenache.
Salmon-orange colour. A smooth, spicy, gastronomic rosé with some lovely texture and structure, clean fruit avours of orange peel and peach, good acidity and balance, with a long-lasting finish.
ABV = 13.5%.
Il Conto Vecchio uses grapes that are grown in the ancient territory of Pavia, a subregion of Campania, in north western Italy. Pavia is mostly flat but is crossed by the Apennine Mountains. This fertile province is the origin of some of the world's best wines because of its sunny but mild climate and long historical tradition. The Ticino, Po, and Olona rivers flow through the region, providing the soil with hydration and rich nutrients which make it ideal for agriculture. Pinot Grigio is the Italian term for Pinot Gris, a variety (very) closely related to the red Pinot Noir.
Blush wine is typically created by vinifying a white grape variety and leaving in in contact with the lees of red grapes for a short amount of time. By any other name, it's a rosé!
Pinot Grigio 100%.
This wine is dry, albeit towards the off-dry end of dry!
A very light pink colour. The scent is inviting and fresh with pleasant fruity notes of ripe red berries and white flowers. Conto Vecchio Pinot Grigio Blush has a light and fruity flavour with fresh notes of raspberry, strawberry, and crisp green apple. The finish is cool and refreshing.
ABV = 12.0%.
The 2017 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition panel tasting of non-Provencale French rosé (see blue link below).
Domaine Joël Delaunay is a family-owned estate, located in the Touraine AOC. Today, fifth generation owner Thierry Delaunay runs the domaine. Like his forward-thinking father, Joël Delaunay, who insisted on estate bottling in 1970, Thierry was the first Touraine producer to bottle under screwcap in 2004. Domaine Joël Delaunay has 34 hectares of vineyards, practicing sustainable viticulture. 90% of their production is white, with Sauvignon Blanc being the predominant grape variety, and 10% is red, mostly Gamay and Cabernet Franc.
Domaine Joël Delaunay is situated on the bank of the Cher Valley, 50 kilometres east of Tours near the famous Château de Chenonceau. The soil is clay and silex (a mixture of flint and sand) and the pruning method is simple Guyot. The vineyards are planted with grass between the vines to control yields.
The 2018 vintage in Loire was excellent. The vines were spared from hail and frost this year. High temperatures, sun and lack of rain in July and August accelerated the ripening. The quality and quantity of grapes were up compared to the last two vintages.
The grapes were pressed in a pneumatic press with careful selection of the resulting juices to control the colour. Alcoholic fermentation took place over 20 days at a temperature of 14°C. After fermentation, the wine was aged on its fine lees prior to cross flow filtration and bottling.
70% Gamay, 30% Pineau d'Aunis.
Residual sugar = 3.6 g/litre - ie dry!
This wine is pale salmon-pink in colour. The nose opens with attractive scents of red berries and floral notes. The same fruit recurs on the palate, enhanced by a touch of pepper. The palate is lively and tense with a silky texture. A vibrant, enjoyable rosé.
ABV = 13.0%.
When Cédric Gravier took over the family operation in 1996, the production - which until then had been sent to the winemaking cooperative - received a new lease of life with the addition of a producing cellar. The domaine extends over 60 hectares of the Bandol AOC and includes a number of varied plots, located for the most part in the villages of La Cadière and le Castellet.
This wine (a blend of 40% Mourvèdre, 30% Cinsault, 20% Grenache 20%, 10% Carignan) hails from from a terroir of calcareous clay, typical of Bandol, its quality partially explained by the low yield of just 40 hl/ha.
Harvested during the month of September, in line with the ripeness of each variety. The grapes were selected depending on their condition and underwent skin contact (maceration pelliculaire) at a low temperature before being pressed. The juice, after settling, was placed in a stainless steel vat for a period of 15 days between 18°C and 20°C before racking. The juice was fined in early November then re-racked and assembled in January. The final assemblage is stocked in concrete vats until bottling after filtration from March to July.
This is a Bandol rose of both freshness and subtlety. It has a a clear and shiny robe (salmon-coloured), a delicate nose of candied citrus fruit and spices and a surprisingly full-bodied, balanced and fresh impact on the palate.
ABV = 14.0%.
El Coto was founded in 1970 in Rioja Alavesa and has grown from modest beginnings into one of the best known Rioja producers. Today El Coto has over 700 hectares of vineyard in production across the three Rioja DOCa sub-zones of Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa. They also source grapes from all three areas, but mostly from Rioja Alavesa. Head winemaker César Fernandez oversees production, starting with hand-picking into 350 kg crates to ensure the grapes arrive at the winery in pristine condition. Modern and intelligently designed, the emphasis in the winery is on temperature control and gentle handling of the grapes.
Grapes for the Rioja Rosado are sourced from Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Oriental. The soils are mainly limestone and clay.
2018 was a complex year with a generally cold, wet spring delaying budbreak and the damp weather during flowering leading to higher than usual incidences of mildew in the vineyard. Early summer was initially rainy, but a hot August allowed the vines to catch up and ripening occurred gradually through the cooler than usual September which helped the grapes achieve great balance and flavour. Generally, the 2018 vintage was a generous harvest producing fresh wines with lower alcohols than recent years.
The grapes were fermented in stainless steel temperature controlled tanks at 14-18ºC, over a period of 12-20 days. No malolactic fermentation is allowed to occur and the wine is bottled without ageing.
To see an excellent information sheet and tasting note for the El Coto Rosado, please click on the blue link below.
This wine is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha.
This is a dry rosado, residual sugar of (estimated) around 4g/litre.
This wine is pale pink in colour with aromas of strawberries and candied raspberries. On the palate, it is fresh with a lively acidity and a refreshing, crisp finish.
ABV = 13.5%.
This crisp, dry, Pinot Grigio Blush is packed with juicy strawberry and raspberry flavours lifted by refreshing, mouth-watering acidity. Balanced and easy-drinking, this is an ideal wine to enjoy on its own or with savoury snacks, light salads or white meats.
Pinot Grigio 100%.
ABV = 11.5%.
The Running Duck range is made by Stellar Organics – the pioneer winery from Western South Africa. The wines are certified organic and have also been made according to 'Fair for Life' guidelines. This social & fair trade certification ensures that human rights are guaranteed at any stage of production, that workers enjoy good and fair working conditions and that smallholder farmers receive a fair price.
The brand is named after the Indian Runner ducks sent roaming into the vineyards to eat snails and other threats to the vines. This is natural pest control and allows the winery not to use pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
For this wine, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.
97% Chenin Blanc, 3% Pinotage.
This wine has a lovely strawberry pink colour. Ripe strawberry and raspberry dominate the flavours. It has fresh acidity and a tropical fruity finish. This wine goes well with pizza, pasta dishes, cheeses and salad.
ABV = 13.0% (says the bottle, it's 12% on the tech sheet).
Proudly made in California, this fantastic and very affordable wine is full of fruity flavours to "delight your taste buds and tickle your fancy" according to the lovely folks at Bulletin!
Made from 100% Zinfandel grapes, this juicy rose is bursting with flavours of watermelon, cherries and raspberries yet is refreshing bright and crisp on the palate and has a refreshing acidity on the finish.
It has a typically blackberry / cherry fruit dominated nose, is matched on the palate by ripe fruit very much to the fore with just enough supporting acidity to create a sound balance, and is a very approachable wine.
It has residual sweetness (partly explaining the lower acidity), estimated to be around 25g/litre of residual sugar.
Perfect with spicy chilli tempura king prawns or calamari. It is also fabulous to enjoy with friends and is a perfect wine for parties and barbecues.
ABV = 10.5%.