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Abadia Retuerta Pago Garduna Single Vineyard Syrah 2014 (1x75cl)

Situated in the historic area of Sardón de Duero in Ribera del Duero is the small, premium artisanal winery of Abadia Retuerta, comprised of a patchwork of 54 individual vineyard plots, each planted with a single variety, and each with starkly different characteristics. Winemaker Pascal Delbeck - proprietor of Château Ausone - has an fascination with international varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc – and he makes great use of them. He is also at the forefront of a movement to get Castillo y Leon - currently Vino de la Tierra - recognised as a DO.

This single vineyard wine was produced exclusively with Syrah grapes. The vines are planted in bright, white limestone soil in the middle of pine trees that protect the vineyard from strong winds. The grapes produced here reach perfect ripeness levels.

It displays a deep, dark color with black cherry tones, and the nose reveals a spicy, floral bouquet and an explosion of red berry fruit aromas. Balsamic, toasty notes also come through, brought by 18 months’ ageing in new French oak barrels. Smooth and elegant on the palate, this wine is amazingly expressive as well as powerful and very well balanced, followed by a lingering finish. The wine has an intense dark purple hue and a peppery nose with hints of warm beetroot, freshly turned earth and forest fruits. The full bodied palate has aromatic notes of violet and smoke that accompany the concentrated fruit flavours of blackberry, blackcurrant and plum. The silky tannins provide an excellent balance to the intense, creamy textures of this seductive wine.


Antu Ninquen Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

ANTU, means “Sun” in the Mapuche native language, and is the new exploratory range of wines from MontGras, where the identity and characteristics of the terroir transfer seamlessly to the bottle.

The grapes were harvested by hand and selected on April 20th, 2015.

The must underwent 96 hours of cold maceration with PDM yeast, between 28° and 31° C / 84° and 88° F. The wine was then matured in 100% French barrels for 13 months (30% of which were new). The wine was bottled without clarifying (fining) or initial filtering. Filtering was carried out shortly before bottling.  Thje opinion of the winemaker is that the wine is ready to be enjoyed upon opening the bottle. Nevertheless, it will gain roundness, softness, and complexity if cellared for 2 to 3 years, especially for those palates that look for elegance and more velvety textures. It can be cellared for up to 8 years.

The Antu Ninquén Syrah is a deep ruby red colour with purple notes. It is full of ripe blackberry and blueberry aromas combined with touches of subtle smokiness and spice. The flavours are ripe, dense and rich, with a deep concentration yet with an inviting sense of harmony and finesse. A luxuriant after taste lingers in the palate.


Babich Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2013 (1x 75cl)

The Babich family have been making wine in New Zealand since 1916. That’s three generations of innovation, achievement and winemaking excellence. It’s their passion, work and way of life. They make wines that are worth drinking; wines to be shared and enjoyed with friends.

A good depth of colour precedes pleasing ripe summer fruit aromas. Black plum and spice are also apparent on the nose. There is a sweet plum entry in the mouth, which develops into concentrated fruit with subtle savoury notes and a touch of leather. Tannins satisfy the palate and fruit lingers on the finish. Drinking well now, and will age gracefully.


Babich Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

The Babich family have been making wine in New Zealand since 1916. That’s three generations of innovation, achievement and winemaking excellence. It’s their passion, work and way of life. They make wines that are worth drinking; wines to be shared and enjoyed with friends.

From Babich's estate-owned vineyards in both the Gimblett Gravels and Bridge Pa Triangle regions, this wine offers delicate raspberry and floral flavours in a light, fresh and peppery style. It is sometimes co-fermented with a small amount of Viognier.

The grapes were harvested and gently crushed into stainless steel tanks for fermentation. Vigorous cap management during the height of ferment ensured good extraction of colour and tannin. After extended time on skins to promote tannin evolution, the wine was then run off to French oak. It matured for eleven months prior to blending.

Sweetly scented spice and raspberry, with darker notes. Supple and smooth on entry. Red and black fruits, with a hint of pepper and clove with a lingering finish.


Baron De Badassiere Syrah 2017 (1x75cl)

Baron de Badassière is from the Picpoul de Pinet region of the Languedoc, near the coast of the south of France. The name of the wine refers to the Badassière vineyard which lies near the small town of Pomerols. In the 18th century, the vineyard belonged to Baron Charles Emmanuel, a colourful character who was rumoured to be the illegitimate son of King Louis XV. The wines are made exclusively for Liberty Wines by New Zealand winemaker Graeme Paul, with consultant Matt Thomson, at the Cave de Pomerols cooperative where the Vignes de L'Eglise range is also produced. This region benefits from a sunny, warm climate which encourages ripe, fruity flavours in the wines, while the coastal breezes help retain freshness and aromatics.

The Syrah grapes for this wine were grown in vineyards around Badassière in the Languedoc in the south of France. This region benefits from a sunny, warm climate which encourages ripe flavours in the wines, while the coastal breezes help retain freshness and aromatics.

The grapes were macerated on skins, then pressed in the pneumatic press. The must was cold settled and then fermented at a controlled temperature of 20°C for seven to ten days.

Deep red in colour, with complex spicy aromas leading to a richly structured palate, supple tannins and persistent length. Well-balanced with freshness that lifts the finish.


Berton Reserve Barossa Shiraz 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Berton Reserve Shiraz 2015 - August 2017 Decanter review

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard's estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

Shiraz 93%, Durif 4%, Cabernet Sauvignon 3%. The grapes come from the Barossa Valley, in South Australia. Situated at a latitude of 34° South, the region is made up of rolling hills and valley floors. The growing season often sees hot, warm weather with temperatures of 35°C, which can result in vine stress, helping to concentrate the flavours in the berries. The wide diurnal temperature differences help to retain balancing acidity. Some of the grapes come from Berton's original vineyard in the Eden Valley, where the climate is cooler. The vine age is varied, but all vines have been spur pruned and are generally trained on a single wire cordon trellising system. The vines are planted at approximately 1.8 metres apart with 3.6 metres between the rows, to allow machinery access. The soil styles in the vineyards are varied, ranging from clay, to limestone and sandy soils, with each terroir adding its own characteristic to the final wine.

The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks with regular skin submersion in order to extract the required colour and flavour from the grapes. After fermentation, the wine was pressed off into stainless steel tanks where it completed malolactic fermentation in the late autumn. The wine was then racked off into both French and American oak barrels resulting in a rich, spicy complex Shiraz. 

The Reserve Shiraz is deepest dark red with a very youthful and vibrant garnet hue. The aromas are powerful and complex with a wealth of fruit ranging from ripe black cherries and blackberries with hints of eucalypt and spice. The rich and full palate displays soft flavours of plum skin, mulberry and hints of vanilla and blackberry, These abundant flavours are underpinned by fine vanilla from the oak and defined by exciting spicy tannins.


Berton Winemakers Reserve, Padthaway, The Black Shiraz 2016 (1x75cl)

Selected for its deep colour and intense flavour, this rich, dark red Shiraz has lifted aromas of dark cherry, blackberry and delicately integrated oak. The generous and concentratd palate is velvety with firm tannins and flavours of ripe cherry, plum and mocha over hints of smoky oak.


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.


Castagna Genesis Syrah 2013 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article on Australian Shiraz (see blue link below)

Castagna Genesis Syrah 2013 - July 2018 Decanter review


The Castagna Vineyard is situated at an altitude of 500 metres five-and-a-half kilometres outside the beautiful town of Beechworth in North-East Victoria. The soil consists mainly of decomposed granitic-loam on a base of clay. The climate is distinctly Mediterranean with hot days and cool nights during the important part of the growing season. The land is farmed biodynamically using Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic principles. They believe this is the best way to achieve optimum fruit quality that best expresses its terroir. The intention is to make, as simply as possible, wine which is an expression of the place where it is grown.

The vineyard is hand-pruned and the fruit is hand-picked. They crop at a bit less than two tons per acre. The winemaking is very traditional using only the vineyard’s indigenous yeast with minimal interference. Elevage varies between 18-20 months using only the very best, tight grain French oak available, about half of which is new each year.

The colour is of dark plum with crimson edges. The nose is of cassis and spice with hints of star anise, sweet black and red berries and tight grain French oak. The palate speaks of the forest floor and of mushrooms with hints of truffle and lovely notes of cedary wood. It has a supple mid-palate with fine powdery tannins on the finish. A focused wine with hints of violets and black pepper which will need time to show at its best.


Charles Melton `Grains of Paradise` Shiraz 2013 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article on Australian Shiraz (see blue link below)

Charles Melton Grains Of Paradise Shiraz 2013 - July 2018 Decanter review

Charles Melton Wines has produced premium Barossa red wines since 1984. At that time, Charlie and a small band of Barossa 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.

Fruit from one of the vineyard's finest Barossa blocks makes up the majority of this wine. The single vineyard, which is located in the heart of the Barossa Valley, dates back to the early 1900s. It is a more elegant style than traditional Barossa Shiraz but still retains the warmth and generosity of the Barossa. No chemicals have been used for over five years.

2013 saw one of the driest growing seasons in recent memory. After reasonable winter rain, there was very little subsequent rain in the following months. Temperatures were high at the start of the new year but then cooled down. This enabled the fruit to ripen gradually and a lovely mild harvest period resulted in a very small crop of intensely flavoured small berries.

During fermentation, a mix of hand plunging and pump over techniques in the traditional style influenced this wine. The wine is finished in barrique with all the press wine included. American oak is sent to France for a 36-month European seasoning before being coopered into barriques using the immersion bending technique. The wine is then aged ‘sur lie’ to give an interpretation of the traditional Barossa style with a contemporary twist.

A wonderful expression of the traditional Barossa style. Deep in colour and softly perfumed with excellent melding of vanillin and cedar oak aromatics and rich Barossa Shiraz fruit. Intense coffee and mocha flavours are supported by firm tannins and richness of mouthfeel.


Charles Melton Voices of Angels Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2014 (1x 75cl)

Charles Melton Wines has produced premium Barossa red wines since 1984. At that time, Charlie and a small band of Barossa 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.

This wine is sourced from the Mount Pleasant vineyard which sits on the boundary of Eden Valley and the Adelaide Hills. Technically, this wine is from the Adelaide Hills, but spiritually the fruit is Eden Valley.

2014 was not without its challenges, with small crops due to some unsettled weather during flowering. In mid‐February a string of half a dozen hot days ended with a significant amount of rain over 24 hours. The following four weeks of dry, mild and sunny weather from late February was just what the vines needed, and the results are very exciting.

10-15% of the grapes are fermented as whole bunches. 4% of Riesling, from the same block and of the same vine age as the Shiraz is added to the blend, giving the wine its stylistic consistency. The wine is aged sur lie for the full maturation period in 100% new French oak. This builds the structure and mouthfeel of the final wine.

On the nose, this red has a mixture of dark fruit notes, with aromas of cedar from the 100% new French oak ageing. The palate, has finesse and elegance, with a defined density.


Chateau Los Boldos Tradition Reserve Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

Château Los Boldos was founded in 1991 and is situated 100km south of Santiago in the foothills of the Cachapoal Andes. Working with a portion of old vines originally planted in 1948, the focus from the onset has been on the production of premium wines. The estate has been transformed since it was purchased by Sogrape in 2008. Renowned soil scientist and viticultural consultant Pedro Parra (of Clos des Fous) was brought in to assess the plots and match the right variety to the different soils around the estate. The type of rootstock, planting density, orientation and the frequency of irrigation were all within Pedro’s remit, and the results are now being seen in the wines, especially since Victor Arce, previously of Perez Cruz, joined as winemaker in 2015.

Los Boldos has 170 hectares of vineyards which benefit from a Mediterranean climate. The clear, bright skies during the summer and the high diurnal temperature range are ideal for growing fruit that maintains fresh acidity whilst ripening to perfection. The nearby Cachapoal river also moderates temperatures, while stony alluvial soils in the vineyard ensure low yields. Los Boldos makes wine exclusively from their own vineyards, therefore controlling everything from grape to bottle.

A rainy winter at the start of the 2014/2015 season helped to accumulate enough water for the entire growing season. January was very cloudy, but February was partially clear and a bit warmer than usual, which allowed harvest to begin at the end of the month with concentrated and aromatic grapes with balanced sugar and acidity levels.

The Syrah grapes for this wine were macerated in stainless steel tanks. Fermentation lasted eight days, at temperatures between 25-28°C. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation before 60% of the wine was placed in French oak barrels and aged for six months.

A deep, dark red wine, with aromas of ripe red fruits and spiced notes of black pepper and tobacco. On the palate, this wine is balanced and spicy with velvety tannins and a soft, fruity finish.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.


Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2016 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition article 30 Great New World Buys under £30 (see blue link below).

Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2016 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition panel review of Australian Shiraz (see blue link below)

Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2016 - July 2018 Decanter review

Dr John Kirk founded Clonakilla vineyard at Murrumbateman, 40 kilometres north of Canberra, in 1971 after his scientific curiosity led him to question why vines were not being grown in this area. His research showed that the soil and climate seemed suited to certain varieties. Clonakilla means 'meadow of the church' and is the name of theDr Kirk's grandfather's farm in County Clare, Ireland. In 1997 Tim Kirk, the fourth of John's six sons, took over responsibility for winemaking. Today, Clonakilla is recognised as one of the leading estates in Australia. Tim was named Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year in 2013.

The grapes for this Shiraz were selected from four vineyards in the Hilltops district around Young in New South Wales, the Canberra District’s closest neighbouring wine region. The altitude is marginally lower than Canberra so the grapes tend to come in around two weeks before those grown on the estate. Soils are deep red loam over light clay, giving distinctive blackberry and blackcurrant notes to the wine.

The grapes were destemmed and fermented warm in a variety of open fermenters from 1t to 10t. Each batch has either nil or up to 20% whole bunches and are soaked on skins for 2-3 weeks and then pressed to barrel. The wine is matured for 11 months in central forest Allier oak barriques and puncheons, 15% new and the balance 2-5 years old. The wine was racked once during its maturation in oak, blended in November and bottled in late February the following year.

The 2016 vintage continues a run of warm vintages for the Hilltops region. The vineyards appear to take the heat in their stride however. The vines responded by producing rich black Shiraz with great depth of flavour.

Plenty of ripe dark plum and blackberry fruits on the nose. Chocolate and mocha too. The palate has bright, mid-weight red plum and cherry fruits wrapped in lithe, supple tannins. The Hilltops Shiraz 2016 has a nice balance and is really approachable. 

Drink now or cellar with confidence. This wine may surprise and delight you with five to ten years in the bottle.


clos Clare, The Cemetery Block Shiraz 2014 (1x75cl)

The 2010 Vintage was Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition panel review of Australian Shiraz (see blue link below)

Paringa Estate Shiraz 2010 - July 2018 Decanter review

The story behind clos Clare is fast becoming a legendary tale and has earned a place in the Clare Valley’s winemaking history. This tiny, two hectare vineyard was originally part of the celebrated Florita vineyard in the Clare Valley subregion of Watervale, famed for producing outstanding dry Riesling. In 1986, Mark, Peter and John Barry purchased the whole Florita vineyard and sold off the small corner of the vineyard to a local artist, Ian Sanders and clos Clare was born. Today’s label is an original design by Ian Sanders. In 2007, Peter and Sue Barry purchased clos Clare, which by now had forged a reputation for producing one of Australia’s finest dry Rieslings. clos Clare is now run by their sons, Tom and Sam, the third generation of the Barry family and grandsons of Jim Barry, a pioneer of Clare Valley winemaking.

The 2014 vintage saw normal conditions for the Watervale district, with warm days and cool nights. This diurnal temperature difference led to a long ripening period and concentrated the flavours in the berries, resulting in excellent quality fruit. Vineyard The vineyard is located across the road from the Watervale cemetery, with headstones listing the district's who's who. The block of 30 year old Shiraz vines are grown in limestone soils and with a north-south orientation in order to optimise the exposure to the sun in this cool microclimate. The vines are spur pruned and a minimal intervention approach is undertaken in the vineyard.

The grapes were hand-picked at optimal ripeness, destemmed and then fermented at low temperatures in vessels with 'heading down' boards. Once the fermentation was complete, the wine was then matured in used French oak hogheads for a period of 12 months.

A magnificent, stylish and well balanced Shiraz, showcasing intense aromas of blueberries and mulberries combined with overtones of chocolate and mint. The palate demonstrates integrated tannins and an abundance of fruit flavours, leading to a long finish.

A delicious accompaniment to roast lamb with all the trimmings.


Dandelion Red Queen Of The Eden Valley Shiraz 2013 (1x75cl)

Deep purple-crimson. An immensely complex, dark, brooding character, red and black fruits, pepper and spice, with liquorice and tar on the nose. Lingering black fruit on the palate, with pepper seasoning. A mix of red and black berries complimented by vibrant pepper and leaf notes. Elegant tannins and lingering acidity help extend the finish and the overall balance is impeccable.

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