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South France

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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 Pomérols. 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 by New Zealand winemaker Graeme Paul, with consultant Matt Thomson, at the Cave de Pomérols cooperative.

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.

Following the drought of 2016, there was a great sigh of relief when 2017 began with a rainy winter. This replenished the dwindling water reserves and ensured that the vines didn’t undergo excessive levels of water-stress during the growing season. Unusually cold conditions for spring led to frost in some parts of the vineyards which destroyed some of the nascent buds. Nevertheless, a problem-free summer led to the grapes achieving optimum levels of ripeness and the harvest took place from mid-August to mid-September.

The grapes were macerated on their skins, then pressed in the pneumatic press. The must was cold settled and then fermented at a controlled temperature of 20°C - 23°C for 20 days.

This wine is deep red in colour, with complex spicy aromas leading to a rich structured palate, supple tannins and long length. Well-balanced with freshness that lifts the finish.

£8.50

Ch De Chambert Cahors Grand Vin 2012 (1x 75cl)

Château de Chambert lies 30 kilometres west of the town of Cahors, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Owned and run by Philippe Lejeune since 2007, with the additional support of consultant winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt, the estate has already garnered considerable attention in France and is top critic Michel Bettane’s ‘One to Watch’. The elegant, modern wines are made from the deep-coloured Malbec variety, which traditionally produced the ‘black wines’ of Cahors.

Chambert’s vineyards are situated at the highest part of the South Quercy limestone plateau, at an average altitude of 300 metres above sea level. The soil is mainly clay with a red iron oxide component. This is ideally suited to producing a refined style of wine that is fresh in its balance (similar soils can be found in the Chablis Grand Cru vineyards). Due to its location between the Atlantic and Mediterranean the area has a unique meso-climate which takes effect especially towards harvest when hot winds from Africa warm up the grapes, aiding ripening. Leaf-thinning and green harvesting take place where necessary, to ensure lower yields of well exposed fruit. The vines are 25 years old and yields are low at around 28 hectolitres per hectare. All grapes are hand-harvested.

The 2012 season was marked by heterogeneity. A dry winter period led to an unusually warm month of March with temperatures above average. Bud-burst took place at the beginning of April and was immediately disturbed by a month of cool and wet weather. May was warmer and drier than usual, June was rainy but then July was relatively dry. This four-month period of unstable weather took its toll on the vines and delayed veraison to the 20th August. The period of post-veraison was warm and dry and eased the disease pressure, and advanced the maturity of the grapes. Harvest began on 10th October and finished with the top parcels a week later, in perfect harvesting conditions.

Each plot was vinified separately. Gentle extraction occurred through a combination of slow pumping and plunging, before a slow fermentation with indigenous yeast at 25-30°C. The wine underwent post-fermentation maceration for 30 days. Malolactic fermentation took place in French oak barrels where the wine aged for 14 months (50% new French oak barrels, 25% second use barrel, 25% third use barrel).

Complex characteristics of red fruit, violets and silky round tannins. A generous and rich wine with a powerful structure. Ripe tannins and dense fruit is accompanied by elegant acidity, giving the wine tremendous potential for ageing.

£36.35

Chateau De Chambert Cahors Malbec 2014 (1x75cl)

Château de Chambert lies 30 kilometres west of the town of Cahors, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Owned and run by Philippe Lejeune since 2007, with the additional support of consultant winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt, the estate has already garnered considerable attention in France and is top critic Michel Bettane’s ‘One to Watch’. The elegant, modern wines are made from the deep-coloured Malbec variety, which traditionally produced the ‘black wines’ of Cahors.

Vineyards are planted with 85% Malbec and 15% Merlot at the highest part of the South Quercy limestone plateau (causse), at an average altitude of 300 metres above sea level. The soil contains two distinct geological components; red clay with high concentration of red which lends the wine power, spice and black fruit aromas; and white clay with limestone similar to that of Chablis, which produces minerality and finesse. Located between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, the unique mesoclimate takes effect especially towards harvest when hot winds from Africa aid grape ripening. Careful leaf-thinning and green harvesting ensure well exposed fruit. The vines are 25 years old and yields are low at around 28 hectolitres per hectare. The grapes are hand-harvested.

Warm weather early in the year brought the 2014 bud-burst forward to 19th March, two weeks earlier than average. Summer began with a beautiful, dry June, but July and August suffered from intermittent rain, which increased disease pressure and slowed ripening. A warm, dry September allowed full sugar and phenolic ripeness, and healthy vines, with the long growing season encouraging complexity and concentration. The harvest started with on 3rd October, and was completed by the middle of the month.

The grapes are separated by parcel and vinified spearately. After a pneumatic press, the free-run juice and pressings were separated. Fermentation took place with ambient yeasts at controlled temperatures of 25-30°C, and the cap was managed by a combination of pump-overs and plunging. The fermenting must spent 25 days on skins. Malolactic fermentation took place in barrel. The wine was matured for 12 months in french oak, 20% of which were new.

This wine is beautifully dark and intense in colour. On the nose, it has refined ripe fruit aromas of blueberry and violet. On the palate, the tannins are silky and round and the mineral character on the finish balances the black fruit and ripe flavours.

£21.80

Chateau De Pibarnon Bandol Rouge 2014 (1x 75cl)

The previous 2012 vintage was 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.

2013 had a growing season dominated by rain and moderately cold temperatures. The cool, wet spring caused a slight delay in the ripening process. Far from worrying the winemakers at Chateau de Pibarnon, they were delighted with the conditions which gave them results that reminded them of the great years of the 1980s. Summer was dry and warm throughout the day and cold at night. This was perfect and allowed for a slow maturation. Harvest was delayed by approximately 15 days which allowed them to harvest the grapes when they were fully ripe. 

2013 is a structured, well-built vintage. It is full bodied but the flavours then develop to give a sense of smoothness, sweetness and fruity tannins on the palate. The wine's character shows the skill of the winemakers in producing a wine with good levels of maturity as well as balanced tannins and minerality.

£33.55

Chateau Maris Minervois Organic 2016 (1x75cl)

When Robert Eden and Kevin Parker bought the vineyard in 1997 they wanted to make the best wines in the Languedoc while working in harmony with nature – that is without applying pesticides or other chemicals. They looked at natural ways of rejuvenating the soil using compost. Biodynamic preparations were added to one organic compost pile and another was left alone. They quickly discovered that the biodynamic pile contained far more living organisms and there was no doubt about the right course of action for the vineyard as a whole. Thanks to biodynamic methods, the vines are now healthier and the quality of grapes is better. Chateau Maris is now a 79-acre estate divided into a multitude of small vineyards on the hillside above the village of La Liviniere, the first Cru Classe of the Minervois, in the Languedoc region. They have been certified by Ecocert since 2002, Biodyvin since 2004, Demeter since 2008 and BCorps since 2016.

To see the winemakers excellent tasting note for this wine please click on the blue link below.

Chateau Maris Minervois 2016 - fiche technique

£13.15

Chateau Maris Minervois Organic 2017 (1x75cl)

When Robert Eden and Kevin Parker bought the vineyard in 1997 they wanted to make the best wines in the Languedoc while working in harmony with nature – that is without applying pesticides or other chemicals. They looked at natural ways of rejuvenating the soil using compost. Biodynamic preparations were added to one organic compost pile and another was left alone. They quickly discovered that the biodynamic pile contained far more living organisms and there was no doubt about the right course of action for the vineyard as a whole. Thanks to biodynamic methods, the vines are now healthier and the quality of grapes is better. Chateau Maris is now a 79-acre estate divided into a multitude of small vineyards on the hillside above the village of La Liviniere, the first Cru Classe of the Minervois, in the Languedoc region. They have been certified by Ecocert since 2002, Biodyvin since 2004, Demeter since 2008 and BCorps since 2016.

To see the winemakers excellent tasting note for this wine please click on the blue link below.

Chateau Maris Minervois 2016 - fiche technique

£13.15

Chateau Tour Des Gendres Anthologia Rouge 2008 (6x75cl)

Chateau Tour Des Gendres has been owned by the family of Luc De Conti since the early nineteenth century when Luc’s grandfather Vincenzo moved to Bergerac from Italy. They are certified organic and use careful vinification techniques to ensure the truest expression of the terroir and vintage.

Chateau Tour Des Gendres Anthologia Rouge 2008 is predominantly Merlot with intense almost opaque appearance with a complex nose of black berry fruit, licorice and spice. Full bodied with firm yet sweet tannins and a rich, opulent finish. It is easy to understand why Luc’s wines are considered some of the best and most exciting of the region.

£49.50

Domaine Leon Barral Faugeres La Valiniere 2014 (1x75cl)

A superb biodynamic wine, 'La Valiniere' is a blend of 80% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah and is one of the finest wines to emerge from the south of France in the past few years. Owner Didier Barral follows a non-interventionist that produces wines of great depth and character, of which 'La Valiniere' is a typical example. As with many Mourvedre-dominated wines, 'La Valiniere' is intense and velvety with savoury and 'gamey' flavours. There are also notes of cloves and cinammon. The Syrah completes the package by contributing black fruit and a touch of pepper. The acidity and tannins are well balanced making this an ideal food wine.

£47.70

La Garenne Syrah 2017 (1x75cl)

A modern take on a traditional style - the winemaking is gentle and controlled, vinifying seperate parcels in order to maximise the fruit characters of each before blending and bottling.

This deeply coloured Syrah has attractive cherry and pepper flavours which are offset by the wine's meaty and bitter chocolate aromas. This wine has a full bodied palate with great length and has a well-balanced structure.

Well paired with mediteranean type dishes, stews or red meat dishes.

£8.45

Les Mougeottes Pinot Noir IGP Pays d'Oc 2017 (1x75cl)

The Les Mougeottes wines are from the region to the east of Carcassonne. Ripe grapes are essential for a good Pinot Noir. The full aromatic potential has already been developed, but the sugar content should be relatively low in order to pre-serve the variety's elegant style. For that, a part of the crop is harvested quite early and ferments at low temperature exalting fruity aromas. The other part, fully ripe, under-goes a traditional, long maceration. About one third ages in French oak barrels for many months adding a lot of complexity to the wine.

This wine has a clean and precise bouquet with black cherries and raspberry aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red berry fruit and a silky long finish.

£9.10

Mas de Daumas Gassac Red 2010 Half Bottle (1x 37.5cl)

The cellars at Mas de Daumas Gassac were formed in the foundations of a Gallo-Roman mill; they now house 400 Merrain oak Bordeaux and Burgundy barrels; one in seven is replaced each year. There are two cold water springs under the cellar’s floor, nature’s own air conditioning system, which slows the alcohol fermentation down to between 8 – 10 days. This slow process means the complex savours have time to develop, something that doesn’t happen with modern high-tech fermentation. As they say at the winery: "Wisdom needs time to develop, so do a wealth of flavours!" 

Chemical fertilisers and synthetic matter have no place at Daumas Gassac. They only use compost based on manure produced by ewes from the Larzac.

This wine has a long ageing potential but is drinking well now. Perfect with complex dishes such as red meat, game (especially venison and wild-boar) and cheeses.

To see the winemaker's notes on this wine, please click on the blue link below.

Mas de Daumas Gassac Red 2010 - fiche technique

£14.58
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