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Alpha Zeta 'A' Amarone 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2013 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2017 edition review of Amarones (see blue link below)

Alpha Zeta 2013  - May 2017 Decanter review

Alpha Zeta was created in 1999 by UK wine importer, David Gleave MW, and New Zealand winemaker, Matt Thomson with this belief in mind. They realised that the key is to marry local grape growers with impeccable winemaking. All Alpha Zeta wines are made from indigenous grape varieties grown in the hills north-east of Verona.  The flavours of the grape shine through in the glass offering great value, quality and balance. Matt works with local Veronese grape growers in hillside vineyards to select parcels of fruit, rather than buying in bulk wine. They have worked together to reduce yields and the grapes are now picked later. In this way, they have been able to improve grape quality and obtain riper flavours.

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 helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is a mixture of clay and limestone with good drainage. The vineyards are south-facing and therefore warmer than other parts of Valpolicella.

Mild temperatures and moderate rains accompanied the winter season. The beginning of the growth cycle in the vineyards, characterised by abundant rain, was followed by a hot and dry period. This allowed for perfect health and organoleptic qualities in the grapes, making this 2015 vintage one of the best, if not the best, of the last 20 years.

Selected grapes were picked in mid September and left to dry in specially ventilated rooms until the end of January. During this time the grapes lost about 40% of their natural weight. The grapes were destemmed and crushed at the end of January. Fermentation temperature was between 18°-22°C with daily periodic pumping over, while the length of maceration was 20 days. This Amarone was matured in oak (a mixture of large 'botti' and French oak barriques) for 18 months before bottling.

This Amarone is deep and intense on the nose with aromas of dried cherries and blueberries and notes of spiced autumn fruit compote. On the palate it is powerful, with a lovely balance of ripe tannins and spiced, concentrated savoury cherry fruit character. A touch of woodsmoke completes the long finish.

£24.40

Amalaya Blanco de Corte Torrontes / Riesling 2017 (1x75cl)

The previous 2016 vintage was 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).

Amalaya Torrontes-Riesling 2016 - August 2017 Decanter review

Amalaya translates to ‘hope for a miracle’ in the indigenous language of the now extinct tribe, the Calchaquí. The winery is situated in Cafayate, Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina at nearly 1,828 metres above sea level. It is a part of the Hess Family Estates and is run with the same dedication to quality, sustainability and social responsibility as the other Hess Estates. All of the Amalaya wines are fruit driven in style, with a finesse that unites them. These wines offer incredible value for their quality and truly reflect their ‘sense of place‘.

The Torrontes and Riesling grapes were grown on the Finca San Isidoro vineyards. These are located in the Cafayate Valley in the very heart of the Calchaqui Valley, distinguished for being the highest wine region in the world. The climate here is very dry, with just 150mm of rain in an average year and a huge thermal amplitude of around 20°C. The soils here are rocky, poor and sandy so the roots of the vines are forced to dig deep to find the vital nutrients and water they need, which in turn results in a huge concentration of flavour within the fruit.

Overall, the Calchaquí Valley enjoyed optimal conditions in 2017, with perfect balance between quality and quantity. The weather during the growing season was excellent, with no spring frost, allowing good fruit set and resulting in healthy grapes.

The grapes went through a double selection process, firstly in the vineyard and then again on the sorting table at the winery. The grapes underwent cold maceration for four days, followed by a slow fermentation using selected yeasts, at low temperatures to retain the varietal fruit character. 80% of the wine was aged in stainless steel tanks with 20% aged in French oak for 10 months.

This wine is made using Torrontes 85%, Riesling 15%.

Intense gold in colour, this wine has pronounced aromas of grapefruit and lemon peel. Delicate and silky on the palate with great freshness and crisp acidity on the distinctly mineral finish.

£10.20

Anton Finkenauer Kreuznacher Riesling QbA trocken 2015 (1x 75cl)

In 1925 the winery of Anton and Carl Finkenauer was split as the two brothers wanted to go their own way. Since then there have been two wineries with the same name situated just a few metres away from each. Weingut Anton Finkenauer is a family company offering well made and attractively priced wines with an annual volume of 60,000 bottles.

The grapes were cool fermented to retain the fruity character with a good balance of acidity.

100% Riesling.

The wonderful balance between sugar and acidity found in this wine, makes it a good example of the wines from the Nahe region. A young, dry, streamlined and fruity wine with just a hint of refreshing spritz on the palate. The perfect accompaniment to seafood, particularly oysters, green Niçoise salads and creamy Camembert.

£9.90

Bodegas Protos Rueda Verdejo 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition review of Rueda (see blue link below).

Bodegas Protos Rueda Verdejo 2017 - March 2019 Decanter review

The guiding philosophy of Protos is "Quality above all". For this reason, the whole process leading to the production of their wine undergoes an in-depth analysis. The vineyards are controlled exhaustively by both technicians and experts throughout the growth cycle, yielding a production of the highest quality. This also gives them in-depth information about all the grapes to be used before they reach the winery.

Harvesting for this wine is done at night, is 100% manual and the production was gathered in 20-kilo boxes; the grapes are then spread over sorting tables. This allows them to guarantee that only completely healthy, whole grapes reach the fermentation tanks. After fermentation this wine spends a further 3 months resting on its fine lees (indeed, this new 2017 vintage is now labelled, as per the photo, as a sobre lias).

This wine has a greenish straw colour and is bright and clean. The Protos Verdejo is powerful yet fruity with green apple, citrus and tropical fruit aromas as well as white blossoms, fragant herbs and fennel hints. The flavours are very fresh, with good acidity,  fruity, well balanced flavours. It is a complex wine, with a long finish.

£11.50

Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel 2016 (1x75cl)

"Another great value from Bogle, this wine is very polished and smooth. Blackberry and blueberry flavors abound on the full-bodied palate, with fine-grained tannins. There are no rough edges, just wonderful fruitiness and light salt-and-pepper spices". (Wine Enthusiast, of the 2015 vintage).

Though the Bogle family has been farming in the Clarksburg region for six generations, their involvement in the wine business spans back 50 years. In addition to passing down a strong work ethic and dedication to quality, the success of Bogle over the years is rooted in the day-to-day involvement of the Bogle family. The family takes great pride in making wines of exceptional character and quality. From vineyard to bottle, the highest standards are set, in order to create a wine that overdelivers each and every time.

For years, Bogle winemakers have sought out vines ranging in age from 60 to 80 years old for our Old Vine Zinfandel. These gnarly head-trained and dry farmed pioneers produce low yields of small, concentrated clusters of fruit, producing incredibly intense and flavorful wines.

To see an excellent tasting/information sheet from Bogle themselves, please click on the blue link below.

Bogle Zinfandel 2016 - fiche technique

91% Zinfandel, 7% Primitivo, 1% Merlot, 1% Petite Syrah.

This supple and mouth-filling vintage leads with juicy raspberry and ripe boysenberry fruit. Hints of spiced chocolate integrate well with fruit that is surprisingly luscious and silky on the palate, partnered with black pepper backbone that gives structure and weight. Flavours of toasted oak and pipe tobacco create further structure, allowing this wine to stand up to a variety of hearty fare

£15.35

Botter Prosecco Spumante NV (1x 75cl)

They say that a good wine needs time to reveal its qualities, but it also needs dedication and constant commitment. Few products can embody so much expertise and thousands of years of history as those made by Botter. It has passed through the careful hands of three generations for whom wine was a passion as well as a trade. They have responded to the constantly evolving market over time, in a process of ongoing expansion.

The grapes for this Prosecco are picked in the second half of September.

The soft pressed must is stored in steel tanks for static cold decanting. The fermentation with selected yeasts is carried out at a controlled temperature of 18 °C and takes 8-10 days. After a storage period, the winemaker ensures the expected level of quality is achieved for this Prosecco Spumante cuvée. The wine is then filtered and stored in steel tanks with the addition of sucrose and selected yeasts for the second fermentation (Martinotti-Charmat method) at a controlled temperature of 14-15 °C. Once the wine has reached the required pressure levels, alcohol and sugar content, the wine is refrigerated and cold stabilized. It is filtered before bottling.

The Botter Prosecco Spumante has a crisp and delicate perlage. There is a pale light yellow colour, alongside a delicate and complex bouquet with fruity notes that are reminiscenrt of peach, green apple with second notes of acacia and wisteria. It is fresh and light on the palate, with balanced acidity and body; it proves itself to be harmonic with a long persistent aftertaste.

Ideal as an aperitif, it is a perfect combination to hors-d’oeuvres and delicate first courses. Also wonderful with sushi, fish and shellfish.

£11.95

Cantina Colli Euganei `Rialto` Prosecco Frizzante DOC Non Vintage (1x 75cl)

The Cantina Colli Euganei, which is the biggest wine producer in the Veneto area, has around 950 members, run by Director Alessio Equisetto who shares our commitment to quality and value that shines through in the glass. The co-operative has a long history in the Veneto area.

The fruit for this wine comes from a co-operative with a long history in the Veneto area. Glera is the grape variety used in the production of Prosecco sparkling wine and was until recently also referred to as Prosecco. Changes in the laws governing the DOC mean that the grape can no longer bear the same name as the geographical area for non-DOC wines. The vineyards are on volcanic, calcareous and clay soils.

The grapes are cold-pressed and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel to preserve the aromatic qualities of the grapes. Following the second fermentation, the bottles are filled under pressure so that it remains 'frizzante', or lightly sparkling.

Pale yellow in colour. A light, fresh wine that has a nicely-balanced structure, lightly floral aromas and attractive fruit flavours. Perfect as an aperitif.

£11.85

Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV (1x 37.5cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition's "Weekday Wines (25 under £25)" (see blue link below)...

Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV - August 2018 Decanter review

The 6th generation of the Chambers family to make wine in the Rosewood winery, Stephen, took over the winemaking in 2001. This venerable winery, started in 1858 by William Chambers, is one of the most fabled in Rutherglen. This charming, northeastern Victorian town, the sort of place that time forgot, still speaks of the gold rush that led to the town's foundation, and the development of the wine industry, in the 1850s. 

The vineyards are located on the fringes of the Rutherglen Township, slightly to the North West, where Chambers produce drier style Muscats which express rose petal characters. The vines are hand pruned to a rod and spur system which allows each vine to be viewed on an individual basis. The trellising system is a single wire with a sprawling canopy.

Harvest of the grapes for this wine commences once the fruit reaches a ripeness of 16 Baumé. At this stage the grapes will have some variation throughout the bunches, with some being plump, while others showing signs of grape shrivel. Once a parcel of grape is harvested, it is destemmed and the must placed into a closed stainless steel fermentation tank. The amount of fermentation is dependent upon the final baumé level of the parcel, and it occurs around 24 hours after harvest and a soak on skins. Once fermentation has commenced and the sugar level has fallen to between 14 and 15 baumé the grapes are pressed with the fermenting juice and fortified with neutral grape wine spirit (95.8 to 96.2%). The resultant wine is then settled in stainless steel tanks and then racked into old oak casks, which range in size between 220 to 5500 litres. The wines are kept as single vintage and vineyard parcels until blending.

The Rutherglen Muscat is typically tawny red in colour with aromas of rose petals, raisins and dried fruit. These characters carry through to the palate, balanced with fresh acidity. The wine is unctuous and rich yet zesty and balanced.

£12.10

Champagne Philipponnat Clos Des Goisses 2005 (1x 75cl)

Partially vinified in wooden barrels to add complexity then aged for 8-10 before release this is an elegant wine with notes of linden tea, cacao, blond tobacco and vanilla. On the palate it is full-bodied with flavours of candied white fruit, stoney, mineral notes, toasted bread and smoke.

Clos des Goisses is a very fine wine before being converted to a very fine Champagne.

A perfect and unforgettable match for strong-flavoured dishes such as game, truffles, caviar and soft cheeses. Philipponnat recommend that you decant prior to serving to allow it to breath.

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Philipponnat.

Champagne Philipponnat Clos Des Goisses 2005 - fiche technique

NB: 3 bottles have very slightly damaged labels - we can send photos if required.

£127.85

Champagne Taittinger Brut Reserve NV (1x 75cl)

When Pierre Taittinger first discovered the Champagne region, he was an officer serving in the First World War. He returned several years later with his brother-in-law and began investing his time, energy and enthusiasm into a nascent Champagne business. Taittinger is now back in the ownership of the Taittinger family with Pierre-Emmanuel at the helm alongside his children Vitalie and Clovis.

Taittinger Brut Réserve is a blend of Chardonnay (40%), Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (60%) wines from over 35 different vineyards and vintages matured to perfection. This high proportion of Chardonnay, unique among fine nonvintage champagnes, and a minimum ageing of three years in the cellars, where it reaches the peak of aromatic maturity, makes Taittinger Brut Réserve a delicately balanced champagne, known for its consistently excellent quality all over the world. Taittinger considers it an honour to produce a Brut champagne every year without exception. 

The brilliant body is golden yellow in colour. The bubbles are fine, while the foam is discreet yet lingering. The nose, very open and expressive, delivers aromas of fruit and brioche. It also gives off the fragrance of peach, white flowers (hawthorn, acacia) and vanilla pod. The entry onto the palate is lively, fresh and in total harmony. This is a delicate wine with flavours of fresh fruit and honey. Taittinger Brut Réserve, which acquires its maturity during three and four years ageing in the cellar, offers excellent aromatic potential. 

Taittinger Brut Réserve is the champagne for any occasion. A symbol of festivity, this wine is the ideal partner of celebration for the happiest milestones in a lifetime.

£37.35

Charles Melton Rose Of Virginia 2018 (1x 75cl)

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 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.

£19.20

Chateau d Esclans Whispering Angel Rose 2018 (1x75cl)

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 Whispering Angel Rose 2017 - August 2018 Decanter review

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.

The 2018 is the last vintage to be overseen by the great Patrick Léon: "Our beloved and extraordinarily valued Consulting Oenologist, Patrick Léon, passed away on the 11th of December after having finished his final assemblage of the 2018 vintage for our wines. Patrick’s unmatched sense of accumulated detail and attention to it coupled with executing remarkable precision underscore his outstanding contribution to making our wines great. Going forward his enormously talented, confident & passionate son our Technical Director, Bertrand Léon, in addition to his well oriented team will carry out Patrick’s remarkable legacy of crafting among the finest rosés in the world." 

This wine is rapidly becoming an icon rosé...

It is made using a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle, Syrah, Tibouren.

To see Chateau dEsclans fiche technique for this wine, please click on the blue link below.

Chateau d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rose 2018 - fiche technique

£16.95

Chateau de Santenay Mercurey 1er Cru Les Puillets 2015 (1x 75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Red Cote de Beaune over £15) at the 2016 Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2016 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Chateau de Santenay Les Puilllets 1er Cru 2014 - August 2016 Decanter review

This magnificent property, which dates back to the 9th century, is also known as Château Philippe le Hardi, as it was once owned by the first Duc of Burgundy. Philippe le Hardi is famous as the person who banned the cultivation of Gamay in the Côte d'Or, saying in his edict of 1395 that only Pinot Noir could be used in the production of red wines from the already fabled slopes. Despite its long history, the property had fallen on hard times until it was taken over by the French bank Crédit Agricole in recent years. They have invested heavily, bringing in a new team to support the general manager, Gérard Fagnoni, and putting the emphasis on quality. The property has 98 hectares of vineyard, 72 of which are in Mercurey. These are remarkably well made and good value wines from the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise.

The eight hectare 'Les Puillets' vineyard is located on the south-south west facing hillslide slopes in the appellation of Mercurey. The average age of the vines is 30 years. The soils here are rich in clay, but the limestone is still very present as well as some areas of marl. These characteristics give the red wines of Mercurey power and a beautiful structure.

The 2015 vintage experienced a hot, dry midsummer, which was immediately followed by a cool, damp August. These conditions produced small but perfectly concentrated Pinot Noir berries with thick skins, intense colour and flavour, and soft tannins. Hot weather towards the end of the vintage brought fears of losing acidity so most wineries picked early, helping maintain a delicate acidity in the final wines.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were cold soaked for seven days at 8°C to extract colour and flavour from the skins. Temperature-controlled fermentation lasted 12 to 14 days with daily pumping over, finishing with a rack and return, or 'délestage', to impart the grainy tannins that give the wines a lovely structure and length. The wine was then aged in oak barrels for 13 months, of which 20% were new, before bottling.

A medium colour. The nose is focused on woody notes and kirsch. Full and rich, the palate shows red cherry and redcurrant flavours with mouthwatering freshness and pleasant tannins on the finish. Though drinking well now, it will reward some time in the cellar.

£24.30

Chateau de Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 edition tasting of Best Buy Red Burgundy (see blue link below).

Chateau De Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2016 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

This magnificent property, which dates back to the 9th century, is also known as Château Philippe le Hardi, as it was once owned by the first Duc of Burgundy. Philippe le Hardi is famous as the person who banned the cultivation of Gamay in the Côte d'Or, saying in his edict of 1395 that only Pinot Noir could be used in the production of red wines from the already fabled slopes. Despite its long history, the property had fallen on hard times until it was taken over by the French bank Crédit Agricole in recent years. They have invested heavily, bringing in a new team to support the general manager, Gérard Fagnoni, and putting the emphasis on quality. The property has 98 hectares of vineyard, 72 of which are in Mercurey. These are remarkably well made and good value wines from the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise.

The fruit for the Mercurey Rouge comes from Chateau de Santenay's 72 hectares of vines planted across the Mercurey appellation. The soils are rich in clay, but the limestone is still very present as well as some areas of marl. These characteristics give the red wines of Mercurey finesse and structure.

What had promised to be a very generous vintage, turned out to be an extremely difficult year for Burgundy, with terrible bouts of hail, frost and mildew. Yields were very low due to the complicated weather patterns throughout the year. The harvest ended on a high note with a warm, dry and sunny July through to October. This spell of consistently good weather salvaged the vintage.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were cold soaked for seven days at 8°C to extract colour and flavour from the skins. Temperature-controlled fermentation lasted 12 to 14 days with daily pumping over, finishing with a rack and return, or 'délestage', to impart the grainy tannins that give the wines a lovely structure and length. The wine was then aged in oak barrels for 13 months, of which 20% were new.

This wine is dark ruby in colour, it is bright and lifted with excellent concentration. the nose is elegant with aromas of ripe red fruit including cherries, and a touch of oak. The palate is full with great structure and an attractive chewy and grainy character. The finish is long and fresh.

** See also Chateau de Santenay's excellent Premier Cru Mercurey - the 2014 vintage was rated as a DWWA 2017 Best in Category Wine **

£22.65

Chateau De Vaudieu Closerie De Vaudieu Chateauneuf-Du-Pape 2015 (1x75cl)

The name Vaudieu originated from 'Vallée de Dieu' (Valley of God), a reference to the beauty of the area. The Château is a splendid 18th century property, once owned by the négociant Gabriel Meffre, and now run by his grandson, Laurent Bréchet who has transformed the estate through substantial investment and an obsession with quality. This is now starting to bear fruit and will yield even higher dividends in the years to come. As at Vaudieu in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Laurent Bréchet has extended his commitment to quality to Domaine des Bosquets, his 25 hectares of vineyards in the Gigondas appellation, at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains. Laurent has identified three different areas, which add to the potential for different ripeness levels and fruit characters.

Situated northeast of the town, the vineyards surround those of Château Rayas. Spread over 70 hectares the soils vary greatly, from sand to quartz (galets) and clay/limestone outcrops. This diversity of soil and exposure adds complexity to the blend, with the fruit from the sandier soils lending aromatic elegance and that from the galets giving power and intensity. The vines are over 65 years in age and the fruit gains incredible levels of concentration as a result.

2015 was characterised by a long and hot summer, which brought harvest forward and boosted high alcohol levels in the grapes. Harvest took place between 8th - 28th September and the grapes were in excellent health, with well ripened stems and tannins, set to produce rich and powerful wines.

The fruit was hand-picked, sorted, destemmed and crushed before fermentation at 25°C in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Fermentation lasted approximately 30 days, with regular pump-overs made daily. Ageing took place in stainless steel tanks to retain the maximum freshness of fruit and lasted 12 months before release.

Deep ruby red in colour, with a black cherry core. This wine has lively berry fruits on the nose, with a touch of liquorice and a hint of black pepper. On the palate, it is full-bodied and the ripe tannins gently support the cherry, cassis and herb character on the finish.

£21.05
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