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2017 Esporao Reserva White (1x 75cl)

The Esporão project began in the Alentejo from an irrepressible desire to make the finest wines. This is the basis of everything they do. Part of the Alentejo’s montado ecosystem (cork oak forests), in Portugal, Herdade do Esporão has extraordinary conditions for agriculture – large thermal amplitudes, poor and various soils and extraordinary biodiversity that helps them produce in balance with the environment. With 691.9 hectares of vineyards, olive groves and other crops, they grow using organic methods .

Please click the blue link below to see an excellent and informative tasting note / information sheet about this wine from the winemakers at Esporao.

Esporão Reserva White 2017 - fiche technique  

£14.35

A Mano Negroamaro 2016 (1x 75cl)

Mark Shannon and Elvezia Sbalchiero, the duo behind A Mano, have worked in the wine business for most of their lives. Elvezia is a northern Italian wine marketing expert and Mark is a Californian winemaker. They fell in love with Puglia and, when they decided to start their own label, made it their home. By producing high quality wines, Mark and Elvezia have succeeded in making Primitivo one of Italy's most talked about grape varieties. They pay high prices for the best grapes from 70-100 year old vines and focus solely on quality and a modern style. After over 15 vintages, they are now getting access to some of Salento's best grapes.

The Negroamaro grapes for this wine are grown in a single vineyard covering 11 hectares in the heart of Salice Salentino. An old vineyard, it is dry farmed and the vines trained on trellises to prevent the sensitive grapes suffering from sunburn.

Puglia experienced abundant winter rain and cooler temperatures, which made 2016 a challenging vintage for winegrowers. Despite these climatic difficulties, hard work in the vineyards was rewarded with high-quality grapes, albeit with lower than normal yields. Summer was benevolent, with clear skies and warming sunshine, and temperatures were never too high. The resulting wines promise to be fresh and fragrant.

On arrival at the cellars, the grapes were pressed, destemmed and cooled to 18°C and the must allowed to ferment at its own pace. After racking in mid-November, the wine remained in an underground cement tank where the temperature did not exceed 10°C until bottling under stelvin closure.

This wine is deep ruby in the glass, the nose opens with crushed berries, black cherries and spices followed by a light floral note. Full and rich, yet sleek and elegant, with lingering spice on the palate.

£10.80

Accordini Amarone Classico Acinatico DOC 2015 (1x 75cl)

This family-run domain extends over two sites in the heart of Valpolicella Classico: four hectares in Negrar and six of the highest hectares in the appellation, at 400 metres altitude, in Fumane. The wines are outstanding and the reputation of the Acinatico name is growing all the time. Modernity is balanced by earth and roses, so characteristic of the terroir. Best of all, the wines are accessible when young, so there is no need to wait. In 2010, the vision of a new cellar was realised, in the higher part of Accordini’s vineyards, and has allowed the family to realise their highest ambitions for their wines.

Amarone Acinatico is produced from the best selection of grapes from Bessole and Cavalo vineyards, after the drying process which takes 120 days before it spends time ageing in oak barriques. Only specially selected grapes are used to make this wine.

During the first week of January crushing of the grapes takes place without de-stalking. Fermentation is then carried out at temperatures between 12°-23°C. It is macerated for 35 days (of which 15 is cold maceration). The wine is hand pressed twice a day, It is then transferred into barrels at the end of May. Complete malolactic fermentation then occurs. The wine is aged in new French oak barriques, from Allier and Never, for 24 months. The wine will then spend 8 months in bottle. It is bottled without any use of filtration.

This Amarone has a great structure, is complex, elegant and velvet-like. The colour is deep garnet red with a bouquet which is complex but warm, with spicy notes and has the aroma of dried fruit. On the palate it is full bodied, rich and creamy with smooth tannins.

£33.45

Adur Txakoli de Getaria 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Spanish Value Wines (under £20); (see blue link below).

Adur Tzakoli(na) de Getaria - March 2018 Decanter review

The dream of Adur began when Maitena and Héctor Gómez were establishing their winemaking careers. As their abilities and command of the winemaking process grew, they began to think of a winery of their own. The pull of Maitena’s family roots led them back to the Basque country, in the tiny Txakolina Getariako DO.

Sourced from 3 hectares of vines in Getaria, the yields are carefully controlled in order extract maximum intensity of aromas from the Hondarribi Zuri grape.

Fermentation takes place in French barrels all from the first press at a temperature of 12 ºC. 10% of the wine then undergoes malolactic to slightly reduce the acidity and provide more weight and balance on the palate. The Txakoli is then left in contact with the lees for 6 months to add volume and texture.

Wonderfully intense and elegant on the nose with white fruit, pear, fresh herbs and citrus notes. The palate is searingly fresh with poise and tension, notable salinity a long, complex finish.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£14.95

Akarua Pinot Noir 2016 (1 x 75cl)

The Skeggs family were among the first people to buy and plant vineyard land in Central Otago in the mid 1990s, so were lucky enough to acquire a superb north facing site in Bannockburn. Planted in 1996, this 50 hectare site has since provided the backbone of the Akarua wines. Due to the short growing season in Central Otago, site selection is one of the key elements in making a great wine, and Akarua have a site that is among the very best. 

All the Pinot Noir grapes were harvested from Akarua's 50 hectare site on Cairnmuir Road in Bannockburn, which lies at 270 metres above sea level. The soil here is young alluvial schist based sand/silt and sandy loams overlaying schist rock. The vines are 16 years old.

The grapes were hand picked and 90% were destemmed. Pre-fermentation maceration took place over five days, with temperatures peaking at 31°C. Punch downs took place twice daily and post fermentation maceration lasted six days. The wine spent 10 months in French barriques, 30% of which were new.

Deep bright ruby in colour. The nose displays intense black fruit flavours and the complexity that Bannockburn Pinot Noir is renowned for, with haunting aromatics of bramble fruits and spice. The palate is elegantly balanced with red fruits and finely textured tannins. A wine with great poise and longevity.

£26.20

Akarua RUA Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

The Skeggs family were among the first people to buy and plant vineyard land in Central Otago in the mid 1990s, so were lucky enough to acquire a superb north facing site in Bannockburn. Planted in 1996, this 50 hectare site has since provided the backbone of the Akarua wines. Due to the short growing season in Central Otago, site selection is one of the key elements in making a great wine, and Akarua have a site that is among the very best. Akarua was re-introduced after many years to Liberty Wines by Tony Jordan, who makes their sparkling wines. Tony built Domaine Chandon in Australia, and is one of the world's leading experts in sparkling wine production. He has been convinced of the potential for Central Otago to make top quality fizz for quite a while, and is now doing so with Akarua.

All fruit was sourced from the Akarua Estate vineyards in Central Otago. The vines are 21 years old and grow at an average of 270 metres above sea level with a north-western aspect. Soils are young alluvial, schist based sandy/silt and sandy loams overlaying schist rock.

The 2017 growing season was uniquely cool, leading to small bunches and low yields. Luckily, this cool weather reduced disease pressure so fruit remained healthy right up until harvest which started in mid-April.

Grapes for the 'Rua' were cold soaked for five days before fermentation commenced and the cap was punched down twice daily. The wine was given another six days on the skins post fermentation to provide the tannic backbone it requires. It then spent six months ageing in 100% French oak barriques, of which 10% was new. The result is a remarkably attractive - and great value - Pinot Noir from Central Otago.

This Pinot Noir has a bright cherry-red colour in the glass and lifted cherry aromas with floral violet notes. On the palate, this well-defined Central Otago Pinot Noir exhibits juicy red fruits and a touch of spice. Supple tannins complement savoury highlights, with a long finish.

£17.55

Allegrini La Poja 2012 (1x75cl)

The Allegrini family estate covers 100 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area. The family has been growing grapes here for six generations, but the estate in its current form was founded by Giovanni Allegrini. When he passed away in 1983, it passed to his three children, who ran it together until Walter's death in July 2003. Franco now looks after the vineyards and is the winemaker, and Marilisa is director of marketing.

Located at the top of Podere La Grola, Sant'Ambrogio di Valpolicella, 320 metres above sea level, the vineyard comprises 2.65 hectares planted in 1979 with a south-east exposure. The soil is well drained, calcareous (78.5% chalk) and stony. Soils are marginally alkaline and combine with the active limestone content to reduce the vines' vigour. The vines are double Guyot trained at a density of approximately 4,240 vines per hectare.

The summer of 2012 was abnormally hot and dry, although a downpour on 17th July, with 25 millimetres of rain managed to restore water reserves and bring the vegetation back into a state of equilibrium. Much needed rains at the beginning of September - about 80 millimetres - changed the macroclimate substantially, bringing with it much cooler nights ensuring a significant diurnal range so indispensable for the retention of acidity, production of aromas and phenolic ripening of the grapes. Average production this year declined 10% - 15% but crucially the heat wave did not scorch the clusters.

The grapes were harvested at the end of September, destemmed and crushed with maceration lasting 12-15 days with regular, daily pumping over. Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks between 22-31ºC with malolactic fermentation occurring naturally in November. The wine was then racked into new oak barriques where it aged for 20 months, followed by eight months in large oak casks. The wine was left to age in the bottle for an additional 10 months.

After more than four years ageing, the wine is still extraordinarily fresh and crisp with a full spectrum of aromas, ranging from dark fruits: blackcurrant and cherry, to liquorice, vanilla and smoky tobacco notes which follow onto the palate. Full bodied and elegant, framed by taut tannins the wine has a long, lingering finish.

£65.20

Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre Igt 2015 (1x75cl)

The Allegrini family estate covers 100 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area. The family has been growing grapes here for six generations, but the estate in its current form was founded by Giovanni Allegrini. When he passed away in 1983, it passed to his three children, who ran it together until Walter's death in July 2003. Franco now looks after the vineyards and is the winemaker, and Marilisa is director of marketing.

Palazzo della Torre covers 26 hectares of east-facing vineyard planted between 1962 and 2013, situated 240 metres above sea level. Allegrini purchased this vineyard in 1978. Soils are cretaceous and calcareous, with Pergola Trentina trained vines planted at 3,000 vines per hectare.

2015 overall climate and weather pattern were particularly beneficial for the physiological equilibrium of the vines. The high temperatures recorded throughout the Valpolicella in July did not prevent the different varieties from ripening in perfect health. The harvest, which began in early September, took place in ideal conditions due to the total absence of rain. 2015 promises wines with intense aromas and good balance of acidity.

Franco Allegrini used the modern version of the traditional 'ripasso' technique for Palazzo della Torre, drying a proportion of the grapes in the 'Terre di Fumane' drying centre, to intensify the character of this vineyard. The grapes that were dried were hand picked at the beginning of September, and the grapes vinified immediately were picked at the end of the month. 70% of the grapes picked were vinified immediately and 30% were left to dry until the second half of December when they were vinified and then refermented with the wine from the fresh grapes. The wine spent 15 months in second-use barriques, and was blended together for two months, then aged for a further seven months in bottle.

Ruby red in colour, Palazzo della Torre has enticing aromas of cherry with rich dark chocolate notes. Velvety in texture, it is well-balanced and offers ripe, juicy dark fruit, with silky tannins and refreshing acidity.

£18.60

Allegrini Valpolicella 2017 (1x75cl)

The Allegrini family estate covers 100 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area. The family has been growing grapes here for six generations, but the estate in its current form was founded by Giovanni Allegrini. When he passed away in 1983, it passed to his three children, who ran it together until Walter's death in July 2003. Franco now looks after the vineyards and is the winemaker, and Marilisa is director of marketing.

The south-east facing vineyards are located in the hills of the Valpolicella Classico region at 180-280 metres above sea level. The soil there is very varied but mostly chalky, of volcanic origin. The older vineyards are trained using the pergola Trentina system, planted with about 3,000 vines per hectare, whereas the newer ones use the single Guyot system with 5,000 plants per hectare. The vines are 35 years old on average.

The 2017 vintage was a good one in Valpolicella. Winter was mild without extreme weather conditions. The beginning of the vegetative cycle saw low rainfall but still within the norm. Summer was dry and breezy, with wide variations in diurnal temperatures in the final few weeks. This allowed the grapes to express their varietal aromas as well as ensuring their excellent health. Harvest started on 4th September, and grapes were picked in perfect health.

The grapes were destemmed before soft-pressing, after which fermentation occurred at 25-31ºC in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Fermentation lasted nine days after which the wine was held in stainless steel tanks until bottling in mid-February where it spent a further two months before release.

This wine was made using Corvina 70%, Rondinella 30%.

This Valpolicella is ruby red in colour, with youthful highlights. Fragrant fruit with prominent notes of dark cherries are echoed by fresher hints of pepper and aromatic herbs, typical of Corvina and its genetic cousin Corvinone, the historic varieties of this appellation. When young, this Valpolicella is impressively lively and playful on the palate and will express greater delicacy and finesse with two or more years of ageing.

£13.60

Alpha Zeta `R` Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2016 (1x75cl)

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.

Alpha Zeta's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

Alpha Zeta 'R' Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso – Fiche Technique

£13.80

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.

£24.25

Alpha Zeta 'S' Soave 2017 (1x75cl)

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.

Alpha Zeta's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

Alpha Zeta 'S' Soave 2017 – Fiche Technique

£8.10

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Gualtallary Valle de Uco Malbec 2014 (1x75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition's "Steven Spurrier's Fine Wine World" (see blue link below)...

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Gualtallary Valle De Uco Malbec 2014 - August 2018 Decanter review

Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the only officially recognised appellation in Mendoza and one of the region's premium vine growing areas. The estate is known as a Malbec specialist with a reputation as one of the country's top five producers of this particular variety. Alberto Antonini and fellow Tuscan, Antonio Morescalchi, were so impressed with the vineyards in the area around Mendoza, following their first trip to Argentina in 1995, that they persuaded a few friends to join with them in buying this estate. The estate covers 88 hectares with 56 in production.

100% of this Malbec was grown on the loamy soils of Gualtallary, lying at 1,300 metres above sea level. There, limestone-covered pebbles and gravels occupy 50-60% of the soil volume, with a high percentage of free calcium carbonate giving the wine a chalky, fresh minerality. A small percentage of clay (3%) allows the Malbec to express fresh fruit flavours.

The 2013 / 2014 season began with severe frosts reducing yields by 30%. November brought a few dry Zonda winds that negatively affected flowering and lowered yields even more. December and January saw heatwaves, though lower temperatures moved into the region just before harvest. Three weeks before harvest, two years’ worth of rain fell. Grapes were therefore harvested prior to mildew or rot setting in. Despite these challenges, fruit showed good levels of acidity, lower alcohol content and fine tannins.

The grapes went through a double selection process and into small stainless steel tanks for pre-fermentation maceration at 5°C for seven days. The alcoholic fermentation began with indigenous yeasts at 24°C and continued for 15 days. In total, the wine spent three weeks on its skins. Pumping over was not carried out in order to minimise over-extraction of grape skin compounds. Instead, the cap was rotated by manual pigeage throughout the fermentation. Once this was completed, post-fermentation maceration began for four days. The wine was matured in 3,500 litre untoasted foudres for 18 months followed by 12 months in bottle.

Fresh red fruit notes, cranberries and wild strawberries are followed by layers of spice and herbs. On the palate, fruit is intensely concentrated intensifying through the mid-palate to the finish. The limestone tannins and calcareous soils build a firm but balanced structure in the mouth, with elegant minerality and a long finish.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£32.45

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Paraje Altamira Malbec 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of South American signature grapes (see blue link below). 

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation (Paraje Altamira) Malbec 2014 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Argentine reds (Altamira and Gualtallary) (see blue link below)...

Altos las Hormigas Appellation Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 95 points and Outstanding status in their October 2017 edition review of South American Extreme Viticulture (see blue link below)...

Altos las Hormigas Appellation Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status in their October 2016 edition review of Argentina (see blue link below).

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Altamira Malbec 2014 - October 2016 Decanter review 

Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the only officially recognised appellation in Mendoza and one of the region's premier vine growing areas. The estate is known as a Malbec specialist with a reputation as one of the country's top five producers of this particular variety. 

The wine was matured in 3,500 litre untoasted oak foudres for 18 months, and a further 12 months in bottle. There was a coarse filtration prior to bottling, to ensure that the quality of the wine was not interfered with.

Fresh and delicate on the nose showing layers of red cherries and raspberries combined with herbal notes of wild rocket and thyme and a touch of minerality. On the palate it is elegant and supple with fine tannins providing structure. A graceful, complex, deep and structured wine with considerable length.

£32.45

Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Clasico 2017 (1x75cl)

Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the only officially recognised appellation within Mendoza and one of the region's premium vine growing areas. The estate is known as a Malbec specialist with a reputation as one of the country's top five producers of this particular variety. Alberto Antonini and fellow Tuscan, Antonio Morescalchi, were so impressed with the vineyards in the area around Mendoza, following their first trip to Argentina in 1995, that they persuaded a few friends to join with them in buying this estate. The estate covers 88 hectares with 56 in production.

Most of the fruit for the Clasico is from vineyards in Luján de Cuyo with sandy loam soils. This is supplemented with some fruit from the high altitude vineyards of the Uco Valley, both of which bring different characteristics to the wine. The area has a semi-desert climate with little rainfall and hot days and cool nights. The soils are deep which delays ripening and avoids hydrological stress.

The climate transition from “El Niño” to “La Niña” increased temperatures, resulting in heatwaves throughout most of January. The Malbec grapes were harvested early, on 15th February in Luján de Cuyo and 24th February in the Uco Valley. The weather during the 2017 harvest was good, unaffected by hail storms or frost. Yields were low which resulted in more concentrated and flavourful grapes.

Grapes from different vineyards were vinified separately before the final blend was assembled. After a careful double sorting process, the grapes were gently pressed and fermented with indigenous yeasts in order to express the character of each of the selected vineyards. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks between 24-28°C for 10 days. Each tank is tasted three times a day to determine what is needed. The wine is then aged for a minimum of nine months in concrete vats.

This Malbec is deep violet-red in colour. The nose displays characteristic notes of red fruits, raspberries and freshly picked plums with white pepper. This wine is all about freshness - the palate is supple and juicy, with soft but structured tannins and a long finish.

£12.55
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