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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

Altos Las Hormigas Terroir Lujan de Cuyo Malbec 2016 (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.

Fruit is sourced from the oldest part of the Uco Valley – vineyards in the sub-region of La Consulta and two areas in Tupungato. The soils are gravelly and alluvial. Vines are planted at high density to balance growth in low vigour, nutrient-poor soils.

2016 began with an unusually cool and rainy spring with temperatures well below average Mendoza standards. This caused some difficulties during flowering and fruit set and led to lower than normal yields. Nevertheless, this reduction in quantity meant that the grapes which did successfully ripen were very high in quality and incredibly concentrated in flavour.

Grapes were harvested by hand and carefully sorted. The grapes were then released by gravity into small concrete tanks where fermentation took place using native yeasts, at controlled temperatures of 24-28°C for 12 days. The wine spent 12 months in the concrete tanks, and a further 12 months ageing in bottle.

This wine is bright violet in colour, with ruby red hues. On the nose, there are aromas of plums with soft mineral notes and a hint of mint and herbs. On the palate, it is well balanced with firm tannins and a long, vibrant finish.

£17.15

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Riserva 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was Awarded 95 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition review of Italian Icon Wines (see blue link below).

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Riserva 2014 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

The Bucci family has been growing grapes in the Marche since the 1700s. Current custodian, Ampelio Bucci has 26 hectares of vineyard on this 400 hectare estate, which is cultivated organically. Of these, 21 hectares are Verdicchio, spread over six separate vineyards. The old vines and low yields give wines of great intensity. Consultant winemaker at Villa Bucci is the legendary enologist Giorgio Grai, who has been there for nearly 30 years. He makes wines for ageing and complexity rather than freshness and simplicity.

The Riserva is only produced in the best vintages, with fruit from the oldest vines (between 40 and 50 years old on average) and the best sites. There are six vineyards with different exposures and elevations to obtain more complexity in the final blend of each wine. Yields are kept low and vineyard management is certified organic with no herbicides or pesticides used. Soils are mainly calcareous (limestone), giving minerality to the wine, with around 30% clay, which retains moisture during the hot summers.

The 2015 summer in the Marche was warm and sunny, with a great deal of heat in August. Some light rainfall helped to balance the growth cycle, creating healthy and well-balanced grapes.

Vinification took place in the underground winery, which is naturally cool so refrigeration is generally not necessary. Vinification took place in stainless steel and Slovenian oak barrels of between 50 and 75 hectolitres, that are approximately 70 years old. Different vineyard parcels were vinified separately, aged for two years and then carefully blended before bottling.

An intense, complex and persistent bouquet of apricot compôte and spice with aromas of honey, beeswax, minerals and flint stone. Full bodied and with great depth, the wine finishes with hints of honey and nuts.

£28.30

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Superiore 2017 (1x75cl)

The Bucci family has been growing grapes in the Marche since the 1700s. Current custodian, Ampelio Bucci has 26 hectares of vineyard on this 400 hectare estate, which is cultivated organically. Of these, 21 hectares are Verdicchio, spread over six separate vineyards. The old vines and low yields give wines of great intensity. Consultant winemaker at Villa Bucci is the legendary enologist Giorgio Grai, who has been there for nearly 30 years. He makes wines for ageing and complexity rather than freshness and simplicity.

The fruit for this wine comes from six vineyards, each with a different exposure and elevation, which contribute to greater complexity in the final blend. Yields are kept low and vineyard management is certified organic, with no herbicides or pesticides used. Soils are mainly calcareous (limestone), lending minerality to the wine, with around 30% clay which retains moisture during the hot summers. The average age of the vines is 35 years.

2017 presented some challenges for winemakers in the Marche. Spring frost affected bud growth, while the hot weather that followed during the summer months caused hydric stress. Nevertheless, Bucci has been able to make wines which are complex and show good acidity.

Vinification took place in the underground winery which is naturally cool so refrigeration is generally not necessary. The must was fermented in both stainless steel and Slavonian oak barrels of between 50 and 75 hectolitres in size and approximately 70 years old. Different vineyard parcels were vinified separately then carefully blended before bottling.

Golden yellow in colour, this wine has a layered bouquet with notes of vanilla, butterscotch and almonds. Aromas of mimosa and ripe Golden Delicious apples carry through onto the complex palate, which has a fresh finish. A refreshing mineral edge contrasts with ripe, round flavours of wildflower honey.

£15.10

CHAMPALOU Vouvray Brut NV (1x 75cl)

Pale straw in colour with extremely elegant bubbles and a fine mousse. The palate is fine and elegant with well balanced acidity and a crisp dry finish.
£15.65

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.

£21.65

Chateau De L'aumerade Cuvee Marie Christine' Rose 2017 (1x 75cl)

The Château de l'Aumérade is a 400 year old estate located in in the heart of Provence. Originally belonging to the Aumerat family, the traditional Mas property dates back to the Renaissance period. In 1594, the Duke of Sully, Henry VI's finance minister, presented the Château with a Mulberry tree and Plane trees for their luxurious gardens, as a gift for supplying the Royal Court. In 1930, a young Henri Fabre senior and his wife Charlotte, fell in love with the Château de l'Aumérade, with its 300 hectares of estate vineyards and purchased it from the Aumerat family. The Château was designated as a Cru Classé when the Provence appellation was created in 1955, a system classifying the wine estate rather than the vineyard area. It is one of only 18 that still remain in the designation. The Château is currently run by Henri Fabre junior and his sister Marie-Christine.

2017 was an extremely challenging vintage in Provence. Frost and hail during the spring damaged the crop and reduced the yields. The summer saw drought conditions which put the vines under stress. The fruit was harvested early in mid August and although the crop was smaller than average, the fruit was immensely concentrated and the resulting wines are of excellent quality.

The Cuvée Marie-Christine rosé is made exclusively from an 89 hectare Cru Classé parcel, located on the plains of Pierrefeu. The mineral rich terroir of red clay and limestone soils in this parcel provide good drainage and the vines receive a cooling ventilation from the salty Mistral winds blowing in from the sea just a few miles away.

The grapes were immediately destemmed and gently pressed to preserve the fresh, fruity aromatics. The juice was cooled to 13°C and settled. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures of between 15 to 18°C, retaining the purity of fruit. Racking and blending was followed by a gentle filtration prior to bottling.

A lovely pale powder-pink hue, with refreshing aromas of grapefruit leading to succulent peach and apricot on the palate. Fruit forward and full, with a hint of spice, this elegant rosé has a refreshing acidity and a long finish. Serve chilled as an elegant apéritif or as an ideal accompaniment to Mediterranean or lightly spiced Asian cuisine; sushi, exotic fusion food and grilled fish.

£12.55

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.

£33.40

Chateau Du Cedre Cahors 2014 (1x75cl)

The vines of Château du Cèdre are planted in two different types of soil: stony clay and limestone, producing straightforward wines with fine tannins, whereas the more powerful and dense wines come from soils composed of clay, sand and rich in pebbles. This wine is 90% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 5% Tannat 

This was  the first vintage of Chateau du Cedre Cahors to be certified as organic. A great amount of work was done in the vineyards during the end of August and the beginning of September which then allowed them to harvest healthy and juicy grapes. The grapes are sorted in the vineyards and destemmed upon arrival in the cellar. This is followed by 30 days of maceration with daily punching down of the skin cap at the beginning of fermentation.  The wine spends between 20 and 22 months of ripening in new oak as well as in old barrels used once or twice.

This is an honest and sincere wine which is fresh and enlivening, tender and generous. A well-stocked fruit basket with plums, cherries and blackberries, enriched by fresh lemon zest and spices, supported by tangy minerality. An inviting wine to accompany an excellent dinner!

£17.80

Chateau Musar Hochar Pere et Fils Red 2015 (1x75cl)

Hochar Père et Fils is sourced from specially selected vineyards near the village of Aana in the Bekaa Valley, characterised by deep, gravelly soil over a limestone base. Low yields (25-30 hectolitres per hectare) result in concentrated wines and the altitude keeps the average yearly temperatures at around 25 º C, encompassing cold, snowy winters, mild springs and hot summers.

To see Chateau Musar's excellent tasting note and information on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Château Musar Hochar Pére et Fils 2015 - fiche technique

£20.50

Chateau Musar Jeune Red 2016 (1x 75cl)

Chateau Musar first started producing the Musar Jeune range of wines in 2006 from the fruit of low-yielding Bekaa Valley vines at around 1,000 metres above sea level. Altitude keeps the average temperature at 25 degrees Celsius with hot sunny days and cool nights and with 300 days of sunshine a year, grapes are ripened to perfection. Unoaked and made according to Musar’s natural non-interventionist winemaking philosophy, Musar Jeune wines are vibrantly fruity, richly concentrated and this vintage is no exception.

The Musar Jeune Red is a blend of old vines Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon from organically certified vineyards.

The wines were fermented in concrete vats between 27 and 29 ºC, they were not fined or filtered and sedimentation occurred naturally. After the varieties were blended it rested in concrete vats again until being bottled in the summer.

This wine is a deep burgundy red with an attractive red cherry and violet aroma. The flavours are of juicy, sweet summer fruits; raspberries, black cherries with hints of elderberry and hibiscus. The flavours are beautifully balanced with soft tannins and fresh underlying acidity and incense-like spice.

£14.45

Chateau Musar Jeune White 2016 (1x 75cl)

The wines of Chateau Musar are unique expressions from a country with an ancient wine-making culture, as vines have been cultivated in Lebanon's high altitude Bekaa Valley for over 6000 years. In 1930, at just 20 years old, Gaston Hochar founded Chateau Musar, inspired by Lebanon’s winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux. Musar Jeune White is an unoaked blend of Viognier, Vermentino, Chardonnay from youthful Bekaa Valley vines. Crisp and aromatic, this eclectic blend of French and Sicilian varieties has its own distinct personality – passionfruit, apples, elderflowers – and a dry, refreshing finish.

To see Chateau Musar's excellent tasting note and information on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Château Musar Jeune White 2016 - fiche technique

£14.45

Chateau Musar Red 2010 - half bottle (1x37.5cl)

The wines of Château Musar are unique expressions from a country with an ancient wine-making culture, as vines have been cultivated in Lebanon's high altitude Bekaa Valley for over 6000 years. In 1930, at just 20 years old, Gaston Hochar founded Château Musar, inspired by Lebanon’s winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux. 

Seven years in the making, Chateau Musar Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault from vineyards near the Bekaa Valley villages of Aana and Kefraya on gravelly soils over limestone. Planted from the 1930s onwards, yields are low from these mature bushvines (average age: 40 years).

To see Château Musar's excellent tasting note and information on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Château Musar 2010 - fiche technique

£15.70

Chateau Musar Red 2011 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2019 Claret Alternatives article; (see blue link below)

Chateau Musar 2011 - February 2019 Decanter review

The wines of Chateau Musar are unique expressions from a country with an ancient wine-making culture, as vines have been cultivated in Lebanon's high altitude Bekaa Valley for over 6000 years. In 1930, at just 20 years old, Gaston Hochar founded Chateau Musar, inspired by Lebanon’s winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux. 

Seven years in the making, Chateau Musar Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault (see fiche technique below for greater detail) from vineyards near the Bekaa Valley villages of Aana and Kefraya on gravelly soils over limestone. Planted from the 1930s onwards, yields are low from these mature bushvines (average age: 40 years).

To see Chateau Musar's excellent tasting note and information on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Château Musar 2011 - fiche technique

£28.90

Chateau Musar White 2008 (1x 75cl)

The wines of Château Musar are unique expressions from a country with an ancient wine-making culture, as vines have been cultivated in Lebanon's high altitude Bekaa Valley for over 6000 years. In 1930, at just 20 years old, Gaston Hochar founded Château Musar, inspired by Lebanon’s winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux.

Château Musar White is a truly unique white, made from ancient Lebanese varieties Obaideh and Merwah, dating back thousands of years. Reputedly, the ancestors of Chardonnay / Chasselas and Semillon, they are among only 6 indigenous grapes still commercially cultivated in Lebanon. The vineyards were planted between 50-90 years ago, at around 1,300 metres above sea level in the foothills of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains near Ain Arab on stony, chalky soils, and on the seaward side of Mount Lebanon in Baqaãta, on calcareous gravels. The vines remain phylloxera-free and are still on their own roots. Few vineyards of this calibre and history remain in the world.

To see Chateau Musar's excellent tasting note and information on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Château Musar White 2008 - fiche technique

£28.44
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