Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition review of Rueda (see blue link below).
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.
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.
Chateau 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, their focus from an early stage has been on the production of premium wines. The estate has been transformed since being 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 – significantly improved grapes – 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 while 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. The wines for the Grande Réserve range are produced with hand-harvested grapes sourced from vineyards that are more than 15 years old.
Due to El Niño weather patterns, 2016 had a relatively cool growing season with heavy rains in April. This reduced yields but also lengthened the ripening season, allowing for the slow maturation of grapes which benefitted flavour development.
The must saw three days of maceration in stainless steel tanks to aid colour and flavour extraction from the grape before undergoing a 20 day fermentation and further maceration at 25-28°C. The wine spent 10 months in French oak barrels before bottling.
The wine’s intense ruby colour echoes its aromas of cherry, plum and cassis, with touches of leather and smoke. The palate is fantastically balanced, with ripe tannins and a long persistent finish.
Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their April 2019 Panel Tasting on the Picpoul de Pinet (see blue link below).
Along the Mediterranean, at the bottom of the Gulf of Lion, the Picpoul de Pinet terroir extends around the Thau Basin, in the middle of the Agde-Pézenas-Sète triangle over 1300 hectares. This is the largest white wine region in Languedoc. Their plot is located in the south of the appellation, bordering Lake Thau, on rather poor soil covered with lime concretions.
The climate here is tempered by marine mists and breezes. This marine influence is extremely important as it plays the role of a heat accumulator that limits daily temperature swings, namely the temperature rising during the day and falling at night. Picpoul is an old Languedoc grape variety that has been found on the banks of Lake Thau for many hundreds of years; this late-ripening grape variety, planted in a dry climate, takes advantage of the humidity of the late season to complete its maturation.
Picpoul matures very slowly. It is usually picked in late September/early October, after the red varieties. This wine has a brilliant, pale yellow colour with green hues. The aromas are very fresh on the nose, with delicate white flowers (aubepine). The palate is lively and fresh with zesty lemon flavours. It then finishes on a mineral and salty note. An ideal partner to shellfish, grilled fish and sushi.
The 2015 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter as part of their article Southern Rhone 15: Cotes du Rhone Crus and more - part 2 in April 2017.
Domaine Gramenon was created in 1978 and is situated in Montbrison-sur-Lez in Drôme provençale, at the bottom of the first pre-Alps foothills, the domain stands at a 350 m altitude in the most northern part of the southern Côtes du Rhône area. The vineyard has been cultivated in a natural and organic way since its creation in 1978. They also felt that they should adopt biodynamic techniques and were certified as biodynamic in 2010. They believe each piece of their land to be specific and have its own identity.
This wine is 100% Syrah.
See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique / technical note from the winemakers at Domaine Gramenon.
Amidst the power of this wine you will find a delightful delicacy: cassis mingled with tapenade, Provençal herbs, minerals and flowers. The Sierra du Sud goes well when matched with rack of lamb, grilled meats or mature cheese.
At Red Rock they believe that there are as many hidden depths to Uluru as the amount hard work done unobtrusively by the vines in their effort to produce good quality grapes. These include spreading their roots underground in order to find water and nutrients in the soil. We often overlook the effort that the vines go through to produce a wine that is enjoyable and everyhting that you would hope for.
This is a modern take on Australian wine, concentrating on elegance and freshness. Red Rock shows new wave Australian winemaking at its best. This medium bodied Shiraz has lucious aromas of dark red fruit with just a hint of spice. This is a wine that is equally happy when matched with food or as a drink to enjoy with friends.