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  • Bottle Size: 37.5cl

Anselmi I Capitelli Igt half bottle 2015 (1x 35.5cl)

Since taking over management of his family’s winery in the Soave district of northeast Italy’s Veneto region two decades ago, Roberto Anselmi has been motivated by an emotional and professional commitment to tapping the unrealized potential of the wines he grew up with. This has entailed a significant parting of ways with traditional vineyard and winemaking practices that have historically characterized the Soave district, and given birth to a new generation of north Italian white wines of unprecedented quality, character and finesse.

In the heart of the classic Soave production area, near the towns of Monteforte and Soave in the Foscarino and Zoppega hills, Roberto Anselmi selects the grapes from the vineyards that are identifiable by the adjacent 'capitelli' (chapels) which from experience are the best geographic positions to produce grapes. The terrain is hilly, with southern exposure, and the soils are volcanic in some plots of land, calcareous in others. The vines are very closely pruned, with few fruit bearing buds, and the bunches of grapes are thinned in June.

Ripe bunches are selected and put in a single layer in small cases (plateaux). A second selection of bunches of grapes suitable for drying on mats in a ventilated room is also made. During November bunches show evidence of 'nobile botrytis'. In February, pressing takes place in pneumatic presses and the very sweet must ferments naturally in small oak barriques. At the end of fermentation, after two decantings, the fermented juices continue to age in the same barriques for about 16 months, and from one to three years in bottle before it is ready to drink.

Stunningly rich and complex, packed with apricot, honey and pear flavours with tobacco and cedar notes, it is smooth, subtle and velvety. Heavenly with Creme brulée, cheese cakes, richly flavoured ice creams and sticky toffee puddings.

£20.10

Barbi Vin Santo Doc half bottle 2011 (1x37.5cl)

A symbol of traditional Tuscan hospitality, this wine is nevertheless quite rare, often a real treat. Barbi's Vinsanto maintains the old habit of greeting and honoring guests and friends with something special.

The grapes are collected in mid September and then set to dry on special reed mats locally called “graticci”. Between late December and early January the juice in the grapes is reduced to a very sugary syrup that reaches 18– 19° bé (parameter that indicates the proportion between sugar and water level). At this stage the grapes are softly pressed, then the concentrated must is sealed together with the madrea” (literally “mother”: natural yeasts produced through decades and always kept alive) in small oaks casks (1 or 2 hl) called “Caratelli” for at leats three years. The Caratello is a small wooden container that has always been used in Vinsanto production Afterwards the wine is separated from the “madre” and aged again in smaller oak kegs (0.65 hl), before being bottled.

This wine has an amber yellow colour. On the nose it has a delicious and intensively aromatic bouquet with a broad suite of fragrances: raisins, dried and candied fruits, walnuts and a delicate hint of chestnut honey . It shows a finely bilance palate whose sweetness never cloys thanks to fresh acidity and vibrant, long-lasting aromas.

A wine to be sipped and enjoyed slowly, it perfectly matches with “Cantucci” (dry Tuscan almond biscuits), savoury and mature cheeses, liver based cold cuts and pâtè or on its own as a wine to meditate over.

Vin Santo dei Barbi can be kept for decades. In the cellar at Barbi there is a collection of bottles dating back to 1870, although you may not want to wait this long to enjoy it!

£19.20

Cecchi Chianti Gli Scudi half bottle 2016 (1x37.5cl)

Through the many reinventions of Chianti, the Cecchi family has maintained a traditional approach, focused on marrying longevity to drinkability, with notable success. The story began back in 1893, when founder Luigi Cecchi became a professional wine taster or ‘palatista’ – a surprisingly widespread profession in Europe at the time, and one which paved the way for the bottling of the first wines under the family name. With international success tucked away under their belt, the family invested heavily in vineyards and winemaking. The family’s heart is in Chianti, and the wines that bear this classic name remain the Cecchis’ most valuable asset.

Chianti is produced in the provinces of Siena, Florence, Arezzo, Pisa and Pistoia. These areas are collectively known as the Tuscan Hills, and they have an ancient winemaking heritage. Chianti Cecchi is a marriage of the classic traditions of Chianti (particularly the grape varieties) with the very best of modern winemaking.

This wine is made in the appellation of Chianti Riserva D.O.C.G. and the vines are planted on the hills at an altitude of 270m above sea level. The vinification is traditional in temperature controlled on skin in small and medium stainless steel tanks. The fermentation takes place over 15 days. The wine then ages for 6 months in barriques and 4 months in bottle.

Chianti Cecchi is characterised by a red ruby colour, which tends towards garnet red when aged. On the nose it is intensely aromatic with notes of violets. On the palate it is well balanced with the classic signature of Chianti which make it such a good match with food.

£6.20

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

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve half bottle (1x37.5cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition producer profile of Charles Heidsieck (see blue link below)...

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Charles Heidsieck is one of the most admired Champagne houses thanks to the unrivalled and consistently high quality of its wines. The current range is one of the most awarded collections of wines in the world. The intricacies of the champagnes' complex make-up have been perfected over the years by one of the most celebrated winemaking teams in Champagne - between three winemakers they have been awarded 'Sparkling Winemaker of the Year' at the International Wine Challenge fifteen times. This winemaking legacy, paired with the house's flamboyant history since its foundation in 1851 by the man who would become known as 'Champagne Charlie', makes it a unique offering from Champagne: a house with great, hand-crafted wines, heritage and proven quality.

Charles Heidsieck have built exceptional relationships with the most experienced growers across the Champagne region, and can draw on a rich palette of crus. Precise selection of grapes takes place from 60 specific sites. Vineyards which are integral to producing grapes which build the house style are Oger for Chardonnay for its texture, floral notes and ageing ability, Ambonnay for Pinot Noir for its power, vinosity and fruit, and Verneuil for Pinot Meunier for its acidity, body and aromatics.

After the first fermentation, the wine is racked to separate the lees and then undergoes malolactic fermentation to soften the natural acidity. After blending, using 40% reserve wines which have an average age of 10 years, the cuvée is bottled and selected yeast added to begin the second fermentation. The bottles are placed in the cellars at a temperature of 10°C. In order to achieve the depth and complexity required by the house style, Charles Heidsieck age their Non-Vintage champagne for 5 years before disgorging, much longer than the legal requirement of 15 months.

The Brut Réserve NV is a radiant pale gold colour with fine, persistent bubbles. The nose is characterised by complex pastry aromas, with an opulent combination of ripe apricot, mango and greengages, dried fruits, pistachio and almond. The palate begins with a silky-smooth sensation, developing into ripe fleshy apricot, melon and enticing plum pastry notes and delicate spice. There is perfect balance of freshness and generosity.

£22.65

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

Darenberg The Noble Botryotinia Fuckeliana Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (1x 37.5cl)

Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breath-taking McLaren Vale in South Australia and produces an enviable range of wines. From humble beginnings, these wines quickly gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges alike – it’s a deft combination of winemaking tradition and vinous innovation. A tall order for some, but one that d’Arenberg takes in their stride as they continue to push the boundaries and get under the skin of each individual vineyard in order to get the best from the vines. This is backed up by an engaging consumer-friendly approach to the ‘deadly serious fun’ of wine.

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

d'Arenberg The Noble Botryotinia Fuckeliana 2015 - fiche technique

£10.75

Darenberg The Noble Mud Pie 2017 (1x37.5cl)

Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breath-taking McLaren Vale in South Australia and produces an enviable range of wines. From humble beginnings, these wines quickly gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges alike – it’s a deft combination of winemaking tradition and vinous innovation. A tall order for some, but one that d’Arenberg takes in their stride as they continue to push the boundaries and get under the skin of each individual vineyard in order to get the best from the vines. This is backed up by an engaging consumer-friendly approach to the ‘deadly serious fun’ of wine.

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

D'Arenberg The Noble Mud Pie 2017 - fiche technique

£11.55

Darenberg The Noble Wrinkled Riesling 2016 (1x37.5cl)

Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breath-taking McLaren Vale in South Australia and produces an enviable range of wines. From humble beginnings, these wines quickly gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges alike – it’s a deft combination of winemaking tradition and vinous innovation. A tall order for some, but one that d’Arenberg takes in their stride as they continue to push the boundaries and get under the skin of each individual vineyard in order to get the best from the vines. This is backed up by an engaging consumer-friendly approach to the ‘deadly serious fun’ of wine.

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

D'Arenberg The Noble Wrinkled Riesling 2016 - fiche technique

(We like this because it is a surprisingly light and fruity dessert wine that goes perfectly with fruit-based puddings such as lemon meringue pie (and other citrussy puds) and is also rather good with blue cheese!)

£11.75

Donnafugata Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria (half bottle) 2015 (1x 37.5cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their Italy 2019 supplement as part of an article on Sicily (see blue link below).

Donnafugata, Ben Rye 2015 - February 2019 Decanter review

This wine was also awarded a Platinum Medal, 97 points and Best in Show status at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

The Rallo family has made wine in Marsala since 1851 and their ancient cellars tunnel beneath the city. They were one of the first families to begin making high quality table wine when sales of traditional Marsala started to decline, launching the Donnafugata label in 1983 and championing the potential of the region's native varieties. Today, Donnafugata has three estates in Sicily. Donnafugata means 'fleeing woman' and is a reference to Queen Maria Carolina, who escaped the court of Naples in the early 19th Century with her husband, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, when Napoleon's troops arrived. The couple took refuge in Sicily at the Santa Margherita Belice palace, also the favourite residence of celebrated writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and depicted on the 'Mille e Una Notte' label.

From vines planted on the island of Pantelleria (South-Western Sicily), this is a modern take on the classic Moscato Passito. The name Ben Ryé derives from the Arabic 'Son of the Wind', after the wind which sweeps round the island. Vines are planted in hollows in the ground, at altitudes of 20-400 metres above sea level on terraced, sandy slopes of volcanic origin. The low bush vines of Pantelleria have been described on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a 'creative and sustainable practice'. The vines are over 100 years old and are ungrafted.

The 2015 vintage experienced cooler temperatures and more precipitation than in previous years. Overall, between 1st October 2014 and 30th September 2015, rainfall reached 763mm compared to the 656mm average of the last 10 years. In July, maximum temperatures were higher than average for the period which aided the ripening process of the grapes. Considerable temperature fluctuations between day and night encouraged the development of perfumes in the grapes.

Once the grapes reached the winery, they underwent further selection on a vibrating table before soft pressing. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures. The dried grapes – added to the fresh must in several batches – were destemmed and selected by hand. Ageing took place in stainless steel tanks for seven months and at least 12 months in bottle before release.

Brilliant amber in colour, Ben Ryé is wonderfully fresh and complex. The bouquet is intense and fragrant - aromas of apricots and candied citrus zest combine with notes of Mediterranean thyme and rosemary. The palate is well-defined and intense, with pleasant sweetness well balanced by fresh acidity and great minerality. The finish is long and persistent - a captivating Passito di Pantelleria.

£29.55

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

Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling half bottle 2018 (1x37.5cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition review of Dessert Wines and Ports (see blue link below). Alas, the 2017 is all sold out at the UK importer; we offer the 2018 here.

Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling half bottle 2018 - January 2019 Decanter review

Mount Horrocks Wines is run by proprietor/winemaker Stephanie Toole. Stephanie restricts production to approximately 3,500 cases per annum in order to achieve her aims of quality and single vineyard expression. Stephanie describes her wines as 'essentially hand made food wines with an emphasis on structure as well as generous fruit flavours'. All grapes are 100% estate grown from three separate vineyard sites totalling nearly 10 hectares which were 'A grade certified' by Australian Certified Organic (ACO). In 2014, her persistence with classic, no-compromise winemaking and a fully integrated organic approach to growing and making sets Mount Horrocks wines apart from the mainstream.

The grapes were hand picked from the Mount Horrocks 'Cordon Cut' vineyard in Auburn, Clare Valley. In the winery, the bunches were gently handled under conditions that ensured the varietal and site-specific flavours in the resultant wine were retained.

‘Cordon Cut’ refers to a unique process which involves cutting the canes when the grapes are ripe, allowing the remaining fruit to concentrate and raisin naturally on the vine. This results in intense flavour and richness. Stephanie's experience came into play once again, as the fermentation of fruit in five separate fermentation vats was halted when she determined the flavour to be right. Considerable residual sugar remained, with 185 grams per litre.

This wine is bright pale gold with floral and citrus Riesling aromas, intense and spicy. Delicious light lemon curd and vanilla notes, distinctive sweet lime and pear juice, at once delicate and intense, sensual on the tongue, long and fine with beautiful balance.

£20.10

Pieropan Soave half bottle 2017 (1x 37.5cl)

The 2016 vintage of this wine was awarded 90 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 Italy supplement article, My Dozen Dream Whites (see blue link below).

Pieropan Soave Classico 2016 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

Pieropan's estate covers 58 hectares of vineyard which are situated on the stony hills of Soave Classico. The Pieropan family has been producing wines in Soave since the 1890s. Indeed, they were the first producer to bottle a wine with the name Soave on the label in the early 1930s. Nino Pieropan took over from his father in 1970 and was the first producer in Soave to make a single vineyard wine, 'Calvarino', in 1971. Nino's two sons, Andrea and Dario, took over the running of the estate in 2017 when Nino fell ill and before he passed away in April 2018. From the 2015 vintage onwards, all Pieropan wines are organically certified.

The soil is clay-basalt and volcanic in origin. Yields are low and the vines are south facing. The fruit comes from hillside vineyards (100 - 300 metres above sea level) in the heart of the Soave Classico area. The grapes are grown organically without the use of pesticides or chemicals.

The 2017 vintage was characterised by a cold winter with abundant rainfall. At the end of April, there was a period of frost. For this reason, blossom only began to appear towards the end of May, with an earlier start on the lower slopes. Sunny weather followed, but frost and drought meant this was a relatively challenging vintage in terms of quantity. Nevertheless, the grapes were healthy and of good quality.

The Trebbiano di Soave grapes were hand picked from mid-September, while the Garganega grapes were picked later in October. The grapes were destemmed and crushed, with the free run juice fermented separately between 14-18°C in glass-lined cement tanks. The wine remained on its fine lees for a period of time, which varies according to the vintage. In the spring following the harvest, the wine was bottled and then released after at least a further month in bottle.

This is a fresh and expressive Soave, with classic aromas of white flowers, almond blossoms and a touch of citrus. Rounded, ripe fruit is perfectly balanced by a fresh, clean acidity. Long and fragrant, it has a note of fine, almond pastry on the finish.

We like this because we know that Soave is not in fashion. And that's mainly because the world is awash with bad Soave. Good Soave is hard to find and hugely worthwhile when you find it. Nobody should be surprised that Pieroapan lie behind many of the very best Soaves and this, their workhorse, is delightful. with all the tightness and freshness that good Soave should have. At the price, it's terrific.

£8.10

Seifried Sweet Agnes Riesling 2015 (1x 37.5cl Half)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Best New Zealand Sweet) at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Seifried Sweet Agnes Riesling 2016 - August 2017 Decanter review

Seifried's Edens Road vineyard is situated 12km from the coast and is bordered by the Wairoa River. The 'soil' is a combination of rocks and boulders, which is very hard on the farm equipment, but vital for holding the warmth of Nelson’s sun and for ripening grapes.

The Edens Road vines are grown in an extremely stony area of the vineyard, where water and nutrient levels are low. This helps to restrict the plants vigour and to crop at low levels. To further enhance the aromatics we removed leaves to allow light penetration and air movement around the fruiting zone.

Using 100% Riesling fruit, the grapes were hand-selected at the peak of ripeness with a large portion of the fruit shrivelled and raisined, caused by natural dehydration. The grapes were then gently pressed to release a very concentrated intensely flavoured juice. The grapes were picked, pressed and fermented in batches as grapes were selected during several passes through the vineyard.

The fermentation was initiated immediately and continued for about three weeks. During this time, the ferment parcels were monitored and tasted regularly. The young wine was then blended and stabilised before bottling in August 2016. The residual sugar in the wine is 175g/L.

This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

“Late-harvested grapes were selectively hand-picked during several passes through the vineyard to select the ripest berries. Intense and luscious tropical fruit, apricot and orange zest flavours with little evidence of botrytis. A deliciously varietal wine that’s sweet but perfectly balanced with tangy acidity.” - 95 Points/5 Stars - Bob Campbell MW

£18.90

Seifried Sweet Agnes Riesling 2016 (1x 37.5cl Half)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition review of Dessert Wines and Ports (see blue link below).

Seifried Sweet Agnes Riesling 2016 - January 2019 Decanter review

Awarded a Platinum Medal and 97 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Also awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Best New Zealand Sweet) at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Seifried Sweet Agnes Riesling 2016 - August 2017 Decanter review

This is special stuff. Made with extreme care by Seifried in NZ’s South Island, the Sweet Agnes is pure, late-harvested Riesling: left on the vine, the grapes gain even greater ripeness, lose moisture and so become incredibly sweet (the wine’s sugar content is ~180g/litre). It’s almost amber in colour, and its flavours include lemon sherbet, marmalade, tropical fruits and butterscotch. It’s quite irresistible on its own and delicious with fruity puddings or tangy cheeses (particularly blue cheeses: it really is amazing with these).

To see the winemakers notes on this wine, please click on the blue link below.

Seifried Sweet Agnes Riesling 2016 - fiche technique

£20.30
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