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 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.
Castello della Sala is located in Umbria at approximately ten miles (18 kilometers) from the city of Orvieto. The soil, rich in clay on the whole, the vineyards with a fine eastern exposure, a climate characterized by cold – but not to excess – winters and warm summers in which fog plays a role in the ripening of the grapes: all these factors make Castello della Sala a spot with a very high potential for the production of fine white wine.
Bramìto is produced from the grapes of the vineyards of the centuries-old Castello della Sala, located just a few miles from the city of Orvieto. A variety, Chardonnay, which finds, in this particular territory, soils which endow the wines with much mineral character and elegance. The first vintage of production for Bramìto was 1994.
The 2017 vintage was, in general, characterized by an absence of rainfall and by a winter with temperatures below normal seasonal averages. A late frost during the month of April caused a reduction of production, particularly in valley-floor vineyards. The hot and dry climate of the summer months assisted in the early ripening of the grapes and guaranteed a crop of excellent healthiness. Drip irrigation was employed in certain vineyards to avoid excessive stress on the plants. The constant, and customary, attention to the growth and development of the vines and grapes, along with careful and timely picking, assured the harvest of healthy grapes characterized by an excellent freshness, capable of producing a wine of much balance between acidity and alcohol. The picking of the Chardonnay for Bramìto began towards the second week of the month of August.
The must and the skins produced by the destemming and pressing were chilled to a temperature of 50° Fahrenheit (10° centigrade) and went into stainless steel tanks for a brief (two to four hour) period of maceration aimed at extracting from the skins all the elements responsible for the aromatic and flavour profile. The must was then fermented, partly in stainless steel and partly in barrel, at temperatures held to 61-64° Fahrenheit (16-18° centigrade); only the barrel-fermented part went through a malolactic fermentation. The various lots were then assembled in preparation for bottling.
The 2017 Bramìto shows a straw yellow colour. The nose is characterized by delicate white flower notes followed by light sensations of citrus fruit. The palate is crisp and with a good body, vigorous, and with pleasurable mineral notes which make the finish and aftertaste enjoyably savoury.
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.
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.
Bigi’s first headquarters was in the former Franciscan monastery of La Trinità in Orvieto, but this was confiscated by the Italian state in 1870! Today they are based in their modern cellars at Ponte Giulio at the foot of the lofty walls of the old and ancient town. The winery with its avant-garde vinification equipment and collection of casks and barrels marries perfectly the modern technical production requirement with age-old tradition.
The signature wine of Orvieto, this wine is produced from hilly vineyards in the Classic DOC zone, enjoying clayey soil and southwest exposure. Vineyards have been cultivated in Umbria, “the green heart of Italy” and a crossroads between the north and the south, between the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas, since Etruscan times. When one speaks of Orvieto, one thinks of a beautiful walled city built on a tuffstone mound by the Etruscans, and known in the Roman era as Urbs Vetus (old city) - but also of the prized white Umbrian wine of which Bigi has been a leading producer for many years.
Orvieto Amabiles are richer than the dry Secco wines and could be described as medium-dry. Don’t let this put you off as this is an ideal bar wine; gentle and soft on the palate with subtle peach and almond fruit and enough freshness to carry that enticing sweet edge. Made from a combination of Trebbiano Toscano (Procanico), Verdello, Grechetto, Malvasia and Drupeggio grapes.
Fermented and aged in stainless steel. This wine offers a floral bouquet of hawthorn blossom with hints of musk and almond. Dry and full-bodied on the palate, Bigi Orvieto Classico has a lively flavor with a unique aftertaste of white peaches and bitter almonds.
Awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Best Central South American White) at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).
For full details of this unusual but superb wine, we would point you towards Garzon's own, excellent fiche technique/data sheet (click here).
This Albariño wine from Garzón will be the icon of Uruguayan wines, portraying ripe aromas of white peaches, citrus fruits (eg grapefruit) and featuring floral notes of jasmine. It has a fresh, crisp and fruity mouth feel on the palate with mineral notes, and is rounded off with extremely fresh and balanced acidity, with good structure and a delicious mouth-watering finish.
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.
The Dal Cero family has transformed their Cà dei Frati property, situated on the southern shores of Lake Garda, into a model Italian estate over the past two decades. Back in 1987, they had 12 hectares of vineyard but now, following the purchase of a large chunk of prime vineyard in 2008, they have over 140 hectares. This increase in quantity has been matched by an increase in quality, and today they remain the best producer in Lugana. The quality of the wines is attributable directly to Igino Dal Cero's obsession with detail. All their fruit is picked by hand; he ensures there is no skin contact as he wants to retain delicate perfumes and enhance the supple texture; he has changed his mind on malolactic fermentation and now inhibits it in order to give the wine the lift he feels it benefits from; and he is now convinced that ageing on lees from end of fermentation gives him greater richness on the palate and the wonderful flintiness on nose that makes this wine so Burgundian in character.
The winemakers at Ca dei Frati have produced an excellent tasting note for this wine. Please click the blue link below to see this.
During the 1990’s, Bodega Catena Zapata set new standards for Argentine wine. In an effort to produce a super-premium wine, the winemaking team of Catena began in-depth investigation into the yields from specially selected, high altitude vineyards, identifying the individual lots that produce the best fruit.
These vines undergo a careful thinning process, leaving only a select few clusters, resulting in remarkably complex, aromatic and flavorful fruit. Through the application of natural techniques, these grapes are transformed into Catena Alta. The Catena Alta Chardonnay is produced from two of the Catena family vineyards - Adrianna, at almost 5,000 feet elevation and Domingo, at 3,700 feet elevation. The Adrianna vineyard's pebble covered soil and cool climate are ideal for growing Chardonnay. The fruit from Adrianna has a purity of flavors and a minerality that is particular to this vineyard and cannot be found anywhere else in Mendoza. Meanwhile, the sandy loam soils of the Domingo vineyard contribute white stone fruit and good acid balance.
Whole clusters are pressed and then 100% fermented in 500-litre French oak barrels with natural yeasts at low temperatures and with aggressive battonage. Aged for 14 months in French oak. 30% does not undergo malolactic fermentation. First-, second- and third- use barrels used.
The Catena Alta Chardonnay presents an intenese greenish-yellow color. The nose offers ripe white fruit aromas such as pears and peaches that are interwoven with delicate citrus and floral notes, such as jasmine. The palate shows rich and concentrated ripe pear, apple and apricot flavors with a light note of minerality. The wine finishes long and complex with crisp, mineral acidity.
See/click the link below for data on this wine from the winemakers themselves.
This wine has the unique expression of cool and high altitude vineyard sites. Tupungato vineyards lend citrus notes with a crisp finish and a rich unctuous mouthfeel. The wine has a beautiful pear and citrus flavors with crisp fresh minerality. The wine is a delicate greenish color with light yellow notes. The aroma is of fresh white peaches and pineapples and jasmine and magnolia. The mouthfeel is tangible and rich yet clean and fresh on the finish.
See/click the link below for more data from the winemakers themselves.
The Catena Chardonnay combines the unique expressions of three high altitude vineyard sites. The wine shows an intense greenish color with yellow notes. The extraordinary combination of these vineyards offer honey and tropical fruit flavors while lending notes of citrus, pears, peaches, and white flowers with a strong minerality and a delicated note of vanilla. The mouthfeel is clean, with a fresh, clean acidity.
This small co-operative, founded in 1954, has 110 members and 200 hectares of vineyard in the Haut-Rhin, nine kilometres from Colmar. Their wines are vinified using only their members' grapes, with a focus on expressing the rich diversity of Alsatian soils. Winemaker Nicolas Garde started at the winery in 2004 and his influence continues to be seen in the way the wines improve with each vintage.
Sheltered from oceanic influence by the Vosges Mountains, the Alsace wine region has a semi-continental climate which stays sunny and dry throughout the growing season, and this lengthens the ripening period for the grapes. The slopes surrounding Hunawihr, a picturesque village of half-timbered houses and a 14th century church, are some of the most celebrated in Alsace for grape-growing. Cave de Hunawihr’s fruit is sourced from 25-year-old vines grown in vineyards running along the south and south-east facing hillside slopes around the village, at an altitude of 250-320 metres. The vineyards cover an area of 36 hectares, located on a geological fault line across Ribeauvillé which gives soils composed of clayey limestone marl and chalky gravels.
Yields were low in 2017 due to the frost, but the quality of the grapes was very good. The harvest started earlier than normal, at the beginning of September.
This Gewürztraminer was made from a blend of micro-parcels from the Hunawihr vineyards, picked at optimum ripeness. The temperature-controlled fermentation took place between 16-18°C for three weeks, followed by four months in stainless-steel tanks to settle before careful filtration. No malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place.
This wine has a nice pale, straw yellow colour with an elegant silver tint. The nose is very complex with very delicate aromas of lychee, mango and particularly rose. Full-bodied, this off-dry wine has a refreshing acidity with roses lingering on the long finish.
Pale yellow with green tints, lemon rinds, herbs and honey aromas. Citrus and apricot flavours followed by vanilla flavours from barrel maturation. Creamy and lingering palate.
As the maker puts it: "It takes an unconventional winemaker to make a totally unexpected dry Riesling. One night, Charles was eating Chinese takeout and watching a fight scene in a notorious martial arts film when he had an idea: a killer white wine made to be paired with Asian food. Just like that, Kung Fu Girl was born. And it’s been kicking ass and taking names ever since".
More traditionally put: This wine is made by Charles Smith, a self–taught winemaker who brings his rock and roll spirit to the vineyards of Walla Walla, Washington. As a romantic young man, Charles Smith moved across the world to Denmark to follow his love for his girlfriend at the time. In Scandinavia, he became a recognized manager for rock bands such as The Raveonettes. While travelling on the road with these bands, he developed his passion for wine. In 1999, he moved back to Washington, opened a wine store and became friendly with a French winemaker, later convincing him to move to Walla Walla to make wine together.
Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling grapes comes from Evergreen Vineyard vines, where they stretch across the steep cliffs overlooking the Colombia River. This makes for ideal Riesling growing conditions that rival those in Germany. This wine is made from 100% Riesling grapes, carefully cultivated and pressed at the winery. The wine is barrel-aged for only 2 months (using the sur lie method, ie leaving the wine on its fine lees). Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling is crafted to be approachable and ready to drink the day you buy it.
The wine is a party in a glass. Young and fun, bright balance and tropical fruit notes make this an easy introduction to the world of Riesling. White stone fruit, apricot and white peach aromas with honeysuckle undertones make it a stand out. These flavours are balanced with elements of lime zest, citrus blossom and a floral hint of jasmine.
This wine would pair well with any number of foods. It can very easily be enjoyed on its own but Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling is a match made in heaven with Korean BBQ, spicy curry any kind of Thai food and sushi. Snow crab, lobster, prawns, roasted chicken or grilled salmon would also pair well.
Intense floral notes and generous fruit aromas combine with hints of almond, spice and a linear minerality. This sunny vintage has produced a rich and concentrated style of wine, with intense apple fruits supported by a full bodied palate and a long finish.