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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  

£14.50

A Mano Imprint Primitivo Appassito 2016 (1x75cl)

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 grapes for this wine come from a selection of Mark's four favourite vineyards in the heart of the Primitivo growing region, located in the low hills east of Taranto in Puglia. The region is an old sea bed, full of fossils of clams, oysters and urchins. The altitude is approximately 30-60 metres above sea level and annual rainfall is 35 centimetres. The climate is classically Mediterranean, as Puglia is on a peninsula between the Adriatic and the Ionian seas. The Primitivo vines are quite old; most are the original post phylloxera plantings and range from 70-100 years old. As with most vineyards planted at that time, they are small bush vines called 'alberello' which are non-irrigated and low yielding. The average Primitivo vineyard is quite small, less than half a hectare and the best sites have a crumbly, dark reddish brown soil that resembles instant coffee.

The Primitivo grapes were dried for five weeks. On arrival at the cellars, the grapes were pressed, destemmed and cooled to 18°C and the must was 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.

A deeply coloured wine with exuberant perfumes of ripe red and black berry fruits, with notes of spice from the oak ageing. Made in the style of an Amarone, it is concentrated and opulent on the palate, with great balance. It is elegant, velvety and supple, with a long finish.

£13.75

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.

£10.95

Accordini Valpolicella Classico Doc 2017 (1x75cl)

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.

The grapes were crushed and de-stalked before the fermentation process began.  The fermentation took place at temperatures between 25°C - 28°C. The wine was macerated for 12 days with hand pressing taking place three times a day. The wine was then kept in stainless steel tanks where complete malolactic fermentation was allowed to occur. The wine was then aged in bottle for 2 months before being released for sale.

The Accordini Valpolicella Classico is an deep ruby red colour with hints of violets. The nose abounds with very intense fruits of the forest, cherries and raspberries. At the start of the palate there the wine is full flavoured but this is balanced with soft and elagant tannins. Hints of spices integrate with flavours of mature fruits.

£11.60

Ailala Treixadura 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was Awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Galician Whites; (see blue link below).

Ailala Treixadura 2016 - March 2018 Decanter review

The grapes for this lively wine come from some of the best sites in the Avia Valley and were hand harvested in September. They then undergo a whole bunch cold soak for eight hours. They are then crushed and pressed and fermented for 14 days at controlled temperatures of 16C in stainless steel tanks. There is no malolactic fermentation.

Ailala Treixadura is pale gold in colour with lively reflections. There are clean, powerful aromatics on the nose with apricot, white flowers and a sort of saline, sea-shell undertone. Spices such as clove, mint and fennel are also present. The palate displays sweet lemon and ripe melon with plenty of zing and grapefruit peel. A wine of great complexity and style and with bags of character. Treixadura is truly a noble grape!

This delicate, noble white pairs excellently with all seafood; crab linguine, steamed razor clams, or pan-fried seabass.

£13.05

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.

£13.75

Alois Lageder Riff Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2017 (1x 75cl)

The wines for this quality Pinot Grigio are blended from the vineyards on the foothills of the Northeastern Italian Alps, which influence the climate and bless the region with prized alluvial limestone soils. The name Riff (German for reef) refers to this part of the Alps' geological origin, coral reefs and high limestone content deposits by fossils from an ancient sea that covered the region millions of years ago.

The fermentation of this wine is completed in stainless steel tanks, followed by maturation on the fine lees for up to four months to give it greater textural intensity and depth. 

The Riff Pinot Grigio has a brilliant straw-yellow color with a green tint.  The aromas are predominantly fruity (apples,peaches) - this theme carries on to the palate which has a clean, elegant, flavour, is light to medium-bodied with a fresh mouth-watering finish. This wine is dry and crisp and is best served well-chilled. If properly cellared, this wine can keep for at least 2 – 3 years but we think you should just enjoy it now!

£10.15

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

£13.95

Alpha Zeta 'V' Valpolicella 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 'V' Valpolicella 2017 – Fiche Technique

£10.30

Alter Ribeiro Blanco 2017 (1x 75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Galician Whites; (see blue link below).

Alter Ribeiro Blanco 2016 - March 2018 Decanter review

Alter came highly recommended by Lalo Antón of Izadi. He had admired this small, family-run winery since their first vintage a couple of years ago marked them out as one of the most serious producers in the region. The winery was founded by José Pérez Pousa on the banks of the Miño river in 2014, with the wish to preserve the tradition of their native land, where wine has been produced since the 2nd century BCE. The wine is named ‘alter’ to mean ‘another wine more’ in Latin.

Alter has 24 hectares of its own vineyards, which are divided into 168 small plots planted with native white varieties: Treixadura, Godello and Loureira. The vines are on average 15-30 years old, planted on decomposed granite with sand and clay. The vineyards benefit from a perfect mesoclimate with good diurnal ranges particularly during the growing season ensuring the fruit is able to fully ripen while retaining fresh acidity. All harvesting is done by hand, plot by plot at the perfect moment to ensure optimum level of ripeness which elongates their harvest.

The harvest in 2017 was challenging across the whole of Spain with Ribeiro being no exception. Growers contended with spring frosts and summer hail but low rainfall meant grapes were perfectly balanced in sugar and acidity. Local grapes such as Treixadura and Loureira were less impacted than non-indigenous grapes.

Each vineyard plot and variety were fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, the cool ferment retaining the aromatic intensity of the grapes. Following fermentation, the wine was aged on lees for three to four months to add depth before the final blend was assembled. The 2017 is made up of 80% Treixadura, 10% Godello and 10% Loureira.

This wine has a bright straw colour with elegant aromas of white flowers, green apple and grapefruit on the nose. The palate is lively with brisk acidity and flavours of white peach dominating. This is a remarkably balanced and well structured wine with a long finish.

£14.55

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.

£12.70

Amalaya Blanco de Corte Torrontes / Riesling 2017 (1x75cl)

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 Torrontes-Riesling 2016 - August 2017 Decanter review

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.

£10.20

Amalaya Blanco de Corte Torrontes / Riesling 2018 (1x75cl)

The 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 Torrontes-Riesling 2016 - August 2017 Decanter review

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.

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.

£10.35

Amalaya Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition expert review of Argentina's Calchaqui Valley  (see blue link below).

Amalaya Malbec 2017 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

The 2016 vintage was Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition article 30 Great New World Buys under £30 (see blue link below).

Amalaya Malbec 2016 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

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 estate's vineyards are located in Cafayate in the very heart of the Calchaquí Valley, distinguished for being the highest wine region in the world. The climate is very dry, with just 150 millimetres of rain in an average year and huge temperature fluctuations 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 results in fruit with hugely concentrated flavour.

Overall, the Calchaquí Valley enjoyed optimal conditions in 2017, with a perfect balance between quality and quantity. The weather during the growing season was excellent, the lack of spring frost ensuring a good fruit set that resulted in healthy grapes.

After careful sorting by hand at the winery, the grapes underwent four days of cold maceration followed by a slow alcoholic fermentation with maceration on skins lasting around 18-20 days which extracted good levels of colour and tannins. Malolactic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks before 25% of the wine was aged in French oak for a period of 10 months prior to blending and bottling.

Deep ruby red in colour with a purple hue, this wine displays intense fruity red berry aromas of raspberries, floral notes and a touch of spice and chocolate. Well structured, fresh and fruity on the palate with soft, rounded tannins and a velvety long finish.

£12.30
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