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Abadia Retuerta Seleccion Especial 2015 (1x75cl)

Situated in the historic area of Sardón de Duero in Ribera del Duero is the small, premium artisanal winery of Abadia Retuerta, comprised of a patchwork of 54 individual vineyard plots, each planted with a single variety, and each with starkly different characteristics. Winemaker Pascal Delbeck - proprietor of Château Ausone - has an fascination with international varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc – and he makes great use of them. He is also at the forefront of a movement to get Castillo y Leon - currently Vino de la Tierra - recognised as a DO.

Selecctión Especial is Abadia Retuerta's best-known wine worldwide and accounts for some 80% of all their production.

Produced from a selection of the best grapes from each of their vineyards, it combines the richness of a Tempranillo and the elegance of a Cabernet Sauvignon with the strength of a Syrah.

This wine is aged for 16 months in French and American oak barrels. During this time the wood infuses notes of cedar, pastry and notes of toast into the wine.

This is a very well-balanced wine, harmonious, with a rich bouquet and incredible expressiveness. It is dark red in colour with a clean, complex and fresh nose. On the palate, it has intense yet fruity flavours, mainly of red fruits and caresses the palate beautifully. 

£23.55

Accordini Valpolicella Classico Ripasso Acinatico 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 Accordini Valpolicella Ripasso Acinatico undergoes re-fermentation and a second maceration with daily mixing for 10 days over the Amarone and Recioto grape skins. As they are still mildly sweet, they enrich the body of the wine alongside the colour, bouquet and alcohol content. The  The wine is the aged in Slovenian oak barrels and barrique for 12 months. It is this contact with the wood that gives the Ripasso its fresh hints of mature fruit, spices and tobacco. It is then bottled and is left to mature for a further 6 months.

This wine has a strong ruby red colour. The aromas are intense yet subtle with hints of spices and vanilla. The flavours are warm and full bodied with traces of dried fruit that are reminiscent of Amarone. It is great when served with all types of meat, but roasts, stews and mature cheeses are particularly good matches.

£16.35

Adur Txakoli de Getaria 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Spanish Value Wines (under £20); (see blue link below).

Adur Tzakoli(na) de Getaria - March 2018 Decanter review

The dream of Adur began when Maitena and Héctor Gómez were establishing their winemaking careers. As their abilities and command of the winemaking process grew, they began to think of a winery of their own. The pull of Maitena’s family roots led them back to the Basque country, in the tiny Txakolina Getariako DO.

Sourced from 3 hectares of vines in Getaria, the yields are carefully controlled in order extract maximum intensity of aromas from the Hondarribi Zuri grape.

Fermentation takes place in French barrels all from the first press at a temperature of 12 ºC. 10% of the wine then undergoes malolactic to slightly reduce the acidity and provide more weight and balance on the palate. The Txakoli is then left in contact with the lees for 6 months to add volume and texture.

Wonderfully intense and elegant on the nose with white fruit, pear, fresh herbs and citrus notes. The palate is searingly fresh with poise and tension, notable salinity a long, complex finish.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£15.10

Akarua RUA Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

The Skeggs family were among the first people to buy and plant vineyard land in Central Otago in the mid 1990s, so were lucky enough to acquire a superb north facing site in Bannockburn. Planted in 1996, this 50 hectare site has since provided the backbone of the Akarua wines. Due to the short growing season in Central Otago, site selection is one of the key elements in making a great wine, and Akarua have a site that is among the very best. Akarua was re-introduced after many years to Liberty Wines by Tony Jordan, who makes their sparkling wines. Tony built Domaine Chandon in Australia, and is one of the world's leading experts in sparkling wine production. He has been convinced of the potential for Central Otago to make top quality fizz for quite a while, and is now doing so with Akarua.

All fruit was sourced from the Akarua Estate vineyards in Central Otago. The vines are 21 years old and grow at an average of 270 metres above sea level with a north-western aspect. Soils are young alluvial, schist based sandy/silt and sandy loams overlaying schist rock.

The 2017 growing season was uniquely cool, leading to small bunches and low yields. Luckily, this cool weather reduced disease pressure so fruit remained healthy right up until harvest which started in mid-April.

Grapes for the 'Rua' were cold soaked for five days before fermentation commenced and the cap was punched down twice daily. The wine was given another six days on the skins post fermentation to provide the tannic backbone it requires. It then spent six months ageing in 100% French oak barriques, of which 10% was new. The result is a remarkably attractive - and great value - Pinot Noir from Central Otago.

This Pinot Noir has a bright cherry-red colour in the glass and lifted cherry aromas with floral violet notes. On the palate, this well-defined Central Otago Pinot Noir exhibits juicy red fruits and a touch of spice. Supple tannins complement savoury highlights, with a long finish.

£17.70

Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre Igt 2015 (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.

Palazzo della Torre covers 26 hectares of east-facing vineyard planted between 1962 and 2013, situated 240 metres above sea level. Allegrini purchased this vineyard in 1978. Soils are cretaceous and calcareous, with Pergola Trentina trained vines planted at 3,000 vines per hectare.

2015 overall climate and weather pattern were particularly beneficial for the physiological equilibrium of the vines. The high temperatures recorded throughout the Valpolicella in July did not prevent the different varieties from ripening in perfect health. The harvest, which began in early September, took place in ideal conditions due to the total absence of rain. 2015 promises wines with intense aromas and good balance of acidity.

Franco Allegrini used the modern version of the traditional 'ripasso' technique for Palazzo della Torre, drying a proportion of the grapes in the 'Terre di Fumane' drying centre, to intensify the character of this vineyard. The grapes that were dried were hand picked at the beginning of September, and the grapes vinified immediately were picked at the end of the month. 70% of the grapes picked were vinified immediately and 30% were left to dry until the second half of December when they were vinified and then refermented with the wine from the fresh grapes. The wine spent 15 months in second-use barriques, and was blended together for two months, then aged for a further seven months in bottle.

Ruby red in colour, Palazzo della Torre has enticing aromas of cherry with rich dark chocolate notes. Velvety in texture, it is well-balanced and offers ripe, juicy dark fruit, with silky tannins and refreshing acidity.

£18.75

Alpha Estate, Amyndeo, Vielles Vignes Single Block Barba Yannis, Xinomavro Reserve 2014 (1x75cl)

The 2013 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2017 (see blue link below).

Alpha Estate Reserve Vielles Vignes Single Block Xino 2013 - January 2018 Decanter review

Alpha Estate is located in Amyndeon, North West Greece. It is the brainchild of two visionaries, second generation vine grower Makis Mavridis and Bordeaux trained wine maker Angelos Iatrides. Angelos is one of the most talented winemakers working in Europe. This pristine estate in the cool highlands of Western Macedonia comprises 120 hectares of privately owned single block vineyards and employs the most up to date vineyard techniques and winemaking technology to produce world class wines from French and indigenous Greek varietals.

The Single Block Barba Yiannis is named in honour of Mr Yiannis, from whom the block was purchased in 1994. The vineyard is located in Amyndeo, in the region of Macedonia. The vines are ungrafted, pre-phylloxera bush vines which are over 90 years old. The summers are hot, so in order to avoid extreme water deficit a "root zone drying irrigation" is used, to ensure the optimum conditions for the nourishment and maturation of the grapes. The vines are grown in sandy clay soils.

The grapes were destemmed, lightly crushed and cold soaked with skin contact. The fermentation took place using an indigenous yeast strain. Fermentation took place at gradually increasing temperatures, before being maintained "sur lie" or on its fine lees for eighteen months with regular stirring. Maturation took place in Allier - Bertrange French oak casks of medium grain, for 24 months, with a minimum of a further 12 months ageing in the bottle. The wine was bottled without fining and filtration.

A complex and typical Xinomavro (pronounced Ksee no' ma vro), showing aromas of smoky black fruits, strawberries, dark cherries, liquorice, sundried tomatoes, and delicate spice. Full bodied and structured on the palate, with a rich depth of fruit, concentrated savoury notes and a touch of oak. The velvety tannins lead through to a persistent and aromatic finish.

A perfect match with juicy red barbecued meats, roasted lamb, spicy sausage and red peppers baked in olive oil.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians.

£19.05

Alpha Zeta 'A' Amarone 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2013 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2017 edition review of Amarones (see blue link below)

Alpha Zeta 2013  - May 2017 Decanter review

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.

The vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley. Cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, which helps to moderate the climate, enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is a mixture of clay and limestone with good drainage. The vineyards are south-facing and therefore warmer than other parts of Valpolicella.

Mild temperatures and moderate rains accompanied the winter season. The beginning of the growth cycle in the vineyards, characterised by abundant rain, was followed by a hot and dry period. This allowed for perfect health and organoleptic qualities in the grapes, making this 2015 vintage one of the best, if not the best, of the last 20 years.

Selected grapes were picked in mid September and left to dry in specially ventilated rooms until the end of January. During this time the grapes lost about 40% of their natural weight. The grapes were destemmed and crushed at the end of January. Fermentation temperature was between 18°-22°C with daily periodic pumping over, while the length of maceration was 20 days. This Amarone was matured in oak (a mixture of large 'botti' and French oak barriques) for 18 months before bottling.

This Amarone is deep and intense on the nose with aromas of dried cherries and blueberries and notes of spiced autumn fruit compote. On the palate it is powerful, with a lovely balance of ripe tannins and spiced, concentrated savoury cherry fruit character. A touch of woodsmoke completes the long finish.

£24.40

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.

£17.30

Altos Las Hormigas Valle De Uco Malbec Reserva 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2016 edition review of Argentina (see blue link below).

Altos Las Hormigas Reserva Malbec 2014 - October 2016 Decanter review

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.

The Malbec is hand-picked from 100% calcareous soil of the Uco Valley, limestone over alluvial deposits of the Tunuyan River in Altamira, the alluvial terrace of Arroyo Grande in Vista Flores, and the alluvial with calcareous highlands of Gualtallary.

The 2014-2015 harvest presented mean temperatures well below historic averages. Only in March did temperatures approach mean or close-to-mean values. Red varieties were marked by slow ripening until late March, especially with regards to berry sugar content. Then, halfway through April, ripening suddenly accelerated. This prolonged ripening period yielded very expressive wines.

Grapes were harvested by hand and carefully sorted. The wine spent three weeks on its skins. During fermentation, gentle pigeage was undertaken in order to avoid over extraction. The juice was fermented using indigenous yeasts. The wine was matured in 3,500 litre untoasted Foudres for 22 months, and 12 months in bottle.

This wine is deep ruby red in colour, with violet hues. On the nose, it is complex, expressive and aromatic with notes of plum, raspberries, chocolate and a touch of leather. This wine offers a strong, well-structured palate and a long, elegant finish.

£23.80

Altos Las Hormigas Valle De Uco Malbec Terroir 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 and the grapes are hand harvested.

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 from different vineyards were vinified separately before being blended together. The grapes went through a vigorous selection process on a double selection table before being gently pressed. Indigenous yeasts began the fermentation which lasted 12 days and took place in stainless steel tanks at 24-28ºC. The wine was aged for 18 months before being bottled, 25% in large oak foudres and 75% in concrete. The wine was then aged for a further six months in bottle before release.

This wine has an intense ruby red colour. On the nose, it has a beautiful bouquet of sweet cherries, cranberries, fresh figs and hints of violet. Crisp and round on the palate, there is a perfect harmony of bright red fruit and floral nuances and a great balance of acidity and tannin. The finish is fresh and long.

£16.20

Amalaya Corte Único 'Finca San Isidro' 2013 (1x 75cl)

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‘.

This is Amalaya's flagship wine. The fruit for this single vineyard flagship wine comes from the San Isidoro vineyard located in the Cafayate Valley in the very heart of the Calchaqui Valley. At 1800 metres above sea level, it is 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 temperature difference 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.

It was a warm and relatively dry year, with some cloud cover during the growing season. This resulted in the fruit developing steadily whilst retaining acidity and freshness. Harvest took place in mid-April 2013.

After careful sorting by hand at the winery, the grapes were barrel fermented in new French oak for 60 days. Malolactic fermentation took place and once complete, the wine was then aged in French oak for a period of 12 months.

This wine is made using Malbec 90%, Tannat 5%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%.

Deep and intense in colour. Black fruit and spices on the nose, with floral undertones. Well-balanced, the palate is complex and full-bodied with fine grained tannins.

£20.15

Amalaya Gran Corte 2016 (1x 75cl)

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 the Cafayate Valley in the very heart of the Calchaquí 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 temperature difference 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. The average age of the vines is 35 years old. They are trained using both pergola and vertical shoot positioning and planted at a density of 2,700 plants per hectare and 3,800 plants per hectare respectively.

2016 was a challenging vintage in Argentina with the lowest production in 20 years, around 40% below the previous year. Quality however was very good due to a dry and healthy vintage which allowed grapes to reach optimum maturity. Hydric stress was not a problem, thanks to the lower yields caused by spring frost. The vines survived and produced balanced and ripe Malbec grapes.

The grapes were crushed after both a cluster and berry selection at the winery and then cooled to 8°C, with maceration at 10°C for three days. Alcoholic fermentation took place at temperatures of around 24°C for approximately 21 days. Malolactic fermentation and ageing took place in both American and French oak barrels of which 20% was new and 80% second use. The wine was aged for a total of 12 months in barrel before bottling.

This wine is deep purple in colour, with aromas of red and black fruit with spicy notes, typical of the region. A concentrated, complex and elegant wine full of fruit with rounded, supple tannins, with good length.

£15.60

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of Value Malbec (see blue link below). 

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2015 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

Founded in 2003, Andeluna is a small boutique winery specialising in premium Bordeaux varietals of world class recognition. The vineyard covers 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best subregions of Mendoza. By night you can often see the moon illuminating the magnificent Andes Mountains nearby and the winery has been named after this stunning scene. Situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres, the vineyard produces some of the best fruit in Argentina. Winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Oenologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna's wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers to make outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the global spotlight in a very short space of time.

The grapes come from the vineyard located in Tupungato, which is situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level. The area is characterised by its great diurnal temperature swings, which encourages aromatic expression and a great intensity of colour in the wine. The vines are irrigated by a drip-water system that regulates and supplies the exact amount of water that the plant needs. Grown in soils which are predominantly alluvial and sandy, the vines undergo strict canopy management in order to reduce yields.

The clusters were hand selected prior to vinification and underwent a prefermentation maceration at low temperatures. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks at temperatures maintained at approximately 26°C. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for eight to 12 months, followed by six months in bottle, prior to release.

A full flavoured Malbec with intense aromas red fruits and violets combined with delicate hints of vanilla, coffee and chocolate. Sweet fruit on the palate is backed by soft, but high volume tannins which give the wine a long and exquisite finish. Serve with a juicy pan-fried steak, braised lamb shanks or a rich lentil stew.

£15.80

Anselmi Capitel Croce Igt 2017 (1x75cl)

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.

The Capitel Croce vineyard is situated on hilly terrain with southern exposure, covering just 2.5 hectares on the Zoppega hills around the town of Monteforte D'Alpone. The volcanic and rocky soil composition of the Capitel Croce vineyard offers excellent drainage and yields are kept low through densely planted vines.

This wine exhibits a straw colour and subtle vanilla and spice aromas are noticeable in the aromatics. On the palate there is a creamy texture, admirable finesse and complexity. It is surprisingly full flavoured both in concentration and length.

£19.85

Anselmi Capitel Foscarino Igt 2017 (1x 75cl)

Shows great depth and character, with ripe fruit reminiscent of peaches with floral elements, fresh balanced acidity and a long, persistent finish.

£17.60
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