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2017 Esporao Reserva White (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their May 2019 "Weekday Wines(see blue link below).

2017 Esporao Reserva White - May 2019 Decanter review

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  

£15.10

Alfredo Maestro Tejero El Marciano 2017 (1x 75cl)

The 2016 vintage of this wine (now very hard to find - we can't) was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition article on Discovery/New Wave Spain (see blue link below).

Alfredo Maestro Tejero El Marciano 2016 - March 2019 Decanter review

Alfredo Maestro Tejero’s vineyards are located within the Ribera del Duero D.O., but Alfredo has decided not to participate in the D.O., so his wines are classed as Vino de la Tierra de Castillo y León. They are completely natural wines, with no sulphur added in the vineyard or the winery. All vineyard treatments are natural and biodynamic practices are followed.

The isolated Gredos mountain range which lies 70 kilometres west of Madrid is home to a mosaic of tiny old-vine vineyards planted mainly to Grenache. El Marciano comes from one such 70-year-old granitic site lying at a staggering 1,150 metres elevation. The grapes are mainly destemmed, 20% whole bunches were retained and fermented with wild yeasts in stainless steel vat of 2000 litres with daily stirrings. The wine undergoes no filtration or fining and has no added sulphur.

This gorgeous wine typifies Alfredo’s delicate touch and respect for his land. It is juicy and flavoursome, laden with spicy blackberry aromas as well as raspberry, liquorice and a fresh earth scented palate. The texture is rock-sculpted (the granite bedrock of the site lies just a few inched below the surface) and the acidity is thrillingly bright, drawing all corners together.

The label is a representation of the remote and barren granite-ridden landscape that make up this wine’s terroir. It depicts Alfredo directing two martian vineyard workers who are clearly not comfortable in their endeavours. El Marciano translates from Spanish as The Martian. 

£15.20

Alois Lageder Am Sand Gewurztraminer 2017 (1x75cl)

The Alois Lageder winery in Alto Adige comprises fifty hectares of the family's own vineyards, which are managed on the basis of biodynamic principles. Their holistic approach is reflected in their wine-growing activities, their long-standing relationships with numerous grape growers and an ambition to create awareness for agriculture that is in tune with nature.

This Gewürztraminer is a product of several sites with sandy soils in the Bassa Atesina of Alto Adige. Although the sites in Termeno, Magrè and Lake Caldaro are very hot, the individual components are strengthened with the help of a staggered grape harvest. That gives the Gewürztraminer freshness, minerality, depth and finesse. When possible, a portion of the grapes is harvested with noble rot.

To see an excellent tasting note and information sheet for this wine, produced by the team at Alois Lageder, please click on the blue link below.

£23.50

Arianna Occhipinti Il Frappato 2016 (1x75cl)

The Arianna Occhipinti Il Frappato has truly been a labour of love for Arianna: "Il Frappato stems from a dream which I had when I was a girl to make a wine that knows the land that I work, the air I breath, and my own thoughts. It is the wine that most resembles me, brave, original and rebellious."

This wine is organic and is therefore made without any chemical intervention. The grapes were harvested during the first 10 days of October before a 30 day fermentation using only indigenous yeasts occurred.  The wine was then moved to large Slavonian oak barrels and was allowed to mature for 14 months before being bottle without the use of any filtration. 

Frappato  is an Italian red grape variety, mostly planted in Sicily and thought to be related to Sangiovese. This wine has a light red hue to it but the nose is very complex with notes of cherry, raspberry and white pepper. On the palate there are flavours of strawberry and raspberry fruit, complimented by herbs, flowers, black tea, salt and minerals. 

£29.20

Bastide de Coupe Roses Minervois 2018 (1x75cl)

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Chateau Coupe-Roses.

Bastide de Coupe-Roses Minervois - fiche technique

Pale red colour, brilliant which shines with light shades of purple. The scent reminds you of its fruitiness and the Carignan from where this wine comes, it is also in the mouth where the fresh red fruits dominate, associated with a refreshing liveliness. A perfect wine for all occasions, aperitifs or meals.

£10.35

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Riserva 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was Awarded 95 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition review of Italian Icon Wines (see blue link below).

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Riserva 2014 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

The Bucci family has been growing grapes in the Marche since the 1700s. Current custodian, Ampelio Bucci has 26 hectares of vineyard on this 400 hectare estate, which is cultivated organically. Of these, 21 hectares are Verdicchio, spread over six separate vineyards. The old vines and low yields give wines of great intensity. Consultant winemaker at Villa Bucci is the legendary enologist Giorgio Grai, who has been there for nearly 30 years. He makes wines for ageing and complexity rather than freshness and simplicity.

The Riserva is only produced in the best vintages, with fruit from the oldest vines (between 40 and 50 years old on average) and the best sites. There are six vineyards with different exposures and elevations to obtain more complexity in the final blend of each wine. Yields are kept low and vineyard management is certified organic with no herbicides or pesticides used. Soils are mainly calcareous (limestone), giving minerality to the wine, with around 30% clay, which retains moisture during the hot summers.

The 2015 summer in the Marche was warm and sunny, with a great deal of heat in August. Some light rainfall helped to balance the growth cycle, creating healthy and well-balanced grapes.

Vinification took place in the underground winery, which is naturally cool so refrigeration is generally not necessary. Vinification took place in stainless steel and Slovenian oak barrels of between 50 and 75 hectolitres, that are approximately 70 years old. Different vineyard parcels were vinified separately, aged for two years and then carefully blended before bottling.

An intense, complex and persistent bouquet of apricot compôte and spice with aromas of honey, beeswax, minerals and flint stone. Full bodied and with great depth, the wine finishes with hints of honey and nuts.

£28.40

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Superiore 2017 (1x75cl)

The Bucci family has been growing grapes in the Marche since the 1700s. Current custodian, Ampelio Bucci has 26 hectares of vineyard on this 400 hectare estate, which is cultivated organically. Of these, 21 hectares are Verdicchio, spread over six separate vineyards. The old vines and low yields give wines of great intensity. Consultant winemaker at Villa Bucci is the legendary enologist Giorgio Grai, who has been there for nearly 30 years. He makes wines for ageing and complexity rather than freshness and simplicity.

The fruit for this wine comes from six vineyards, each with a different exposure and elevation, which contribute to greater complexity in the final blend. Yields are kept low and vineyard management is certified organic, with no herbicides or pesticides used. Soils are mainly calcareous (limestone), lending minerality to the wine, with around 30% clay which retains moisture during the hot summers. The average age of the vines is 35 years.

2017 presented some challenges for winemakers in the Marche. Spring frost affected bud growth, while the hot weather that followed during the summer months caused hydric stress. Nevertheless, Bucci has been able to make wines which are complex and show good acidity.

Vinification took place in the underground winery which is naturally cool so refrigeration is generally not necessary. The must was fermented in both stainless steel and Slavonian oak barrels of between 50 and 75 hectolitres in size and approximately 70 years old. Different vineyard parcels were vinified separately then carefully blended before bottling.

Golden yellow in colour, this wine has a layered bouquet with notes of vanilla, butterscotch and almonds. Aromas of mimosa and ripe Golden Delicious apples carry through onto the complex palate, which has a fresh finish. A refreshing mineral edge contrasts with ripe, round flavours of wildflower honey.

£15.20

Buitenverwachting Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (1x75cl)

Buitenverwachting is a beautiful farm on the east-facing slopes of the magnificent Constantiaberg and barely 12km from False Bay. It originally formed part of the Constantia Estate, which was founded by Simon van der Stel, the first Governor of the new Dutch colony at the tip of Africa. Rooted in deep, decomposed granite soils and cooled by the temperate sea breezes from the surrounding oceans, Buitenverwachting wines are an expression of this unique climate. The slow ripening climatic conditions with cold nights and modest day time temperatures translate into fresh, crisp and full bodied wines.

Specialising in Sauvignon Blanc, the Constantia climate allows winemaker Brad Paton in conjunction with Viticulturist Peter Reynolds to ripen out all the under ripe green flavours. Most of the sites develop a unique “yellow” fruit flavours, such as melons, passion fruit, yellow apple and gooseberries.

This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc.

To see an information sheet and tasting note for this wine that has been produced by the team at Buitenverwachting, please click on the blue link below.

Buitenverwachting Sauvignon Blanc 2017 - fiche technique

£11.60

Burja Bela 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their July 2019 article on Slovenia and Croatia (see blue link below).

Burja Bela 2017 - July 2019 Decanter review

Primoz Lavrenčič is a life long student of classical philosophy and applies it to his winemaking artistry. Primoz believes, that wines from different places, different cellars, different winemakers, all contain their own idea, or essence. Wines should be bottled as their own individual expression, sui generis. They are bottled as their own expression. Primoz find that wines that yield to the terroir are the freest in their individual expression. The wines he crafts are meant to act as a sort of proof for this thesis. He recognizes that the experience of a wine depends on the knowledge, culture and past experience of the drinker, thus it’s a fact that the same wine can generate different, even contradictory experiences.

The Lavrenčič family moved to Vipava in 1499, and like most who settled there, they took advantage of the favourable soils and climate and made wine.

Malvazija 30%, Welschriesling 30%, Rebula 30 %, other varieties 10%.

FERMENTATION TANKS: stainless steel.

YEASTS: natural.

MACERATION: 7 Days.

MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION: yes.

AGED IN: concrete eggs 30%, oak barrels 70%.

AGED FOR:10 months.

CLARIFICATION/FILTRATION:none.

VEGAN: yes.

ALCOHOL CONTENT: 12.5% vol.

TOTAL PRODUCTION:12,000 bottles.

ALTITUDE: 220-300 m.

SOIL: Flysch.

VINES - YEAR PLANTED:1953 – 2005.

VINE DENSITY: 7,000 vines/hectare.

YIELD: 1 kg per vine.

£22.35

Cambridge Road Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

Cambridge Road Vineyard is a small family farmed estate established in 1986 with the intention of making world class Pinot Noir and Syrah. They focus both time and energy on perfecting and beautifying their land and cultivating it according to natural biodynamic and eco-farming principles. They believe in minimal intervention winemaking, low yields, and healthy living wines.

This is the latest wine in the history of Syrah production from their home vineyard. 2015 was a low cropping year with beautiful ripeness. Harvested in late April the fruit was handled simply.

It spent 27 with days' skin contact & 12 months in neutral oak casks. It was wild fermented and bottled after one year with no fining or filtration. 

This wine is 100% Syrah.

Dark spiced plum characters are apparent in the silken structured wine. Bold in weight and generous body. 

£42.50

Capezzana Carmignano `Villa di Capezzana` 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2019 Claret Alternatives article; (see blue link below)

Tenuta di Capezzana, Villa di Capezzana 2015 - February 2019 Decanter review

The Capezzana estate, 24 kilometres north west of Florence, is owned by the Contini Bonacossi family. The younger generation is now firmly in charge of the estate's 100 hectares of vineyard, with daughter Benedetta Contini Bonacossi as winemaker and Francesco Bernabei as consultant winemaker. The wines and the olive oil have an elegance which marks this estate out from the crowd.

Grapes are grown on the estate's 104 hectares of vineyard which have been converted to organic production. Vines are situated at approximately 150-200 metres above sea level, facing south, south-east and south-west. Soils are schistous clay with limestone.

Lower temperatures in April 2015 delayed budding by about 10 days. A warm spring was followed by a hot summer with little rain. Luckily the month of September was perfect with the right amount of rain and the right atmospheric humidity. This largely contributed to an extremely healthy crop with excellent maturation throughout.

75% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Canaiolo, 5% Cabernet Franc.

Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks for 25 days at temperatures between 18-25°C. At the end of the alcoholic fermentation the wine was put in French oak for the malolactic fermentation and then aged in 3.5 hectolitre tonneaux for 12 months, followed by 12 months in bottle before release.

Ruby red in colour with a restrained, elegant nose. Perfumes of dark cherry and liquorice give way to spice and plums on the palate. Rounded tannins from the Sangiovese are lifted by the cassis concentration of the Cabernet and melt into a long, perfumed finish.

£24.20

Cazes 'Ego' Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).

Cazes 'Ego' Côtes Du Roussillon-Villages 2017 - June 2019 Decanter review

Domaine Cazes is situated in Rivesaltes in the Roussillon. With 220 hectares of vines planted, Domaine Cazes is the largest certified organic and biodynamic estate in France. It was founded in 1895 by Michel Cazes and the wines are made by the fourth generation of winemakers, headed up by Emmanuel Cazes. The family makes a range of interesting dry wines alongside the regional specialities, Vin Doux Naturels. They took the decision to move to organic and biodynamic viticulture in 1997. Based on their view that the natural environment needs natural preparation, they plough the soils and use only natural ingredients as treatments, arranging their work according to the lunar calendar.

Maison Cazes is set in the sunniest French region. Since the family started farming biodynamically, they have found that the vineyards are healthier and the vines are stronger, with longer roots. Vines grow on clay and limestone soils, covered by 'galets roulés' (the 'pudding stones' also found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape). The low yielding vines are about 30 years old, and produce 30 hectolitres per hectare.

2017 was a very early vintage thanks to the good water reserves in the soil and the mild temperature from February. The warmer temperatures in July and August aided the vegetative cycle. The grapes were picked early, when the optimal sugar and acidity levels had been obtained.

40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre. The three varieties were 100% de-stemmed and before being put in separate stainless steel vats. Only naturally occurring yeasts were used; no yeast was added to the must. Fermentation was temperature controlled at 28°C. The residual matter was circulated by pump-overs and the sediment was broken up by hand twice a day to extract the best qualities. The wine was macerated for four weeks before pressing after which it underwent malolactic fermentation.

As well as being biodynamic and organic, this wine is suitable for vegans.

The palate is bright with ripe red and black fruit aromas and rich liquorice notes, balanced by delicate tannins. This wine has a remarkable balance, thanks to its good acidity and freshness. Long finish with white pepper flavours.

£14.85

Cesconi Olivar 2016 (1x75cl)

The four Cesconi brothers have transformed their family estate in the village of Pressano, in the past decade. Whereas they previously sold all their fruit to the co-op at Lavis, today they are making some of Italy's most exciting white wines. All their vineyards are now farmed organically and biodynamically. Stylistically, their whites are more intense and perfumed than those from Friuli and slightly lighter, without the weight or fat that some of the top Friuli wines have. Their reds, on the other hand, have more weight than their Friulian counterparts.

The brothers now have 21 hectares of vineyards in and around the village of Pressano situated 300 metres above sea level. The vineyards are located on the west-facing Pressano hill and have red soils originating from sandstone of the Triassic period. Most of their vineyards are now trained to guyot at a planting density of 7,000 vines per hectare, as opposed to the traditional pergola style used in much of Trentino. In general, guyot gives lower yields and riper, more flavoursome fruit that in turn results in wines of greater power and balance. The vines are on average 25 years old.

Each variety was picked and fermented separately in large oak casks and French oak barriques. The wine was aged in the same casks for ten months. After the final blend was assembled during the spring following the harvest, the wine was bottle-aged for a further six months.

A light gold wine that shows layered aromas of ripe stone fruit such as apricot and peach with notes of white flowers. A fresh, citrus character in the mouth is rounded out by the vanilla notes from the oak ageing and complemented by a touch of minerality. The long finish is floral and fragrant.

£22.25

Chateau Coupe Roses Les Plots Minervois 2017 (1x75cl)

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Chateau Coupe-Roses.

Chateau Coupe-Roses Les Plots Minervois 2017 - fiche technique

Its expression is a blend of power and complex aromatic characters, candied fruits, spice, pepper and blackcurrant, with a fresh acidity.

£13.05

Chateau De Chambert Cahors Malbec 2014 (1x75cl)

Château de Chambert lies 30 kilometres west of the town of Cahors, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Owned and run by Philippe Lejeune since 2007, with the additional support of consultant winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt, the estate has already garnered considerable attention in France and is top critic Michel Bettane’s ‘One to Watch’. The elegant, modern wines are made from the deep-coloured Malbec variety, which traditionally produced the ‘black wines’ of Cahors.

Vineyards are planted with 85% Malbec and 15% Merlot at the highest part of the South Quercy limestone plateau (causse), at an average altitude of 300 metres above sea level. The soil contains two distinct geological components; red clay with high concentration of red which lends the wine power, spice and black fruit aromas; and white clay with limestone similar to that of Chablis, which produces minerality and finesse. Located between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, the unique mesoclimate takes effect especially towards harvest when hot winds from Africa aid grape ripening. Careful leaf-thinning and green harvesting ensure well exposed fruit. The vines are 25 years old and yields are low at around 28 hectolitres per hectare. The grapes are hand-harvested.

Warm weather early in the year brought the 2014 bud-burst forward to 19th March, two weeks earlier than average. Summer began with a beautiful, dry June, but July and August suffered from intermittent rain, which increased disease pressure and slowed ripening. A warm, dry September allowed full sugar and phenolic ripeness, and healthy vines, with the long growing season encouraging complexity and concentration. The harvest started with on 3rd October, and was completed by the middle of the month.

The grapes are separated by parcel and vinified spearately. After a pneumatic press, the free-run juice and pressings were separated. Fermentation took place with ambient yeasts at controlled temperatures of 25-30°C, and the cap was managed by a combination of pump-overs and plunging. The fermenting must spent 25 days on skins. Malolactic fermentation took place in barrel. The wine was matured for 12 months in french oak, 20% of which were new.

This wine is beautifully dark and intense in colour. On the nose, it has refined ripe fruit aromas of blueberry and violet. On the palate, the tannins are silky and round and the mineral character on the finish balances the black fruit and ripe flavours.

£21.80
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