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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.

£20.95

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

Berton Reserve Botrytis Semillon 2015 (1x37.5cl)

The Griffith area is internationally renowned for producing some of the best Botrytis affected wines, with its luscious, honeyed flavours of peach and apricot, which are well balanced by natural acidity.

£11.20

Bianchi Late Harvest Semillon 2013 (1x37.5cl)

The Bianchi family winery was founded in 1928 by Italian immigrant Valentin Bianchi. It now covers 350 hectares of vineyard, situated 750m above sea level in San Rafael, about 240km south of Mendoza city. This is a cooler area than Mendoza's major vineyard areas of Luján de Cuyo and Agrelo because it is further south, which helps the flavours and perfumes develop more gradually, resulting in more aromatic wines. The estate is now run by the third generation of the family and has undergone a gradual transformation in the past few years, modernising both the winery and the vinification processes. Finca Los Primos comprises a range of excellent value varietals. Famiglia Bianchi, Particular and Enzo are each a step up in concentration and depth of fruit, from older and lower yielding vineyards.

The grapes for this wine are grown on the Doña Elsa Estate, situated in Rama Caída, San Rafael, Mendoza at 750 metres above sea level. Rama Caí­da is among the coolest areas of San Rafael, with sandy calcareous soils of alluvial origin. Harvest took place by hand.

The growing season began warm, then turned and remained cool, producing fresh wines for the 2013 vintage. Much needed spring rains and an absence of a major frost led to a good fruit set as Argentine winemakers reported normal to 25% higher yields. A cold spell hit Mendoza during the middle of March, delaying maturation and picking. The heat returned for harvest from early March to mid-April and as a result, the grapes had high acidity levels and low alcohol.

Bianchi follow the traditional French methods for making Sauternes and other similar dessert wines. After naturally occurring botrytis formed on around 40% of the grapes, the best were selected and picked by hand at the end of May, well after the regular grape harvest. Fermentation was in French oak barrels and continued until the cold winter temperatures stopped the process. In the spring, the fermentation started again, until it finally finished naturally due to the combination of alcohol and naturally high sugar concentration. The wine remained in barrels for 12 months until a blend of the best of the barrels was made just prior to bottling.

A rich golden colour with inviting perfumes of honey, citrus rind and stone fruits. Full-bodied, with appealing juicy stone fruits alongside gentle vanilla complexity and lively citrus acidity. Perfectly balanced with a lingering finish.

£8.85

Capezzana Vin Santo Di Carmignano half bottle 2011 (1x37.5cl)

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.

The grapes for the Vin Santo are grown on various vineyards on the 104 hectare estate. These vineyards face east, are around 150-200 metres above sea level and have schistous-clay soils. They are currently being converted to organic production.

The grapes were dried on cane mats in a well ventilated loft until January. After pressing, the must fermented very slowly in small oak and chestnut casks for at least four years. The casks are known as 'caratelli' and vary between 50, 70, 100 and 200 litres in capacity. The must underwent successive fermentations and clarifications with natural changes in temperature. Final yields were very low, often only a quarter or a fifth of the original grape weight. After ageing for five years in small chestnut and cherry casks, the wine remained in bottle for at least three months before release.

This Vin Santo is an intense golden yellow colour and displays concentrated perfumes on the nose, which include notes of candied fruit, sweet almonds and fruit cake. Rich and intensely sweet on the palate, it has dried apricot and fig flavours which are balanced by a lovely touch of freshness. The finish is very long and spicy.

£37.75

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.

£6.45

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.

£23.95

Chateau Clerc Milon 5Eme Cru Classe half bottle 1997 (1x 37.5cl)

A legendary terroir, prestigious neighbours, a providential encounter: the history and the success of Château Clerc Milon are summed up in these three words. The terroir is that of Pauillac, where some of the world’s finest wines are made. The neighbours are Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Lafite Rothschild, illustrious First Growths whose nearby vines can be seen from the terrace of the Château. The encounter was with Baron Philippe Rothschild, who in 1970 acquired the then badly neglected estate and decided to restore Château Clerc Milon to its status as a Classified Growth.

This wine is densely coloured, with a slightly brickish tint, while the particularly complex nose reveals scents of wilted flowers, incense and tobacco, mingled with more fleeting blackberry and humus aromas. There is sweetness on the palate which is perfectly combined with well-rounded tannins. The finely balanced, supple structure and the combination of smoky notes with wild berry fruit show that this Clerc Milon is now drinking well.

£25.20

Chateau Delmond, Sauternes, 2015 (1x 37.5cl)

Jean-Christophe Barbe studied at the University of Bordeaux and did his thesis on 'pourriture noble', or noble rot, the botrytis that makes Sauternes so special. Today, he instructs the youth of Bordeaux in winemaking while running the family property, Château Laville, in Sauternes. Château Delmond is the second wine of Château Laville.

Jean-Christophe Barbe's vineyards are located in the commune of Preignac. He has 13 hectares which all qualify for Sauternes status. The average age of the vines is 30 years. Château Delmond, however, is made from slightly younger vines, resulting in a fresher, lighter style, yet with the complexity and luscious feel of good Sauternes. The soils are mainly gravel and calcareous gravel.

The 2015 vintage saw perfect conditions for the development of noble rot. A generous flowering and warm, dry early spring was followed by a slightly cooler, damper August. The cool nights and rainfall experienced in late Autumn precipitated a very early start to the development of botrytis and brought balance to the grapes.

The grapes were harvested in separate 'passes' through the vineyard and pressed in the pneumatic and vertical hydraulic press. The alcoholic fermentation took place at a temperature of 20-22°C. The wine was aged in tank for 18 months prior to bottling and because the fruit was so clean, it was bottled with a relatively low level of free SO2 (40 mg/litre).

This Sauternes is pale gold in colour with fresh floral and stone fruit aromas on the nose. Apricot, honey and peach mix with citrus peel and creamy flavours on the palate. It is medium to full bodied with refreshing acidity to balance the lingering sweet finish.

£13.45

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

£15.85

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

£12.05

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!)

£12.05

Donnafugata Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria 2016 - half bottle (1x37.5cl)

The 2015 vintage was 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

The 2015 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.

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.

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

Donnafugata Ben Ryé 2016 - fiche technique

£31.25
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