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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:44 pm 
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Tikves Vranec 2012 £8.99
Region: Macedonia
Availability: 123 stores
Abv: 14.0%
Winemaker: Marko Stojakovic Winery: Tikves
Residual Sugar: 2.0g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 85% Vranec and 15% Merlot
Viticulture/ Vinification: The vines here grow on a mixture of alluvial and clay soils. Debudding is practised on the vines and the average yield is around 8hl/ha. The grapes for this wine were hand harvested, and underwent a two to three cold maceration before fermentation, which took place in stainless steel tanks at 25-28ºC. During the first phase of fermentation one or two délestages were performed. Thereafter the cap was punched down regularly.

Dark, moody and rather exciting aroma. Very purple and the palate is earthy, rustic and foreign. Interesting.


Sevilen Öküzgözü 2012 £9.99
Region: Elazig, Turkey
Availability: 184 stores
Abv: 13.0%
Winemaker: Sibel Coban and Florent Dumeau Winery: Sevilen Sarapli AS
Residual Sugar: 2.0g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Öküzgözü
Viticulture/ Vinification: The Sevilen vineyards are situated in narrow valleys of rivers and streams that flow into the ancient Euphrates River, where the 15 year old vines grow on red clay soils with an underlying layer of limestone. Due to the varying altitudes there are many micro-climates in this region, although the winters are generally cold and the summers are hot and dry. The grapes for this wine were picked and sorted by hand before fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 22°C. For at least two days during fermentation the temperature was increased to 24°C, and for the first two days the wine was pumped over twice daily for five minutes. This process lasted 10 days. Before bottling the wine was stabilised at -5°C for 10 days, and filtered at -0.65 microns. Oak was not used in the production of this wine.

Bright purple colour. Sweet, blackcurranty nose. Thin palate and young-tasting.


Thymiopoulos Xinomavro 2011 £10.49
Region: Trilofos Naoussa, Greece
Availability: 184 stores from Nov.
Abv: 14.0%
Winemaker: Apostolos Thymiopoulos Winery: Thymiopoulos Vineyards
Residual Sugar: 3.4g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Xinomavro
Viticulture/ Vinification: The Thymiopoulos vineyards nestle between the trees of the Naoussa region and are planted at varying altitudes between 180-450m. Apostolos Thymiopoulos cultivates his red grape varieties bio-dynamically and uses a flock of guinea fowl to control insects infestations. The vines here vary in age from seven to 45 years old, and grow on shale limestone soils with red marble and a bed rock of volcanic matter. Winters in this region can be very cold, and hot summer temperatures are tempered by the cooling winds that blow down from Mount Vermio. The grapes for this wine were handpicked and sorted from the end of September into October. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks with selected yeasts, and on the completion of malolactic fermentation the wine was matured in French oak barrels for one year. The wine was cold stabilised for five days at -4°C and filtered at 1.5 microns before bottling.

Pale colour. Intensely fruity and appealing aroma. Delicious palate. The nearest I can get is Rioja. It’s developed and oaky and with gentle tannin. Perhaps more cedary French oak than American, but gorgeous.

:qofgold:

Recanati Carignan Petite Sirah 2012 £9.99
Region: Judean Hills, Israel
Availability: 184 stores
Abv: 13.5%
Winemaker: Gil Shatsberg Winery: Recanati
Residual Sugar: 2.0g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 85% Carignan and 15% Petit Sirah
Viticulture/ Vinification: The Carignan and Petit Sirah vines here grow on lime stone soil, which is ploughed frequently to stimulate root growth and facilitate water up take. Hand harvesting took place in early August and on arrival at the winery the grapes were destemmed but not crushed. Skin contact was limited and lasted no more than a week at temperatures ranging between 22-26°C. Following gentle pressing malolactic fermentation took place in French oak barrels, 25% of which were new. The wine was sterile filtered before finally being bottled.

Really dark, rich aroma. Positively black-smelling. The alcohol’s a bit forward, but there’s very sweet bramble flavour, which is pretty attractive.


Château Mukhrani Saperavi 2012 £9.49
Region: Kartli, Georgia
Availability: 123 stores from Nov.
Abv: 13.5%
Winemaker: Lado Uzunashvili Winery: Château Mukhrani
Residual Sugar: 2.0g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Saperavi
Viticulture/ Vinification: The Château Mukhrani vineyards are planted adjacent to the winery and it takes under 12 minutes to transport the grapes from vine to crusher following harvest. Due to the long maturation period in general in the Mukhrani vineyards, each variety is picked at a different time and receives carefully pre-planned treatment in the winery. Once destemmed a portion of the grapes underwent a brief pre-fermentation cold soak. Fermentation took place with selected yeast strains at 22-24°C, during which pumping over, delestage, cap punching and partial oxygenation were practised. Pressing took place on either membrane or in basket presses, and 30 to 40% of the pressings were reintroduced to the free run juice. Malolactic fer-mutation only began seven to eight months after fermentation was completed, and the wine was then filtered and bottled.

The fruit on this smells v bit over-ripe. Dark, moody, toasty taste. Interesting.


Paul Cluver Ferricrete Pinot Noir 2013 £11.99
Region: Elgin
Availability: 229 stores
Abv: 13.5%
Country: South Africa
Winemaker: Andries Burger Winery: Paul Cluver Estate
Residual Sugar: 2.0g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Pinot Noir
Viticulture/ Vinification: Ferricrete is the name given to the iron rich soil which characterises this area. The Pinot Noir grapes for this wine have a long ripening period due to the cool Atlantic breezes that blow in over the elevated plateau of the region. The 2,000 hectare estate now forms part of the UNESCO world heritage site. The grapes were sorted by hand prior to crushing and then underwent cold maceration at 12-14°C for four to five days. Fermentation began naturally, and the must was inoculated with selected strains of Burgundian yeast. During fermentation the skin cap was punched two to three times per day, and the wine was then transferred to old French oak barrels where malolactic fermentation took place. The wine was matured in oak for three months before being finally racked, assembled, and bottled.

Not very pinot on the nose. A little baked. A touch of fizz. Some pinot flavour but not doing it for me at all.


Helderberg Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 £9.99
Region: Stellenbosch
Availability: 505 stores
Abv: 14.0%
Winemaker: Marc Kent Winery: Helderberg Winery
Residual Sugar: 2.5g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Viticulture/ Vinification: The slopes of the Helderberg mountain are blessed with fertile soils and moderate temperatures due to the close proximity of the Indian ocean. The vineyards are trellised and supplementary irrigation is used only when absolutely necessary. Yields are managed with pruning in winter and green bunch harvesting in early summer. The grapes for this wine were harvested manually and underwent a pre-fermentation cold soak. The must was then inoculated with a selected yeast strain and fermented until dry in stainless steel tanks with manual pump overs three times day. Following natural malolactic fermentation the wine was matured in old French oak barrels for nine to 12 months. A portion of the wine spent time on French oak staves in stainless steel and a portion remained unoaked. After selection and blending, the wine was fined with egg, filtered, and finally bottled.

Very blackcurrant and mint. Very minty palate as well. Fresh and refreshing. Alive. If you love cabernet sauvignon, you should try this.

:qofgold:

Petit Plaisir 2011 £7.99
Region: Western Cape, South Africa
Availability: 214 stores
Abv: 14.0%
Winemaker: Neil Bester Winery: Plaisir de Merle
Residual Sugar: 2.5g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 65% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot
Natural Cork 
Viticulture/ Vinification: The mountain ranges which surround the Paarl Valley supply the vineyards with rain during winter and the dry harvest season. The Tukulu and Hutton granite soils in this area also aid minimal interference in irrigation. The grapes were selected from vineyards situated on the south eastern slope of Simonsberg at an altitude of 250-370m, where the vines have an average age of 16 years and produce yields of 7-9 tonnes per hectare. The grapes for this wine were hand harvested and fermented in stainless steel tanks at 24°C for nine to 11 days. The juice was pumped over daily until dry, and the following maceration lasted for four to seven days. The wine was then racked off the skins. Malolactic fermentation was completed in the tanks and barrels before the wine was aged in old French and American oak barrels for periods of 12 to 16 months. The wine was blended and bottled with as little interference as possible.

Interesting and inviting aroma. Nice blend. Good feel, and a cracking price.


Houdamond Pinotage 2010 £10.49
Region: Stellenbosch
Availability: 171 stores
Abv: 14.0%
Winemaker: Wilhelm Kritzinger Winery: Bellevue Wine Estate
Residual Sugar: 3.2g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Pinotage
Viticulture/ Vinification: The Bellevue Estate is situated in the Bottlerary region of Stellenbosch, where the untrellised bush vines here are tended manually by Dirkie Morkel, the 4th generation owner. As these vines are between 17 to 57 years old this wine is the product of some South Africa's oldest Pinotage vines. The grapes for this wine were hand harvested and cold macerated before inoculation took place the next morning. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks between 22-28°C, and the grapes remained on skins for four days with frequent racking and pump overs. Following pressing the press juice was blended with the free run juice and allowed to complete primary fermentation. Following natural malolactic fermentation the wine was split between French and American oak barrels to mature for 15 months. Prior to bottling the wine was racked, settled and lightly filtered off the lees.

Very perfumed, almost tropical fruit, with a hint of coconut sun cream. In the best possible way. Sweet, rip and exciitnhg palate, with fresh acidity. I do love this. Perhaps a little OTT.

:qofgold:

Henry Fessy Coteaux Bourguignon 2011 £8.99
Region: Burgundy
Availability: 495 stores
Abv: 12.5%
Winemaker: Laurent Chevalier
Winery: Henry Fessy
Residual Sugar: <2.0 g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Gamay
Viticulture/ Vinification: The vines here have an average age of 40 to 50 years and are planted on soils composed of granite and clay at a density of 8,000 vines per hectare. They are pruned on the Gobelet system, manually harvested, and produce average yields of 45-50hl/ha. Following harvest 80% of the grapes were destemmed. Fermentation took place at 24-27°C with daily pumping over, and a short maceration period lasted for six to nine days. Following pressing in pneumatic presses the press juice was combined with the free-run juice and malolactic fermentation then began in tank. Oak was not used during the production of this wine.

Savoury nose. Quite interesting. Good mouthfeel. A bit of savoury texture but smooth and rounded. Good.

:qofgold:

Bichot Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune 2011 £12.99
Availability: 295 stores
Abv: 12.5%
Winemaker: Alain Serveau Winery: Albert Bichot
Residual Sugar: >2.0g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Pinot Noir
Viticulture/ Vinification: The Albert Bichot vineyards are planted at an altitude of 300-400m, and face south to east. The relatively high altitude and low temperatures result in a longer and slower ripening period. The grapes for this wine were harvested manually and on arrival at the winery were sorted by hand. They were then transported by gravity with no preliminary crushing to a combination of open-topped conical oak vats and stainless steel tanks. Fermentation on the skins with daily cap punching lasted for 18 to 25 days, and temperature control allowed for fermentation in two stages, at 10-14ºC initially and at 20-30ºC thereafter. After manual racking a part of the wine was aged in stainless steel tanks, and the rest in oak barrels. The wine was bottled eight to 12 months later.

Little aroma. Perhaps a hint of something nutty. Also a nutty palate. Rather lacking ripe fruit for me.


Château Gillet Bordeaux 2012 £6.99
Region: Entre-Deux-Mers
Availability: 489 stores
Abv: 12.5%
Winemaker: M Nadeau Pascal Poussevin Winery: Château Gillet (Grandissime)
Residual Sugar: <2.0g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon
Viticulture/ Vinification: The 100 hectares of Château Gillet vineyards are situated on south facing slopes in the Entre-Deux-Mers region near to Faleyras. The vines have an average age of 25 years and grow in classic Bordeaux chalk and clay soils. They are planted at a density of 3,300 per hectare and produce a maximum yield of 50hl/ha. Harvest was mechanical, and once sorted the grapes underwent a long one week maceration. Traditional fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks, and was followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine was aged in tank for up to 12 months prior to final blending and bottling.

Little aroma. Dry and unappealing. No. Resoundingly.


Château Tour D'Auron Bordeaux Supérieur 2011 £8.99
Availability: 499 stores
Abv: 13.0%
Winemaker: Gérard Milhade Winery: SCEA Lyonnat
Residual Sugar: 1.5g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Merlot
Viticulture/ Vinification: The grapes were sourced from a 15 hectare vineyard situated in the village of Galgon in the north of Libourne near the Fronsac appellation. The soil here is siliceous-clay over an iron oxide base, and the vineyard is planted at a density of 5,000 vines per hectare with average yields of 55hl/ha. The grapes were harvested in late September under hot, dry weather conditions. On arrival at the winery the grapes were sorted by a multi-tiered sorting machine with blowers. Pre-fermentation took place at 12ºC and lasted for 48 hours, and a four week maceration at 28-30ºC with short regular pump-overs followed. Both vinifcation and ageing took place in temperature-controlled cement vats, and the wine was bottled 18 months after harvest.

Very stalky nose. Intensely savoury and oaky. Lacking fruit. Exhaustingly dry.


Grand Bâteau Bordeaux 2011 £12.99
Availability: 376 stores
Abv: 13.0%
Winemaker: Véronique Antajan and Philippe Blanc Winery: Barrière Frères
Residual Sugar: 1.6g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon
Viticulture/ Vinification: Dating back to the 1980s, Grand Bâteau is the fruit of the collaboration between Maison Barrière and Château Beychevelle, a 5th Growth Saint Julien. This wine is blended from a selection of the best wines from Barrière Frère's partner estates, where the vineyards generally grow on clay and gravel soils and experience a typical Bordeaux oceanic climate.
The wine is ultimately overseen by Philppe Blanc, Beychevelle’s winemaker. The grapes were picked from vines with an average age of 25 years and quickly transported to the winery, where they were sorted carefully before destemming and crushing. Traditional fermentation took place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks over the course of one to two weeks. The wine was aged in oak barrels, 70% of which were new, for six to eight months before bottling.

Animal and farmyardy. A lot better than previous two clarets. Very savoury and oaky. Also needs a bit of fruit.


Château Le Bonnat Jeansotte 2010 £12.99
Region: Graves
Availability: 311 stores
Abv: 13.5%
Winemaker: Christian Langlade Winery: Vignobles Lesgourgues
Residual Sugar: 1.5g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon
Viticulture/ Vinification: The 35 year old vines here grow on siliceous graves and clay graves soils on a calcareous subsoil. They are planted at a density of 5,500 vines per hectare and are pruned using the double Guyot system. The vineyards are worked sustainably, without the use of pesticides. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 28°C. During the 18 days of vatting, twice daily remontage was practised for the first 10 days, and a single daily remontage for the last eight days. 10% of the wine was aged for one year in stainless steel tanks, and the rest of the wine was split between 1st and 2nd fill French oak barrels. These were selected by the Vignobles Lesgourgues team and three boutique coopers, Mercier, Jobit and Cadus.

Some nice Indian spices on the nose. Overly dry and savoury.


Corbières 2011 £7.99
Availability: 428 stores
Abv: 14.0%
Winemaker: Gérard Bertrand Winery: Gérard Bertrand
Residual Sugar: 4.1g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 30% Grenache, 50% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre
Viticulture/ Vinification: The terroir of Corbières reaches out from La Montagne Noire all the way to the Pyrénees, encompassing a varied quality of soils which were awarded their own AOC status in 1985. Most of the grapes were picked by hand, before being sorted both on the vine and in the winery. Vinification was traditional, and the grapes were destemmed prior to the three to four week long maceration process. Following pressing the wine underwent malolactic fermentation. 33% of the wine was matured in barrels for nine months, and the rest remained in vats.

Nice, rich, dark fruity nose. Ripe, fruity palate. This is pretty good. Lovely refreshing and moreish acidity. Good wine and a great price.

:qofgold:

Crozes Hermitage 2011 £12.99
Availability: 468 stores
Abv: 12.5%
Winemaker: Xavier Frouin Winery: Cave de Tain
Residual Sugar: 1.2g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Syrah
Viticulture/ Vinification: The grapes for this wine were 75% machine harvested and 25% handpicked from vines that grow on granitic and alluvial soils and produce maximum yields of 45hl/ha. The grapes were carefully hand selected at the winery and destemming was followed by an eight to 12 day fermentation in vats with twice daily pump-overs. Following gentle pressing in a pneumatic press, 30% of the wine was aged for six to eight months in 400L French oak barrels. The wine was fined with egg whites and underwent light membrane filtration before bottling.

Very peppery nose with some caramelised bacon. Bone dry and very savoury palate. Not bad at all.


Châteauneuf-du-Pape Legat du Pape 2010 £16.99
Availability: 401 stores
Abv: 14.0%
Winemaker: Thierry Walet Winery: Cellier des Dauphins
Residual Sugar: 2.5g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 60% Grenache,20% Syrah,10% Mourvèdre and 10% Cinsault
Viticulture/ Vinification: The grapes for this wine were sourced from a selection of Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards characterised by the famous ‘galets roulets'. They are harvested 30% by hand and 70% by machine, and produce average yields of 30hl/ha. Following harvest the grapes underwent a one week long maceration. This was followed by a long fermentation, and a further post-maceration which lasted up to three weeks. After gentle pressing the wine was aged in oak casks for at least six months. The wine was then blended and further aged in tank for 18 months prior to bottling.

Rather a lovely aroma. Very fresh and exciting. Just enough sweet fruit and good balance. Not something I usually say about CNDP. Good.


Castello della Paneretta Chianti Classico Riserva 2010 £13.99
Region: Tuscany
Availability: 199 stores
Abv: 13.5%
Winemaker: Paolo Caciorgna Winery: Castello della Paneretta
Residual Sugar: 2.8g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo
Viticulture/ Vinification: The grapes for this wine were sourced from 22 hectares of vineyards located at an altitude of 370m in the municipality of Barberino Val d’Elsa to the south-west of Florence. The dominant components of the soil are Galestro, a combination of limestone and clay, and another limestone called Alberese which is more fertile and soluble. The grapes for this wine were harvested at the beginning of October and then underwent a five day long temperature controlled maceration in steel tanks, with daily pumping over. The wine was aged for 24 months in French Allier oak casks, and for a further three months in bottle prior to release.

Light colour and very strong aroma. Like freshly chopped mint. Not a usualy Chianti aroma. Bright, minty and atypical palate. I adore it, but can’t recognise it at all. Very juicy acidity.

:qofgold:

Barolo Peironte 2009 £17.99
Region: Piedmont
Availability: 255 stores
Abv: 13.5%
Winemaker: Bruno Cordero Winery: Terre da Vino S.p.A.
Residual Sugar: <2.0g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Nebbiolo
Viticulture/ Vinification: The grapes for this Barolo were sourced from vineyards situated in the Langhe district of the Piedmont region. Following harvest the grapes for this wine underwent a 25 day long maceration period, and malolactic-tic fermentation then took place in stainless steel tanks. The wine was matured in oak barriques for 24 months and was ready to leave the cellar four years after its harvest date.

Appealing woody aroma. Woody and pleasant but not as good as I remember it. Used to be £22.


Villalta Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2010 £25.00
Availability: 216 stores
Abv: 15.0%
Winemaker: Carlo Speri Winery: F.lli Speri
Residual Sugar: 4.0g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 70% Corvina and 30% Rondinella
Viticulture/ Vinification: The grapes for this wine came from a single estate vineyard planted on a south-facing steep-sloped limestone hillside. The vines here are trained on the traditional “Pergola Veronese”, and are cultivated on terraces formed by dry stone walls known as “marogne”. Following harvest the best grape bunches were carefully selected by hand and placed on traditional 'arele' (mats) or plastic plateaux (trays), and left to dry for around 120 days under controlled humidity conditions in the well-ventilated 'fruttai' (grape drying rooms). This process took place in the winter as low temperatures are fundamental to concentrating the sugars in the grape. During the drying process the grapes gave up approximately 40% of their liquid, with a consequent concentration in sugars, tannin and other properties.

Attractive minty nose. Much brighter and fresher than most Amarone. Light and moreish. Good.

:qofgold:

Perez Burton Rioja 2011 £9.99
Availability: 411 stores
Abv: 14.0%
Winemaker: Telmo Rodriguez Winery: Compañía de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
Residual Sugar: 1.5g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Tempranillo
Viticulture/ Vinification: Working closely with local growers, Compañía de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez sourced the grapes for this wine from bush vine vineyards selected according to their location and altitude in the town of Lanciego. The grapes were harvested and selected by hand at the beginning of October, before being separated from the solids by gravity. A 15 to 20 day fermentation took place in concrete tanks with gentle pigeage, and the wine was then aged in French oak barrels for 12 to 14 months. The wine did not undergo cool treatment or fining, but was lightly filtered before bottling.

Not a great deal of aroma. Sweet vanilla flavour. Nice acidity. Rioja lite. Not a £10 wine.


Contino Rioja 2005 £23.00
Region: Rioja Alavesa
Availability: 212 stores
Abv: 14.0%
Winemaker: Jesus Madrazo
Winery: Contino
Residual Sugar: 2.0g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, 2.5% Mazuelo and 2.5% Garnacha
Viticulture/ Vinification: The vines here are planted on soils with a high limestone content substrata and clay and sand dominated topsoil. Some are over 60 years old. Following harvest the grapes were destemmed, and fermentation then took place in stainless steel tanks at 28-30°C with a maceration period of 10 to 15 days. The wine was aged for two years in French and American oak barrels, and spent a further year in bottle prior to release.

All sorts of interesting thngs going on on the nose of this one. Very herbal palate. Bright and fabulously interesting. Not a blockbuster, by any means.

:qofgold:

Palataia Pinot Noir 2012 £8.99
Region: Pfalz
Availability: 368 stores
Abv: 13.5%
Winemaker: Gerd Stepp Winery: GP Winery
Residual Sugar: 2.3g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Pinot Noir
Viticulture/ Vinification: The grapes for this wine are sourced from vineyards situated along the Haardt mountain range in the Pfalz region, an area spanning approximately 80km from north to south and stretching to the borders of Alsace. The grapes for this wine were handpicked and partially destemmed before being transported in bins to open fermenters without the use of pumps. The berries and juice underwent cold maceration at temperatures below 10ºC for eight days and alcoholic fermentation commenced naturally. Selected Burgundian yeasts were added at the later stages of fermentation, and regular pigeage was carried out to keep the cap of skins submerged. Following fermentation two thirds of the wine was transferred to 225L French oak barrels, and the rest remained in tank. Malolactic fermentation took place in both barrel and tank, and the wine was filtered once before bottling.

Sweet, ripe and juicy pinot nose. Fairly sweet palate, but very pinot and with nice balanced alcohol.


Old Man Creek Shiraz 2012 £6.49
Region: South East Australia
Availability: 479 stores
Abv: 13.0%
Winemaker: Russell Cody Winery: McWilliams Wines Group
Residual Sugar: 3.2g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 89% Shiraz, 9% Petite Verdot and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon
Viticulture/ Vinification: Planted at a density of 1,500 vines per hectare in self-mulching clay soils, the vines which produced the grapes for this wine are on average 14 years old. Following harvest the grapes were crushed, destemmed, and fermented in open top fermenters. Fermentation took place at 24°C with pump-overs carried out four times a day. Once fermentation was completed the must was drained and pressed before being matured in stainless steel tanks with French and American oak staves.

There’s a touch of marzipan on the nose of this. Very light, easy and sweet.


Barossa Petit Verdot 2012 £9.99
Region: Barossa
Availability: 187 stores
Abv: 14.0%
Winemaker: Stuart Bourne Winery: Château Tanunda
Residual Sugar: <2.0g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 95% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec
Viticulture/ Vinification: The grapes for this wine came from selected growers with vineyards in the Ebenezer, Eden Valley and Nuriootpa sub-regions of the Barossa Valley. The Ebenezer vineyards grow on sandy loam over red clay soils of the Kalleske family vineyard. The Eden Valley component was sourced from one of the coolest and highest sites near Mount Crawford, where the vineyards grown on soils of shale loam with granite outcrops, and the Nuriootpa component came from a vine-yard planted on rich river bed alluvial soils at the heart of the Valley Floor. The grapes were destemmed but not crushed, and spent seven days on their skins in static and open fermenters. Basket-pressing was followed by twice daily hand-plunging and pump-overs, after which the wine underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine was matured for 15 months in a combination of new and seasoned French oak barriques and hogsheads before bottling.

Not a great deal of aroma. Dark, tannic and tight. Might need a bit of time, and a steak.


Catapult Shiraz McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010 £13.99
Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia
Availability: 170 stores
Abv: 14.5%
Winemaker: Paul Smith and Paul Carpenter Winery: Wirra Wirra
Residual Sugar: 1.2g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 98% Shiraz and 2% Viognier
Viticulture/ Vinification: The Wirra Wirra Shiraz blocks are located in the McLaren Flat and Seaview sub regions of McLaren Vale, where the vine age ranges from 12 to over 45 years. The soil types here range from shallow loam with shale, to grey sands over ironstone. The blocks were harvested over the first three weeks of March. The white Viognier fruit was crushed, destemmed and cold soaked with the Shiraz fruit for two to three days. After the cold soak the individual ferments were inoculated with yeast and every ferment was tasted twice daily by the winemakers. The fermentation was pressed into a combination of French barriques and hogshead barrels, and once malolactic fermentation was completed the wines were racked and returned every four months. The wine spent 15 months in oak before bottling.

Sweet, rich, concentrated bramble aroma. Very rich and sweet and new worldy. It will have a lot of fans.


Marananga Dam Old Vines Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre 2011 £14.99
Region: Western Barossa Valley
Availability: 330 stores
Abv: 14.5%
Winemaker: David Powell Winery: Torbreck Vintners
Residual Sugar: 0.4g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 68% Grenache, 19% Shiraz and 13% Mataro
Viticulture/ Vinification: The vines here are planted on specifically selected sites in the Barossa Valley, and many are up to 100 years old. Sustainability and minimal use of treatments are key concerns in the vineyard. Each individual block was picked, de-stemmed, and vinified separately in open top fermenters where the juice was pumped over twice a day for six to seven days. After basket pressing the wines were transferred into tanks where they settled naturally before being racked into old French and American oak hogsheads. Following eight months of maturation the wine was assembled and bottled.

Very developed nose. Farmyardy and appealing. Sweet, very intensely refreshing and with smooth tannin.

:qofgold:

Ebenezer & Seppeltsfield Shiraz 2010 £14.99
Region: Barossa Valley
Availability: 241 stores
Abv: 14.0%
Winemaker: Toby Barlow Winery: St Hallett
Residual Sugar: 0.3g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 96% Shiraz, 4% Grenache
Viticulture/ Vinification: The grapes for this wine were sourced from the Ebenezer and Seppeltsfield regions of the Barossa Valley, where the vines grow on red brown, ironstone and limestone soils. The low-yielding vines here are between 10 to 30 years old. The grapes for this wine were harvested over three weeks in mid February. Each parcel was then fermented separately in stainless steel tanks with regular pumping over for eight to 10 days at 22-24°C. The wines were pressed off separately and transferred to medium toast American oak barrels to complete malolactic fermentation and age for 12 to 16 months. The individual wines were tasted and blended before bottling.

Black peppery and rich aorma. Sweet and rich dark berry palate.

CM Carmenère Elqui 2012 £7.99
Region: Elqui Valley
Availability: 293 stores
Abv: 14.5%
Country: Chile
Winemaker: Giorgio Flessati Winery: Viña Falernia
Residual Sugar: 3.1g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 100% Carmenère
Viticulture/ Vinification: The grapes for this wine come from a vineyard that is planted at an altitude of 640m in the warmest part of the Elqui Valley near to Vicuña. The climate here is dry, with 320 days per year of clear skies, and there is a stark contrast between day and night time temperatures. The grapes were handpicked in late May and then underwent a three day long cold maceration with selected yeast strains. During this time the juice was kept in stainless steel tanks with pistons that mimic the traditional method of punching down the skins. After malolactic fermentation a portion of the wine was aged in French and American oak barrels for six months. The remaining portion was aged in stainless steel tanks.

Minty aroma. Sweet, fruity and easy. Nice.

Old Vines Carignan 2010 £11.99
Region: Sauzal, Maule Valley
Availability: 120 stores
Abv: 14.0%
Country: Chile
Winemaker: Marcelo Retamal and Eduardo Jordán Winery: De Martino
Residual Sugar: 1.5g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 85% Carignan, 15% Other Varieties (Malbec, Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsault)
Viticulture/ Vinification: The grapes for this wine come from a vineyard in Maule located at an altitude of 177m. The bush vines were planted in 1957 on mainly granitic soils, and although not yet certified the vineyard is organically farmed. 2010 was a favourable vintage as it was cooler than average and dry in the key months. The grapes were harvested on the 22nd of April and destemmed on arrival at the winery. 60% of the grapes were not crushed and this portion underwent carbonic maceration. A seven day cold maceration took place at 8-10°C before fermentation. Fermentation occurred at 22-24°C in stainless steel tanks with wild yeast, and lasted 10 days. The wine was then aged in 100% French barriques for 16 months. After malolactic fermentation was complete the wine was racked twice and finally bottled.

Woody, earthy nose. Then a beautiful and bright, exciting palate. Lovely.

:qofgold:

Buena Vista Vinicultural Society Zinfandel 2011 £11.99
Region: Sonoma County
Availability: 506 stores
Abv: 13.5%
Country: U.S.A.
Winemaker: Brian Maloney Winery: Buena Vista
Residual Sugar: 0.5g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 77% Zinfandel, 12% Petit Syrah and 11% Syrah
Viticulture/ Vinification: The Zinfandel grapes for this blend were sourced from vineyards that are planted on clay loam soils at the south end of Sonoma Valley. The climate here is typically Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and cool nights thanks to the coastal influence of the San Pablo Bay. The vines here are over 30 years old. The grapes were hand harvested in the second week of October, destemmed, and then cold soaked at 8°C for two days before being allowed to warm naturally. Fermentation took place in a mixture of stainless tanks and open top oak fermenters. All open top ferments were allowed to ferment with indigenous yeast strains for around 14 days. Immediately following fermentation the wines were pressed to a mixture of French, Hungarian, and American oak barrels, where malolactic fermentation was allowed to progress naturally. The wine aged here for nine months before bottling.

Very red-fruity nose – like cranberry sauce. Bright acidity, refreshing, light, tangy, almost redcurranty.

Rockus Bockus 2010 £12.99
Region: Sonoma County
Availability: 124 stores
Abv: 14.5%
Winemaker: Keith Emerson Winery: Rockus Bockus Winery
Residual Sugar: 0.8g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Zinfandel, 19% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Syrah
Viticulture/ Vinification: The grapes for this wine were sourced from vines grown on the western slopes of the Mayacamas Mountain Range on volcanic soils. Each grape variety was vinified separately and most grapes were cold soaked for three to five days before inoculation. Extraction was encouraged by regular pump-overs and the wine was aged for four months in predominantly French oak prior to bottling.

Funky label and funky nose. Rather tropical and ripe. Juicy, bright, lifted, exciting. Try this.

:qofgold:

Banfi Aska Bolgheri 2010 £21.00

Region: Bolgheri Rosso DOC
Availability: stores
Abv: 14.5%
Winemaker: Rudy Buratti Winery: Banfi
Residual Sugar: 2.0g/l
Grape variety/ varieties: 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc
Viticulture/ Vinification: Named after an Etruscan wine vessel, this new wine is produced by Banfi in the estate’s 5 hectare site in the exciting coastal area of Bolgheri. Banfi has only recently launched this new Cabernet Sauvignon dominant wine. Vinification began with an 11 day maceration period which took place in stainless steel tanks at 24°C and was followed by a further three days at 28°C. Once alcoholic and malolactic fermentation were complete the wine was aged for 10 months in oak barrels and finally bottled.

Quite a cedary Bordeaux nose. Juicy acidity but fiery alcohol. A nice animal, gamey, leathery aftertaste.

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