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La Vicalanda Gran Reserva 2004 (Rioja, Spain)
Made exclusively with Tempranillo fruit from 'La Vicalanda' estate, within the
Viña Pomal property, this is the first Gran Reserva wine produced in La Rioja
to be classified as 'Alta Expresión'.
This Gran Reserva is deep red-purple colour with hints
of brick orange and intense and persistent aromas. The
nose displays a variety of aromas such as blackberries,
raspberries and liquorice with lingering perfumes of
vanilla, clove and cinnamon, which are a result of the
extended maturation period. This is a dense, rich wine
with notable body and viscosity and a complex and
Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2010 (New Zealand)
Deep blackish red. Dark brooding fruit aromas of black cherry, boysenberry with florals, truffle and tar. The palate is silkily structured, with layered fine tannins giving a texture of silk and rose petals. Flavours of the same black fruits and florals, backed with mushroom, bark, fennel and other spices. Dense yet elegant and poised. The finish gradually unwinds revealing bright red berry and violets. Will cellar until 2015 but unlikely to survive that long in my house!
Winery Profile Craggy Range is one of those producers where it’s hard to find fault with any of their wines. They own vineyards throughout New Zealand and while they’re a pretty big outfit, there are no compromises made on quality and the wines reflect the place where they are grown. – this sense of place is known as terroir.
In the the renowned Gimblett Gravels in Hawke’s Bay, warm climate varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah are grown. It sits on the the same latitude as Madrid so the grapes are able to ripen properly. Heading south, Craggy Range also grows grapes in Martinborough, Marlborough, Nelson, the undiscovered Waitaki Valley and cool Central Otago.
Montes Alpha Purple Angel 2010 (Colchagua Valley, Chile)
"Intense youthful purple colour. Delicate with hints of chocolate and cigar box aromas. Some Petit Verdot (from Apalta) adds structure and at the same time the wildness of blackberries. This wine is full bodied, with a considerable amount of ripe tannins giving grip and structure. Mouth filling with a very long finish. A super wine! Best decanted at least an hour in advance." Winemakers notes.
Serve with roast llama at family feasts or cellar for as long as you like.
Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2008 (South Africa)
The first Pinot Noir to be taken seriously from South Africa was Hamilton Russell. This is the most southerly wine estate in Africa and the closest to the sea and is located in the cool, maritime Walker Bay wine region, in a beautiful valley behind the old fishing village of Hermanus. The estate specialises in producing highly individual, terroir driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which are widely regarded as the best in South Africa and among the best in the New World.
Founder Tim Hamilton Russell purchased the undeveloped 170 hectare farm in 1975, after an exhaustive search for the most southerly site on which to make South Africa's top cool climate wines from a selection of noble varieties. His son Anthony, who took over in 1991, narrowed the range to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay only and registered Hamilton Russell Vineyards as an Estate, committing to work only with grapes from their terroir. Extensive soil research initiated in 1994 identified 52 hectares of stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil as optimal for the individual, origin expressive style they aim for and all plantings have now been limited to this soil type.
Anthony and winemaker Hannes Storm are completely dedicated to expressing the personality of the Hamilton Russell Vineyards terroir in their wines. Tiny yields and strong worldwide demand keep their elegant, individual, estate grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in restricted supply.
Finely oaked, with aromas and flavours of raspberry, cherry and plum, with hints of game, develop to a deeper more complex, earthy, mushroom character with bottle age. The Pinot-flavoured ripe sweetness is held together by fair tannins and perfect balance.
Château Beauchene Châteauneuf-du-Pape Grande Reserve 2007 (Rhône Valley, France)
A historic Château in the Southern Rhône, located just to the south of Orange and owned by the Bernard family, Château Beauchêne farm 80 hectares of vines split between Châteauneuf du Pape, Côtes du Rhône Villages and Côtes du Rhône. Michel & Dominique Bernard run the Château with the help of their daughter Amandine and a team of six others in the winery and vineyards.
Château Beauchêne have their Châteauneuf du Pape vineyards in the Mont-Redon and Courthézon sector of Châteauneuf du Pape, situated towards the north of the appellation on a distinct plateau. Here, the galet roulé boulders are at their most apparent and the vines are at their most exposed to the Mistral wind. This geographical situation tends to produce the Châteauneuf du Pape wines with the highest proportion of Grenache, due to its affinity with heat, wind and the low water table found on the plateau.
The Beauchêne Châteauneuf du Pape is no exception to this general rule – up to 85% Grenache from vines planted in 1905. Syrah and Mourvédre make up the rest of the blend, with a slightly higher proportion of the earlier ripening Syrah used to Mourvédre, as Mourvédre can struggle in some years that have continuously cold Mistral winds. The wine is aged both in foudres (large old oak barrels) and newer, smaller oak barriques for around a year before bottling. This early bottle date for Châteauneuf du Pape tends to capture a dynamically powerful young wine and consequently, Grande Réserve is highly age-able. The staggeringly high quality 2007 vintage has also exacerbated the natural power of the wine: whilst it can be drunk now, with a lot of decanting first, it will begin to really show better from around 2015 onwards.
drink 2011 – 2022
Gold medal winner at the Decanter World Wine Awards.
Gold medal winner at the Decanter World Wine Awards.
Barolo 2005, Bovio Rocchettevino (Piemont, Italy)
Gianfranco Bovio is as famous for his old restaurant "Il Belvedere" (arguably the best restaurant in the wine and truffle region of Piedmont) as he is for his wines. Half the production was drunk by his restaurant customers and the States grabbed the rest as their chequebooks tended to be the fattest! However, he retired from the restaurant a couple of years ago freeing up a little of the stock for other markets and the UK now gets a small allocation.
The Rocchettevino is a single vineyard Barolo from the north east corner of La Morra and is a great introduction to serious Barolo at a good price. Very approachable and aged in bottle so as to minimise the oak effect on the delicate Nebbiolo grape and to enhance the floral redcurrant liveliness reminiscent of the Barolos from this commune.
Château de Vimières 2006 (Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France)
Vimières is famous for not wanting to be famous! Owned and run by Jacques and Eric Boissenot this small property in the Northern Médoc is much sought after by those in the know. Not because of it having any great status itself but because of the Boissenots. Painfully discrete to the point of anonymity the Boissenots are the consultants for the ‘Left Bank’ and you can be pretty much assured that if any Médoc winery got the nod in the 1855 classification the Boissenots will be playing a part in it today. Their 180 clients include Latour (since 2000), Lafite (since 1967), Margaux (since 1985), Mouton-Rothschild etc etc.
This being the Boissenots own property they don’t want it to overshadow any of their clients so they do their best to hide it from journalists politely asking them not to give it public reviews!
Pangea Syrah 2006 (Chile)
Made by John Duval (previously the winemaker at Penfolds, in charge of Grange) this is widely regarded as Chile's best Syrah. This is a big heavy red, best decanted and has loads of herby black pepper and spice.
Morey-Saint-Denis 2007, Domaine Alain Michelot(Burgundy, France)
A robust, game-y, savoury and meaty Burgundy from
the northern Côte de Nuits, made by the father and daughter team of Alain and
Elodie Michelot. Morey-Saint-Denis is lesser known than its two neighbouring
villages – Chambolle-Musigny to the south and Gevrey-Chambertin to the north – but
makes equally good wines, particularly as food matches with classic Burgundian
dishes like Boeuf Bourguignon and Coq au Vin. Alain and Elodie are one of the
defiantly old-fashioned and traditional domaines of the Côte de Nuits, so would
likely roll over and expire if anyone suggested drinking their wine without
food. A great Sunday roast wine.
Masi Costasera Amarone Classico 2007 (Italy)
Bright and intense on the nose with aromas of preserved cherries and dried plums together with hints of fruits of the forest and cinnamon. Good weight from the alcohol and structured on the palate opening out to attractive aromas of cherries and vanilla and a long velvety finish.
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