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Renieri Brunello di Montalcino 2007 (Italy)
Renieri have a 128 hectare estate in the southern portion of Montalcino, yet only 30 hectares of this estate are planted with vineyards. Yields are carefully controlled here – averaging around one bottle per vine, roughly 1kg of grapes per vine – and much of the vineyard was replanted in 1998, to improve the overall vine health of the vineyard. Sangiovese is the mainstay grape of the estate (and the only variety allowed in Brunello di Montalcino), but typically for a high quality Tuscan estate, there is Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Syrah planted too.
The winemaking takes place in an underground cellar, a necessarily wise choice for the scorching Montalcino summers, and is also gravity fed to ensure grapes remain gently handled after harvest.
The wine undergoes fermentation in stainless steel tanks with pumping over during the ferment to extract colour from the skins, followed by a maceration on the skins for a further 3 to 4 weeks. This makes a big-boned style of Sangiovese, which isn’t known for either its ability to produce deep colours or for dramatically full-bodied wine: however, Renieri Brunello di Montalcino, like most Montalcinos, comes in at a healthy 14% alcohol.
The Brunello di Montalcino has a two-part ageing process: firstly, 24 months in small oak barriques, then a further 24 months in the enormous old oak botti casks. These are the traditional casks for ageing Brunello di Montalcino and add the more rounded, soft-yet-full style that’s typical of this style of Sangiovese.
Chante Cigale Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2010Magnum (Rhône, France)
Domaine Chante Cigale, located within the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape has been owned by the Sabon Favier family for several generations. Recently Christian Favier, the father, released the reins to his son Alexandre who is fast becoming a new rising star of Chateauneuf. Despite only being in his early 20's he has been lauded by notable journalists Steve Danzier in the US and Jancis Robinson,UK. The soils of the vineyard are made up of clay and chalk covered with a layer of the classic large pebbles ('galets') found in this area, which naturally keeps yields low. The vines are over 45 years old and situated near the plateau de Carbieres. Harvesting is by hand, with selective sorting of the grapes. The wine has lots of warm red fruit and damson aromas with cinnamon, spices and jam but also concentration on the palate, then liquoricey richness and elegance to finish. Try with lamb or lentil and vegetable moussaka and any rich hot-pot that heavily features 'herbes de Provence' or similar aromatic herbs
Chateau Gruaud Larose 2006 (Bordeaux, France)
A 2ème cru classé Château in Bordeaux’s great 1855 classification of estates. Gruaud Larose are situated in Saint-Julien, arguably the most consistently fine appellation within Bordeaux and are a classic Bordeaux Château in every sense - gated, turreted, grand architecture, a spotless cuverie where the latest winemaking technology is evidently on display and serried ranks of oak barriques in the cellar. Typically for Saint-Julien, Gruaud Larose uses a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the grand vin blend, with Merlot making up most of the remainder. The other Bordelais grapes of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot play a smaller part in Gruard Larose’s blend than at other Châteaux, but this is often the case in Saint-Julien, where Cabernet Sauvignon reaches the heights it does. 2006 for Bordeaux’s ‘Left Bank’ (where Saint-Julien is located) was very much a Cabernet year and consequently, a higher proportion was used at the Château than other years. This means that the wine is still dark, brooding, full and ‘structured’ (high acidities, high levels of tannin). Decanting is recommended before drinking.
Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz 2009 (Hunter Valley, Australia)
Graveyard Vineyard is the jewel in the Brokenwood crown, responsible for the company's flagship red wine. The vineyard was initially planted with Shiraz vines in 1968. With extremely heavy clay soils, yields are low, but fruit flavour is intense through employment of meticulous vinification techniques.
Tasting Notes: 2009 vintage
A welcome return of our flagship Graveyard Shiraz after a one year absence and in quality terms a Graveyard Shiraz that fulfils every high standard we set. Excellent mid to deep colour with bright purple tints on the rim. The result of a cooler year
but Hunter reds are never really black in colour. Strong lifted fruit aromas of red cherry and sweet earth. As a young wine the oak (nearly all French) is up front with briar-like bramble characters and vanillin sweetness. This will settle into the wine with some bottle age. The Hunter savouriness continues on the palate. Lively red fruit characters supported by fine
grained tannins from both the fruit and oak. A long finish and seamless structure giving
what the late Len Evans called ‘line and length’. Easily sits alongside the great fine structured Graveyard’s of the past three decades.
Mascarello Monprivato Barolo 2004 (Piedmont, Italy)
Mascarello's Barolos are authentic and pure. From a perfect 6 hectare site at an altitude of 280 metres located in the village of Castiglione Falletto in the heart of the Barolo wine-growing area, Monprivato is a historic vineyard mentioned in the land registry archives as far back as 1666 and counted in 1985 by the great Renato Ratti among one of only eleven prime historic Barolo vineyards.
"Giuseppe Mascarello and son" is today run by Mauro, a standard bearer - with no hestation or sign of giving way - for old style Barolo. To make it quite clear, the kind of Barolo that undergoes lengthy fermentation prior to being left to mature patiently in large casks of Slovian oak and then in the bottle; a Barolo that is completely extranious to any of the modern ideas and short-cuts which risk undermining and compromising the image and prestige of his unique, matchless great red wine.
Barolo Monprivato is only produced in great vintages, in quantities varying between 14 and 24 thousand bottles compared to an annual production potential of 41,000.
Mascarello's Barolo Monprivato reveals good intensity as well as a fleshy up-front bouquet of liquorice,tobacco, sweet cherries, melted asphalt and rose petals. A classic Nebbiolo, this full-bodied, surprisingly soft, silky textured Barolo can be drunk now as well as cellared for 15 years.
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