Although the world has been turned upside down of late, Covid-19 hasn’t interrupted our Captain Kirk approach to wine-buying – seeking out new wines, new spirits and beers, boldly drinking what no man has drunk before. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration but we are continuously looking for exciting new wines that place character and drinkability ahead of the ego of the winemaker and we’re not about to let the greatest crisis of our generation interfere with that. Self-evidently tastings and vineyard visits have been off the agenda of late but, in between getting deliveries out and taking our hour’s worth of exercise, we have been kissing frogs aplenty in search of the odd Princess. Given the unprecedented success that our mixed case offers have had of late, we felt that the simplest way of showing off some of these new acquisitions was to pack them up into tidy, accessibly priced 6 packs and take you on a bit of a voyage of discovery.
First out of the traps, Piemonte and Uruguay.
Argentina and Chile have been banging the drum for South America for decades but winemakers in Uruguay have been quietly going about their business and, although production still only represents some 2% of the continent’s output, quality is getting better and better.
Traversa is Uruguay’s leading producer, established over 60 years ago with coastal vineyards that benefit from cooling breezes and a maritime climate tailor-made to keep alcohol levels in check and develop bright, fruit-driven wines. They use state of the art technology and pride themselves in the sustainable nature of the winery too - in 2014 they introduced solar panels, bottle weights have been reduced by 25% and they’ve increased the use of composting to replace inorganic fertilisers.
1 bottle each of the following, delivered locally free of charge £59.50
FincaTraversa Sauvignon Blanc- Aromas of green apples, citrus, fresh herbs and some tropical notes. A light and totally refreshing palate.
FincaTraversa Chardonnay- Crystalline greenish yellow with intense aromas of green apple with herbal and buttery notes. On the palate it is fresh and light.
FincaTraversa Tannat-Merlot- Fresh red-fruit flavours such as plums dominate this mid-bodied wine. The palate offers well integrated juicy tannins and ripe red fruits that lead into a lingering finish.
FincaTraversa Tannat- A dry, full-bodied wine with red fruits such as plums and cherries with hints of spice.
FincaTraversa Reserva Cabernet Franc-Tannat- An engaging red wine, with a lot of energy. Some savoury character, good dark berry fruit and a vibrant acidity.
FincaTraversa Reserva Marselan-Tannat-Merlot- A lively, full bodied and opulent wine with aromas of ripe red and black fruits accompanying notes of chocolate, vanilla, and sweet spice. The palate is well-balanced and engaging, the finish is long and lingering. (Marselan is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon & Grenache developed near Marselan in France in 1961)
Il Cascinone is the jewel in the crown of one of Piedmont’s largest producers. They acquired the estate in the Monferrato hills back in 1999 and have embarked on a major programme of restoration and replanting to return it to its former glory with impeccably managed vineyards and a state-of-the-art winery. We should love to claim that this is a super-quaint, family owned winery with heritage extending back over 10 generations but that would be an outright lie. It does, however produce some really stunning wines at very affordable prices.
1 bottle each of the following, delivered locally free of charge £53.50
Crocera Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2017 – ripe, sassy, bitter cherry and a discreet peck of oak on the finish.
Soliti Merlot 2018 – plump, dark, round and generous
Leccio Monferrato Chiaretto 2018 – pale pink rose from Pinot Noir and Barbera; supple and refreshing
Camillona Sauvignon Blanc 2018 – vibrant, generously flavoured Sauvignon with a bracing acidity.
Fontanina Riesling 2017 – ripe, full flavoured Riesling; round and mouth-filling
Camp Fiorito Chardonnay 2018 – totally charming, slightly restrained with a splash of oak