As the year moves on and Spring apparently is just around the corner...we've added a veritable buttload (about 126 gallons) of new wines, here is a run down of part 1:
Jamsheed Harem Ma Petit Francine Cabernet Franc £17.75
Named after a Persian King, apparently he stored grapes in a glass jar over the winter, fermentation ensued and one of his harem drank the 'poison' in despair at her migraines and was cured forever… The Winemaker Gary Mills spent 2 years under the stewardship of legendary Paul Draper at Ridge vineyards in California. Gary specialises in making low intervention wines full of varietal flavour and expressing the characteristics of the vineyard. This Cab Franc is very much in the Loire style, with muted fruits and earthy leafiness coming through, Mark has described it as’ dirty, but in a good way’
Luke Lambert Crudo Shiraz £20.59
Part of the self-titled “South Pack” of young Aussie winemakers, most of whom have lived and worked in Europe, drink French wines at home and look as much to France and Italy for inspiration as to Australia. Luke Lambert subscribes to as little as possible chemicals in the vineyard, hand harvesting, wild yeast ferments, low levels of new oak, moderated alcohols, savoury palate structures and food friendly styles. Bottled without fining or filtration, limited skin contact and absolutely no new oak, this is about as far as it’s possible to get from typical ‘Aussie Shiraz’ “...smells like an exotic northern Rhone wine. Deeply concentrated but energetic ...Finishes with impressive clarity and lift...” Josh Raynolds for IWC July 2012
Coto de Gomariz Blanco £15.25
From the eastern edge of Galicia, The Ribeiro DO is undergoing a resurgence, and Chris is a particular fan of their crisp, aromatic whites. Cistercian monks first established the vineyards in the 10th century, and the estate is now owned by the Carreiro Family. Since taking over about 30 years ago, they have restored the quality of vineyards, planting incredibly densely, but cultivating a very low yield per vine. A blend of traditional Galician varieties (though the vineyards of the Vinho Verde in Portugal lay claim to them as well) mostly Treixadura with some Godello, Loureira and Albarino this is zesty with fantastic acidity and a hint of aromatic roundness and superb minerally finish. Highly recommended with razor clams.
Alvaro Castro Dao Tinto £13.45
If you’ve been sharing our enthusiasm for all things Portuguese over the past 12 months, hopefully you will be familiar with the surprisingly elegant Outeiro from Alvaro Castro in the Dao, well this is its bigger brother. The Dao is a little further inland and even more mountainous compared to the more famous, and much hotter Duoro, and with its vineyards in clearings surrounded by pine forests, is arguably better suited for great winemaking. Alvaro has made his reputation on producing lighter and more expressive wines, a world away from the stereotypically high alcohol, highly tannic Portuguese reds, ‘I hate alcoholic wines’, says Alvaro. ‘When they are fruity enough I don’t feel the alcohol, but as they get older I do. Alcohol is like salt in your food: you don’t want too much’. The Tinto is 50% Alfrocheiro, and 25% each of the legendary Touriga National and TInta Roriz (Tempranillo), it then spends 12 months in old oak barrels. The wine has intense red and black aromas, with a dense palate with spicy fruit and slight chocolaty notes, and well balanced pure acidity.
Suertes del Marques
Based in the volcanic foothills of Tenerife, Suertes del Marques were founded in 2006 famed for their natural wines from 9 hectares of very old ungrafted vines. The reds are generally from the native Listran Negro, and the whites Listran Blanco (also known as Palomino, the main grape in sherry). As the vines are from ungrafted rootstock- the isolation and volcanic soils are unwelcoming to Phylloxera, truly scarce in Europe, and the lack of fining or filtration in the wines leads to intense wines with incredible depth of terroir characteristics. We have stocked their entry level 7 Fuentes for some time now, and have recently expanded with their more premium offerings.
Taken for the name for the unique Caneian method of growing the vines, it translates as ‘The Braided Cord’. This is Mainly Listan Blanco with a "vidueño" (a vineyard blend) of Gual, Marmajuelo, Baboso Blanco, Albillo Criollo, Vijariego Blanco and Verdello the exact composition changes year to year. The grapes are pressed and transferred into large 500l oak barrels and undergoes ‘spontaneous’ fermentation (using the wild yeast cells already on the grape skins) for about 3 weeks. The wine rests in barrel undergoing monthly batonnage for about 10 months and bottled without fining or filtering. Distinctive and anarchic have been used to describe this wine, luscious pear and ripe stone fruit aromas with taunt lemon and slightly nutty flavours on the palate and bone dry acidity on the palate.
El Ciruelo £29.50
From a plot of just ¾ of a hectare, also including a small plum orchard within the vineyard, this is from 90 year old ungrafted Listran Negro vines with a bit of Listran Blanco. Fermented in open concrete vats and around a month of maceration, the wine is then transferred into those large oak barrels and left for a year before being bottled warts and all as it were. Bright ruby red with intense minerally cherry and black raspberry flavours. Chris’s tasting notes read “slightly gamey but beautifully savoury, great mouthfeel and texture, disarmingly appealing”
Vidonia is the old name for this region within the Caneries, and back in the 17th century, when the Canararian wine trade was at its peak, vidonia wines were highly prized in Britain and the West Indies. This is made from two very old ungrafted vineyards, El Barranco and La Cabezada, high up in the volcanic foothills, very little of this wine is produced each year. This is the bigger brother to the Trenzado, and winemake Roberto Santana follows the same minimal interference winemaking process. "This is a serious, super-austere, mineral white with a sharp palate, great liveliness, acidity and freshness. It's clear in this wine that the Listán Blanco is very transparent to the soils. It is mineral!" 93 points, Luis Gutiérrez, eRobertParker.com, Feb 2015
La Liebre y La Tortuga Albarino £12.25
Eulogio Pomares, of the famed Zarate cellar in Rias Baixas, was asked by his colleagues at Vinos Fento to be the winemaker of a new venture, making well priced Albarino, called La Liebre y La Tortuga (The Hare and the Tortoise). The vines are grown right at the bottom the famous Rias Baixas appellation, literally facing Portugal, growing as they do on the banks of the river Minho which forms a natural border between Spain and its neighbour. The wines from this area are a bit less acidic and produce a slightly rounder wine without losing any of the typical Albarino elegance
Donovan Rall White £22.99
Rall wines were established in 2008 and are owned and run by young independent winemaker Donovan Rall. After graduating with a Viticulture and Oenology degree from Stellenbosch University in 2005 and extensive travels and harvests all over in the next few years, Donovan returned to SA in 2007 for a season in the Swartland. Here he found his inspiration for the Mediterranean varietals and the dream of making these unique and natural styled wines under his own label from these scattered old vineyards was born. The focus was always going to be on one white and one red blend produced by hand in tiny quantities from the most unique and oldest possible sites he could find. The wine making simple, each parcel allowed to ferment and mature naturally to truly reflect the character of each vineyard and then the right combination of these components would ultimately form the 2 blends. With this in mind the first 10 barrels of Rall wines were made in 2008 and a few years down the line nothing has changed. Production is still tiny and the focus remains on the 2 wines, learning and understanding more about each vineyard and its contribution every vintage. The 10 barrels of 2013 are a blend of Chenin Blanc, Verdelho, Chardonnay, & Viognier. The grapes are picked as early as possible and rushed to the cellar where depending on the varietal it could either be crushed and destemmed or transferred directly into a tiny manually operated basket press to be crushed whole bunch. The juice goes into older French barrels with nothing but sulphur added at this stage. Fermentation occurs naturally without the addition of any yeasts or nutrients and usually takes between 3 to 9 months to be completed depending on the variety. The wine stays on the lees in barrel with regular battonage for 10 months before blending and bottling. Minerally floral notes from the Verdelho and Viognier makes this an interesting match with most seafood and Asian inspired dishes.
Buil y Giné, Priorat Giné Giné £13.99
Ah Priorat, the wine Scotchguard was invented for…
Set up in 1996 by Xavi Giné to bring affordable Priorat to the masses¸ Giné Giné was the first wine he made in 1998. They describe this as ’that this is the best introduction to Priorat. If you don’t know anything about Priorat, or you have it clear but you want to recover its very essence, this is your wine. Fruity and mineral, as a Priorat wine must be, and without any interference.
It is so versatile that we call it “our jack of all trades”.