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Portfolio Tasting Preview

28 August 2018

Portfolio Tasting Preview

S.C.Pannell, 'Old McDonald' McLaren Vale Grenache 2017

Winemaker Steve Pannell believes this is “quite possibly the best Grenache I have ever made”.  2017 was a mild vintage and the fruit from the 75-year-old vines in the Old McDonald vineyard in Blewitt Springs was harvested unusually early. With partial whole bunch fermentation for added complexity, the wine spent 11 days on skins prior to pressing and was matured in large French oak vats for nine months before bottling.  Exhibiting classic Grenache notes of raspberry leaf and violets complemented by Turkish delight, this is a perfumed, elegant wine with well-integrated sandy tannins.


Dandelion Wonderland Riesling 2017 - Winner of the IWC Australian Riesling Trophy in 2018. 

The Wonderland Riesling comes from vineyards first planted in 1912. The old vines produce fruit with remarkable concentration. Made from free run juice fermented at low temperatures to preserve aromatics, the wine displays trademark Eden Valley Riesling characteristics: stony minerality and zesty lime citrus notes.  Linear and precise, the palate is bone dry, with refreshing acidity complementing the peach, mandarin and citrus fruit.

Clau de Nell, Grolleau IGP du Val de Loire 2015

A grape native to the Loire, this is the only Grolleau in our portfolio.  The wine is certified organic and biodynamic. Hand harvested and 100% destemmed, the grapes were fermented in oak using indigenous yeasts prior to ageing for 18 months in old oak barrels.  Bottled on fruit days according to the Biodynamic calendar, without fining or filtration and only minimal use of sulphur, this is a crisp wine with bright acidity and fragrant notes of blueberry and blackberry fruit.

Jean-Claude Boisset, Chambolle-Musigny 2016 – Winner of IWC Gold 2018

This cuvee is a blend of four climats within the Chambolle-Musigny appellation and is made using fruit from organically managed vineyards.  Garnet in colour with hints of purple, the nose exhibits complex aromas of blackberries, violets, pepper and toasty notes.  On the palate the wine has a lovely mouthfeel, fresh and delicately scented with tannins very much in evidence on the long, structured finish.  Undoubtedly a star of the vintage, it was awarded 94-95 points from James Suckling and a 17/20 from Richard Hemming MW from jancisrobinson.com (outscoring Joseph Drouhin, Dujac, Joseph Faiveley, Roche de Bellene and Hudelot-Noellat).

Domaine Robert-Denogent, Pouilly-Fuissé ‘La Croix’ 2015

This is our first showing of this wine.  Selected from low-yielding, fifty-year-old parcels scattered across four hectares in Fuissé, La Croix is considered the top wine from this family run Domaine.  Unusually for the Mâconnais, the wine undergoes extended oak ageing – spending 30 months in new and old barrels prior to bottling.  The result is a rounded, silky wine with bright acidity and ripe, white peach aromas with notes of baked apples rounded out by toasty vanilla notes from time spent in oak.

Principe Pallavicini, Roma DOC Malvasia Puntinata 2017

We welcome the historic Pallavicini family to our portfolio. This great value wine from Malvasia Puntinata comes from the recently established Roma DOC, an interesting appellation located on the volcanic soils of southern Lazio. Following a cold maceration, the grapes were fermented at 12-16°C to retain aromatics.  The subsequent five months ageing on fine lees gave the wine added complexity and a silkier texture.  This is a fresh and elegant wine with delicate ripe peach and apricot notes and a long minerally finish.

Poggio al Tesoro, 'Il Seggio' Bolgheri 2015

Following the well received 2014 vintage, we will be showing the newly released 2015, from a highly regarded vintage.  This Bordeaux blend of 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot has crunchy red berry fruit complemented by mineral and spicy notes. Medium bodied with elegant silky tannins, this is a well-structured wine with a precise, lively finish.

Alter, Ribeiro Blanco 2017

This blend is selected from small plots of native white varieties, Treixadura, Godello and Loureira, grown on the granite-based soils of Galicia in Northern Spain. This unoaked wine has lovely aromatics, nice depth on the mid-palate given definition by a racy acidity on the finish.  It is one of the most distinctive Spanish dry white wines we have tasted.

Finca Villacreces, Ribera del Duero 2015

Awarded 95 points by James Suckling - the highest score he has ever given this wine - this expressive, full-bodied red has layers of spicy black fruit, smoky espresso notes and hints of graphite.  The grapes are grown on old vines on the Ribeira del Duero’s ‘Golden Mile’, next to illustrious neighbours Vega Sicilia and Dominio de Pingus. Previously some of the vines at Finca Villacreces were used for Flor de Pingus, which retails for around four times the price of this wine, so it offers incredible value.

Azamor, Petit Verdot 2014

Rarely found outside its traditional French heartland, Petit Verdot may be considered an alternative choice for a Portuguese winery, but boutique producer Azamor has made something of a speciality of this grape, with 2014 marking their eighth vintage. This is a vibrant, deeply coloured red with delicate black fruit aromas complemented by smoky notes from the French oak.  Elegant and complex with soft ripe tannins and excellent length.

Spice Route, 'Chakalaka' Swartland 2015

Tim Atkin MW describes the 2015 vintage in South Africa as “the best I’ve tasted in 26 years of writing about the country’s wines” with the dry weather favouring Swartland’s old vines.  ‘Chakalaka’ refers to South Africa’s signature spice blend, the Zulu word for “togetherness” which is very apt given this is a blend of six varieties (Syrah, Carignan, Mourvedre, Tannat, Petite Sirah and Grenache). This deeply-coloured red is big and bold with well-balanced tannins and an intense perfume of red plum fruit and spice notes of clove and white pepper.

Bride Valley Dorset Crémant

So hot off the press, we don’t yet have a tasting note for it.  This unique offering from Steven Spurrier’s Bride Valley marks England’s first Crémant to have been certified with a new Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).  This non-vintage blend from grapes from the 2015 and 2016 harvest is made using lower pressure (4.5 bar as opposed to a more standard 6 bar for Champagne and English sparkling) which results in a softer mouth feel and a more approachable style for earlier drinking.  

Littorai Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2016

Ted and Heidi Lemon's mission with Littorai was to find the best spot to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay along the littoral (coastal) zones of the U.S.A. Their family run winery, founded in 1993, is now celebrating its 25th anniversary. The grapes for this wine were whole bunch fermented using native yeasts prior to undergoing full malolactic fermentation and 10 months ageing in French oak.  Light in body but deeply aromatic with red and black fruits framed by a touch of chocolate and white pepper spice, this is a fresh wine with supple tannins and a lively acidity.