Calmel & Joseph, Corbières, 2012
Ruby-red robe and a pronounced nose of black fruit, fresh figs and prunes. Clean and crisp on the palate, with notes of garrigue scrubland, spices and quince. Fine tannins, ending with a hint of truffle. Well-balanced and elegant, with very good ageing potential.
16.5/20 Jancis Robinson.
“Syrah, Grenache and a bit of Cinsault. Pure delicious red fruit on the nose. Sweet rounded cherry and plum swathed in a sinewy, slightly rugged, leather strap of tannins. The taut refined acidity, that is such a hallmark of Calmel & Joseph, strims through the sweetness of the fruit like a blade, leaving freshness and just a hint of earthy spice in its wake. Just a little Cinsault, and yet it brings it distinctive soprano note into the deeper alto and bass tones of the Syrah and Grenache.”
Côtes du Roussillon Villages AOP Calmel & Joseph, 2013
Deep purple red colour, almost black. The nose is pronounced with hints of ripe red fruits, almost jammy. Cherry, fig and dried plum dominate. The attack is concentrated but soft. Natural sugar envelops soft tannins. Aromas of candied fruits cover the back of the palate. Nice balance and good length.
Dezzani – Barolo “San Carlo”, 2012
From one of the great recent Barolo vintages, the taste is dry, full, austere, and velvety. The scents are of a violet, rose and spices. It has a garnet red colour.
Grapes: Nebbiolo – clones: Michet, Lampia and Rosé
Area: Langhe, Piedmont.
The manual harvest in early October is followed by vinification: forty-days of maceration at controlled temperature and the subsequent malolactic fermentation. The process is completed by a twenty-four months ageing in big oak barrels and a further twenty four months in bottle.
The colour is typically red garnet.
The aromas are complex and elegant, ranging from ripe red fruit and spices, until toasty and ‘tar’.
The flavour is gently tannic, austere, full and velvety.
This great bottle is ideal with important first courses, roasts, game and hard cheeses, but can also be a great sipping wine after dinner.
Serve at 20-22 °C.
Wine with a long ageing potential.
E. Guigal – Côtes du Rhône Rouge, 2012
Deep and dark red. Shiny. Aromas of fresh fruits with red berries and spices. Full, round and racy. Rounded and smooth tannins. A full-bodied, rich and intensely aromatic wine.
90 Points Wine Enthusiast.
“A perennial favorite, it’s reassuring to see that the quality continues to remain high even from Guigal’s least expensive cuvée. Red fruits—cherries and raspberries—marry easily with hints of clove, cracked pepper, black olive and espresso. It’s round on the midpalate, showing more focus and ample length on the finish.” J.C. (2/1/2015)
Soil type Varied soil, sediment, limestone, granite. Pebbles and Alluvia.
Grape variety 60% Syrah, 35% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre.
Average age of vines 35 years.
Winemaking Traditional winemakeing methods, temperature controlled fermentation. Long soaking on the skins.
Ageing 1 ½ years in oak foudres.
Average yield 41 Hl / hectare.
Average annual production 3.500.000 bottles.
Tasting Eye : Deep and dark red. Shiny.
Nose : Fresh fruits with red berries and spices.
Palate : Full, round and racy. Rounded and smooth tannins. A full-bodied, rich and intensly aromatic wine.
Overall : Full with a long finish and plenty of elegance and finesse due to the well balanced tannins and fruit.
The Guigal Estate was founded in 1946 by Etienne Guigal in Ampuis, a small ancient village and cradle of the Côte-Rôtie appellation. It shelters a unique vineyard where the vines and the wines have been famous for 2,400 years. Arriving in 1924 at 14 years old, the founder vinfied 67 harvests in Côte-Rôtie and, at the beginning of his career, took part in the development of Vidal-Fleury establishment.
In 1961, although still very young, Marcel Guigal took over management of the Establishment beside his father who was stricken suddenly with total blindness. In 1973, his wife Bernadette joined him and they worked together to develop the family business. In 1975, their son Philippe was born. Today he is the Estate’s winemaker. With his wife Eve by his side, he represents the third generation and continues the family work in the service of the Great Wines of the Rhône Valley.
Since 1946, hard work and perseverence have born fruit and certain events attest to this, notably the purchase of the Vidal-Fleury Establishment in the mid ‘80s. Although belonging to the Guigal Estate, Vidal Fleury maintains commercial and technical autonomy.
Ten years later in 1995 the estate acquired the famous Château d’Ampuis, an important historic and oenological monument whose long history is directly linked to the Côte-Rôtie appellation. An ancient fort built in the 12th century, it was transformed into a Renaissance château in the 16th century. The château is situated amongst the vines and bordered by the king of rivers: the Rhône.
The Château d’Ampuis has become the headquarters of the Guigal Estate whilst the offices and the cellars remain in the ancient small village of Ampuis.
In 2001, the Guigal Estate expanded through the purchase of both the Jean-Louis GRIPPAT Estate in Saint-Joseph and Hermitage and the VALLOUIT Estate in Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage.
The GUIGAL Estate vinifies and ages the wines of the Southern Rhône appellations in its cellars in Ampuis. The wines of the great Southern appellations Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Tavel and Côtes-du-Rhône are also aged in these cellars.
In 2006, the Guigal family acquired the Domaine de Bonserine and supports its development although it remains independent from the GUIGAL Estate.
We are not very far from the first few square metres of the small cellar where Etienne Guigal first laboured, but today there are 3 hectares of cellars and galleries which house barrels, tanks and vats. The history and the soul of the Guigal family are clearly present in these cellars which discretely house the most exceptional wines.
Familia Schroeder – Saurus Barrel Fermented Malbec, 2012
Deep red colour with some hint of violet. Full ripened fruit aromas with strong plum and cassis gently backed with floral and spiced nuances. Delicate hints of vanilla and chocolate, a soft and elegant wine with a long lingering finish.
88 Points Wine Enthusiast.
“Dark, piercing, crusty black fruit aromas suggest burnt toast and lemon, and although there’s a lemony bite to the palate, once it airs out chunky black fruit flavors take over. Not a thriller but it’s pure and clean. Textbook mid-to-upper-level Malbec with some flair. M.S.” (8/1/2010)
Madiran AC Cuvée Charles de Batz Domaine Berthoumieu 2012
A nose of plums, blackberries, spice and hints of vanilla and toasty oak. The palate has plenty of fresh redcurrant and plums with a silky mouth feel, food friendly tannins and hints of dark chocolate on the finish.
Quinta da Alorna – Tinto Reserva, Tejo, 2012
A blend of native varietal Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon. Ripe blackcurrant notes on the nose and palate with a touch of violet and hint of spice. 12 months maturation in French oak has added complexity and structure. Enjoy with roast beef. Enjoy within 2-5 years of vintage.
Quinta dos Murças – Assobio Tinto, Douro, 2012
Deep ruby with violet edges. Perfumed and spicy with notes of blueberries. Round and full bodied palate with youthful fruit and integrated tannins. Finishes with good balancing acidity.
94 Points Wine Enthusiast.
“Assobio is from a single vineyard in the Quinta dos Murças estate. A powerful, structured expression of Douro wine, it has black fruits, dark tannins, some subtle layers of wood aging and great concentration. Dark and richly fruity, it needs to mature before drinking. Wait until 2017.” R.V. (4/1/2014)
The first mention of the property Quinta dos Murças dates back to 1770. However, it is known that the farm had existed under another name since 1714, when it belonged to António Cardoso de Vasconcelos. It is presumed that the name Quinta dos Murças was given as a reference to the nobleman of the royal household, Miguel Carlos Cardoso de Sousa de Morais Colmeeiro Teles e Távora, First-Captain of the town of Murça and owner of Murças since 1756. Despite numerous references to the quality of Quinta dos Murças’ wines, the fact is that the vineyards were constantly neglected with the farm passing from family to family and from company to company until 1943, when Manuel Pinto de Azevedo took over the running of the quinta, renovating the estate and replanting the vineyards. Under the guidance of the committed agronomist José de Freitas Sampaio, Quinta dos Murças was totally transformed, establishing the first vinha ao alto (vertically-trained vines) in Douro in 1955, as well as the first auto-vinification system used in the region, in addition to a new warehouse and winery. Quinta dos Murças remained in the hands of the family until 2008, when the Esporão Group acquired the property from Manuel Pinto de Azevedo’s great-grandchildren, taking over the running of one of the most interesting estates in Cima Corgo.
Ramos Pinto – Late Bottled Vintage Port, Unfiltered, 2012
LBV Unfiltered comes from one single year and one single harvest. Whereas its richer cousin, the Vintage, is bottled in the second year, this wine is bottled in the fourth year. Smoother than the Vintage, more developed and easier to drink. It is a powerful, defiant, full-bodied and harmonious wine. It is a wine familiar with the flavours of chocolate and cheese. After the bottle is opened it remains at its best for a further 15 to 30 days, if properly stored. It is a wine that is not filtered and can therefore either be drunk immediately or be left forgotten in a cellar, developing further complexity.
93 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
“The tannins are rather drying and aggressive on first pour, even if the big fruit is also front-and-center. It is certainly a very different vision of LBV Port than a lot of people will be accustomed to, but it does begin to come around with extended aeration (and a couple of days in the fridge). Fragrant and laced with strong fruit flavors, this ultimately showed beautifully. It really needs some more time in the cellar, but it is approachable if you give it some aeration.”
Gold Medal Decanter World Wine Awards
“Gold Medal World Wine Awards 2014 – Gold Medal & Regional Trophy – Vibrant and full of rich fruit, this is still youthful in colour and shows both ripeness and pleasing restraint on the nose. Spice notes, violet, lavender and deep, dark fruit flavours have lovely freshness, and firm, ripe tannins give good grip. Nicely defined with plenty of complexity to keep it going.” June 2014
Grapes varieties: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca.
Food pairing: Cheese soufflé, Partridge with glazed shallots and artichokes, Game, Cheeses, Chocolate and red fruits desserts.
Ramos Pinto. History.
Founded in 1880 by brothers Adriano and Antonio, this Port house has always had a pioneering spirit. In the early 20th century it became noted for its innovative and enterprising commercial strategies including the distinctive art nouveau advertising campaign.
Among Port producers, Ramos Pinto enjoys the distinction of holding the largest proportion of vineyards in relation to its production, giving them a high degree of control over viticultural methods at harvest time. The House tends 187 hectares (460 acres) of prime vineyards in the Alto Corgo and Douro Superior areas of the famed Douro region, the mountainous valleys formed by the Douro River and its tributaries.
All situated in the areas of the Cima-Corgo and the Douro Superior, the four quintas or estates that make up Ramos Pinto’s holdings are:
Quinta do Bom Retiro: in Pinhão, planted exclusively with red varieties.
Quinta da Urtiga: adjacent to Bom Retiro.
Quinta da Ervamoira: in the far upper Douro, by the Côa river near the Spanish border. Here the grapes grow in dry semi-desert conditions.
Quinta dos Bons Ares: a cooler site with some of the highest vineyards in the Douro. Both red and white varieties ripen here with great natural acidity and fresh flavours.
The award-winning 10, 20 and 30 year old Tawnies are produced at Quinta da Ervamoira and Bom Retiro respectively.
Raventós i Blanc – L’Hereu Brut, 2012
The search for clarity and purity has produced this sparkling wine with a gentle citric aroma highlighted by hints of white fruits, with all the olfactory elements in perfect balance. The palate is built on both freshness and concentration: a wine that combines firmness and smoothness with creamy bubbles. A long and very clean finish.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
“When Raventós i Blanc, a scion from Codorníu, left the boat in 2012, alarms really went off. They are not only one of the quality leaders in the category, they are also direct descendants of the creator of the first sparkling wine in Spain and the first president of the Cava appellation. They did not seek refuge in the Penedès appellation, but instead they want to promote the creation of a new, smaller appellation, Conca del Riu Anoia.”
Simon Hackett – Old Vine Grenache, McLaren Vale, 2012
Upbeat, bright, sun drenched fruit dominated, fills the corners of the mouth but at the same time is not heavy.
90 points Wine Enthusiast, “Best Buy” (2005 vintage)
“A top-notch offering for current consumption, this wine boasts a complex bouquet of black cherries, cinnamon, clove, coffee, vanilla, herbal notes and hints of green peppercorns—it’s a wine you can sit and sniff almost endlessly. The flavors are more straightforward—black cherry and spice—while the texture is delicate, almost soft. Drink now.” (06/07)
Simon Hackett was born and raised in the Barossa Valley where his family have been connected with the wine trade for many generations. – four generations of the Hackett family followed agricultural pursuits in South Australia. Simon worked at Saltram’s, in the Barossa, before moving to McLaren Vale in 1973 where he cut his teeth working at Southern Vales Cooperative Winery (now Tatachilla) eventually becoming senior wine maker. Simon’s privately owned winery is situated at the entrance to McLaren Vale in Budgen road and it is here where he hand crafts his wines in small open top fermenters and gently nurtures them in a combination of French and Oak barriques. Much of his fruit is sourced from dry grown vineyards with ancient, gnarled vines. Yields are very small and his entire annual production rarely exceeds 10,000 cases. Today Hackett sources grapes from the McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills regions of South Australia.
Zenato – Ripassa Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore, 2012
Ripassa has a deep ruby-red colour, with an intense, persistent bouquet. It is a full bodied, harmonic and velvety smooth.
Ripassa Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore.
This wine is closely connected to the greatest wine of Valpolicella: Amarone. After pressing the dried grapes from which Amarone is made, the Valpolicella wine is passed over the still warm marc of Amarone. A second alcoholic fermentation begins which increases the alcoholic content and the wine becomes richer in colour, bouquet
GRAPE VARIETY: 85% Corvina, 10% Rondinella, 5% Oseleta.
VINIFICATION The grapes are de-stemmed and macerated in stainless steel fermenters for 10-12 days. Once the alcoholic fermentation is completed, the new wine is separated from the skins by light pressing and conserved in large oak casks of 54 and 75 hectolitres until February; this is the period in which the dried grapes are pressed to produce Amarone. At this point, the Valpolicella is passed over the marc of the Amarone for a period of 7-8 days at a temperature of 25-28°C. The wine is aged for 18 months in 500 lt. oak casks and barrels.
Food combinations: Excellent companion to game dishes, grilled meat and roasts, salami and aged cheeses.
Zenato. The Soul of Lugana and the Heart of Valpolicella.
The heart and soul of Zenato lies in the ancient morainic lands of Lugana and Valpolicella, with their mild climate and unrivalled charm, that overlook the Veneto shore of Lake Garda.
The vineyards cover 75 hectares in the Zenato estate of S. Cristina in San Benedetto di Lugana, ideal for the Trebbiano di Lugana, and in the Costalunga estate in Valpolicella, the homeland of the famous Amarone Zenato, where the renowned vines Corvina, Rondinella and Oseleta are cultivated.
It all began in 1960 when Sergio Zenato, filled with energy and ambition and driven by his deep bond with the territory, tried out new techniques of wine making and invested in native vines in order to obtain wine of the highest quality.
Today, his wife Carla, together with their children Alberto and Nadia, continues to pursue Sergio’s great enterprise with the same enthusiasm, tenacity and infinite dedication, making the excellence of Zenato’s wines known in more than 60 countries of the world.
In this way, the soul of Lugana and the heart of Valpolicella continue to expand their borders.