Côte-Rôtie “Brune et Blonde de Guigal” 2012
94 points James Suckling
– Bottled as a single blend in 2012, this has a fine, peppery edge to the nose with elegant dark-chocolate aromas ahead of brambly dark plums and black-cherry fruits. There’s a wealth of richness and power here, and it’s so layered and dense. A wine that shows a smooth build of fine and even tannin. The gentle pepperiness cracks into the finish, where there’s another warm dark chocolate afterglow. This spent 36 months in oak, of which 50% was new. Best from 2018 and for at least a decade afterwards. (11/2016)
91-93 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
– Scheduled to be bottled in two weeks, the 2012 Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde has a complex, pure, medium to full-bodied feel in its cassis, black raspberry, olive and spice-laced bouquet. Possessing sweet tannin, plenty of fruit and a great finish, it has plenty of similarities to the 2011 and is joy to drink. (JD) (12/2015)
93 points Vinous
– Saturated ruby. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes black and blue fruit liqueur, incense and fresh flowers, and notes of smoky minerals, vanilla and licorice adds complexity. Coats the palate with sweet cherry-vanilla and blueberry flavors given lift and cut by zesty acidity and a hint of cracked pepper. Finishes on a gently tannic note, showing excellent lift and floral-driven tenacity. (JR) (3/2016)
92 points Wine Spectator
– This offers a distinctive set of alder and olive aromas before giving way to a slightly taut core of bitter cherry, plum and red currant fruit. Lovely bay and leather accents hang on the background, leading to a long, grippy finish that exudes a slightly perfumy sandalwood note. (JM) (4/2016)
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.
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)
Finca La Emperatriz – Reserva, Rioja DOC, Spain 2012
A ruby red wine, very brilliant, with medium to high colour intensity and slightly tinted legs. Very intense on the nose, with initially complex, mineral aromas originating from the soil. This is followed by notes reminiscent of cigar boxes and sweet dairy products, with a hint of black fruits and orange peel; very elegant. Very intense in the mouth; a spirited wine with good acidity and medium strength on the palate. A friendly, enveloping sensation in the mouth, with a fruity and mildly spiced finish. Enjoy with Stews and casseroles.
Bodegas la Emperatriz
Bodegas la Emperatriz is great find. A picturesque estate in the heart of Rioja Alta which has been winning awards since the Paris Universal Exposition of 1878, when it was owned by the last empress of France, Eugenia de Montijo. Now owned by the Hernaiz family since 1996, the estate boasts 67 years old vine Garnacha and Viura, and produces Rioja’s only single estate Crianza. Their wines have proved a huge hit with wine critics across the globe and are widely listed in Madrid’s Michelin starred restaurants.
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 – Marquesa de Alorna, Grande Reserva Tinto, Tejo, Portugal 2012
‘Dried cranberries and pomegranate are fruity yet demure on the nose. Bold flavors mimic the fruity aromas on the palate, juicy and tart. A well integrated vanilla and toasty coconut flavor perfumes the finish, with a slightly leathery kick.’ – 92pts. Excellent, Highly Recommended, Ultimate Wine Challenge 2017.
Aromas of blackberry and raspberry fruit with a touch of fragrant wild flowers, vanilla and spice from its ageing in French oak. The palate reflects the nose with a silky texture, a richness of flavour and good freshness.
Serve at 16-18ºC. Serve with roasted meats such as game or beef.
Crushing and total destalking of the grapes. Pre-fermentative maceration at controlled temperature of 15 ºC; Fermentation in stainless steel tanks at 23ºC and maceration for 2 weeks. Before being bottled, the wine ages in new French oak barrels for 12 months.
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.
Raventos i Blanc – De Nit Sparkling Rose, Conca del Riu Anoia, Spain 2012
Monastrell gives this wine its pale salmon pink hue. Subtle and pretty on the nose, aromas of red cherry, white blossom, citrus fruit and savoury autolytic notes are all suggested. Elegant, crisp and light on the palate, gentle notes of strawberry, spice, rhubarb and hazelnut come to the fore.
As of 2013, Raventos i Blanc are no longer part of the Cava DO and have started the process of creating a new, terroir driven appellation, Conca del Riu Anoia. The decision to leave the DO stemmed out of the desire to set a standard in high quality wine production where rules such as the use of only indigenous grapes, ecological viticulture, estate produced and estate bottled fruit and minimum ageing requirements apply.
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.
Vignoble Drouard – Les Templeries, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Clisson 2012
***98 Points ‘Exceptional’ – Decanter Magazine, June 2017***
‘This 74-hectare domaine is run by four brothers – Denis, Jean-Paul, Laurent and Pascal. The 2012 Clisson came from a 1ha parcel of 67-year-old vines planted on sand above granite. The 2012 was the first vintage of this cuvée with extended lees ageing; subsequently it has been made in 2013, 2014 and 2015. This vintage was fermented and aged in underground vats for 48 months with lees stirring twice a year – in spring and October before the start of winter.’ – Decanter Magazine, June 2017.
‘A softly textured style with an exquisite harmony between rich, ripe fruit and precise, fresh acidity, allowing for its long finish. This is a great advertisement for its genre.’ – Jim Budd, Decanter Magazine, June 2017.
‘A subtle yet serious mineral nose augmented by notes of oyster shell. Weighty in the mouth with a pronounced thrust of minerality yet it maintains a very relaxed, bright and elegant poise throughout. Impressive and imposing.’ – Chris Kissack, Decanter Magazine, June 2017.
‘A well-defined, concentrated nose welcomes a palate with an alluring harmony between the creamy lees, citrus intensity and the stony influence of the vineyard’s granite soils. This has a real sense of place and is a joy to drink too.’ – Ben Llewelyn, Decanter Magazine, June 2017.
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.