Castelli del Duca Sauvignon Blanc

IN: WINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

Sauvignon Blanc has been in the hills of Piacenza, south of Milan, for over a hundred years and the slopes produce a full flavoured and slightly earthy style of wine. With producers such as Castelli del Duca the region’s full potential is being realised by Carlo Corino, generally regarded as one of Italy’s best winemakers.  Medici  Ermete & Figli are the producers of the label Castelli del Duca. Famous for making the “Concerto” Lambrusco celebrating the 20th anniversary of being the number one Lambrusco. Their efforts in that wine are also replicated in the quality and finesse of this Castelli del Duca Sauvignon Blanc (£12). Soft, savoury and good balance with low acidity and grassy mouth-watering long finish. A truly traditional Sauvignon made by those who have been making wine for the last hundred years. In reflection to new world Sauvignons and big bold Sauvignons, this one truly shows a different angle in where this grape can go to achieve...
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Farnese Fantini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

IN: WINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

This time of year can be busy time with lots of supplier portfolio tastings to attend with highlight always being the Liberty Wines event at the Balmoral Hotel. They’re a top importer and distributor of wines and one which I’ve used for my entire time as a wine merchant. They cover most regions around the globe however their forte and area of real speciality is without a doubt Italy. The buzz around the tables laden with Barolo, Brunello, Super Tuscans etc is always electric but with so much on tasting it’s important to root around some of the less hectic areas. One particular grower that interested me immensely was Farnese from Abruzzo. A relatively new grower to us which is why I was keen to taste through their range of wines. They were all a delight particularly The Farnese Fantini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (£11). The vineyards are situated around the towns of Ortona, San Salvo and Pollutri on the Adriatic coast...
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Logan Apple Tree Flat Shiraz

IN: WINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

Sometimes I have to reign myself in from writing up a wine made by my Aussie buddy Peter Logan but it has been a while so hopefully I can be excused this time. He has such a vast portfolio of wines in his range that I could write up one a week and it would be late summer time by the time I’d done them all. He’s the coolest guy I know and anyone who’s ever had the pleasure of visiting his cellar door in Mudgee, New South Wales can vouch for the fact that it is the coolest of them all. Cool is term Peter is always referring to, not in a vain sense of the word but literally. You may not associate Australia with the word ‘cool’ but the vineyards where the grapes are grown for the Logan range genuinely come from a part of the country that is regarded as cool climate and it is this that...
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Walnut Block ‘The Collectables’ Sauvignon Blanc

IN: WINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

Anyone who’s ever visited Marlborough, New Zealand’s number one wine producing region will, without a doubt cruised along the famous road that links Blenheim and Renwick and dodged into many of the country’s top growers that are clustered between these two lovely towns. I was lucky enough to have done this in 2007 where my main focus was sampling as much wine as possible from my two favourite producers Dog Point and Saint Clair. So this was long before I’d even heard of Walnut Block and since a year or so ago when I first took this wine on, it’s been a joy to sell and see it become as popular as some of the more household names from this fine region. The wine is organic and with the increasing interest and demand for these kind of wines have helped its cause immensely but simply the fact that the wine tastes so damn good is to its credit. A wonderful...
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Dandelion ‘Lionheart of the Barossa’ Shiraz

IN: WINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

This is possibly the easiest topic to base my Wine of the week column on. What’s a good wine to go with Haggis? This Sunday 25th January we will celebrate the life and poetry of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns, and seeing as the man himself was famously enthralled by a drop of good vino, we thought it prudent to recommend some a choice wine to enjoy with your haggis. Although traditionally associated with a good Scottish ale or a glass of whisky, there are a plethora of good wines that have the capacity to match well with haggis. Given the richness and strong flavours associated with this traditionally Scottish savoury meal, we would implore you to choose an equally heartening, full-bodied red wine. My choice is Dandelion Shiraz (£13). I’m blown away by the quality of the fruit for the Dandelion range which is basically all from ancient single vineyard plots from all around South Australia’s main wine regions. This...
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Borgo Selene Bianco

IN: WINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

Right then, we’re back in business after our eleventh Christmas selling wine and whisky so it’s time once again to complete my weekly homework. Perhaps not the ideal time to be highlighting a wine when many people have had enough and don’t even want to think about alcohol but I thought I’d ease you in gently. Come on you’ve had a fortnight to give your body a chance to recover. Borgo Selene Bianco has been a real revelation in recent months. One of many really good entry level whites hat we do but it’s this cheeky little Sicilian blend that is outselling them all and is just what you want to be edging into after all the festivities. Light, crisp, fun and cheap. The Borgo Selene wines are a 50/50 combination of Inzolia and Caterratto and are made and blended by Alberto Antonini at the Curatolo family winery, where Villa Tonino is also produced. With newly revamped labels as from the...
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Niepoort LBV 2009

IN: WINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

Port is a wine that I’ve neglected entirely since my time writing this column however being the week before Christmas I can’t think of a better time to bring one out into the limelight. Niepoort are our producer of choice and have been since about 2006. They’re always up there at the top when I comes to panel tastings and most recently by Decanter Magazine highlighting their LBV as ‘The Best Late Bottle Vintage Port on the market.’ A wonderful endorsement and reinforced with a score of 95/100. Late Bottled Vintage port is from a single year. The wine is aged for 4-6 years in old oak casks (opposed to Vintage that ages 2-3). LBV fills the gap between the rubies and the vintage ports since a Ruby Port should be drunk quite young and a great Vintage Port may need 15 to 20 years to really open up and show its splendour. The fruit is all foot trodden in...
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Domaines Schumberger Pinot Blanc

IN: WINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

We’re just off the back of our eleventh Annual Christmas Wine Tasting and it always intrigues me to see which out of the 60 odd wines seems to generate the most buzz. I was thrilled to find that it was none other than an Alsace Pinot Blanc. I’ve always been a fan of Alsace wines and many would recognise it more for its wonderful Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris however we have a special soft spot for Pinot Blanc because, to us, it just seems so very relaxed and easy—and inexpensive to boot. While there are many different producers, a handful of big players are widely distributed, Trimbach has been one of that’s featured with us in the past, while our all-time favourite is Domaines Schlumberger. Under the rules of Alsace, a wine called Pinot Blanc can actually be made from any blend of Pinot Blanc and a grape called Auxerrois, which is Pinot Blanc’s traditional blending partner in Alsace....
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Amalaya Malbec Blend

IN: WINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

I must say Malbec has to be one of my least favourite of all the red varietals but when blended in with other varietals I become a whole lot more excited. Within the Old World, Malbec is primarily found in South-West France most notably in the Cahors region, my wine of the week however is a Malbec blend from a country that can pretty much can claim Malbec as its own, Argentina. It truly is its national variety and it continues to thrive here. Amalaya Red Blend (£11) has been a fixture within the shop for forever and you’ll soon find out why. The estates‘ vineyards are located in the Cafayate Valley in the very heart of the Calchaqui Valley, distinguished for being the highest wine region in the world. The climate here is very dry, with just 150mm of rain in an average year and a huge temperature difference of around 20°C. The soils here are rocky, poor and sandy...
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Rio del Mar Sauvignon Blanc

IN: WINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

Chilean estate Casa Silva really are a top producer of wine. Speak to our friend Johnny, shipper of their wines and he’ll leave you without any shred of doubt that Casa Silva are the single greatest producer of wine in the entire world. His conviction and passion for the wines really makes you believe this fact is 100% true and like I’ve said before, it’s people like this that make being in the wine trade such joy to be a part of. I’m sure I’ve written about Casa Silva in past columns but our latest visit from Johnny yielded yet another thrilling range of wines. Rio del Mar is an entry level label that comes under the Casa Silva umbrella and boy what a pair of wines. A Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Just knowing that the wines are made by Casa Silva gives me absolute confidence in them and this week you simply have to give the Rio del Mar...
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