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International Chardonnay Day 21 May 2021



Chardonnay is the most planted white wine grape in the world

If your first thoughts of thick, buttery, mouth-filling,vanilla-oaked Chardonnays, historically from Australia and Burgundy in France stop you in your tracks, don’t be put off. Chardonnay is such an extremely versatile grape, there are 3 different styles of wine produced from it meaning that there really is something for everyone’s tastes

Citrussy and unoaked Chardonnay

If you love crisp, dry, elegant Sauvignon Blanc then youwill be pleasantly surprised by this style of Chardonnay.

Typically exhibiting hints of green apple, lemon peel and chalky minerality these fresh, light Chardonnays are best drunk young, with the exception of some Grand Crus Chablis, and can make the perfect alternative to Sauvignon Blanc. These Chardonnays are generally grown in cooler climates – New Zealand, Eastern Australia, pacific North West US, Chile, the Loire and parts of Burgundy and pair well with scallops, oysters, white fish and full cream cheeses

We have these gems to try:

Domaine Gautheron Chablis 2018, Burgundy, £15.95

Wonderfully balanced and incredibly highly rated, this is an absolutely fantastic Chablis from a great producer and a lovely vintage.

Catherine & Didier Tripoz Macon Charnay, Closdes Tournons 2019, Burgundy, £10.95

Catherine and Didier Tripoz have made a lovely crisp, dry and harmonious Macon. Smooth and elegant but with a freshness and crisp minerality that excites the palate.

Domaine des Tilleuls Chardonnay Valle de Loire 2019,£8.95

Crisp, soft, vibrant and fresh with lovely long flavours that last and last. Quite different to most Chardonnays as this is Dry, racy, without oak and with a long mineral aftertaste. It has similarities to the Sauvignon from the same winery but with a softness on the finish.

Murphy Vineyards Big River Chardonnay South EastAustralia 2019, £7.65

Ripe tropical fruits on the nose – hints of pineapple and melon. Rich, tropical fruits in the mouth and no oak. Soft and rounded with along fruity finish

Sparkling Chardonnay

Chardonnay is one of the 3 permitted grapes in Champagne, usually blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier but any Champagne described as ‘Blanc de Blancs’ or ’white of whites’ is made purely from Chardonnay grapes. Expect luxurious honeycomb, toasted vanilla and hazelnut characteristics, with hints of lemon zest, minerals, lime and honeysuckle. They pair particularly well with salty, fried dishes like calamari and - dare we say it – fish and chips!

Our Apollonis Theodorine Rose Brut, £25.95 isa blend of all 3 of the grapes used in Champagne, but its high concentration of Chardonnay – 50% - bring out peach, floral and mineral notes, highlighting the fruitiness which makes a rose Champagne special.

Named after the wine maker’s grandmother, Champagne ApollonisPalmyre Brut Natur, £27.95 is 30% Chardonnay, also made without th eaddition of sugar to further enhance the natural toasty, biscuity notes.

Both these Champagnes are from low yield, single vineyard - thereby ensuring the highest quality - grapes, and the producer, Michel Loriot, plays music to the grapes (hence Apollonis!) to encourage growth.

Creamy oaked Chardonnay

These are the more traditionally recognisable full-bodied Chardonnays from warmer climes and typified by hints of butterscotch, vanilla oak, poached pear and lemon curd. A process known as malolactic fermentation, using lactic acid found in milk, gives the wine its trademark thick, buttery, hazelnutty smoothness in the mouth. These Chardonnays really hold their own when paired with creamy, heavy dishes like mushroom risotto, lobster thermidor and chicken, leek and ham pie, complimenting them really well

Give one of these mouth filling favourites a try:

McGuigan Black Label Chardonnay, South EastAustralia 2020, £7.65

Lovely traditional Chardonnay from this popular Australian producer. Tropical, full and with a hint of oak balanced with zingy fruit

Rustenberg Chardonnay 2020, Stellenbosch SouthAfrica, £13.95

Intense tropical apricot and orange combine with almonds and marzipan to create a rich, full complex Chardonnay with bold flavours. Balanced oak notes complete this powerful, tasty wine.

Didier Delagrange Saint Romain 2017, Burgundy, £25.95

With a strong but not overpowering oaky nose and smooth peaches and vanilla in the mouth this is rich, creamy and lingers at the finish. A superb example of white Burgundy at its best

Domaine Alain Chavy Puligny Montrachet 2017,Burgundy £47.75

Citrus fruits and ripe peaches, intermingled with delicate hints of oak, leap out of the glass. A rich and complex Chardonnay with a fresh minerality and lingering fruit, demonstrating a really fantastically balanced wine

                                             

Created On  8 May 2021 12:27  -  Permalink
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International Sauvignon Blanc Day 07 May 2021

From its origins in Bordeaux and taking its name from the French Sauvage – ‘wild’ white – Sauvignon Blanc has become arguably the world’s most popular white wine

Whilst Marlborough in New Zealand and the French Loire valley have historically set the benchmarks for this crisp, dry, fresh and elegant eternal favourite, Sauvignon is produced all over the world and styles are very different, even within a country's growing areas

Sancerre, such as Roger & Didier Raimbault 2018 is the stand-out Loire Sauvignon, well-known for its mown grass and nettle characteristics with others in the valley such as Domaine du Petit Soumard Pouilly Fume 2019 and Domaine Adele Rouze Quincy 2019 being slightly softer and rounder, with lemon and blackcurrant leaf aromas adding complexity

New Zealand Sauvignons such as Esk Valley 2019 tend to exhibit notes of asparagus, lime, grapefruit and lychee with a distinctive tingle in the mouth

Vistamar Sauvignon Blanc 2019 from Chile just bursts with tropical fruit mango, guava, passion fruit and gooseberries

Romanian Sauvignon such as the Umbrele 2018 Recas Winery, is rounder and more full bodied than those from the Loire and New Zealand whilst still displaying the grapefruit and lime characteristics of the Southern hemisphere varieties

South African varietals such as Roos Estate Sauvignon 2020 have pronounced vegetal and lemon citrus notes

In celebration of International Sauvignon Blanc Day we have put together a Sauvignon Blanc Discovery Case to give you the opportunity to conduct your own tasting comparison of these identical, but at the same time widely different, wine styles. At £53.55 for 6 or £97.25 for 12 bottles, it is excellent value for some really lovely, extremely popular wines. Do let us know your favourites in the comments section below

                                                            

Created On  30 Apr 2021 11:52  -  Permalink
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Win a case of 6 bottles of New Zealand Wine



From now until the end of June we are offering you the chance to win a case of 6 of the fantastic New Zealand Wines that we stock up to the value of £100 – but which ones will you choose?

Everyone loves a New Zealand Sauvignon - Jancis Robinson’s infamous ’cats pee on a gooseberry bush’ analogy certainly didn’t do any harm -but there are so many different varieties of white and red wine now produced in New Zealand, that this presents you with the opportunity to try something that might not immediately spring to mind.

From the subtropical tip of the North Island to the world’s most southerly vineyards at the bottom of the mountainous South Island, wineries with celebrity status and wineries owned by celebrities, New Zealand is one of the most diverse wine producing nations with some very forward-thinking fundamentals, such as being the first nation to introduce the screwcap.

We are incredibly fortunate that New Zealand now produces much more than simply great Sauvignon with equal success so why not try one of these during our current promotion:

Left Field Sauvignon 2019, Nelson £12.45

New Zealand Sauvignon is most typically grown in Marlborough where you will find the likes of Cloudy Bay, Nautilus and Jackson Estate but this lovely example from Left Field is from the north western side of the South Island compared to Marlborough’s north eastern side. This also makes for a great Sauvignon taste comparison.

Esk Valley Riesling 2019, Marlborough £12.95

From the area of the South Island most associated with Sauvignon this stunning Riesling is not as sweet as its northern hemisphere cousins but bursts with tree fruit and honey complexity. Another great wine for a tasting comparison. This wine is great now but will also age well.

Nautilus Pinot Noir 2016, Marlborough £22.95

Traditionally the most produced wine of the Central Otago area of the South Island, Marlborough has its fair share of outstanding Pinot Noirs and this is definitely a favourite of ours. Soft, raspberry fruit and spices, perfect for serving gently chilled.

Esk Valley Pinot Gris 2019, Hawkes Bay £12.95

This unusually full and rich Pinot Gris has the slightest tinge of pink. Grown on the west coast of the North Island it does, however, share the same sharp minerality and hints of almond on the finish which makes it great for a taste comparison with those from Italy.

Left Field Malbec 2019, Hawke's Bay £13.95

Also from Hawke's Bay North Island, moving from white to red wine and a Malbec that just bursts with blackberries and dark chocolate. Unlike the powerful, inky Malbecs from Argentinian and Cahors this is young, soft, smooth, and intensely fruity. We love this Malbec!

Left Field Albarino, Gisborne £13.75

At the top end of Hawke's Bay sits Gisborne where this absolutely amazing Albarino is made. An explosion of lime and florals in the mouth, whilst at the same time exuding class and sophistication which is probably why its another of our favourites!


Created On  13 Apr 2021 15:39  -  Permalink
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World Malbec Day 17 April 2021

     
   
          

 
On 17 April 1853, the then President of Argentina made it his mission to transform the struggling Argentinian Wine Industry. A French soil expert was tasked to bring new vines to the country and ‘Malbec throughout the World’ day, often referred to as ‘World Malbec Day’ in English speaking countries, was born.

The Malbec grape is a dark inky purple in colour, thick skinned and was traditionally used in Bordeaux blends before acquiring its own well-deserved centre stage. It is the dominant variety in wine from Cahors and was recently adopted by New Zealand where the wines tend to be softer, fruitier, less firm and more velvety in the mouth. It is in Argentina however, where its world-renowned star shines the brightest as the ‘National variety’ synonymous with wine from Mendoza, softer and less tannic than its French cousins.

Malbec pairs excellently with steak which is why Malbec wines feature so prominently in Argentinian steak houses. The vivid scent and rich fruitiness work well with leaner cuts like sirloin and fillet which complement the smokiness of griddle or barbecue cooking.

We’ve a Malbec for every taste and budget, why not give one of them a try this Malbec World Day, or a couple of different styles as a taste comparison with friends.

Finca Del Alta Malbec 2020, Mendoza Argentina £7.95                                

A full, rich, smooth red with an attractive deep red colour. Red cherries and blackberries on the nose.

Santuario Malbec 2020, Mendoza Argentina £8.95

A soft succulent red from the heart of Argentina’s premium wine regions in Jujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. Plum, blue berry and blackcurrant combine to give complex flavours and a harmonious finish.

Inacayal Vineyards Malbec 2018, Mendoza Argentina £9.25

Attractive and expertly balanced. Lovely concentration of cherry and plum fruit with the added complexity of some barrel ageing. A powerful wine that is superbly smooth, long and finely balanced.

Chateau Paillas 2019 Cahors Cuvee Tradition AC France£11.95

Liquorice and red fruits dominate this 95% Malbec, 5% Merlotblend to make a stunning and exceptional wine. Superbly balanced, big, bold, and strong but without the toughness or hardness that is generally characteristic of wines from this area. A lovely wine - one of our favourites!

Mad Bird Malbec Ancellotta 2018, Argentina £13.45

Blending with the Italian Ancellotta grape creates another dimension to traditional Malbec wines adding a hint of spiciness which contrasts beautifully with the rich depth and sweetness of Malbec. This is a superbly smooth and harmonious wine.

Mad Bird Dark Malbec 2018, Argentina £13.45

The newest addition to our Malbec collection and perhaps our most daring yet! Wonderfully full and rich with intense depth and structure. A bold finish leaves you itching for another taste.

Left Field Malbec 2019, Hawes Bay New Zealand £13.95

Bursting with fruit flavour and a velvety richness in the mouth this lovely Malbec demonstrates both similarities and contrasts with its Argentinian counterparts. Big and full with an intense aftertaste that lasts and lasts. This is extremely popular!

Inacayal Vineyards ‘Single Vineyard’ Malbec 2017,Mendoza Argentina £21.50

Very intense deep, dark red in colour with purple hues. Aromas of spices and mature red fruit. Toasted characters and spice from ageing in new French oak casks. An extremely powerful Malbec with ageing potential. A stunning deep juicy red with rounded tannins. Great now and will age well.



                 

Created On  30 Mar 2021 15:35  -  Permalink
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International Riesling Day 13 March


           International Riesling Day 13 March                

Renowned for growing well in cooler climates, Riesling is an aromatic, highly floral, almost perfumed white wine, originally grown purely in the Rhine region of Germany. An extremely versatile grape, it makes excellent dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling wines, depending on the climate and time of picking.

Rieslings from the cooler climates like Germany are characterized by flavours and aromas of apples and tree fruit with balanced acidity. Aged varieties tend to demonstrate more honey, smokiness and hints of the petrol aroma distinctive of Rieslings in the 1980s and ‘90s.

Rieslings from Austria, where it is the second most popular grape variety, are from later ripening grapes and whilst still lovely and dry, the wine tends to be thicker bodied, with citrus and peach characteristics. These Rieslings have lovely length at the finish with hints of white pepper.

In Australia, Riesling was the most planted grape variety until the early 1990s. The much warmer climate here produces thick skinned grapes, and the wines are recognisable for their oily texture and citrussy lime bursts of flavour.

New Zealand Rieslings tend to be much lighter and more delicate with the citrus, peach and honey characteristics of their cooler climate, northern hemisphere, German and Austrian counterparts.

We have both northern and southern hemisphere Rieslings; from the fantastic Domaene Wachau winery on the banks of the Danube just outside Vienna in Austria; and from the Esk Valley vineyard in the world-famous Sauvignon producing region of Marlborough in New Zealand. Some of the vines here are over 20 years old.

The northern/southern hemisphere varietals would make a perfect comparison for a sociable tasting with Thai cracker nibbles or as an accompaniment to a green Thai curry.

Created On  3 Mar 2021 16:00  -  Permalink
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Try something different for Global Drink Wine Day , 18 February 2021


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Worshipped by the ancient Greeks and believed to have medicinal properties, wine has been a staple in human culture for thousands of years.

The earliest evidence of the existence of wine can be found in China and Georgia around 7000BC and some of the oldest vines have been found in Lebanon.

The tannins in red wine have antioxidant properties which can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease. The latest research in Taiwan also suggests that tannins could inhibit two of the key enzymes in the Covid-19 Coronavirus so there really has never been abetter reason to try something new.

In a time when social distancing and self-isolating have become a normal part of every-day life, a glass of wine is the one of the most popular activities you can enjoy over a Zoom, Facetime or Skype video call with friends or family, particularly if it’s a special occasion. It could just be something to have in your hand to sip or, get a few friends on a multi way call, each with the same wine and a few snacks and you’ve got your own version of a wine tasting – the new sociable social distancing!

The most expensive bottle of wine ever sold is a 1945 Burgundy Grand Cru which sold for $558,000.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should always aspire towards the most expensive bottles. It’s true that spending slightly more than the price of the cheapest bottle of wine you come across means you will get better quality because when profit, duty and VAT are all taken into consideration, less is left over for the actual cost of the wine in cheaper bottles. Finding something that you like is most important and because everyone’s taste is different there is no right or wrong.

Whilst we’re on right or wrong there has always been great debate about cork versus screw top. Whilst nothing will ever replace that amazing sound of a popping cork signalling the opening of a bottle, a screw cap does mean that the wine will stay fresh longer and are popular in pubs for exactly this reason. Also useful if you’re looking at the odd glass as a health benefit and not drinking the entire bottle in one sitting!

Global Drink Wine Day is also an excellent opportunity to try something a little bit different and here are our suggestions:

Different Reds: 

Malbec is one of the most popular red wines of the moment and synonymous with Argentina.

We have three fantastic value for money Argentinian favourites in Finca del Alta, £7.95, Santuario, £8.75 and Inacayal, £8.95.

If you fancy pushing the boundaries our Chateau Paillas2010 Cahors, £11.95 is a fantastic, rich, deep, strong, well-structured, firm and full French example which is just reaching peak maturity. Or you could go completely off the beaten track with the smooth, soft and chocolatey New Zealand LeftField Malbec 2019, £13.95.
If you’re an Argentinian purist looking for something extra special then our Inacayal Single Vineyards 2017, £21.50 is rich, complex, full of flavour but not overpowering despite its 15% ABV

Different Whites:

Sicily is the tiny volcanic little triangle off the toe of Italy whose climate and terrain offer unique flavour and minerality.
We've spent a long time searching for the perfect Sicilian whites and are thrilled to finally add these to our collection.
Alcesti Grillo DOC2019, £9.25 crisp, dry and intense with hints of volcanic salty minerality at the finish. For something completely different then try Alcesti Zibibbo IGT2019. A cousin of Muscat, Zibibbo is open fresh, zingy and inviting with hints of citrus orange and rose and a generous finish with a mineral aftertaste.
 

A different country:


Romania might not automatically spring to mind when thinking of a wine producing country but the same was once said about both Chile and Argentina!

Remarkably Romania has been producing wine for the same amount of time as France but a lack of resources meant the industry struggled until recent investment which has been a hugely successful.

We stock wines from both the Umbrele and Calusari vineyards. Calusari wines in particular, are firm favourites both with ourselves and our customers.
Calusari has enjoyed a 20million euro investment from Englishman Philip Cox, replanting many of the original vines and transforming Calusari into producing a variety of superb and well-priced wines. A velvety, smooth Pinot Noir, a crisp, fresh Pinot Grigio and a soft, fruity Pinot Grigio rose with hints of caramel, all priced at £7.65, are fantastic every day drinking at excellent value

Created On  2 Feb 2021 16:08  -  Permalink
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