Rubillo, Principe Pallavicini
The history of the Pallavicini family, which has owned land in the Lazio region for hundreds of years, is entwined with that of popes, cardinals, generals and princes. The winery is built over a Roman cistern and aqueduct and Roman artefacts and remains can be found everywhere on the estate. They are one of the best producers around Rome, and make wines which are balanced and delicious.
This Rubillo is made from the local Cesanese grape, which produces a fairly light wine which is eminently gluggable. A little bit like Valpolicella in style, this is perfect for pairing with tomato dishes and charcuterie; a great lunchtime wine which can benefit from chilling in the summer months.
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Musella make very special wines! What makes them unique is that they look for harmony and balance in the wine, not just power and intensity. Don't get me wrong, this is still a full-bodied wine, made with dried grapes in the usual way, but it isn't too intense or too alcoholic like a lot of modern Amarone. This is deliciously drinkable; more than one glass won't knock you out! Maddalena Pasqua is passionate about her vineyards and the land on which she lives; she makes wines that shine with this love. All the vineyards and farmed Biodynamically and the wines made by hand. A great wine to finish the meal and can accompany a range of cheeses including complex Cheddars such as Montgomery or Pitchfork, or soft blues like Beauvale.
St. Chinian ‘La Laouzil’, Thierry Navarre
Carignan/Grenache/SyrahThierry Navarre has a dozen hectares of vines planted on dark brown schist terraces around Roquebrun. The achingly beautiful countryside is an amphitheatre of small mountains clad in a sea of green, a forest of small trees and bushes and the familiar clumps of fragrant rosemary and thyme which captures the scented spirit of the high Languedoc. The culture in the vines revolves around the respect for the soil, the cycles, the seasons. No chemical products are used, simply composting, natural preparation, plant infusions and working the soil. The harvest is manual and carried out by a small team. This wine is full of red fruits, liquorice tones and plenty of herbs and spice, yet is unforced, supple and fresh.A proper southern French wine to accompany roast lamb or great with some good sausages or a hearty stew.
Cotes du Rhone ‘Bout d’Zan’, Mas de Libian
Mas de Libian, a working farm (cereals, fruits and vines) since 1670, has remained in the hands of famille Thibon for its entire history. Hélène a remarkably energetic member of the family took over the viticulture and winemaking in 1995, and convinced her family to bottle their own wine rather than sell to local négociants. Her farming is entirely biodynamic since the 1960’s when her grandfather ran the farm, and the vines (averaging 40-45 years-old) are pruned for low yields and concentration. The terraced vineyards, composed mostly of galets rouges, in St-Marcel d’Ardèche (the west bank of the Rhône) provide stunning views of Mont Ventoux, the Alpilles, and the Dentelles de Montmirail. Hélène is in her late 20s and in June this year she was selected by the French Wine Review as one of its Young Winemakers of the Year. She makes her wines in a traditional fashion following organic principles, and the vineyards have ‘pudding-stone’ soil like that found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The stones reflect sunlight during the day and retain heat during the cold nights, thus making the vines work harder to extract water and minerals from the soil.A great wine for the price, full of real character. Perfect with roasts, stews, bbq...you get the idea.
Pinot Noir, Heirloom Vineyards
Heirloom Vineyards make wines from various regions, carefully selecting grapes from organically farmed vineyards. This Pinot Noir from Adelaide Hills, is a great example of really well-made Australian Pinot. It has the perfect balance between rich, red fruit flavours and more serious savoury characteristics. It has a long, juicy finish and exudes quality that would put many a more expensive Pinot to shame. If you are a Pinot Noir fan, you can drink this with just about anything (I do), but it goes particularly well with grilled lamb chops!
Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Syrah
Grapes are sourced from vineyards in Hawkes Bay and Gimblett Gravels, where conditions are ideal for the production of premium Syrah. With beautiful aromatics of blackberry, spice, liquorice and black pepper, this long, elegant wine has fine tannins.A great steak wine!
Founded in 1993 by winemaker John Hancock together with Robert and Robyn Wilson, owners of The Bleeding Heart and The Don in London, Trinity Hill has become a byword for quality and consistency. Winemaker Warren Gibson has been with Trinity Hill since 1997. He is also in charge of the 80 hectares of vineyard owned by Trinity Hill and knows Hawkes Bay and the Gimblett Gravels exceptionally well. The wines reflect this. Warren and his team make wines that show the best of what Hawkes Bay and the Gimblett Gravels can produce. The wines have an elegance, balance, drinkability and precision of flavour that makes them a joy to drink.
Barolo, Giacomo Fenocchio, Piemonte
Giacomo Fenocchio produces one of the best-value Barolos on the market. The wines exhibit all the perfume and structure of the great wines of Piedmont without the crazy pricing. This is a great vintage that is open and drinking beautifully now but will age gracefully for many years to come.
The Foundry Syrah
Established in 2000, The Foundry is the brainchild of Meerlust cellar-master, Chris Williams, in partnership with his long-term buddy, James Reid. Owning no vineyards, The Foundry works closely with a handful of growers across the Cape to secure grapes from sites which are best suited to each of the varieties Chris works with. Since the 2006 vintage the fruit source for the Syrah has been a single estate on the Helderberg.This wine delivers rich, dark fruit in spades, having a savoury side which brings out the Northern Rhone and makes it superbly food-friendly. A great price for a wine of such quality.A great wine for stews and roasts and perfect with strong hard cheeses (a good Cheddar red - Montgomery!)
Nero d’Avola ‘Coralto’, Curatolo Arini
The Curatolo family are famous Marsala producers but this Nero d’Avola is also exceptional. A fine example of the grape that stands up well against wines at twice the price. The rich, dark fruit flavours combine with smooth, supple tannins to make an almost perfect steak wine!