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Past Offers

Domaine Desvignes, Givry 1er Cru, Clos du Vernoy 2020

Domaine Desvignes, Givry 1er Cru, Clos du Vernoy 2020

The Desvignes family have been making wine on this 11 hectare estate for five generations. Gautier joined his father Eric there in 2016 and has pushed the estate to new heights, insisting on hand harvesting in small bins, a more organic approach to viticulture and building a new cellar for a gentler élévage.

The resulting wines have been receiving superb reviews, with robertparker.com declaring the estate "very much a Côte Chalonnaise address to watch" and a "potential future star".

The 2020 'Clos du Vernoy' is drinking beautifully already but will improve through to 2030 if you can tuck it away. As it stands, it is full, fresh and beautifully balanced with bright raspberry fruit, floral notes and a vibrant juiciness that keeps you coming back for more.

Offered: June 2022.

Alcohol: 13%.

Vintage report: A dry year with a mild winter followed by a hot summer. The result is intense, fruity reds with good freshness thanks to the mercifully cool nights.

Drinking window: 2022 - 2030.

Food matching: Roast chicken or game, mushroom risotto.

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Chateau Margilliere, Coteaux Varois en Provence 2021

Chateau Margilliere, Coteaux Varois en Provence 2021

The hills of the Coteaux Varois produce some superb rosés. The extra height is the key. The cooler nights in the vineyard help the grapes to maintain their acidity, whilst also slowing their maturation. This means more ‘hang time’ on the vine (about two weeks compared to the lowland vineyards) and results in more characterful grapes.

Château Margillière is one of the most exciting estates in the appellation. They have been working organically since 1999 and their vineyards cover 25 hectares. The results are superb thanks to a combination of traditional vineyard techniques, top-spec winery equipment and painstaking attention to detail throughout the production process. 

Offered: May 2022.

Alcohol: 12.5% abv.

Vintage report: Despite a very rare frost in April, quantity was good in 2021, and, following a hot, dry summer, quality was high as well. The wines are fresh and fruity with balanced alcohol.

Tasting Notes: Beautifully balanced, crisp and elegant with soft, ripe red fruits, floral notes and a silky smooth finish.

Drinking window: At its best 2022 - 2024.

Food matching: Excellent as an aperitif but would also be a good match for grilled asparagus, Salade Nicoise, seafood risotto and cured meats (among others).

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Bodegas Iturria, Valdosan, Toro, Spain 2018

Bodegas Iturria, Valdosan, Toro, Spain 2018

The wild and remote Toro region in northwest Spain, has gone from zero to hero in the last 10 to 15 years. Practically unheard of in the 90s, it is fast becoming one of Spain’s most exciting fine wine regions.

While the region establishes itself, there is still some serious value to be found though, and Xavier Iturria's wines are prime examples.

Xavier bought his plot of ungrafted old vines back in 2009 and has been making quite a name for himself since then. He makes just two wines, both rich reds as is the Toro way but with an elegance that is becoming his signature style.

The Valdosan is his top wine, it is 100% Tinto de Toro and comes from 60 year old vines. It is aged in French oak for almost two years before release and the resulting wine is an incredible combination of power, elegance, freshness and complexity. This is the sort of wine that seems to reveal something else each time you take a sip.

Offered: April 2022

Alcohol: 14.5%

Vintage report: A high yielding, high quality vintage thanks to plenty of rain in winter and a long, hot summer.

Drinking window: 2022 – 2035.

Food matching: Drink with roast lamb, other grilled meats or hard cheeses.

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Bodegas Iturria, Toro, Spain 2018

Bodegas Iturria, Toro, Spain 2018

The wild and remote Toro region in northwest Spain, has gone from zero to hero in the last 10 to 15 years. Practically unheard of in the 90s, it is fast becoming one of Spain’s most exciting fine wine regions.

While the region establishes itself, there is still some serious value to be found though, and Xavier Iturria's wines are prime examples.

Xavier bought his plot of ungrafted old vines back in 2009 and has been making quite a name for himself since then. He makes just two wines, both rich reds as is the Toro way but with an elegance that is becoming his signature style.

The Iturria 2018 is a wonderfully smooth, polished red made from 90% Tinta de Toro and 10% Garnacha. It is medium bodied with ripe, dark cherry fruit, a bit of spice, freshness thanks to the altitude and a slight toastiness from 13 months ageing in French oak. The overall balance is excellent and the complexity mightily impressive for the price.

Offered: April 2022.

Alcohol: 14.5%

Vintage report: A high yielding, high quality vintage thanks to plenty of rain in winter and a long, hot summer.

Drinking window: 2022 - 2027.

Food matching: Drink with roast lamb, other grilled meats or hard cheeses.

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Chateau de Nages Heritage Red, Costieres de Nimes, France 2020

Chateau de Nages Heritage Red, Costieres de Nimes, France 2020

The Wine.

Superb old vine Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre blend, impressively aromatic and brimming with ripe red fruit. Bright, fresh, full-ish bodied, it is drinking beautifully now but will age well for a good 6 - 8 years if you want to lay it down.

The Estate.

Château de Nages has been in the same family for four generations and under current owner and winemaker, Michel Gassier ("a relentless and talented farmer" - Jeb Dunnuck), it has become the leading estate in the Costières de Nîmes. They farm organically and as sustainably as possible, keeping the use of copper fungicides to a minimum (although they are allowed in organic farming) and grazing sheep on the land between October and March to fertilise the soil, keep weeds under control and avoid compaction of the soil caused by tractors.

The Appellation.

Costières de Nîmes is a small region in southern France where the Rhône meets the Mediterranean. It boasts enviable growing conditions, with plenty of sun, a plateau of well drained pebbly ground and the Mistral breeze acting as a natural fungicide by keeping the air moving among the vines.

Offered: April 2022.

Alcohol: 14.5%.

Drinking window: 2022 – 2030.

Food matching: Roasts, stews and hard cheeses.

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Chateau de Nages Heritage White, Costieres de Nimes, France 2020

Chateau de Nages Heritage White, Costieres de Nimes, France 2020

The Wine.

A lightly oaked blend of classic southern Rhone white grapes (Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Clairette and Viognier), this is a beautifully balanced, old-vine white with freshness and fruit (peach, pear), a subtle richness from the oak barrels and long, slightly saline finish.

The Estate.

Château de Nages has been in the same family for four generations and under current owner and winemaker, Michel Gassier ("a relentless and talented farmer" - Jeb Dunnuck), it has become the leading estate in the Costières de Nîmes. They farm organically and as sustainably as possible, keeping the use of copper fungicides to a minimum (although they are allowed in organic farming) and grazing sheep on the land between October and March to fertilise the soil, keep weeds under control and avoid compaction of the soil caused by tractors.

The Appellation.

Costières de Nîmes is a small region in southern France where the Rhône meets the Mediterranean. It boasts enviable growing conditions, with plenty of sun, a plateau of well drained pebbly ground and the Mistral breeze acting as a natural fungicide by keeping the air moving among the vines.

Offered: April 2022.

Alcohol: 13.5%.

Drinking window: 2022 – 2024.

Food matching: A good match for grilled chicken, creamy seafood dishes or fresh goat's cheeses.

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Chateau Rives-Blanques, Le Limoux, Languedoc, France 2020

Chateau Rives-Blanques, Le Limoux, Languedoc, France 2020

Finding whites of this calibre at this price hardly ever happens. Jan and Caryl have managed to pull off that rarest of tricks – produce an age-worthy, fresh and characterful white which is light on it’s feet and remarkably good value.

Fresh, orangey and minerally with a discrete richness from the oak barrel ageing (15% new), it is delicious now but will age beautifully over the next 2 - 3 years. I love it for its mix of Loire freshness (from the Chenin Blanc and the local Mauzac), and Burgundian roundness (from the Chardonnay and the oak). If possible, give it a bit of time in a decanter to open up. The bottle I tried was even better on night two.

Offered: February 2022.

Alcohol: 13.5%

Vintage report: A very wet spring followed by a boiling hot, dry summer added up to challenging conditions. As a result yields were low but, thanks largely to a steady westerly wind, quality was excellent. 

Drinking window: 2022 – 2025.

Food matching: Very versatile, works as an aperitif but would also go well with chicken and leek pie, smoked salmon pasta or pork chops to name a few.

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Domaine de l'Amauve, 'Estelles', Cotes du Rhone Villages Seguret, France 2018

Domaine de l'Amauve, 'Estelles', Cotes du Rhone Villages Seguret, France 2018

The tiny Domaine de l'Amauve is run along organic lines with minimal spraying and a real focus on biodiversity in order to create the healthiest, richest possible environment for the vines.

The vines are old and low yielding, and thanks to the altitude of the vineyards and their western facing aspect, the wines are ripe but with real freshness too.

These natural advantages, combined with Christian's exacting work in the vineyard and experienced hand in the cellar, are fast making the domaine one of the most exciting prospects in the appellation.

Offered: February 2022.

Alcohol: 14.5% abv.

Vintage Report: Yields were slightly down due to a tricky spring. A hot, dry summer though, with a single storm in August bringing some welcome rain, resulted in excellent, fruity reds with fine tannins and a nice deep colour.

Tasting Notes: A fresh, fruity and aromatic DELIGHT, with excellent balance, medium to full body and silky, fine-grained tannins.

Drinking window: At its best 2022 - 2025.

Food matching: Grilled red meats and hard cheeses.

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Yannick Cadiou, Chablis, France 2019

Yannick Cadiou, Chablis, France 2019

Yannick Cadiou was until recently the head vigneron for Domaine Laroche, one of Chablis' grandest domaines. He now has his own, meticulously managed little estate and is turning out small amounts of first-rate Chablis at very good prices.

His parcel of vineyards are organically farmed and hand harvested. Yields are low but as a result, the wines are wonderfully fragrant and intense. This crisp, mineral, fruit forward 2019 is a mouth-wateringly good example.

Offered: December 2021.

Alcohol: 12.5% abv.

Vintage Report: 2019 was a small vintage, yielding complex and intense wines.

Tasting Notes: Fresh and minerally with ripe citrus fruit (lemon and grapefruit) and floral notes.

Drinking window: At its best 2021 - 2028.

Food matching: Drink with smoked salmon, vegetable risotto or hard cheeses such as Comté or Gruyère, to name a few.

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Fresne Ducret 'Les Nouveaux Explorateurs' Premier Cru Champagne NV

Fresne Ducret 'Les Nouveaux Explorateurs' Premier Cru Champagne NV

'Grower' Champagnes offer some of the highest quality and best value drinking in the region, but are still something of a well kept secret in the UK.

Made from grapes grown by the producers themselves (not bulk bought like the big brand equivalents), these are hand-crafted, single estate wines that would sell for a lot more if they could match the marketing power of the big Champagne houses.

The Fresne Ducret 'Les Nouveaux Explorateurs' Premier Cru NV is an outstandingly good example, with that perfect balance of ripe fruit, rich, brioche-like yeastiness and crisp (but not too crisp!) acidity.

The Fresne family have been growing grapes in Champagne for 7 generations. Their vines are in the 1er Cru village of Villedommange, near Reims, and today it is Pierre Fresne who oversees the whole operation - from vineyard management through to the dosage, riddling and final corking.

The resulting Champagnes are a testament to the family's meticulous production methods and the quality of the domaine's Premier Cru terroir.

Offered: November 2021.

Alcohol: 12%.

Drinking window: 2021 – 2025.

Food matching: Excellent as an aperitif but even better with smoked salmon or potted shrimp.

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