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Past Offers

Domaine du Clos des Rocs, Macon-Fuisse, Blanches Terres 2018

Domaine du Clos des Rocs, Macon-Fuisse, Blanches Terres 2018

The Domaine.

Oliver Giroux bought Le Clos des Rocs as an ambitious young winemaker back in 2002. Since then, minute attention to detail in the vineyard, organic conversion and a low intervention approach in the winery has turned it into a highly respected Maconnais estate. He has 8 hectares of vines spread over 3 local appellations - Pouilly-Loché, Pouilly-Fuissé and Macon-Fuissé.

The Wine.

Beautifully balanced, vibrant, medium bodied white. Stone fruits, citrus and a touch of oak. Very well made white Burgundy for the price. 

Offered: October 2020.

Alcohol: 13.5%

Vintage report: Plenty of rain during the winter served the vines well during a long, hot summer. The result was a high quality, bumper crop. 

Drinking window: Drink now - 2024. 

Food matching: Delicious with mushroom risotto or shellfish.

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Le Bois des Dentelles, Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu, France 2019

Le Bois des Dentelles, Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu, France 2019

David Gaugué's tiny 1 hectare estate sits in the shadow of the Dentelles de Montmirail (pictured) in Plan de Dieu – a small appellation in between Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas in the Southern Rhône.

The estate is organically certified and the crop hand harvested by David, his family and friends.

His 2019 is unfiltered and unfined to avoid stripping the wine of any character so it might throw a tiny deposit, but as a result, the juice itself absolutely sings – it's incredibly vibrant with juicy red fruit flavours, a lovely freshness and delicate herbal notes from the garrigue that covers the hills in the area.

Offered: October 2020.

Alcohol: 14.5%

Vintage report: A mild spring followed by a very hot summer has resulted in low-ish yields but excellent quality. The best examples in the southern Rhône are concentrated but balanced with a lovely freshness. 

Drinking window: It is so good at the moment with its youthful fruitiness and ripe tannins but it will develop well, so you could always hang on to a few bottles and see how it matures over the next 3 – 4 years.

Food matching: Hearty beef or game stews, roast beef. Hard cheeses.

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Chateau Rives-Blanques, Blanquette de Limoux, Languedoc, France 2017

Chateau Rives-Blanques, Blanquette de Limoux, Languedoc, France 2017

Back in the 19th Century Blanquette de Limoux graced the tables of the Czars of Russia and the President of the USA alike. Today, you don't see an awful lot of it around but it is well worth seeking out as a summery alternative to Champagne.

The Panman's is a glorious example and excellent value. (Jancis Robinson reckons that the Limoux region "makes some of France’s best value sparkling wines" and consistently picks out this Blanquette de Limoux as one of her favourite fizzes).

Made from the Mauzac grape (known as Blanquette locally), the Château Rives-Blanques 2016 is crisp, delicate and appley with a subtle toasty, bready aroma from the one year ageing on the lees.

It will make for excellent summer refreshment.

Offered: July 2020.

Alcohol: 12.5%

Vintage report: A tricky vintage with very low yields and a hot summer. Quality very good, just not much quantity.

Drinking window: 2020 – 2025.

Food matching: Drink as an aperitif or with shellfish.

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Domaine de l'Edre, Carrement Rouge, Cotes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel, France 2019

Domaine de l'Edre, Carrement Rouge, Cotes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel, France 2019

Domaine de l’Edre operates along the lines of the ‘garagiste’ producers in Bordeaux in that they have a few hectares of old vines with exceptional terroir, and a small cellar in town where they produce tiny quantities of sensationally good wine.

The crucial difference though is that this is Roussillon, not Bordeaux, so the value for money is MUCH better.

The Carrément Rouge 2019 is Syrah-dominated with 3 other grapes making up the blend - Carignan, Mourvèdre and Grenache. It is unoaked, with a fresh, red fruit character and delicate notes of garrigue. People talk of tension in wine, referring to a sort of vibrancy and balance. This wine is a fine example of this - more-ishly delicious and everything in its right place.

Offered: June 2020.

Alcohol: 14.8%.

Drinking window: 2020 - 2025.

Food matching: Grilled steak, game, lamb chops and hard cheeses.

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Chateau de Nages JT, Costieres de Nimes, France 2016

Chateau de Nages JT, Costieres de Nimes, France 2016

The Wine.

Deep, fruity and smooth, the JT 2016 has that more-ish quality you find in ripe, perfectly balanced wines, and a complexity that reveals something new with every sip. I thought it was completely delicious and as Rhône expert, Jeb Dunnuck said, it has the class of Syrahs at twice the price.

The Estate.

Château de Nages has been in the same family for four generations and under current owner and winemaker, Michel Gassier, it has become one of the leading estates 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: 2020.

Alcohol: 14.5%.

Vintage report: Superlative. Winemaker Michel Gassier reckoned this was the best vintage of his 23 year career.

Drinking window: 2020 - 2024.

Food matching: Roast lamb; hard, flavoursome cow's or sheep's milk cheeses.

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Castello Sonnino, Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2019

Castello Sonnino, Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2019

Tuscany makes some of the best olive oils in the world but quality varies hugely between the big brands and the good small producers.

Castello Sonnino’s extra virgin olive oil is an excellent example of the latter. Alessandro’s family have been making olive oil here for over two centuries. Their olive groves are immaculately tended, hand harvested and the olives are milled and left to settle in terracotta ‘coppi’ (jars) in the estate’s cool, dark cellars before bottling.

Yields are very small per tree but as a result the quality of fruit is exceptional and the careful handling prior to milling ensures that none of the flavour is lost in the final product. Alessandro has won numerous prestigious international awards for his olive oil and can of his 2019 would be a seriously good addition to any kitchen.

Offered: November 2019.

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Castello Sonnino, Cantinino, Sangiovese, Tuscany, Italy 2015

Castello Sonnino, Cantinino, Sangiovese, Tuscany, Italy 2015

The Cantinino is one of a pair of superb Tuscan reds imported from Castello Sonnino, a 13th century estate that I discovered when I was cycling south from Florence in 2017.

It is made from the best Sangiovese grapes on the estate and aged in French barriques for 14 months. 2015 was a superb vintage in the area and over the last 4 years this wine has matured into something really quite special - rich, fruity, spicy and complex and a bargain at £21.95 a bottle.

Offered: November 2019

Alcohol: 14.5%

Vintage report: Yields were down but quality was excellent thanks to a warm summer with well timed rains.

Drinking window: 2019 – 2025.

Food matching: Think local - Bistecca alla Fiorentina, sausage and bean stews, roast game, pappardelle al ragu di coniglio (rabbit).

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Domaine Gerard Brisson, Beaujolais-Villages, France 2018

Domaine Gerard Brisson, Beaujolais-Villages, France 2018

Domaine Gérard Brisson was established by Gérard's grandfather and is today run by Gérard, his wife and his son. The average age of the vines is 50 years old, so yields are low but the quality is very high. Gérard is considered one of the best winemakers in Beaujolais by his peers but to date little of his wine has made it over the Channel.

The Beaujolais Villages actually comes from vines in Régnié, one of the named Crus in Beaujolais, but the family choose to market it as Beaujolais-Villages. It is a beautifully balanced, delicate, fresh and aromatic red which goes down particularly well with a slight chill on the bottle. This is benchmark Beaujolais-Villages from the rolling hills of northern Beaujolais and an easy drinking bargain at £13.95.

Offered: September 2019.

Alcohol: 12.5% abv.

Vintage report: An excellent vintage in quality and quantity. As a rule turning out structured, concentrated and silky wines with fine tannins.

Drinking window: Drink now through to 2020.

Food matching: Delicious as an aperitif or with charcuterie, pâtés, and white rinded cheeses such as Brie de Meaux.

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Domaine Gerard Brisson, Morgon 'Les Charmes', La Louve, Beaujolais, France 2018

Domaine Gerard Brisson, Morgon 'Les Charmes', La Louve, Beaujolais, France 2018

Domaine Gérard Brisson was established by Gérard's grandfather and is today run by Gérard, his wife and his son. The average age of the vines is 50 years old, so yields are low but the quality is very high. Gérard is considered one of the best winemakers in Beaujolais by his peers but to date little of his wine has made it over the Channel.

Morgon is one of the 10 named Crus in Beaujolais which cover the rolling hills in the north of the region. These Crus produce the finest Beaujolais wines. Each Cru has its own style and the wines of Morgon tend to be relatively rich and full. Les Charmes, the vineyard where this wine comes from, is one of the most prestigious 'liet-dit' in the Morgon appellation.

Gérard's Morgon 2018 has received glowing reviews from the wine press with a 95 point score in Decanter magazine and 93 points from James Suckling.
The wine is juicy, fresh, rich and complex with more oomph than the estate's Beaujolais Villages.

Offered: September 2019.

Alcohol: 12.5% abv.

Vintage report: An excellent vintage in quality and quantity. As a rule turning out structured, concentrated and silky wines with fine tannins.

Drinking window: Drink now through to 2022.

Food matching: Roast chicken, sausage and mash and steak frites to name a few.

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Domaine de l'Amauve, 'Laurances', Cotes du Rhone Villages Seguret, France 2017

Domaine de l'Amauve, 'Laurances', Cotes du Rhone Villages Seguret, France 2017

The tiny Domaine de l'Amauve is run along organic lines (certification coming later this year) 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 resulting 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.

This particular cuvée, the Laurances 2017, is unoaked, unfiltered and because bottling conditions are so tightly controlled, low in sulphur. It is a fresh, fruity and aromatic DELIGHT, with excellent balance, medium to full body and silky, fine grained tannins.

Offered: June 2019.

Alcohol: 14.5% abv.

Vintage report: Excellent quality but low quantities due to drought and coulure problems.

Drinking window: Drink now through to 2022.

Food matching: Drink with hard cheeses and barbecued steaks.

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