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Past Offers

Bodegas Iturria, Valdosan, Toro, Spain 2016

Bodegas Iturria, Valdosan, Toro, Spain 2016

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: February 2020

Alcohol: 14.5%

Vintage report: An excellent vintage with high yields to boot. Good concentration and potential for ageing.

Drinking window: 2020 – 2030.

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

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Bodegas Iturria, Toro, Spain 2016

Bodegas Iturria, Toro, Spain 2016

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 2016 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: February 2020.

Alcohol: 14.5%

Vintage report: An excellent vintage with high yields to boot. Good concentration and potential for ageing.

Drinking window: 2020 - 2025.

Food matching: Drink with roast lamb, other grilled meats or hard 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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Domaine des Poncetys, 'Les Creches', Saint-Veran, France 2015

Domaine des Poncetys, 'Les Creches', Saint-Veran, France 2015

Domaine des Poncétys was created at the beginning of the 17th Century and has 15 hectares of immaculately tended, organic vines in the heart of Saint-Véran.

This particular white cuvée comes from a little 'lieu-dit' (a named patch of land) called Les Crêches - the gently sloping parcel of limestone terroir just outside the village of Davayé.

It is exactly the sort of ripe but tense, delicately oaked white Burgundy that I love and has all the bang of a good Meursault, without the hefty price tag.

Offered: March 2019.

Alcohol: 14.5%.

Vintage report: A warm dry vintage in the Maconnais, ideal for those who like their white Burgundy at the richer, riper end of the scale. Where acidity matches concentration, as in this case, the wines are fantastic.

Drinking window: 2018 – 2022.

Food matching: Delicious with roast chicken or soft cheeses such as Brie and Camembert.

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Castello di Montespertoli, Chianti Riserva, Italy 2015

Castello di Montespertoli, Chianti Riserva, Italy 2015

A beautifully balanced, highly more-ish Chianti Riserva, from the Chianti Montepertoli DOCG - the smallest of the Chianti sub-zones. Made from 80% Sangiovese, with a little bit of Merlot to round off the edges and some Cabernet Sauvignon for added structure, this is a rich, fresh, cherry fruit scented red with spicy, savoury notes from the oak barrel ageing and an all round soft and easy drinking character.

It is drinking beautifully already, even better after a good few hours breathing.

Offered: November 2018.

Alcohol: 14%.

Drinking window: 2018 – 2022.

Food matching: Will go down particularly well with roast lamb, hard, strong cheeses, or Tuscan-style sausage and bean casseroles.

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Domaine de l'Edre, Cotes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel, France 2016

Domaine de l'Edre, Cotes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel, France 2016

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 fantastic.

The Edre 2016 is an unoaked blend of 60% Syrah, 25% Grenache and 15% Carignan. It is inky purple in colour and full bodied with pure raspberry and cassis fruit. 12 months in French oak has added cedary notes and complexity but the use of once used barriques means that the wood influence is in balance with the fruit. The wine is deliciously ripe but is still graceful and light on its feet. All in all, this is seriously impressive stuff, and in terms of fine wines, a great bargain when compared to wines from almost any other part of France at the same price point.

Offered: October 2018.

Alcohol: 15%.

Drinking window: 2018 – 2028.

Food matching: Drink with grilled red meat and game, lamb chops and hard cheeses.

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