Jamie Goode found the Zorah Karasi to be “a remarkable Armenian wine”, (wineanorak.com 22 Jan 2014) when he tried it at our tasting, scoring it highly on his blog:
“Very fresh, bright, vivid and pure with good acidity and fine, expressive cherry and red berry fruit. Supple and fine, this has sweet fruit but it is fresh and structured with lovely purity. Such a stylish wine showing great definition.”
Sarah Ahmed waxed lyrical about the
(thewinedetective.co.uk 27 Jan 2014)
“A very pure, fine, soaring and super-appetising nose of candied lime and lime blossom. A swooping attack delivers swoonfully sweet candied, honeyed limes before, gathering pace and lime blossom lift, accelerating into an extended (seemingly endless) searingly sorbet-fresh, unspittable finish. Terrific, knife-edge sugar/acid balance makes for a truly dynamic sweet wine (as great Riesling should be). Outstanding.”
The Guardian Life and Style 17/11/2013
My current favourite English fizz – and it's a sign of how far the native industry has come in the past few years that it's now a hotly contested category – Gusbourne's all-chardonnay cuvee from Appledore in Kent has that distinctive English chime of Cox's apple-like acidity providing the backdrop to the nutty pastry, riper golden apples and creamy mousse.
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve Champagne, France NV £45.00
The Guardian Life and Style 17/11/2013
Not just the best of the champagne brands with Heidsieck in their name, Charles is currently making some of the best non-vintage champagnes full stop. This is fabulously rich and biscuity but harmonious, its vanilla creamy intensity illuminated by the fine streak of acidity.
Soave Classico Vincentini Agostino £10.99 Gambero Rosso 2013
Wins the Best Value/Quality in its Class Award
ITALY TOP TO TOE CASE £200
NORTHEAST - FRIULI & DOLOMITES
2011 Scarbolo Merlot Colli Orientali North East Italy £13.99
Friuli and world class whites go hand in hand, however Pinot Noir and Merlot ripen well here too. Whilst this is a soft, juicy, rounded wine, there is a lot more to it than that, this wine holds the attention and has a serious structure. Scarbolo's Merlot is typical of wines made
from French grape varieties in Italy. The taste is familiar but the delivery is pure Italian - this is charm personified. (Exclusive import)
2010 Terre di San Leonardo Marchese Vigneti Delle Dolomiti £17.99
Another Bordeaux grape given the Italian makeover, this time from a prestigious estate in the Dolomites. Having just come back from Cortina skiing, we drank a lot of wines like this that didn't disappoint. Lovely balance, lots of flavours, pure fine tannins and how different it is to the Bordeaux. What better way to say goodbye to winter with a Mountain red, perfect for all those warming casseroles and beef stews.
NORTHEAST - VENETO
2010 Palazzo della Torre Allegrini IGT Veneto £18.50
The Allegrinis have been leaders in Valpolicella for the last two decades. The late Giovanni Allegrini bought up some of the region's best vineyards such as 'la Grola' and 'Palazzo della Torre' and 'La Poja' in the 1970s when everyone else were making bulk wines for the American market down on the flat plains. Their vineyards are in some of the old terraces in the village, expensive and difficult to farm but these are
the hardcore of quality for the region. Traditional grape varieties Corvina, Rondinella & now with Syrah in Palazzo they have had to go outside the local Valpolicella appellation but believe it is a great site for Syrah. 30% of the grapes are dried in the traditional Amarone method.
2010 Valpolicella Superiore Vicentini Agostino £13.65
A top Soave producer with vineyards in Valpolicella. Corvina with Rondinella planted in the steeper hills to the north of Verona. This one is then aged in large oak barrels for a year. A gentle, light- to medium-bodied red with floral and spicy notes, great balance and good length.
(It is a different style than the Allegrini, not as polished but we like its rusticity and warmth - something to consider when chosing what to do with it) (Exclusive import)
CENTRAL EAST - MARCHE & MOLISE
2008 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Marina Cvetic Masciarelli £23.15
The late but great Gianni Masciarelli was rightly famous for this top Montepulciano named after his wife Marina Cvetic. We find it difficult to keep this one on the shelf, it has such a great following. And no wonder why it has everything, intensity richness and real complexity. Herbal crunchy fruit, and gives expressive wines to drink now that are nevertheless well structured and balanced. A memorable wine of vibrancy, richness and balance.
2009 Biferno Molise Italy £9.80
Biferno is from Italy's smallest DOC. The Molise region on the South East of the country. It shares borders with Puglia, Campania and the Abruzzo. Hence two grapes are grown in those regions are grown here. The bold, tarry, aristocratic Aglianico, known as the King of red grapes in Campania where it makes the great "Taurasi” wine is one. The other is the rustic Montepulciano which makes very drinkable country reds in the Abruzzo. This is the new vintage of what we believe is one of the best buys in wine below £10. Dare we say unbeatable value/quality price ratio?
SOUTHERN ITALY & THE ISLANDS
2011 Anarkos Primitivo - Puglia - The Heel of Southern Italy £10.45
Gregory Perrucci began the process of transforming his family's Puglian wine operation from medium sized semi-bulk to quality before everybody else. Concentrating on regional grape varieties, Perrucci had such phenomenal success with a wine ( the Felline label) so much so that by the end of the 1990s they had quite literally put a new grape variety (the Primitivo) on the map. Not an easy task when you are the
first in a region otherwise known for bulk wine production. He now has six or so estates in each of the terroirs including one vineyard that is growing in sand literally a 100m or so from the beach. The "Anarchist" is a tongue in cheek reference to the North/South divide in Italy, in reaction to large Northern companies coming into Puglia (after the popularity achieved by Gregory and his contemporaries).
2010 Buio Carignano del Sulcis, Mesa SARDINIA £16.15
One of the most exciting new wineries to emerge from Sardinia in the last two decades. Seeking a new challenge, Gaino Sanna has returned to his native Sardinia after living in Milan for 50 years and building up one of the most successful advertising agencies. The labels might be striking as you'd expect from an Ad-man, however the contents are just as fresh and vibrant. The Buio, coming from one of our favourite
grape varieties, Carignan, is unoaked and retains its purity of fruit and this wonderful perfume so characteristic of the Carignan grape (we are always on the lookout for good Carignan and found little gems in Southern France and Spain - often appearing in blends with Grenache).
2010 Etna Rosso Tenuta delle Terre Nere SICILY £15.99
An exciting winery in producing beautiful wines on Mount Etna. Experts believe that Etna will become the next Piemonte! The explosive (pardon the pun) combo of ancient varieties, volcanic soils and altitude: over 500 metres in some cases. Terre Nere is made from Nerello Mascalese, so an ancient cousin of the new IT grape Nero d'Avola (widely available in Southern Sicily). This has become a real Philglas & Swiggot classic because it has everything that we look for in great wines: purity and simplicity... structure and balance - it keeps you interested with every sip.
BACK UP THE WEST COAST NOW - TUSCANY
2010 Chianti Classico Poggio Al Sole £16.99
Swiss-owned and run by Katrine Davaz and her family who came to Tuscany in the mid 1980s. They have consistently produced wines at the highest level and we believe this is absolutely one of the best Chianti producers. Modern, refined and totally sophisticated, this has more in common with a fine Burgundy or Pinot Noir than most Chianti Classico. (Exclusive Import).
NORTH WEST - PIEMONTE - BAROLO LAND
2008 Nebbiolo d'Alba "La Guardia" Tenuta Ceste Piemonte Italy £16.90
Nowadays we are approached direct by producers who want us to import their wines. One such approach came from the Ceste family of Piemonte. After tasting their gorgeous wines we thought they were so lovely we should bring them in this year for Autumn. There's that uncanny purity and simplicity and sheer drinkability that's right up our street. The Nebbiolo is a mini-Barolo in the making. Aged in the traditional style in the very large oak barrels or "botti" as they are known, which act as maturing vessels rather than imparting any oak flavours. A fine, elegant, beautifully balanced red to go with a classic risotto, or any grilled and roast meats. (Exclusive import)
2009 Barbera d'Alba Superiore Aldo Vajra £26.50
We first tried this at Vinitaly in the Spring of 2002 (it was the 1999 vintage) and have loved it ever since. Incidentally, it was this wine that we tasted with Mac Forbes when we were planning how to make the Rogers & Petersen Shiraz! A truly memorable wine its delicate perfumes of violets and crushed earth will come out if you decant it for early on in the day. Aldo Vajra is a traditionalist and dapper gentleman and his sons are now in the business... these are superbly elegant and beautifully balanced wines made in the traditional Piemonte fashion. Vineyards at about 400 metres above sea level in the village of Vergne