The late Deen De Bortoli created his Vat Series with the idea of developing a range of delicious, full-flavoured wines at an affordable price. Deen personally selected the blends and chalked the numbers on the vats to identify them.
Light golden in appearance, the nose has citrus, peach, pear, nectarine and honey and just a touch of oak.
The palate is rich, sweet and rounded with peach, citrus and a slight touch of refreshing acidity to give this wine a beautifully balanced and lingering finish.
A 17 ha property just to the south of the village of Barsac that has been in the Guinabert family for over 350 years.
85% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Muscadelle.
Pale golden straw in appearance, the nose is fresh with characteristic Botrytis honey and hints of apricots and marmalade. The palate is middle weight, not too sweet but very elegant. A delicious and very well balanced Sauternes.
The wines from the Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise appellation are created by adding a neutral grape spirit to the partially fermented grape juice of the Muscat grape to produce what the French call a vin doux naturel (naturally sweet wine). The addition of the spirit kills off the yeasts and leaves the wine high in alcohol (15%) as well as high in residual sugar.
The house and cellars of Mme Castaud-Maurin’s lovely property are in the village of Beaumes de Venise itself, while the 17 hectares of Muscat à petits grains, 25% of which are in fact ‘noirs’, are on the lower slopes of Mont Ventoux – a quite beautiful situation.
The wine has a fine delicate character of almonds and apricots, and the use of black Muscat gives it a lovely orange tint in the glass.
Pioneers of Nelson winemaking, Hermann and Agnes Seifried planted their first vineyards in 1973. Today Seifried Estate is one of New Zealand’s leading family owned wineries.
Named after Agnes Seifried, “Sweet Agnes” is 100% Riesling. The grapes were hand selected at the peak of ripeness with a large portion of the fruit shrivelled and raisined, caused by natural dehydration. The grapes were then gently pressed to release a very concentrated intensely flavoured juice. The grapes were picked, pressed and fermented in batches as grapes were selected during successive passes through the vineyard.
The 2013 Sweet Agnes Riesling has bright pure concentrated fruit characters with citrus peel and floral elements. Palate entry is full and luscious with gorgeous zesty acidity as well as hints of honey defining the palate and balancing beautifully with the concentration and natural sweetness.
To the south of Bordeaux city, near Cadillac, Château Ricaud boasts an exceptionally diverse array of soils. Impressed by its quality potential and the architectural splendour of the château, Alain Thiénot (of Champagne fame) bought the property in 1980 and has subsequently put in place a remodelling plan to transform the estate into a benchmark Loupiac and to create a Côtes de Bordeaux worthy of the finest wines.
Loupiac lies across the River Garonne from Sauternes.
Set in a natural amphitheatre and surrounded by three streams, no other spot in the appellation is more affected by the alternating misty and very dry conditions essential to produce the fungus Botrytis Cinerea or “noble rot”.
Given its location, Château de Ricaud is one of the rare estates where this magic is guaranteed to take place and every year, allowing without fail, the incredible transformation to take place, creating wonderfully aromatic golden nectar.
100% Semillon, vinified and then aged in oak (20% of which is new) for 12 months.
Clear and bright in appearance, with lovely hints of gold. The Loupiac style places the emphasis on aromatic intensity, with a floral rather than hugely sweet character, lively and fresh on the palate.
Based in Yecla, in the hills inland of Alicante in south-eastern Spain, Bodegas Castaño is known for its huge efforts to promote one of Spain’s native varieties, Monastrell (Mourvèdre). The Castaño family owns over 410 hectares of vineyards 80% of which are planted with Monastrell.
The grapes for this wine are grown in vineyards at an altitude of 750m above sea level, from vines with an average age of just under 40 years.
After crushing, a long, cool maceration took place at 17°C to extract colour, aromas and the soft, sweet Monastrell tannins. Fermentation was stopped once the must reached 5-7% alcohol by volume by adding grape spirit. This ensured that residual sugar was left in the wine giving the lingering, sweet finish as well as the higher alcohol of a fortified wine. After fermentation, the wine was aged in French and American oak barrels for eight months before bottling.
Intense ruby colour, with notes of raisin, honey and dried fig along with plum jam aromas. The wine is deliciously fresh and sweet, with a rounded mouthfeel and extraordinary mouthwatering acidity that balances the sweetness of the persistent finish.
This wine is made from a single block and much of this wine is quite literally made in the vineyards.
The process begins by crimping the stems of the grapes. This crimping process stops the supply of water to the bunch, causing the berries to dessicate on the vine. Crimping is done before the grapes are fully ripe and still high in natural acidity. The crimping process therefore concentrates both the sugar and the acidity of the berries and is allowed to continue for one week only.
The grapes are then harvested and placed on beds of straw in wooden sheds. The straw helps disperse moisture and prevent rot. It is important that there is good ventilation during the drying phase. This raisining process takes approximately 10 days.
The grapes are destemmed and crushed, but because they are dry, almost no juice is released. In order to extract all the sugar and as much of the juice as possible, the wine is allowed to begin fermenting on the skins before being pressed. This pressed juice is sent directly to barrel to complete its fermentation.
Fermentation stops naturally when the combination of high acidity, increasing alcohol and concentrated sugar finally becomes too much for the yeast and they die. The wine is aged for one year in old French oak before it is bottled and matured before release.
Bright with a light amber colour, the nose shows soft peach aromas, fresh pineapple and ripe apricot. The palate is sweet but cut by tangy acidity.
Banyuls-sur-Mer is on the French Mediterranean coast just before the border with Spain and is famous for producing a red vin doux naturel from the Grenache grape.
Domaine de la Rectorie is named after a Romanesque chapel near to the property that has been in the Parcé family for four generations.
A lovely combination of tawny and amber in colour, the nose is full of caramel and candied fruit combined with a wonderful ‘rancio’ note for which these wines are famous. The palate is rich and generous with fresh sweetness, balanced acidity and a lengthy finish.
A perfect match to chocolate puddings, or an interesting, and slightly lighter, alternative to port.
Copyright 2014 | Richard Granger Fine Wine Merchants