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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Attractive golden appearance. Lovely freshness on the intense bouquet, full of peach and citrus fruit aromas. The aromas are mirrored on the palate, where they combine with lovely mature noble rot character offering typical apricot and orange rind notes. With beautifully balanced acidity and rich sweetness, the wine has a lingering, aromatic and fresh 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 second wine of Château Climens, Cyprèe de Climens is 100% Semillon.
The history of the estate dates back to the 16th century but today it is in the ownership of the Lurton family with Bérénice Lurton currently at the helm.
The vineyards of Climens cover more than 30 hectares in one continuous vineyard surrounding the château and have an average age of 35 years.
Fermentation is in cask followed by a further 12 month period of maturation in barrel.
The wine has a lovely yellow/ amber colour with an aromatic nose, with vanilla hints, and notes of candied yellow fruits, apricot and honey. The palate is soft and rounded with excellent texture, richness and great length. A lovely Barsac.
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 predominantly from the Grenache grape.
Domaine Piétri-Géraud was created at the end of the 19th century. Today it is still owned by the family and run by two women, Maguy Piétri-Géraud and her daughter Laetitia who are the fourth and fifth generations of the family winemakers.
They cultivate 20 hectares, including 16.5 hectares on the steep slopes of the communes of Collioure and Banyuls at the eastern end of the Pyrenees. All vineyard activities are carried out by hand and yields are low, the average being 22hl/ha. The winery is in the heart of the village of Collioure amongst terraced houses and shops.
90% Grenache and 10% Carignan from 40-100 year old vines.
After maceration and a short fermentation the wine is fortified to 17% vol and then aged for 7 years in old wooden foudres.
A lovely combination of tawny and amber in colour, the nose is full of caramel coffee and cocoa 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.
Juan Sánchez de la Torre founded Sánchez Romate in 1781 in Jerez to produce fine wines. More than two centuries later Sánchez Romate is one of the oldest bodegas in Spain and one of the few that remains in family hands. This has allowed the company to maintain its independence and continue making wines in the same time-honoured tradition. Over the years their quality has been rewarded with appointments to the Huse of Lords and the Vatican.
This after-dinner wine par excellence is made from Pedro Ximénez grapes, harvested when very ripe and left out in the sun to attain a higher concentration of sugar. The result is a delicately exquisite, dark-coloured wine with a sweet flavour and a velvety texture.
Perfect with rich puddings – especially Christmas pudding. Delicious poured over really good home made vanilla ice cream!
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