The 2011 Vintage Port has been heralded as likely to mature into one of the greatest Vintages of either this or last century.
It is already a complex wine of incredible intensity. It appears purple-black at the rim with aromas of blue violets, black China tea and ripe red fruit. On the palate, the powerful fruit merges into flavours of bitter dark chocolate with finely balanced acidity and tannins.
The Guasch family have been in Gascony since the 12th century. They have owned the château at Bordeneuve since 1974 and are one of the region’s largest courtier and negociant operations. Today the father-and-son team of Jean-Claude and Thomas look after viticulture, vinification and distillation.
Bordeneuve has 30 hectares dedicated to vineyards; 75% are planted with ugni blanc and the rest with baco. The vineyards are superbly situated on very fine clay-sand soils, which are high in acidity and in some places mixed with iron, hence the name sables fauves or tawny sands. Boulbène topsoil, the characteristic regional sediment, is rich in limestone. The domaine is almost unique in the region as all its production is distilled into armagnac instead of wine.
Very supple on the nose dominated by impressions of vanilla and reminiscent of brioche. Quite velvety on the palate at the start followed by flavours of violets, prunes, and vanilla. A gentle but long finish evokes liquorice, cinnamon and dried fruit.
This small, 4 hectare, domaine has, since 2003, been run by the ambitious and young Alexandrine Roy, the fourth generation to assume the reins at the family domaine “Marc Roy”.
Her attentive approach to the vineyard work includes aeration of the vines through a careful thinning of leaf cover as the growing season progresses, and reduction of yields through green harvesting. Consequently, she produces fruit which is uniformly ripe from vineyards which are clean and vines which are incredibly healthy. Only the best grapes make it to the winery, any suspect fruit gets left on the vineyard floor.
All the fruit here is 100% destemmed, with daily pigeage (punching down the cap) during the relatively brief fermentation in stainless steel, and a delicate application of new oak during the also brief elevage of only 12 months. The results speak for themselves – soft, silky, supple and always very pure with the emphasis on elegance and balance rather than power.
Very approachable in their youth these wines also age well.
The vineyard “La Justice” is located to the east of the N74 road that runs the length of the Côte d’Or. Quite forward and expressive the nose is full of black and red berry fruits that follow on to the palate that has a lovely supporting earthy minerality.
Approximately 20% new barrels are used in the ageing process, the balance being 2nd and 3rd fill barrels.
The Allegrini family estate covers 100 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area. The family has been growing grapes here for six generations. All of Allegrini’s impeccable wines are produced from estate-grown fruit from these vineyards. Across the range and from vintage to vintage, they have superb fruit, balance, intensity, length, elegance, tipicity and, above all, drinkability.
The family`s southeast facing vineyards are located at 180-280 metres above sea level. The soils are varied, but mostly chalky, clayey and well-drained. The older vines are 30 years old on average.
The grapes were dried at `Terre di Fumane`, a state of the art drying centre with controlled temperature and humidity. By drying the grapes under these conditions, the development of botrytis was avoided and the integrity of the fruit preserved. During the drying period, the grapes lost 40-45% of their original weight. Vinification took place in the first two weeks of January. The dried grapes were de-stemmed, crushed and fermented in stainless steel between 8-22ºC. Maceration lasted 25 days, with daily pumping over. The wine was racked into 100% new oak barrique (225 litres) in March for 18 months. After blending, it spent seven months in 8,700 litre oak casks, and 14 months in bottle.
A true classic of the Valpolicella Classico area. Deep and inky in the glass, this wine has imposing structure and depth, as much in its aromas of mature fruit and spices, as on the palate, where the alcohol is sustained by the perfect degree of acidity and ripe tannins.
The Chateau was built by the “de Vinsons” family in 1480 during the reign of King Louis XIV. At the dawn of the renaissance period Beaulon’s architectural style was still flamboyantly gothic.
The vineyards of the château cover some 90 hectares. A deliberate and judicious choice of 9 grape varieties set the Château de Beaulon vineyards apart. Contrary to modern trends, Beaulon has remained faithful to the region’s traditional 16th century vine stocks : Folle Blanche, Colombard and Montils for Cognac ; Sémillons, Sauvignon for white pineau ; Cabernets Franc/Sauvignon and Merlots for red pineau.
The fertiliser used on the land is natural and organically based.
The 12 year old Beaulon is a stunning cognac.
Golden almost orange in appearance.
The nose has hints of bread, almond, gorse and wild peach, cinnamon, racy and complex.
The palate is fruity, very rich, fresh with a very long aftertaste.
“The Queen of the Hebrides’, Islay (pronounced “eye-la”) is located just off the west coast of Scotland. Its mild climate and rich peaty soil make it ideal for creating whisky, and despite having a population of not much more than 3,000, it’s home to no fewer than eight distilleries.
Bowmore Distillery has stood on the shores of Loch Indaal, a sea loch that opens out into the Atlantic Ocean, since 1779. The distillery’s proximity to the sea plays a vital role in shaping the final character of the spirit, which breathes in the salty sea air all the while it’s maturing.
It’s Bowmore’s unique combination of the purest water from the Laggan River, floor-malted barley that has been carefully smoked in a peat-fired kiln, the finest oak casks left to mature in their No. 1 Vaults, Islay’s natural environment and a dedicated team of craftsmen that together create the perfect balance for which Bowmore is renowned.
Bowmore’s now legendary No. 1 Vaults is a very special place indeed. The oldest maturation warehouse in Scotland and the only one below sea level, its dark, damp and cold conditions are perfect for maturing whisky. It’s here that Bowmore’s single malts spend their long lives maturing in specially selected oak casks, gradually developing the finest of flavours.
Matured in a combination of both bourbon and sherry casks, it’s the final three years spent in Oloroso sherry casks that gives Bowmore 15 Years Old ‘Darkest’, one of the most beautifully balanced Bowmores, the rich, deep colour reflected in its name, and its warming finish.
Dark amber in appearance, the nose has notes of rich dark chocolate, sun-dried fruits and a tell-tale wisp of Islay smoke. The palate has cedar wood and rich cocoa / toffee flavours with the typical Islay smoke in the background. The finish is rich and robust with a touch of sherry wood sweetness and tannin.
El Coto was founded in 1970 in Rioja Alavesa and has grown from modest beginnings into one of the best known Rioja producers. Today El Coto has over 700 hectares of vineyard in production across the three Rioja DOCa sub-zones of Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa. They also source grapes from all three areas, but mostly from Rioja Alavesa. Head winemaker Cesar Fernandez oversees production, starting with hand-picking into 350 kg crates to ensure the grapes arrive at the winery in pristine condition. Modern and intelligently designed, the emphasis in the winery is on temperature control and gentle handling of the grapes.
100% Tempranillo from low yielding vines predominantly from the Rioja Alta region.
The Tempranillo grapes are fermented in El Coto’s Oyón cellar in large, temperature controlled stainless steel vats that are fitted with advanced technology for the strict control of fermentation and maceration temperatures and colour extraction. The aim, to achieve the right balance between structure and balance in the wines.
The wine is then aged for 17 months in selected 225 litre, American-oak barrels and then for 3 years in bottle before release.
Deep red in appearance with a hint of brown on the edge, the nose is complex with red berry aromas and smoky vanilla. The palate is round, warm and juicy with spicy red fruit and a soft richness. The gentle tannins add a firm structure and provide elegance and ageing potential.
**A Double Magnum- 3 litres, or the equivalent to 4 bottles – in an individual, branded wooden box.**
A very reliable Cru Bourgeois property, Château Caronne Ste. Gemme is located in the Haut-Médoc adjacent to St.Julien. Owned by Jean and Francois Nony, the property consists of 45 hectares of vineyards and produces over 20,000 cases a year.
Caronne Ste. Gemme 2014 is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. The wine is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel before being transferred for maturation in oak barriques (20% of which are new, the rest being 2nd or 3rd fill) for 12 months.
A rich nose of red fruit, cedar and spices leads on to a powerful palate that is full of red fruit flavours, herbs and oak balanced by firm tannins and subtle oak.
**A Double Magnum – 3 litres, or the equivalent to 4 bottles – in an individual, branded wooden box.**