Monthly Archives: September 2015

  • Alan's Wine of the Week

    Vistalba Corte C Mendoza 2014

    Vistalba Corte C Mendoza 2014

    Juicy black cherry fruit with complex nuances of spice (black pepper, aniseed) and herbs (dill, mint). Soft, voluptuous and superbly-balanced. A blissful marriage of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.

    £11.75   £10.34

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles

    Prices valid until 29.09.15

  • Glaetzer & Heartland - the Aussie boys are back in town

    It had been a whirlwind few days for the boys from Glaetzer and Heartland Wines. I caught up with them last Wednesday, on the 3rd leg of the day, of their whirlwind tour to Europe; they’d been in London that morning, hot-footed it to Brighton for a lunchtime tasting, endured the challenges of our occasionally-dubious network rail system, to hit Bath, and were then heading straight back to Heathrow that same evening, ready to fly to Denmark the following morning.

    Such is the life of winemakers and vineyard owners, who work their craft and passion on the vines and soils of their prized land, and in the hub of their world, the winery. However, much of their lives involves flying around the globe, with countless stops to imbue their passion, and to showcase their prized vinous assets to every four corners of the world.

    On this occasion, guests at the sell-out Heartland and Glaetzer wine dinner, hosted at the Allium in Bath, were treated to a sneak preview of the highly promising 2013 vintage of two Glaetzer classics, Anaperenna and the iconic Amon-Ra.

    Ben Glaetzer, has been carving out a prestigious name for himself and his wines, since he took over the winemaking at his family estate in 2001, following in the footsteps of his father Colin. Glaetzer wines are based in the hot, dusty Barossa Valley, but their position, and style of wine is unique. The flagship Shiraz wines come from a tiny 1.5 square mile plot of vineyards, in the northern Barossa, called Ebenezer, where they benefit from a unique microclimate, and are produced in tiny quantities from gnarled, twisted 80-110 year old bush vines. The wines are concentrated, elegant, with far more finesse and restraint that many Barossa reds.

    Ben also produces a range of unique wines from Langhorne Creek, a wine region 40miles east of Adelaide, which benefits from a unique, cooler climate, thus enabling the production of fresh, restrained, expressive wines, both white and red. The climate is about as different from the Barossa as can be, within such a short geographical distance. The vineyards are higher, and in winter are buffeted by the freezing winds, which sweep in from Australia’s Southern Ocean. Temperatures can vary by 20 degrees from day to night; the resulting wines are closer in style to Alsace and northern Europe, than many Australian regions.

    It is here that Ben produces his aromatic whites, and some truly unique reds, including the soft, perfumed, velvety Heartland Dolcetto Lagrein, a unique and quirky red, made from 2 northern Italian grape varieties. Fragrant, and redolent of cherries, plums and violets, it’s a beautiful symphony of a lighter, low tannin style red, which on the evening of the dinner, was served with a highly eclectic starter from the Allium’s Executive Chef Chris Staines, a chef who is as passionate about wine as he is about food, and works some special magic into his dishes to bring out the very best in the wines – on this occasion a Venison tartare with spiced cherry, liquorice powder, pickled turnip and a charcoal dressing – weird and challenging on paper, but perfect to taste, bringing out the wild herb and sweet fruit flavours of the wine.

    Ben also showcased one of the newer Heartland Wines, Directors Cut Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, an exciting new project, which flaunts to perfection the unique style of Cabernet Sauvignon from Langhorne Creek. This area has some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the world, and is able to showcase this grape variety in the best of its elegant glory, due to the cooler climate, with the exuberance of the typical Cabernet blackcurrant and mint characteristics, laced with an elegant, poised style.  The wines echo the boutiquey, family-focussed style of the Glaetzer family and their range.  There is no compromise on fruit quality; they work only with growers that they know and trust, who have similar family pedigrees.

    These two wines were a well-worthy warm up to the main event, the launch of the 2013 vintage of Glaetzer Anaperenna and Amon-Ra. The Great Western Wine team had squirrelled out a few very special bottles from their archives, and set the beautifully maturing 2005 against the 2013 babies.  According to Ben, the 2013 is a very similar vintage to 2005, and will evolve in the same way.  ‘A naughty child, which is growing up into a beautiful teenager’, is how Ben described the 2005. ‘It was a small harvest, taut and tight to begin with,’ he told us ‘but with amazing lift and acidity’.

    These wines are made in tiny quantities, and with meticulous selection and care. According to Glaetzer, it all happens in the vineyards. With typical Aussie laissez-faire, he stated ‘ we just take the very best possible grapes from the vineyard, and do the best we can with them’. And it obviously works – both wines are superb, aristocratic, majestic examples of the very best and complex that Barossa Shiraz can offer.

    Anaperenna 2013 (named after the Egyptian Goddess of new beginnings)  was showing all the signs of gifted, yet capricious child – deep, inky purple in colour,  it was similarly intense in aromas and flavours – layers of rich, dark, licorice, blackberry, and blackcurrant fruit, spiced up with hints of mint, star anise, dark chocolate and cinnamon spice. Deep and brooding, it’s showing the first signs of the magnificent wine that it will become, with promises of hidden treasure being glimpsed through the dense, textured complexity of the wine.     Ben compared it to the Godolphin 2005, a brilliant vintage, which was glorious in its rich, voluptuous beauty – powerful, multi-layered, yet with a wonderful freshness and acidity.  Very smart indeed with the meltingly tender slow cooked beef cheek, served with Chris Staines’ signature  twist of Asian spices, and contrasting textures of vegetables.

    Finally, out came the Amon-Ra 2013, and the Amon-Ra 2005.  Amon-Ra, another symbol and name from Egyptian mythology, means ‘King of all the gods’. These wines didn’t disappoint. The 2013, which is only being released next month, is in its absolute infancy – a majestic, royal baby, which isn’t giving too much away just yet – taut, nervy, and powerful, yet already displaying the sublime, exotic layers of flavor and aroma, which will unravel slowly over the years – intense black cherry, and blackcurrant; the darkest of bitter chocolate; licorice; star anise; sandalwood; blackberry conserve; sweet mint and hints of cracked black pepper; majestic in its density, and complexity, with hints of the glories to come , shining through its impenetrable youth.  To give guests a chance to look into the future and see the evolution of this imperial offering, Ben Glaetzer produced the 2005 Amon-Ra; sumptuous, voluptuous and intense, yet with characteristic elegance and restraint; a wine of supreme balance and poise, combining forward aromas of ripe black fruit, cocoa and truffles, with a seamless, harmonious palate, which was both generous, yet aristocratic. Showing beautifully at this stage, it has years and years to go – so those of you reading this, with the smug grin of knowing you have some in the cellar, try a bottle now, but this one can be left to sleep for a while longer.

    The 2013 vintage is exciting; it’s also been made in very small quantities. Ben paid homage to the Great Western Wine team and to the city of Bath, which is where he first sold his wines, and held his first ever tasting; he calls Bath, ‘the epicentre of our sales in the UK’ – he now sells his wines in 32 countries, but remains passionately loyal to the city and wine company, which launched his now famous flagship wines.  The Amon-Ra and Anaperenna 2013 make their majestic arrival to the wine cellars of Great Western Wine in November – fans of these wines are advised to get in quick – I can’t see there being much of an overstock of these, based on the snapshot of what we saw last week.

     By Angela Mount

  • Alan's Wine of the Week

    Columbia Valley Riesling, Chateau Ste Michelle 2013

    Columbia Valley Riesling, Chateau Ste Michelle 2013

    Ste Michelle’s Columbia Valley Riesling is a blend of 100% Riesling from throughout Washington’s Columbia Valley. The winemaker’s goal is to craft a refreshing, flavoursome, medium-dry Riesling vintage after vintage, and this is no exception. The wine offers crisp apple flavours with subtle mineral notes; an “everyday Riesling” that is an absolute pleasure to drink on its own or with a wide variety of foods.

     ** Award winner **

    One of the most popular rieslings in North America also is one of the best. This lean, radiant and refined wine is loaded with aromas and flavors of lime, quince, green apple and tangerine, all backed by scintillating acidity.

    The Seattle Times

    90 points. Best Buy.

    The Wine Enthusiast

    Attractive and layered, with soft buttered apple and peach fruit notes. Consultant Anne Krebielh MW said: 'The residual sugar is very well judged, it's textured with great backbone. Lovely lime acidity, it finishes dry. Good value.

    Sommelier Wine Awards 2015 - GOLD

    £9.95  £8.76

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles

    Prices valid until 29.09.15

  • Alan's Wine of the week

    Falernia Syrah Reserva, 2011

    Vina Falernia, Syrah Reserva

    Bright deep colour, spicy, perfumed black fruit aroma. Elegant and pure, rich yet wonderfully soft texture. Full-bodied but beautifully silky. This wine has won more trophies than any other of our wines - best in show at either Decanter World Wine Awards or International Wine Challenge for the last eight years.

     ** Award winner **

    IWC GOLD MEDAL - Elegant, perfumed nose with black fruits and violets and toasty hazelnuts. Delicate North Rhone style, pure and aromatic palate. Multi dimensional with long satisfying finish.

    IWC AwardsInternational Wine Challenge

    £12.95  £11.40

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles

    Prices valid until 29.09.15

  • Alan's Wine of theWeek

    Bogle Phantom 2011

    Bogle Phantom

    Three distinctive varietals that combine lush berry and fierce spice into this wine. Deeply luscious and succulent blackberries, aromas of anise and sweet fig are embraced by touches of black pepper. Subtle notes of cloves and vanilla emerge and compliment the concentrated fruit character of the wine. Bottle age will integrate the three unique varietals more, although we suspect most people won't wait to enjoy this wonderful wine!

    £18.95  £16.68

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles

    Prices valid until 29.09.15

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