Staff Picks for Winter

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If you are looking for some wine inspiration, you have come to the right place!
We've asked the team about which wines from our range they have recently been enjoying

Freddie:
Maias Tinto, Dao 2019

'Vibrant, juicy fruity medium-bodied red that's quite versatile with a range of mid-week suppers'

In a nutshell: Am elegant, balanced and nicely fruity organic Portuguese red from the Dão region in the north of the country.
The lowdown: The Lourenço family have been making wine in this area for around a century and are acknowledged as among the leading producers on the granite plateau of the Dão region of inland Portugal. This is a blend of Jaen (aka Mencia), Touriga Nacional and Alfrocheiro which is vinified and aged in stainless steel. It's got bright blackberry and cassis aromas which are followed by lots of fresh crunchy fruit and is fresh in the mouth yet smooth and soft, with a clean fruity aftertaste.
When to drink: Medium-bodied, it's a wonderfully easy-drinking wine and if given about half an hour in the fridge before serving it'll be at its absolute best.

Matt
Louis Latour Grand Ardeche Chardonnay 2019


"A top Burgundy producer producing a bargain Chardonnay from outside of the region."

In a nutshell: A ripe, buttery and subtly oaked Chardonnay from a famous Burgundian producer.
The lowdown: Louis Latour's reputation for top-notch white Burgundy is unsurpassed, unfortunately sometimes the prices they fetch fully reflect this. However, since the 1980s they've been making excellent Chardonnay in the Burgundian style from their vineyards not too far away in the Ardèche where the climate is perfect for ripening but the real estate prices somewhat more modest. Their Grand Ardèche Chardonnay is made in the same way as their Cöte d'Or wines being aged for around ten months in oak barrels to give that characteristic Burgundian style. On the nose fresh almond and vanilla notes mingle with crisp apple and citrus while the palate has ripe apricots and a touch of brioche richness.
When to drink: Nicely full-bodied it's a good match to roast chicken or pasta dishes in a creamy sauce.

Phil
Chateau Larose-Trintaudon, Haut-Medoc 2014


In a nutshell: A delicious left-bank Bordeaux from a fine Medoc estate.
The lowdown: Chateau Larose-Trintaudon has long been a highly regarded Medoc estate, a neighbour to Chateau Latour and situated on the borders of the Pauillac and Saint-Julien appellations, and lucky enough to have some of the oldest and finest soils in the Medoc. They consistently produce highly enjoyable wines and this 2016 has a lovely richness typical of the vintage. A blend of 50% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Petit Verdot as well and aged for 12 months in barrel. Fresh red berry and dark cherry aromas lead onto a medium-full bodied palate with cherry, plum, cassis, cinnamon and dried fruit notes with fine, precise tannins and refreshing, balanced acidity. A highly satisfying and rather moreish Bordeaux.
When to drink: Drinking very well now and will do so for another 5 years. Best decanted for up to an hour beforehand.

Alex:
Ironstone Old Vine Zinfandel 2018

"A bold and full-bodied Zinfandel bursting with blackberry, oak and vanilla flavours."

In a nutshell: Rich and sumptuous Californian old vine Zinfandel.
The lowdown: The Lodi area is the centre of Californian Zinfandel grape growing with over 40% of the state's production of the variety. The vines used here are over 45 years old and there's la lot of wine for the money here. Intense sweet fruits of plum, damson, prune, raisin and plenty of vanilla, clove and sweet spice with touches of almond and mocha.
When to drink: It's a very versatile wine when food matching with pork, beef of game making particularly good pairings.

Paul:
Bodegas Murviedro 'Sericis' Bobal Cepas Viejas 2017

"You don't tend to see too many of these around, which, along with its handsomely dressed label and distinctive bottle shape makes it a great option for gifting. It tastes great too - a lot of wine for the money. Needless to say we get a lot of repeat sales for this hearty autumnal red."

In a nutshell: A complex, yet approachable old vine, low yielding Bobal from eastern Spain.
The lowdown: A cracking example of Valencia's local grape. The soils of the area are poor quality chalk and clay and this, combined with the long hours of sunshine and low night-time temperatures result in low quantity, but high-quality yields. It has dark fruit and spice on the nose followed by bright red fruits, cedar and pepper spice and good, grippy tannins.
When to drink: A wine to go with hearty red meat dishes, game, and cold meats.

Fraser:
El Esteco Don David Reserve Malbec 2020

In a nutshell: A well balanced, spicy and subtly smoky Argentinian Malbec from the high altitude Salta region.
The lowdown: The high and sunny Salta region of North West Argentina has a drier and more extreme climate than other parts of the country and because of that the Malbecs from here tend towards more concentration and fragrance. The majority of the wine spends 12 months ageing in a mix of French and American oak, with about a third maturing in stainless steel. The result is a wine with rich, soft and fruity aromas that lead onto a palate of plum jam, raisins, tobacco, chocolate, vanilla and toasted notes. It's all very well balanced with a medium to full body and pleasingly persistent length.
When to drink: Warm and spicy it's, of course, perfect with beef whether grilled, roasted, or barbecued.

Ellie:
Corimbo Bodegas la Horra, Ribera del Duero 2015

In a nutshell: An elegant Ribera del Duero from northern Spain made by an excellent producer.
The lowdown: The producer is an offshoot of the celebrated Bodegas Roda of Rioja. With a deep colour and ripe fruits this wine also has fine tannins and a good body but with an underlying freshness to it all. Flavours of blackberries, cherries, a hint of soft cream from the oak and fresh herby notes of pine and marjoram give buckets of complexity. It's all very well balanced and signs off with a lingering lengthy finish.
When to drink: To see it at its best pair with something like a Sunday roast of beef, or lamb.

Luca:
Tikves 'Barovo' Single Vineyard

"Wanted to use an Alexander the Great reference, but we couldn't think of one so a description of this great wine will have to do instead!"

In a nutshell:
An intense and opulent Southern Balkan red made with indigenous grape varieties.
The lowdown:
While Macedonia is a good place to look for excellent and good value glugging wines some of their more upscale wines have a harder time finding shelf space which is a bit of a shame as this beautifully textured red amply demonstrates. It's a blend of the indigenous varieties, Vranec and Kratoshiya, which may not be well known but given that the latter is genetically related to Primitivo that will give some idea where this one is coming from. After fermentation 80% of the wines was aged in French oak barrels followed by a minimum of six months bottle ageing. It has complex and elegant aromas of blackberries, plums and cherries that combine with subtle hints of vanilla and rich toasty notes. The mouth-filling palate of ripe berried fruits shines against a mineral backdrop before leading to the long lasting finish.
When to drink:
The 2016 deservedly won a gold at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards. It's one to match with grilled, or roasted red meats.

Fliss:
Dandelion Vineyards Lionheart of the Barossa Shiraz 2018

"A big wine with vibrant ripe fruit: blackcurrants, black cherries, redcurrants, mulberries, complemented by lovely smoky vanilla oak notes."

In a nutshell: An intense, berry fruit-laden Shiraz from South Australia's Barossa Valley.
The lowdown: Elena Brooks has proved herself as a talented winemaker and this Shiraz, one of the their flagship wines, stands out as the perfect example. The grapes come from a vineyard where many of the vines exceed 100 years of age, so old some remain on their own rootstocks. After a natural fermentation the wine was matured for 18 months in a mix of new and previously filled French oak barriques and then bottled without filtration or fining. It's full of bold black fruits, eucalyptus and liquorice on the nose while rich, sweet wine gum fruit, spice, pepper and mocha notes play on the tongue. It's deliciously supple with a smooth mouthfeel and fine, grippy tannins following right to the lingering finish.
When to drink: Really impressive Aussie Shiraz at a remarkably good price. Great with big meaty dishes, roasts, hearty stews or barbecues.

Mike:
Vergelegen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2015

"A medium-bodied and versatile wine with some short term ageing potential. Can be enjoyed on its own or with food."

In a nutshell: A ripe, full and delectable South African red blend from one of the country's top estates.
The lowdown: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the two principal grape varieties that go into Claret and in South Africa Bordeaux Blends, such as these, are one of their specialities. This may be one of their entry-level wines, but a great deal of care and attention has been taken here. After 18 months in barrel the wine was bottled prior to release in 2017. It has aromas of blackcurrant and redcurrant, coffee, tobacco, mocha and a touch of sensual oak. It's a pliant, mid-weight wine with a layered richness and a firm spine of harmonious acidity to its intense berry and spice flavours.
When to drink: It's a great companion for most foods, including pizzas, pastas and meat or chicken dishes, or simply enjoyed on its own.

Debbie:
Petit Chablis, Domaine de la Motte 2020

In a nutshell: A lovely lemony and ripe Petit Chablis from a meticulously run family estate
The lowdown: Petit Chablis is so named because it's grown in vineyards just outside those which are in the main Chablis classification. In the case of Domaine de la Motte's their's come from plots at the top of the slopes just above their main classification vineyards. It's made very much in their house style and has a real finesse and good fruit character. Fresh and light, there are classic citrus, stone fruit and minerally steely notes running right through while the ripe fruit balances it very well. Certainly a cut above what the name 'Petit' might suggest.
When to drink: Perfect on its own or with white meats, shellfish and salads.

Peter:
Ciu Ciu 'Bacchus' Rosso Piceno 2020

In a nutshell: A generous, juicy and organic red from Le Marche in Central Italy.
The lowdown: This is a blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese which is fermented and aged in stainless steel. Vermilion in colour, it's rose-scented underneath with a layer of strawberry aromas coming through as you drink it. On the palate, it got succulent berry flavours with a gentle spiciness, soft texture and a mere hint of supple tannins. It's at its best as a young and fresh wine and is good served very slightly chilled.
When to drink: An uncomplicated, but juicy and pleasurable glugger. Perfect to drink on its own, or pair it with cured meats and light pasta dishes.

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