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Monthly Archives: January 2015

  • Decanter Italian Feature

    Decanter magazine’s Italy Supplement this month features five Enotria producers; a lovely affirmation of the high quality, diverse range of Italian wines available for every wine list.

    Ferrari Perlé Blanc Brut

    A sparkling result

    In his opening gambit, “Why Italian wine has never been better”, Ian D'Agata writes about the diversity, modernity, reinvention and future of winemaking in today’s Italy. D'Agata’s recent book Native Wine Grapes of Italy was 13 years in the making, so you could say he knows a thing or two about Italian wine.

    D'Agata particularly focuses on the subject of sparkling wines, highlighting the wines of Trento:

    “Trento DOC wines made in Trentino are blessed with higher natural acidity and a tighter, more austere mouthfeel. Therefore, they appeal more to those consumers looking for a fresher, livelier sparkler.”

    He goes on to pick Ferrari’s Perlé 2007 as one of his favourites: “Bright and light in style, with floral and peachy aromas and flavours that just go on and on. 90/100

    Prosecco, Ruggeri, Vecchie Viti DOCG

    A few pages later, Richard Baudains' article on Prosecco Superiore, explains that the DOCG version of Prosecco, from the historic production area in the hills between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene (as opposed to the larger area of DOC), now “offers a genuine step up and is worth seeking out.”

    Baudains takes Ruggeri’s Vecchie Viti Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 2013 as an example: “Biscuit crust and mineral nose, delicate herby nuances and a slightly spicy, aromatic note.  Very fine, elegant perlage.  The palate has rapier intensity, length, depth and purity. 93/100

    Crus Control

    Il Poggione, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

    Monty Waldin urges Brunello fans to seek out “single-vineyard expressions” in his article ‘The many crus of Montalcino’; there’s more than just one style of Brunello, he writes.

    Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2007 is sourced from a 15 hectare single vineyard in Sant’Angelo, Colle, with vines grown on rocky clay at an altitude of 250m. Waldin likes its “effortlessly drinkable” style and its “sour cherry fruit nicely arranged around tannins with a savoury balsam feel.”

    Smoldering good looks

    Planeta Eruzione 1614 Carricante

    In his regional profile on Etna, Sicily, Simon Woolf says that “the vinous potential of Etna’s unique volcanic terroir is finally being fully realised.”

    According to Woolf, local grape Carricante has a “Riesling-like ability to age, mutating from nervy saltiness to honeyed, smoky maturity, without any assistance from oak.”

    Eruzione Bianco 1614 Carricante Planeta 2013    “The addition of a small amount of Riesling seems to lift the aromatics in this superbly focused, pin-sharp Carricante from a large but quality-focused producer.  The fruit is generous, the finish long and mineral.”

    Unique and Iconic

    Ian D’Agata concludes the supplement with a piece called ‘The white icons of our times’ which includes the “unique” Jermann Vintage Tunina 2012:

    Jermann, Vintage Tunina IGT“A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay with a small percentage of Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana and Picolit (Pinot Blanco was originally planned but a nursery error led to Chardonnay being planted instead).  The grapes are slightly late-harvested together from a 16ha site at Ronco del Fortino, and the wine sees no oak.   It takes its name from that of Antonia (Tunina, in dialect),  past owner of the vineyards from which the wine is made , and is dedicated to another Antonia, one of Casanova’s favourite lovers.  Although best drunk within 5 years, it can improve for up to 15.”

  • Wines From Spain Trade Fair

    The 26th Annual Wines from Spain Trade Fair will be taking place on Thursday 26 February 2015 at Tobacco Dock, London, with the Enotria team manning Stand 21.

    As one of the 70 exhibitors at the fair, Enotria will be showing over 30 wines from its diverse Spanish portfolio.

    See below for a taster of the fantastic line up at this year's fair.

    Spotlight On Our Producers

    Marqués de Riscal (Rueda and Rioja)

    Marqués de Riscal will be there to pour a range of wines, including much sought after Finca Torrea and Barón de Chirel Reserva.

    With over 150 years of family ownership, there’s seamless continuity at Riscal - but no one stays on top by standing still: Riscal’s embrace of the modern is evident, not just in the modernity of their avant-garde winery architecture, but also in its pioneering work in Rueda that helped gain DO recognition for the region. There is commercial confidence too – top wine, Frank Gehry, is made of Riscal’s finest Tempranillo, yet Rioja’s production rules mean it cannot be classed as a Reserva.

    Pago de los Capellanes (Ribera del Duero)

    For all its reputation as a rising star on the Spanish scene over the past decade or two, the landscape of Ribera del Duero is suffused in centuries of wine heritage. Pago de los Capellanes shares this long history, its name referencing the winery’s beginnings in the 14th century when vines were donated to the church. Winemaker Paco Casas is obsessive about the detail; his 44 parcels of Tinta Fino are fermented separately, each with its own natural yeasts and each resting in its own unique barrel.

    Mesquida Mora (Mallorca)

    Winemaker Barbara Mesquida followed in her father’s vinous footsteps when she set up her own project in the Plà i Llevant region of Mallorca. She is committed to Biodynamic principles to reduce any negative impact on the environment, eliminating the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and replacing them with homeopathic remedies. Barbara has adopted bush vine training to shade the grapes from the hot Mallorcan sun, resulting in fresher wines with higher acidity.

    Franck Massard (Catalunya)

    Crowned the UK’s best sommelier in 1996, Frenchman Franck Massard is fast forging an even more illustrious reputation as a winemaker, branching out on his own after falling in love with Catalunya – and Priorat in particular – while working for Torres. These are wines of character which have a story to tell, sourced from vineyards that often endure extremes of altitude, steep slopes and marginal growing conditions.

    New to Enotria

    Abadia Retuerta (Sardon del Duero, Castilla Y Leon)

    A new signing for Enotria, Abadia Retuerta is a winery that brings together individual vineyards from the historic area of Sardon del Duero.  The property boasts a 12th century monastery, with vines originally tended by the monks of St. Norbert. Nowadays, wines like the innovative 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Pago Valdebellón, are fast becoming modern classics, gaining an incredible 97 points in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

    Vinis Catalonia (Catalonia)

    We’ll also be launching a new wine, Viva Montsant 2012, a recent addition to the “Cop de Ma” brand family from Vinis Catalonia. Montsant wines are a hidden gem from Catalonia that for many years have lived in the shadow of their renowned neighbour Priorat. Viva Montsant is a blend of Garnacha, Cariñena and Shiraz, resulting in a burst of dark fruit flavours and complexity; a profile that is clearly reminiscent of Priorat, but at a more affordable price.

    A Grape Adventure

    As well as familiar favourites like Garnacha, Tempranillo and Albariño, you’ll be able to sample up-and-coming indigenous grapes like Mencia and Treixadura, or Mallorcan blends including unknowns like Callet or Prensal.

    Our offering will be part of Wine of Spain’s total count of over 1,300 wines from 69 D.O.s, helping illustrate Spain’s incredible regional diversity.

    Need to know:

    Where is it?

    Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, London E1W 2SF

    When is it?

    Thursday 26 February 2015, 10.30am – 6pm

    How do I register?

    Log on to to register on-line and and sign up to their dedicated twitter account@spanishwinefair  - managed by journalist Andrew Catchpole.

    Join in the conversation using hashtags #wfs2015 and #tastespain.




  • Q & A with Conrad Vlok, Strandveld Vineyards

    Conrad Vlok is Winemaker at Strandveld Vineyards,  Africa’s most southerly vineyard and winery, situated just 11km from the Atlantic Ocean in a windswept landscape between Elim and Cape Agulhas. A world away from the warmer climes of Stellenbosch, Elim has atypical quartz-rich soils and specialises in punchily aromatic Sauvignon Blanc.

    When and where did you qualify as a winemaker?

    My interest in winemaking took root as a teenager, experimenting with fruit fermentation processes. Preferring the great outdoors to spending time behind a desk, I opted to further my studies at Elsenburg Agricultural College, obtaining my diploma in Viticulture and Oenology in 1989.

    Where did you start your winemaking career?

    I applied for a job as winemaker at a small cellar in Wellington, called Onverwacht in 1992. Here I made my first Veritas Gold medal wine from Tinta Barocca.

    What do you enjoy most about winemaking, and why?

    As winemaker at Strandveld Vineyards, it would be crafting wines in the young Elim wine appellation rooted in the rich history and landscape of this region just kilometers away from the true tip of Africa. The excitement to create a wine from a vineyard that you have nurtured for a whole year working so close with nature. Every vintage is different.

    Highlights of your career?

    Being inducted into the Commanderie de Bordeaux en Afrique Sud in 2014; a Veritas Double Gold medal as well as a Gold medal (Best in Class) at the International Wine & Spirit Competition for the 2010 Strandveld Sauvignon Blanc. And Both the Sauvignon Blanc and the 2009 Strandveld Adamastor received 5-star ratings in Platter’s South African Wine Guide.

    When did you start at Strandveld?

    I started working as winemaker at Strandveld Vineyards in 2004.

    Previous winemaking experience?

    I have worked at Darling Cellars, Delheim and Baarsma SA.

    Your winemaking philosophy?

    To stay sober and focused especially if you spend the whole day with the fantastic wines in your cellar.

    The Strandveld philosophy?

    Sustainable vineyard and cellar practises by having respect for nature in what we do.

    What makes Strandveld’s terroir special?

    What sets Strandveld wines apart from others, is that they are truly terroir driven wines from the southernmost tip of Africa. I try to express the cool climate with the gravel soils in each wine. Sauvignon Blanc is my favourite cultivar to work with, because it expresses the terroir of an area so well. You can even taste the flavours in the berries in the vineyard.

    How do you feel about the SA wine industry’s present standing & future on the international market and why?

    We have come a long way and worked hard to change the view that we can only produce commodity wines. More and more small producers are showing off our diversity in terroir and the Cellarmasters and viticulturists at the big cellars have also upped their game producing excellent wines.

    Your favourite white and red wines – to drink?

    They are all my favourites, as long as they match the mood and the food.

    Your favourite wines – to make and why?

    Sauvignon Blanc – you can taste the flavours in the berries and follow it through the fermentation into the final wines.

    Your favourite pastimes/hobbies?

    Spending time with my family on the farm, fishing with my sea kayak, free diving, spear fishing, hunting and cooking with my own recipes.

    The full list of currently available Strandveld wines can be found here

  • Telegraph on Lebanon

    Last week Victoria Moore reported in The Telegraph that we are now drinking almost twice as much Lebanese wine in the UK as we did five years ago: this is a 'breakthrough point' according to Moore.

    “In 2010, I was struck not only by the energy and commitment of a new generation of producers but also by the quality of their wines”, said Moore - she went on to highlight Enotria’s Ixsir as one of her star performers:

    “Established only in 2008, its owners have built a great, palatial winery near the fish restaurants, lemon groves and Crusader ruins of the coastal town of Batroun, between Beirut and Tripoli. With a consultant from Château Angelus and, in Gabriel Rivero, a Spanish winemaker, there is a strong international strand and the wines have the gleam of modernity.”

    Concerning levels of production, she commented; “there isn't a huge amount to go around, but thanks to a concerted push over the past five years, we now see almost twice as much Lebanese wine in this country than we did five years ago. It’s a breakthrough point.”

    On Monday, Moore followed up her article on Lebanon’s booming wine trade with a hand-picked selection of her favourite wines, including mentions of two from Ixsir.

    Ixsir Altitudes White 2014, Lebanon*

    “Ixsir also makes a good red syrah-cabernet blend [Ixsir Grande Reserve Red 2010], more international in style...but I really liked this white. A blend of muscat (40 per cent), viognier, sauvignon and semillon, it’s floral but not OTT. Char-grilled swordfish and salty fried fish are its friend.” Victoria Moore, The Telegraph, 19th January 2015.

    *Available soon – current vintage is 2013  - available at

    Read Victoria Moore’s  full article here:





  • Wine Blogger of the Week

    Our Wine Blogger of the Week is Sam Caporn MW, writing under the alias The Mistress of Wine. Her Top Tipple White from last week was Enotria’s Planeta La Segreta Bianco 2013 from Sicily.

    2013 La Segreta Bianco, Planeta"Southern Italian whites really float my boat. I love their ripe tropical fruit, the intensity of flavour and the weight of the wine in the mouth; not thinly acidic or fat and lactic or laden down by cloying oak, just pure, unadulterated flavours of sunshine and happiness with fresh acidity. If a wine could make me smile it would be this. I can’t actually remember where I first tried it but afterwards I researched where I could buy some and bought a case and last weekend I went out for dinner with 3 very good girlie friends and was delighted to see this on the menu."

    "Not only is it scrumptious but it was also £20 a bottle so one of the cheapest wines on the list – result! It was still as good as I remembered and we liked it so much we managed to drink two bottles and it was sensational with my butternut squash and goats cheese filo tart. The alc is only 12.5% so not too heady either and it is a fruit bomb of yellow plums, nectarine and peaches but also refreshing and moreish. A genuine delight of a wine and I have a case arriving this very afternoon!"

  • Down Under On Top Form

    If you need a little sunshine to shake off those January blues, here are some hot Australian reds and whites which are impressing critics around the world.

    Not only that, these wines are a real breath of fresh air, showing that flavour and character can be found at all price points.

    See below for some reviews from James HallidayFiona Beckett and Wine Spectator's Wink Lorch.

    2014 MadFish Sauvignon Blanc Semillon

    Respected Australian wine writer James Halliday reviewed the 2014 MadFish Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, awarding it 91 points and including it in his list of ‘Top Value Wines - $20 & Under’.

    “Largely unoaked, but a small portion spends time in oak to give the texture a fillip. This release is bright and easy to enjoy, with good intensity of gooseberry and lime flavours. Gravelly notes add an edge. Excellent buying option. – 91 points”.

    Watch this space - this vintage will be in stock very soon

    2010 Mount Edelstone Shiraz, Henschke2010 Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz

    Fiona Beckett blogged about her ‘12 Best Drink Pairings of 2014’, including Henschke’s Mount Edelstone Shiraz.  For her most memorable food and wine match from May 2014, she chose a pairing of 40 day aged fillet of black Angus beef with the 2010 vintage of the Shiraz. As Fiona pointed out: “No, not rocket science but sometimes you can’t beat the classics - and a welcome reminder...just what a good buy the Mount Edelstone Shiraz is."


    2012 Director's Cut Shiraz, Heartland2010 Heartland Director's Cut Shiraz

    For Wine Searcher, well-loved wine writer Wink Lorch posted an article highlighting the best value reds and whites listed on the website, compiled from their comprehensive database. The website’s top red, as rated by at least three critics, was the 2010 Heartland Director's Cut Shiraz, Langhorne Creek, Australia. Wink noted that although specific vintages were chosen, all the wines selected “show consistent good quality/price ratio through the vintages”. (New vintage - 2012)



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