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Bellingham Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2017

Bellingham-OVCB-wmOne for lovers of a full flavoured, savoury styled white wine. Bellingham has some excellent finds among their Bernard Series, named after Bernard Podlashuk, one of the founders of the brand. South Africa embraced the Loire grape, Chenin Blanc, early in their vinous history and the vines producing the grapes for this wine are nearly all 40 – 50 years old.  As with old vines, the yields are lower and the grapes take on a graceful intensity in character.

This Chenin has been given a polish with some new and old oak with some regular lees stirring so the fruit has plenty of spicy, savoury appeal and some added fleshiness along a soft acid backbone.  Read More

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Palladino Biferno Rosso Riserva DOC 2012

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A pretty blend of Montepulciano and Aglianico from the Molise DOC of Biferno.  Biferno is a tiny appellation in Italy’s second smallest region, Molise. It neighbours Abruzzo which is renowned for its Montepulciano and Aglianico is perhaps better known from Campania and Basilicata.

The hint of rose petal, raspberry, cherry with a mushroom savoury edge will win you over every time.  It is an easy drinker with a soft, velvety mouthful of creamy oak. It is a real bargain for the price. A new go-to red that is seriously good!

Country of Origin: Italy, Biferno DOC
Tasting Date: 
February 2018
Price:GBP £8
Drink: now – 3 years
Needs food: no
Source: tasting

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Hahn SLH Pinot Noir 2016

Hahn-SLH-pinotThe Santa Lucia Highlands is a relatively new AVA in the Monterey region, having only been designated in 1991.  It’s history is much longer than this as vineyards were first planted there over two hundred years ago. Spanish settlers recognised that the well-drained soils and the cooling winds coming off the cold waters of Monterey Bay to temper the heat in the vineyards, was a combination that made for producing graceful wines such as this.

This is a delectably lush textured, yet elegant, Pinot Noir made from fruit from four of the Hahn family’s Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards. Full of ripe black cherries with a rich cinnamon and brown spice warmth and a liquorice perfume twist. After 11 months in French oak, there is a spicy savoury detail to the fruit and a smoothness to the tannins.  It is a wine that I could certainly have a second glass of….. or third. .

Country of Origin: USA, Santa Lucia Highlands AVA
Price: USD $30  | UK £29
Drink: now – 5+ years
Needs food: a good wine for food
Tasting Date: May 2018
Source: tasting

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Pikes ‘Traditionale’ 2016 Riesling

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This is one of the classic Rieslings from Australia’s Clare Valley that you will always find a spot for in your fridge. If you are lucky, it will be chilling with some Pikes beer. While ‘The Merle’ is from the Polish Hill sub-region in the Clare, ‘Traditionale’ has been sourced from throughout the Clare & has the typical citrus characters of the region.

The ‘Traditionale’ is a dry riesling-lovers wine. With just a few grams of balancing sugar to texturise the palate but with all the intensity lemon/lime drive of ‘the Clare’ rieslings along with facets of talc and white flowers. Not only should this wine be in your glass, you should pair it with a couple in your cellar for later. Enjoy its freshness now with fresh seafood or some Thai or Vietnamese flavours.

Country of Origin: Clare Valley, Australia
Tasting Date: 
February 2018
Price: USD19 | AUD22 | GBP £16
Drink: now – 7+ years
Needs food: no
Source: tasting

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Knowing your Moschofilero and Malagousia from your Mavrodaphne

santorini-wmAssyrtiko is hot right now. It’s like a summer holiday in a glass. With just one sip taking you to that exotic island of Santorini, looking out over the blue domed roofs and out over the blue, blue sea.  It is the white wine that is making wine drinkers sit up and take notice of what is happening in that ancient wine making country, Greece.

Assyrtiko is a grape that is only now beginning to be embraced in vineyards internationally. Peter Barry, from Jim Barry wines in Australia’s Clare Valley has recently released his take on the grape with 2016 being the first vintage of the Jim Barry Assyrtiko being available for sale.

This is the only non-Greek Assyrtiko I have come across and I have made it my priority to taste any new vintages of this wine as the vines gain some maturity.  These early vintages, lead me to believe the grape is in good hands with this family – a family who makes such pure expressions of the riesling grape. Read More

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