This superb Cortese from Piemonte gives many a more expensive Gavi a run for their money.
So what’s in a name? Gavi di Gavi is certainly one that brings to mind classy Italian white and a price tag to match. This wine isn’t a Gavi di Gavi but it’s darn close to one as it uses the same grape, Cortese, and is produced in the same region, Piemonte. The grapes are also grown in the same soil type (limestone and clay) so why, I hear you ask, is this not a Gavi di Gavi? Well, to qualify for that DOCG the grapes need to be sourced from one of the 1,200 hectares of vineyards surrounding the town of Gavi and anything else outside it becomes simple Cortese di Piemonte and substantially cheaper in price.
So when you find a Cortese from a quality producer like Araldica it’s worth a serious look and I gave this wine just that the other night and was astounded by its quality. Even at its usual price of £7.25 it was a bargain but the winery has offered a parcel at a seriously silly price which means Songbird Wines is offering it at £6.25 a bottle by the case.
2018 Araldica Cortese, Piemonte £37.50 per case (6 bottles)
“Fresh and zesty dry white with aromas of green apple and grapefruit. Lovely texture and flavours of lemon, almond and honey with a superb mineral finish. Puts many a pricier Gavi to shame.” Jonny Wren
There is a limited amount available at this price so grab a couple of boxes while you can and drink smart throughout the summer.
Free delivery for 6 bottles or more to most CT and SE postcodes. Free delivery in UK for orders over £150 and a minimum order of £50.
To place an order call 07766 731954 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d just like to bring your attention to a wine I really enjoyed over the weekend. A recent addition to the portfolio, 2018 Sea of Dreams old vine Garnacha is drinking beautifully. It has such a lovely silkiness it is like a Burgundy in texture. Sometimes Garnacha/Grenache can be pigeonholed as a powerhouse but this had lovely finesse but plenty of ripe red fruit and delicious clove and cinnamon spice on the nose. Delicious!
2017 Sea of Dreams, Viña Zorzal, Navarra, Spain @ £14.50 bottle or £87 case (6)
Songbird Wines currently has an unbelievable offer on the wonderful wines of Il Cascinone that will run until stocks last. Il Cascinone is a winery owned by Piemonte producer Araldica and is home to some of their finest vineyards.
Each wine is produced from a single grape variety and is named after the vineyard it comes from. All grapes are hand harvested so only the finest fruit is used and is a selection process you rarely find with wines at this price. With five different grape varieties on offer there is something here for everyone. All wines are priced at £7.95 a bottle.
2018 Campo Fiorito Chardonnay
I have always been amazed at the quality of this wine. This will beat many a pricier Macon hands down. One third of the wine is aged in French oak, the rest stainless steel. The result is a soft, creamy Chardonnay with hints of butterscotch, honey and lovely citrus flavours. It is poised and beautifully balanced. It ages incredibly well too and I’ve tried bottles that are five years old that have been totally delicious.
2016 Fontanino Riesling
A dry, minerally and textured Riesling that proves how well this grape variety can perform in this part of Italy. It has elegant and refined aromas of lime and lemongrass. The palate has a mix of citrus and stone fruit with mineral notes. The finish is dry, long and complex.
2018 Camillona Sauvignon Blanc
From Il Cascinone’s prized vineyard that was planted in 2000. The easterly disposition prevents the hot afternoon sun stripping the flavour from the grapes. After harvesting in September the wine is kept in tank to stabilise before bottling in the spring. An elegant style of Sauvignon with ripe gooseberry and a hint of elderflower. Crisp grapefruit on the palate and a weighty texture make this a must for all Sauvignon lovers.
2018 Soliti Merlot
Anyone that thinks Merlot is boring should try a glass of this structured and plummy treat. I don’t think you’ll find a better one at this price (or at a bit more) and I have cracked open a number of bottles of this over the years. Grapes are from a small, south west facing vineyard that is warm during the day and cool at night and that’s where you get the perfect balance of ripeness and freshness. The wine is aged in large oak casks and the result is joyous. Aromas of plum, blackberry and savoury spice with layers of fruit and dark chocolate on the palate. Definitely one for a Sunday roast.
2017 Barbera d’Asti Superiore Crocera
Here we go. If I was to choose one wine out of them all then it would be this magnificent Barbera with it’s fresh juicy fruit and seductive, spicy notes. The Crocera vineyard sits in the renowned Monferrato hills of Piemonte and produces a wine of great distinction. It is aged in French oak for 10 months but this just enhances the fruit rather than masking it. Complex flavours of ripe black cherry, damson, plum and dark chocolate entice the senses. This is a wine on a roll as it has won gold at the Sommelier Wine awards for two years running and silver the year before that. I love it!
Offer price available for multiples of 6 or more of the wines above and cases can be mixed. The usual price of these wines is £9.25 so you are saving almost £8 per case. Wine available for immediate delivery but be quick, wine this good at this price doesn’t last long!
Well kind of…when it’s 2018 Nebbiolo d’Alba Superiore ‘Sterma’, La Bioca, Piemonte!
Sterma is a vineyard just outside the Barolo zone so it has the same soil and climate as the neighbouring vineyards that are inside the zone. Its vines are Nebbiolo, the grape that is the one used for Barolo (and it’s more feminine neighbour, Barbaresco), so it’s a proper doppelganger.
So although this isn’t officially a Barolo it’s as good, if not better, than some I’ve tasted from lesser producers that release mediocre Barolo because they know it will sell on the name only. La Bioca makes some wonderful single vineyard Barolo and this quality winemaking cascades down to their more entry level reds. I have been a huge fan of this wine since tasting the superb 2016 and this week I tasted the newly released 2018 and it’s totally delicious, drinking beautifully now but will age pretty well. The best thing however is the price – £14.50 a bottle – and this is a bargain when you think that this tastes better that some wines that are twice the price. It’s got a great label too!
2018 Nebbiolo d’Alba Superiore ‘Sterma’, La Bioca, Piemonte @ £14.50 a bottle. To place an order email email@example.com
2017 On Reflection Chenin Blanc, Paarl, South Africa – SOLD OUT!
I’m really loving Chenin Blanc at the moment and I am finding the ones from South Africa are particularly good, so when an importer handed me a sample of this ‘On Reflection’ I was most pleased. It certainly didn’t disappoint and its fresh minerality and stone fruit flavour certainly seemed well worth the £9 price tag. But that’s where I was wrong, the RRP of the wine is £9 but it is currently on offer at £6.50 a bottle! Why so cheap? Apparently they got their forecasting totally wrong on the 2017 and the importer has a huge amount to shift as the new vintage is arriving imminently.
If there was ever a wine to be associated with the words ‘gift horse’ and ‘mouth’ then this is it. There’s only one winner here and that’s the consumer. There’s around 120 cases available but it has been offered to other regional wine merchants too so it’ll be gone by next week, if not sooner. So, if you have the space, my advice is to get two cases (or more) as the first will be gone by Easter as it’s so damn drinkable! It’ll be well worth keeping some back for those long spring evenings.
Here are some quick specifications on the wine. It’s 90% Chenin Blanc and 10% Semillon and from vines planted in the late 70s in Paarl on the coastal region of South Africa. Its name comes from after trying various blends of grapes to make the perfect white wine, on reflection they realised that they had it at the very beginning with this 90/10 blend.
2017 On Reflection Chenin Blanc, Paarl, South Africa @ £39 per case (6)
“A wonderful expression of fruit that from the off just says ‘drink me’. Vibrant flavours of white stone fruit, hint of lime and wonderful fresh minerality. To find this quality at this price is a once in a decade occurrence” Jonny Wren – Director, Songbird Wines
This is a crowd pleasing white that should appeal to most palates. If you are not too familiar with the Chenin Blanc grape then this is the perfect introduction. Please let me know your requirements ASAP to avoid disappointment.
2018 Monastrell Yellow Label, Bodegas Juan Gil, Jumilla
Champion Best Value Red – Wines from Spain Awards 2019
“A brilliant and totally delicious wine, to say it punches well above its weight is an understatement!” JW
Jumilla is one of Spain’s lesser known wine producing regions. It’s located in the south east around 60 miles west of Alicante and home to some of the oldest Monastrell vines in the world. The Monastrell grape (known as Mourvèdre in France) thrives on these old vines as the deep roots seek out moisture rich in minerals to give the fruit extra depth and complexity. The results are quite striking and can produce wines of exceptional value.
Bodegas Juan Gil are the leading winery in this unsung region. Founded in the early 20th century they are still family owned and produce a number of outstanding wines however, bang for buck, the Yellow Label takes some beating. The grapes come from 40 year old bush vines situated 700 metres above sea level. This elevation gives a cooler climate at night that cools the grapes and gives them and the resulting wine more freshness. After fermentation the wine is aged in French and American oak for around 4 months then aged further in bottle until release. This wine has been a mainstay of the Songbird Wines portfolio for five years and this is probably the best vintage I have tasted.
2018 Monastrell Yellow Label, Bodegas Juan Gil, Jumilla @ £59 per case (6)
“Very ripe on the nose with blackcurrant, plum and spice. Lush and juicy on the palate with warming, ripe flavours of dark fruits but with well-balanced freshness. Soft, silky tannins give it serious structure. A brilliant and totally delicious wine, to say it punches above its weight is an understatement!” JW
The Wines from Spain Awards is held yearly in London and is one of the most important Spanish Wine competitions. For this to win Champion Best Value Red is a huge accolade. Although lovely now this wine has plenty of life ahead of it and will be delicious for at least another five years.
October 15, 2019
2018 Louro, Rafael Palacios – Glorious Godello From Spain’s Greatest White Wine Producer
“You will not find a white wine in this price bracket that shows such finesse, elegance and silky minerality. Brilliant!” Songbird Wines
“Here’s a wine that out-Pulignys Puligny” Jancis Robinson MW, “This overdelivers for its price” Wine Spectator
Rafael Palacios has now reached legendary status. His single vineyard Godello, Sorte O Soro, was recently heralded Spain’s greatest white wine and is leading the way in putting the Valdeorras region on the international wine map. Amazingly his ‘entry level wine’, the brilliant Louro, continues to be superb value. Sure, £19 a bottle isn’t an everyday price for wine but when you put it in to context that this is up there with many a Puligny-Montrachet (home of the world’s most renowned white wine) that would set you back £50 a bottle, then it truly is a bargain.
The techi bit…
Louro is a blend of 92% Godello and 8% Treixadura grapes from small parcels of vines (Sorte), aged between 20-40 years and at altitudes of 650-740m. These higher vineyards give the wine a wonderful freshness and the granite soils its mineral character. It is aged in large old French oak barrels (Foudre) for four months on its lees. The result is a wine of purity and beautiful texture, reminiscent of great white Burgundy. It has an aging potential of 6-8 years, but it drinks beautifully in its youth too.
As in 2017, yields of 2018 were low so bottles available are down by about 40%. Luckily this fall in production hasn’t seen a rise in price but it does mean that vintages run out quickly so I have snapped up a parcel of 20 cases. They won’t last long.
2018 Louro Godello, Rafael Palacios, DO Valdeorras @ £115 per case (6 bottles)
“Glorious golden colour in the glass and a subtle aroma of stone fruit, apple and honeysuckle. Silky elegance on the palate and superb texture and concentration. Just gets better and better in the glass. You will not find a white wine in this price bracket that shows such finesse, elegance and silky minerality. Brilliant!” Songbird Wines
“It’s a bottle that, bang for buck, is among the most exciting white wines on the planet right now and blows the refreshment scale into a whole new dimension.”Olly Smith
“Better than some Brunellos I’ve tasted at twice the price” Jonny Wren
“Silky & Succulent” 94 points, James Suckling
“A beautiful presentation” 93 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Us Songbirds have a passion for Brunello di Montalcino and are always looking for a doppelgänger that’s easier on the pocket. We don’t think I’ll ever get closer than this amazing wine from Le Pupille. We’ve been a fan of this wine for a few years but it has never hit the dizzy heights of this 2015, Tuscany’s vintage of the century.
Morellino di Scansano is produced in the hilly regions of Tuscany’s coastal region of Marrema. Many of the wines produced here are for drinking young, however a handful of producers make Riserva wine to rival the legendary areas of Montalcino and Chianti Classico – none more so than Elisabetta Geppetti. Elisabetta was only 20 years old when she took control of her family’s tiny property but her passion and dedication has resulted in Le Pupille becoming a synonym for quality and excellence. Her top wines sell for over £100 a bottle which makes this seem even more of a bargain.
2015 Morellino di Scansano Riserva, Le Pupille @ £115 per case (6 bottles)
“From the first aroma and sip you know you are tasting something special here. It’s silky smooth and bursting with ripe black cherry, dark plum, balsamic and spice on the nose. Superb structure on the palate with more dark fruit, a rich savouriness, soft tannins and a long, spicy finish. It’s very Brunello like and better than some I have tasted at twice the price. Drink 2019-2025.”Jonny Wren
“Extremely perfumed and spicy with Chinese spices that highlight the ripe fruit, as well as hints of roses. Full-bodied, silky and succulent. Just the right amount of tension. Extremely long and flavorful yet always refined and bright. Drink now.” 94 points, James Suckling
This wine is drinking beautifully now but can be cellared for a few years (but why wait?). Although it’s nudging £20 a bottle this really is a superb wine for the money. It’s not about the name, it’s what’s in the glass and if you love Brunello or other full bodied wines from Tuscany then I recommend you snap this up as I have only an allocation of 15 cases. To order call 07766 731954 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2017 Alançia Foral dos Quatros Ventos, Douro Valley, Portugal
I was at a Portuguese tasting a few weeks back and tried some wonderful wines but this super red from the Douro Valley really made an impression. It stood head and shoulders above those at a similar price range (and plenty priced higher) so I put my hand up for a few cases.
Over the weekend I’m looking through Decanter magazine and a blind tasting of 76 Douro reds and what comes out top? Yes, you guessed it – this very wine was one of only three wines to score 95 points, however the other two are twice the price. Bargain? I think so.
The wine is from an estate in the Douro Superior and the blend is a blend of 40% Tinta Roriz, 30% Touriga Franca & 30% Tinta Barroca. It is all stainless steel fermentation so has a wonderful purity of fruit. It’s a great example of the quality of value wine now being produced in Portugal.
2017 Alançia Foral dos Quatros Ventos, Douro Valley @ £47.70 per case (6 bottles)
“Very forward with luscious red fruit on the nose. Good plummy richness on the palate with super concentration and just enough tannin to give it the structure of a quality wine. Medium bodied but with bags of character. A real find.” Jonny Wren
“ Sweet red fruit augmented with touches of plum…super spicy with yet with rounded mouthfeel…a really nice balance has been achieved here.”95 points Decanter Magazine
Email Jonny@songbirdwine.co.uk to order or call 07766 731954
“The wonderful balance of perfume and structure make this a magnificent example of the brilliant 2015 Vintage” JW
Casuccio Tarletti is a small estate on the hills of the Chianti Classico zone overlooking Siena. It is owned by Bruna Baroncini whose excellent wines from the Tuscan region of Marrema I have sold for many years. At a recent tasting I tried their Chianti Classico for the first time and immediately realised this was something special. From the legendary 2015 vintage, this was a wine of extreme perfumed elegance with superb structure and I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered its modest price as I was expecting something close to £20 a bottle.
With limited stock available at the winery I swiftly requested a sample and showed it to colleagues in the trade. All agreed it was a delicious discovery and I have now secured the remaining 50 cases from the winery. As sole importer Songbird Wines will be offering an allocation to other UK wine merchants where it will have a price tag of circa £17 per bottle. However I am offering my private clients a pre-shipment offer price of £80 per 6 (£13.33 a bottle). This is an absolute bargain price for such a beautiful wine and when you taste it I’m sure you’ll agree!
2015 Chianti Classico, Casuccio Tarletti, Tuscany @ £80 Inc. VAT per case (6 bottles)
“You can not help but to be charmed by the delicate perfume of this wine with ripe, red cherry, hints of rose petal, vanilla and cinnamon. The palate is superb with more ripe cherry, soft tannins and a lovely freshness. The emphasis here is elegance and finesse rather than over-extraction and the wonderful balance of perfume and structure make this a magnificent example of the brilliant 2015 vintage. 100% Sangiovese.” Jonny Wren
This superb Cortese from Piemonte gives many a more expensive Gavi a run for their money. So what’s in a name? Gavi di Gavi is certainly one that brings to mind classy Italian white and a price tag to match. This wine isn’t a Gavi di Gavi but it’s darn close to one as it […]
I’d just like to bring your attention to a wine I really enjoyed over the weekend. A recent addition to the portfolio, 2018 Sea of Dreams old vine Garnacha is drinking beautifully. It has such a lovely silkiness it is like a Burgundy in texture. Sometimes Garnacha/Grenache can be pigeonholed as a powerhouse but this […]