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What’s Drinking Well?

Champion Spanish Monastrell Red for Under £10

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.

Buy now!

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

 

2015 Le Pupille Morellino di Scansano Riserva – Tastes Like Brunello at Twice The Price!

2015 Morellino di Scansano Riserva, Le Pupille

“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 jonny@songbirdwine.co.uk

 

Delicious Portuguese Red, 95 Points in Decanter Magazine and Under £8

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

 

2015 Chianti Classico, Casuccio Tarletti, Tuscany

“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

2016 Barbera d’Asti Superiore ‘Crocera’ – Top Value Red of 2019 So Far!

2016 Barbera d’Asti Superiore ‘Crocera’, Il Cascinone, Piemonte

“Intense, ripe and juicy and another great wine from Il Cascinone that overdelivers” JW

The producer Il Cascinone can do no wrong in my eyes at the moment. I have worked with them for almost five years with their Campo Fiorito Chardonnay (a ringer for quality Maçon) being a staple of my portfolio. Last year many of you would have tried their brilliant Soliti Merlot, my best value wine of 2018, but the winery may have even surpassed that with this outstanding single vineyard Barbera d’Asti Superiore ‘Crocera’.

Once considered a poor man’s Nebbiolo, Barbera is now considered a great wine in its own right. The best vineyards surround the villages of Asti and Alba and produce perfumed reds that are ripe in juicy fruit and perfect for early drinking. The Crocera vineyard is a six hectare site on the Monferrato hills of Piemonte, where some of the region’s finest wines are produced. The wine is aged for 12 months in French oak barriques (small casks) of which only 10-15% are new. The predominant use of older oak ensures that there is a more subtle flavouring to the wine and that the juicy, ripe flavours of the Barbera grape are dominant. All this evolves into the most magnificent and rewarding glass of red.

2016 Barbera d’Asti Superiore ‘Crocera’, Il Cascinone, Piemonte @ £55 per case (6 bottles)

“Lovely aromas of black cherry, ripe damson and soft spice. Rich, generous and juicy on the palate with more flavours of cherry, plum and a little hint of mocha. It’s rare to experience such intensity at this price point and bravo to Il Cascinone for producing another great single vineyard wine that overdelivers.” JW

It’s a bit early to be saying that this is best value red wine of the year but it’s certainly going to take some beating! It has just won silver medal in the 2019 International Wine Challenge too so it seems I am not along in championing its brilliance!

Price includes VAT and free delivery to all CT & SE postcodes.

2017 Château Gairoird Organic Rosé, AOC Côtes de Provence

“Rosé doesn’t get much better than this.” Jonny Wren, Songbird Wines Founder

We Brits can sometimes be guilty of not taking rosé seriously enough. Happy enough to splash out on a fine red or white, but the rose just needs to be cold and pale. This organic pink from Château Gairoird is the kind of wine that puts paid to that philosophy – once you try this there’s no going back as it’s totally delicious! It’s produced on a 45 hectare Domaine just outside the village of Cuers in the Côtes de Provence AOC. Here Oliver Pierrefeu (who happens to be the Count of Pierrefeu) grows the classic Provence varieties such as Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle & Syrah which all make it to the final blend. Harvested at night (to ensure maximum freshness) the juice is then cool fermented for 2-3 weeks then stays on it lees until January for added complexity. The result is a wonderfully complex and totally refreshing bottle of organic rosé that will bring joy to many a weekend relaxing in the dappled sunlight.

2017 Château Gairoird Organic Rosé @ £72 per case (6 bottles)

“It has the most wonderful pale pink/salmon colour that Provence is the master of. The nose is delicate and complex with aromas of peach, red berry and hints of spicy tangerine. Clean and full on the palate with layers of ripe fruit and a gentle but lengthy exotic finish. Rosé doesn’t get much better than this.” Jonny Wren

2018 Tio Pepe Fino En Rama Now Available!

The annual Spring release of the new Tio Pepe En Rama is now a firm fixture in the wine world and hugely anticipated by sherry lovers around the globe.

Tio Pepe En Rama is an unclarified and unfiltered ‘super-fresh’ Fino sherry, loved by many for its unique, fresh from the cask experience. It is alive with flavour and has more nutty and yeasty aromas than usual Finos. On the palate it is vigorous and citrusy, with a complex, saline finish and a truly gastronomic wine that’s perfectly paired with olives, almonds, oily fish and tapas.

Only 60 barrels are produced yearly and the wine is strictly allocated. Those who have purchased this previously will get an automatic allocation and we will endeavour to satisfy the demands of any newcomers.

As always a different authentic label is produced based on artwork sourced from the Tio Pepe archives dating back to the 1800s.

Warning – Tio Pepe en Rama can cause strange photo poses

Tio Pepe Fino En Rama 2018 Release @ £15 per bottle
“A bright, vivid golden colour, Tío Pepe Fino en Rama 2018 is fragrant on the nose with instantly recognisable notes of bread and fresh yeast. The character of the Macharnudo area is reflected in the saltiness of the wine, which is also elegantly bitter on the finish. Tío Pepe En Rama 2018 will definitely enhance Mediterranean fish, seafood and vegetable dishes and is also set to be the star attraction at tapas bars worldwide, at a time when Spanish cuisine is more popular than ever.” Antonio Flores, Master Blender at Tio Pepe

2018 marks the 9th release of Tio Pepe en Rama and it seems to get better every year. The wine is at its best when young so we advise it is drunk during the summer months to enjoy it at its full potential. Wonderful with seafood but one of our favourite dishes to accompany this is vine plum tomatoes halved with a drizzle of premium olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt – simple but delicious!

Reserve your bottle(s) of 2018 En Rama now. Wine arrives week commencing 23rd April.

Château Pinenc Minervois – Ripe, Mature & Under £9 a Bottle!

What with the recent wintry weather there’s been a number of evenings sitting in front of the fire with a some hearty food cooking slowly in the oven and a rich warming glass of red. If there was a wine made for this situation then this marvellous Minervois would be it. Minervois isn’t one of France’s best known regions but, along with its neighbour Corbieres, certainly one of the best value. It’s just a few miles south of Carcassonne and here vines really flourish with the limestone soils and warm climate. Here the red grapes Syrah, Carignan and Grenache rule the roost, with the latter two usually coming from vines of 40 years plus. This delicious example is 65% Syrah, 20% Carignan and 15% old vine Grenache and it totally charms you with its ripe mellowness and super soft tannins. Light that fire!

2013 Château Pinenc, Vignobles Foncalieu, Minervois @ £53.70 per case (6 bottles)

“ A ripe nose of baked blackberry, prune, tarragon and a touch of fig. Great texture on the palate with superb ripeness and plenty more dried fruit character as it rolls around the palate. The tannins are so soft you could drink this on its own but best with lamb, cassoulet or cheese. To find a wine of this quality, maturity and price is a rare thing indeed.” JW

For more information or to order this wine please email jwren@jwwines.co.uk

 

A Sensational Silky Syrah a la Hermitage

 

2015 Domaine Belles Granges Syrah, Cave de Tain, Hermitage

“Plump, savoury & silky – blows away most Crozes Hermitage” JW

Quality Syrah can be hard to beat and the region of Northern Rhone is its home. Here you find the renowned appellation of Hermitage and vineyards that can rival Bordeaux’s finest. Unlike Claret, Rhone wines have not seen the stratospheric price increases of recent years and remains the place to find some of the best value fine wine in France.

Cave de Tain are based at the foot of the famous hill of Hermitage and make fantastic wines of exceptional value. Domaine Belles Granges is their best kept secret, better than many Crozes-Hermitage but half the price. It is produced from vineyards just outside that appellation and really shines in exceptional vintages – 2015 was one such vintage with near perfect growing conditions. Do not expect a Shiraz like powerhouse here, this is ripe, silky and savoury Syrah that is created in a more subtle way and slowly charms with each mouthful.

2015 Domaine Belles Granges Syrah, Cave de Tain @ £55 per case (6 bottles)

“A glorious example of the subtle, fruit driven elegance that is Northern Rhone Syrah. Ripe plum, juicy blackcurrant and savoury undertones with a hint of tar. Soft and elegant on the palate with layers of dark fruit and a touch of pepper on the finish. Plump, silky and savoury and blows away most Crozes Hermitages at double the price. A true winner!” JW

Email jwren@jwwines.co.uk to place your order of this brilliant wine whilst stocks last

What’s Drinking Well? Check out what’s currently filling our glasses!

Champion Spanish Monastrell Red for Under £10

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 […]

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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 […]

Try this wine See more of our favourite wines