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What’s Drinking Well?

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


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 to place your order of this brilliant wine whilst stocks last

New Release of Sassicaia, Guidalberto & Le Difese

Sassicaia – just the name can send tingles down the wine lover’s spine. The story began in the 1920s with the ambitious dreams Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta in creating a wine ‘thoroughbred’. He realised the similarities in climate and soil between the great soils of Bordeaux and the coastal vineyards of Bolgheri. To begin with, this revolutionary wine was just produced for lucky family and friends but by the latter part of the 20th century its greatness was secured. Countless accolades flowed from the 1970s onwards and the wine has now achieved iconic status.

Opening prices for 2013 Sassicaia, 2014 Guidalberto and 2014 Le Difese

2013 Sassicaia £525 IB per 6

“Tasted from barrel, the exciting 2013 Bolgheri Sassicaia is shaping up to be an epic rendition of this celebrated wine. You get a clear sense of the quality of fruit with your first twirl of the glass. Even at this young stage, the wine shows impressive intensity and elegance. It boasts dark fruit nuances with bold cherry and blackberry that will gain focus and traction with time. Oak notes of vanilla and cinnamon are beginning to show their first signs of mellow integration. This was a cool but classic vintage that saw enhanced aromas, acidity and all the qualities that lead to healthy longevity. The 2013 vintage promises greatness.”
95-97 Points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate

The second wine – 2014 Guidalberto £120 Inc. VAT per 6

The third wine –  2014 Le Difese £85 Inc. VAT per 6

All wines available for delivery late Spring 2016 and are subject to remaining unsold.

Just Arrived! 2005 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904


“The 2005 Gran Reserva 904 is a superb blend of Tempranillo from the villages of Briñas, Labastida and Villalba with 10% Graciano from Briones and Rodezno… The nose is very balsamic with notes of camphor, hints of mint, leather and hung game wrapped around a core of cherries in liqueur. Together it is balanced, subtle, truly elegant and classical. The palate is only medium-bodied but with great concentration of flavors that are very tasty, mineral, almost salty and framed by ultra-fine tannins and smashing balance. A great classic… At this quality level this is a bargain.”
96 points, Luis Gutierrez,

£180 per case (6 bottles) 


2010 Il Grigio Chianti Classico Riserva EN MAGNUM!

Every now and then a wine comes along that everyone just seems to love and last Christmas it was this Tuscan Treat that was flavour of the month with its rich, dark fruit aromas and a long spicy finish. 94 points from the world’s most renowned wine critics didn’t do its reputation any harm either!

WISF907_300_dpi_High_Resell it’s back but now in magnum from which it tastes even better and there’s no premium on the larger format either as it’s just £30 per magnum.

What wine could sit better on the Christmas Dinner table?

2012 Rioja Graciano, Bodegas Casa Primicia

100% Graciano is pretty rare but to find one that tastes this good at this price is almost impossible. This deeply complex grape variety and the Hungarian oak aging make this wine a real find – it slowly charms you in to realising what a superb glass of wine it is. Casa Primicia is a family run winery based at one of Spain’s oldest wineries in the Rioja Alavesa sub-region which, along with Rioja Alta, makes the very finest wines in the region.

£11.25 per bottle

2013 Barco Reale di Carmignano, Capezzana, Tuscany, Italy

Situated 15 miles north west of Florence, Carmignano was designated one of the four best areas for wine production in Tuscany in the 18th century by the grand Duke. After falling on hard times it is back to its best, producing some of northern Tuscany’s finest wine. Barco Reale is a delicious blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Canaiolo and Cabernet Franc and made for early drinking. Loads of ripe cherry and plum fruit with a delicate hint of oak make this a juicy but complex red. Great with simple red meat dishes.

£13.50 a bottle

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

I can’t believe it’s not Gavi!

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 […]

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Dreams are made of this old vine Garnacha from Navarra

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 […]

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