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New Listings Including Barolo, Chablis, Priorat & Rosso di Montalcino

Hello Vintellectuals,

The Songbird Wines portfolio has been boosted nicely over the past few weeks so I’ve outlined some of our latest listings to enlighten you on the new delights that are begging for their cork to be pulled. And to kick off proceedings, something quite delicious from Piemonte…

I make no secret of my love of the Nebbiolo grape, and Barbaresco or Barolo are strong contenders for my desert island wine, but this noble grape isn’t all about pricey, age worthy reds. Yes, there’s a juicy new red in town and it’s produced by the magnificent Il Cascinone, the winery behind such Songbird Wines staples like Campo Fiorito Chardonnay and Soliti Merlot, (some of the best value wine in the portfolio.)

2019 ‘Avamposti’ Monferrato Nebbiolo, Il Cascinone, Piemonte, Italy @ £13.25 per bottle *£76.50 per case (6 bottles)

The winery planted these Nebbiolo vines in 2005 in a south-facing corner of their Soliti vineyard that’s situated in the prestigious region of Monferrato. Now at 17 years old, these vines are producing delicious fruit that makes a superb red, perfect for early drinking. After fermentation the wine is mainly aged in botti (large oak barrels) with 25% ageing in used barriques (smaller casks). This is no baby Barolo but a Nebbiolo in its own right that perfectly exhibits the aromas of rose petal, red cherry and clove that you want from this exciting grape. This is a wine that’s like the Jim Morrison or Jimi Hendrix of Nebbiolo, full of youthful exuberance and at the height of its powers but not one to make old bones. There’s plenty of that red cherry on the palate with smooth, almost velvety, tannins and a nice bit of spice on the finish. If you’re looking for something to accompany barbecued pork ribs or crispy chicken over the coming months, then you have found your partner. *Special ‘Vintellectual’ discount of 50p per bottle for orders of 6 or more if you reply to this or email orders@songbirdwine.co.uk using the subject ‘I’m a Vintellectual’.

Sticking with Italy (and Piemonte too as it happens), here’s something new, interesting and – most importantly – delicious. Anyone heard of Erbaluce di Caluso? No, neither had I until a few months ago but I discovered it was a very small DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita – the highest form of wine classification in Italy) that makes some very lovely white wine. Erbaluce is the grape, a variety so rare that it’s only planted in some 350 hectares throughout the whole of Italy, and Caluso is the small town where it originates. Based here is a wonderful father and daughter run winery, Cieck, one of the finest producers of wine in the area.

2020 Erbaluce di Caluso, Cieck, Piemonte, Italy @ £13 per bottle

Now here’s a wine that, if we’re talking cricket analogies, is more a Test Match than the crash, bang, wallop of 20/20. There’s not much happening to begin with but give it time and you are rewarded with something quite engrossing and incredibly satisfying. Aromas of green apple, cut grass and honeysuckle make way for lemon and apricot flavours on the palate with a long, crisp finish, that all pairs exceptionally well with the likes of seared scallops and most other seafood. Decant 20 minutes before slurping to get the full benefit. Also keep an eye out for the winery’s single vineyard offering that is arriving any day now – that is stunning!

And then to something more familiar…

2019 Ultreia Godello, Raúl Pérez, Bierzo, Spain @ £20.50 per bottle

Another glorious Godello and another that’s at the hands of one of Spain’s leading winemakers Raúl Pérez. From vines averaging 30-35 years old planted on schist and clay soils. All plots are fermented in oak tank and assembled just before bottling. Ageing takes place in barrels of various sizes and ages. Bottling takes place after 12 months with no racking or battonage. This is a fresh, well-balanced Godello with plenty of ripe citrus along with red apples and notes of blossom. The hint of slate/stoniness gives the wine a crisp and refreshing finish. Solid stuff!

Fancy Pushing The Boat Out?

We’ve also given the premium wine section a bit of a boost and here’s some delicious wines that arrived last week that haven’t made it on to the on-line shop yet –

2017 Rosso di Montalcino, Uccelliera, Tuscany, Italy @ £22.25 per bottle

Uccelliera is fast becoming one of my top Brunello estates and some of you may recall their 2012 Brunello di Montalcino was my top wine of 2020. This 2017 is my first taste of their Rosso di Montalcino and what a vintage to start with. 2017 was quite a hot year in Montalcino and this has resulted in the wines being quite approachable in their youth. This heat doesn’t necessarily mean the wines are overripe and the very best producers have made wines that are fresh and balanced. There’s a fair bit of de-classified Brunello in this Rosso di Montalcino and it certainly shows with the wine’s structure and intensity. It’s bursting with black cherry and blackberry fruit aromas with hints of wild herbs and smoky balsamic. Plenty of power on the palate with layers of dark fruit, fine grained tannins and an almost creamy silkiness. This is certainly one of the best Rossos I have tasted that gives excellent bang for buck. The only issue is availability as they make just a few thousand cases of this, but I managed to bag 48 bottles. This is the perfect wine to scratch your Montalcino itch whilst you wait for you Brunellos to mature.

2020 Camins del Priorat, Alvaro Palacios, Priorat, Catalunya/Spain @ £23.25 per bottle

A bright but also lush Priorat from one of the pioneers of the region, Alvaro Palacios. Alvaro takes a more contemporary approach to this wine, creating a lighter style (for Priorat anyway) that is more suited to the modern palate. It is a blend of Garnacha, Cariňena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot, all grown on the iconic slate terrasses that are synonymous with the region. The wine is aged in both barrique and larger casks for a few months. There’s a fresh, floral character on the nose that mingles marvellously with the grippy dark fruit. This freshness continues on the palate which is wonderfully poised and ripe too. This is a right ‘slow burner’ but once it’s got you, you don’t want to stop as it turns on its elegant charm.

2019 Chablis Tete d’Or, Domaine Billaud-Simon , Burgundy, France @ £32 per bottle

An iconic Chablis producer that owns plots in most of Chablis’ finest vineyards. This is a blend of grapes from the Domaine’s best parcels of vines within the Chablis village Appellation, mostly situated next to Premier or Grand Cru sites. All grapes are hand harvested and go through fermentation in stainless steel. 20% of the wine is aged for a short time in French oak (as is the case for the Domaine’s Grand Crus) to add extra richness and complexity. I tasted this in March alongside Billaud-Simon’s entire range and the quality of this against their Premier Crus was astounding. This tastes like top notch Chablis with aromas of white flowers, citrus and just a hint of honey. Take a sip and the fresh and layered concentration whisks you away to white wine heaven. This really is classy stuff and its subtle minerality and elegant purity makes you want to drink wine like this every day…forever.

2013 Barolo, Fratelli Alessandria, Piemonte, Italy @ £47 per bottle

Vintages that end with a three aren’t as highly considered as those ending with a five or a zero but make no mistake, 2013 in Piemonte was outstanding and the Barolo’s from that year are starting to come in to their own. Fratelli Alessandria is a winery that dates back to 1830 so they know what they’re doing and they do it incredibly well. They have vines in some of the region’s finest single vineyards but this straight Barolo is considered one of the best value wines in Piemonte as much of it is made from declassified grapes from these distinguished sites. It’s matured in both French and Slavonian large (40 hectolitre) casks for around 3 years and then in bottle until release. At nine years old this wine is seriously singing. Half an hour after decanting it was expressing all the hallmarks you want like rose petal, aniseed, red cherry, strawberry and clove. Plenty of grip on the palate but all perfectly balanced with the fruit. An ideal wine to swish, sniff, sip, savour and ponder what a great pleasure drinking wine is.

So, there you have it, some really glorious new additions here and just writing about them has whetted my appetite for a bottle of something special this evening – all in the name of research of course…

Just a reminder that the Spring Offer is still in full swing with some great bargains starting at £6.95 a bottle. Have a wonderful Bank Holiday and hope you enjoy a glass or two of something delicious.

All the best,

Jonny Songbird


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