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Vinformation – Italy’s Finest Vermentino?

Here’s some highlights from Songbird Wines’ latest newsletter


So first off the starting blocks has to be Tenuta Aquilaia’s quite wonderfully delicious Vermentino Maremma that won a double gold medal at this year’s IWC (International Wine Challenge) awards. Now it’s worth noting here that this wine didn’t just win a regional gold, it was also voted the best white wine tasted from THE WHOLE OF ITALY. With such an accolade you’ll expect this wine to have quite a heft price tag, but no this will cost you no more than £12.50 a bottle. Have I tasted it? Yes I have and it’s gorgeous – vibrant, citrusy with touches of honey and mandarin – and quite like no other Vermentino I have ever tasted. Due to its huge success I have only been given a limited allocation of this – initially five cases – but I have asked for a little more and all being well I may get another dozen or so bottles and will be able to fulfil all requests. To check availability of this stunning white wine please email orders@songbirdwine.co.uk

2020 Vermentino Maremma, Tenuta Aquilaia, Tuscany, Italy @ £12.50 per bottle/£75 per case (6)

“A deliciously vibrant Vermentino from the Tuscan coast. Full of expression from the off with complex aromas of citrus, honey, mandarin and wild herbs. Full of flavour and beautifully fresh on the palate with a lovely minerality and a touch of white pepper on the finish. Astounding value.” JW

Seeking Navarra

I’ve long been a fan of the wines from the Navarra region in Spain but they are not too commonly found in the UK so I was quite excited when a sample of an interesting sounding red from that neck of the woods came my way. Domaines Lupier is a project started by a husband and wife team when they quit their 9-5 jobs and began purchasing abandoned plots of old vine Garnacha. ‘El Terroir’ is their wine that is sourced from 80+ year old Garnacha vines that sit 650m above sea level. These low yielding vines give the wine both richness and intensity however both the altitude and the Atlantic breezes give the fruit a freshness that helps the wine achieve a perfect balance. In the winery each plot is matured separately in oak barrels of varying size with just 8% of the oak being new and this results in the pure, juicy Garnacha fruit character remaining at the fore. Any fans of the Sea Of Dreams will find this wine a more complex and earthier style of Garnacha from this underrated Spanish region.

2017 ‘El Terroir’, Old Vine Garnacha, Domaines Lupier, Navarra @ £21.25 per bottle

An expressive nose of black cherry and raspberry and a little hint of spice. The palate has a lovely silkiness and plenty of gorgeous, Grenache red fruit character with a little earthy touch. You can see how the wine gets its name.” JW

Let’s be Franc, this is a right bargain!

You don’t really find the Cabernet Franc grape much outside its usual habitats of Bordeaux and the Loire Valley but if I ever find out who decided to cultivate these wines in the Gard region of the Southern Rhone, I’ll be buying them a pint. Domaine Mas Barrau is an organic estate that is close to Nîmes and offers excellent ‘terroir’ with its limestone soil and south facing slopes. The Cabernet Franc produced here offers more grip and richness than what you find further north and is quite a unique style. If you’re looking for a great value, brambly red for those late summer barbecues then look no further as you’ll be hard pressed to find a better red under £8.

2019 Domaine Mas Barrau Organic Cabernet Franc, Pays du Gard, Rhône RRP £9.25     Offer Price £7.95

A luxuriously textured Cabernet Franc with aromas of wet woodland earthiness that is beautifully backed by dark, brambly fruit. Plenty of that brambly fruit on the pallet with nice soft tannins and excellent length. A bargain at its usual price and exceptional value for under £8.” JW

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