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Vinformation – New Stunning Wines, Rioja Wine Month & Bin End Sale

Hello Vintellectuals,

I’ve been compelled to sacrifice a couple of hours of my Sunday afternoon as I am bursting with unmissable vinformation to pass on. I have some stunning new wines to tell you about plus there are some old favourites on promotion for Rioja Wine Month, so in a nutshell – delicious wines at great prices!

New Wines

I have to confess my recent visits to trade tastings have resembled an episode of Supermarket Sweep, I was like a child in a sweetshop with so many irresistible wines and a majority ended up in my ‘trolly’. Here’s a taster of some that have recently been listed.

2021 Domaine La Decelle Réserve Blanc, Côtes du Rhône Villages Valreas, Rhône @ £12

A seriously good glass of white here. Valreas sits towards the north of the southern Rhône and the former’s influence is very evident as it’s the Viogner and Marsanne grapes that dominate here. It’s a blend of 50/50 of both from 50-year-old vines. Its fermented and aged for 8 months in stainless steel but 15% is aged in 450l barrels. The aroma and taste of this wine is gorgeous with flavours of mandarin, fleshy stone fruit and mango. The texture is super concentrated and there is a wonderful freshness on the finish. You get a hell of a lot of wine here for 12 quid.

2019 Nostru Carricante, IGT Terre di Siciliane, Azienda Agricola Cortese, Sicily, Italy @ £12.50

Another lovely textural white, this time from Sicily and featuring the lesser known Carricante grape. Carricante is indigenous to Sicily and flourishes in the volcanic soils of Mount Etna where it makes some of the island’s most sought after whites. It also grows incredibly well further south, as this super effort from winemaking legend Stefano Girelli shows. Stefano bought the vineyard in 2016 and has transformed the quality of wine being produced. The now organic vineyard sits at an altitude of 400m which influences the perfect balance of fruit and acidity in the grapes. Aromas of peach, mandarin and orange blossom, on the palate it has excellent structure and richness that’s countered by its fresh acidity and mineral texture. As the demand and price of Etna wines increases, this is the wise wine buyer’s alternative.

2020 Rippa Dori Salomón, Ribera del Duero, Spain @ £22.50

It may be Rioja Wine Month but this brilliant single vineyard red from neighbouring Ribera del Duero needs a serious look. Rippa Dori (which is the Latin for Ribera del Duero) is a winery owned by renowned Rioja producer Bodegas Ontañon. The wines have only recently become available in the UK and considering the outstanding quality I am mystified it has taken so long. Anyway, they are here now and what a entrance they have made. The limestone rich Salomón vineyard is at an altitude of 900m and home to 40-year-old Tinto Fino vines (Tinto Fino is from the Tempranillo family but slightly smaller). All grapes are handpicked and fermented at low temperatures in stainless steel. It is then transferred to Iberian barrels (made from Pyrenean oak) and aged for 10 months. The result is stunning. A wine of serious structure and concentration, it has enticing aromas of ripe black fruit, black olive tapenade, tobacco and spice. This complexity continues on the palate with blackberry, cassis and balsamic notes. The oak is beautifully integrated giving ripe tannins balanced by juicy acidity and good length. Although this is drinking beautifully now it has the structure to be cellared for many years. You rarely find Ribera del Duero (or a red from anywhere come to think of it) of this quality at a price as low as this.

Rioja Wine Month

October is Rioja wine month with many wine merchants and restaurants promoting wines from this famous region. Songbird Wines have picked a handful to offer on promotion. These wines will remain on discount until the end of the month or until stocks last.

2021 Flor de Primicia Blanco, Bodegas Casa Primicia Was £13.50            Offer Price £11.95

Fans of this barrel fermented Chardonnay (and I know there are many of you out there) will be delighted with this sharper price and will undoubtably snap it up. It’s a rich and opulent glass of white that is aged in a mixture of French and American oak. An old colleague of mine likened it to Batard-Montrachet and although I’m not going make such claims I will say that if you’re a fine of rich, oaky Chardonnays then you should certainly give this a try. Perfect with Paella.

2016 GR Rioja Graciano, Bodegas Casa Primicia Was £15.75        Offer Price £13.95

Another wonderful wine from one of Spain’s oldest wineries. Graciano is one of four red grape varieties permitted in Rioja and is usually part of a blend. It can be a difficult grape to cultivate but when it works it can produce perfumed and elegant wines that have a graceful charm and that’s what we have here. Bright cherry red in colour with aromas of black cherry, plum and exotic spice. A nice silkiness on the palate but with good structure. This intense fruit lingers on the finish with good freshness too. A superb example of Graciano that would be perfect with a slow roast pork shoulder.

2018 Queirón Mi Lugar, Vino de Quel Rioja, Bodegas Ontañon Was £24            Offer Price £19.95

A glorious Rioja produced by a rigorous selection of only the finest fruit from high altitude vineyards. This delicious red is made from 90% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha sourced from single vineyard in and around the village of Quel in Rioja Oriental. Many of the plots are old bush vines which are low yielding and sit at an altitude of about 600m and there is a three-tier selection process for the grapes, first in the vineyard, secondly at the winery door and finally during destemming which results in only the very finest grapes being used. The wine is aged for 18 months in new oak (80% French and 20% American) and then a further six months in large (18,000L) French oak foudres. A fine but pronounced nose of black cherry, blueberry and plum with touches of fig, cinnamon, mocha and balsamic. On the palate there is superb concentration and despite the complex spicy flavours. Structured but elegant with excellent purity of fruit, it’s drinking beautifully already but has plenty of years left on it.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled…

What with all this new wine arriving I am going to have to make some space in the warehouse so will be having a small bin-end sale. This will be consisting of wines at all price points including some real gems but quantities of each wine will be small. More info on timing of this to follow.

Also Burgundy lovers do watch out as I have a small parcel of absolutely stonking red Burgundy from the outstanding 2019 vintage and what’s more it doesn’t cost a small fortune. There will be an offer sent out in the latter part of the week. In the meantime, have a lovely Sunday evening with a glass of something delicious. For me, it’s going to be a fine Gigondas with my shoulder of lamb…

All the best,




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